The iPad revolutionised the flagging tablet market with an inspirationally simple approach. AHX Global has noticed this success and decided to set off in the completely opposite direction. The company’s iTablet device crams a fully-functional Windows 7 operating system onto a diminutive 10.1-inch tablet form. Will it work?
AHX Global, the company taking on Apple’s premium pad, is a joint venture between X2 Computing, a UK-based supplier of mobile computing solutions, and AMtek Systems, the leading Taiwanese designer of tablet computers. Unfortunately, AMtek’s proliferation in the tablet market means that parts of the iTablet are very similar to other tablets we’ve already seen.
Firstly, the 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen has a pretty standard 1024×600 resolution. That means it’s worse than the iPad’s resolution of 1024×768 (on a smaller 9.7-inch screen), so you can’t expect a razor-sharp display. Other tablet staples include wi-fi, Bluetooth and stereo speakers. It also rotates to work in landscape or portrait orientations, and has a HDMI output to provide high quality playback of HD video and pictures through larger TV screens.
While the company may have run short on revolutionary ideas, what they’ve lost in inspiration they’ve gained in determination. Inside, it may be the most powerful tablet on the market. There’s an Intel Atom Z530 1.6GHz processor and 2GB DDR2 RAM (almost eight times more than the iPad). There’s ample storage, too, with 32GB on-board, and a SD card reader for expansion possibilities. You could also plug an external hard drive into one of the two USB 2.0 ports.
It’s a powerful offering, and it should run Windows 7 Home Premium without a hitch. That means, unlike other tablets, there’ll be full Flash compatibility and a choice of browsers, as well as the entire office suite (which comes pre-installed as a trial). It also means full-sized Skype for video and VoIP conferencing application – using the built-in two megapixel webcam. How all of these will run on a 10.1” display is the vital question – we’ve set-up camp in the wait-and-see stockade.
Despite being a fully-powered Windows 7 system, it actually weighs under a kilogram. It’s also pretty compact too, with dimensions of 271 x 163 x 16mm. With this much portability, matched to this much power, something has to give – we’re willing to bet it’s the battery life. We’ll find out in March, when it hits UK stores.