If nothing else, the Apple iSlate is aptly named. It iS late arriving, and other vendors are cashing in on that fact at the 2010 Consumer Electronics show.
Why have the computer manufacturers of the world initiated a campaign of torture against me? First, there have been these endless Apple Tablet rumours, then the CrunchPad gets ready for launch, but immediately gets hijacked by its Indian partners, then the HP Slate and Microsoft Courier rumours start floating, only to have Steve Ballmer parade around with what I’m dubbing the “HP Brick” (if it’s anything like an HP laptop, that’s what it’ll be soon after you buy it) at the 2010 CES…please, SOMEONE HELP ME. All I want is a thin and durable multitouch device the size of a clipboard that does everything that my laptop and phone do in one inexpensive device. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so. So while we ponder all the devices that could be, lets add some to the list. First up: the Skiff. Formerly called “FirstPaper”, they obviously got some startup loot and hired someone to re-brand them. It’s not really a tablet device per se, its more like a publishing platform similar to Kindle. See the Engadget hands-on here. To me, the coolest thing about the device is that it’s bendable. But you know what? It’s 2010, and this kind of thing was in the movie 2001 (see below), which was made in 1968! And you could watch the BBC from Jupiter on the thing in the movie! Also kind of cool, but not floating my boat too much, is the Freescale Smartbook, which, in spite of some of the early concepts being almost scary, turned out to be surprisingly appealing in some ways, especially if they hit the $200 price point they’ve been pitching. Engadget has a hands-on with the dockable tablet, and I’m sorry to say it looks like it has a slightly toy-like level of engineering quality. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of it. In the meantime, I guess iWait.
C’mon people. This idea’s been around since 2001, made in 1968!
Speaking of movies, this early Freescale Smartbook concept would be right at home in the movie Brazil
The production version of the Freescale Smartbook looks a little Etch-a-Sketchy:
The Skiff. It BENDS!
And it looks good with Dissociated Press on the screen:
This HP teaser is probably about the best this thing will ever look: