Tablet computers are currently all the rage and everyone wants to participate. While it may seem like the options are endless for the consumer, most devices are more similar than different, especially when it comes to software. While iOS is limited to Apple's products, Google's Android can be found on almost all other mobile devices – tablets or smartphones.
While you may not realize it, there is a third competitor in the tablet operating system market: Microsoft. Over half a dozen manufacturers offer Windows 7 tablets, including the ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro, the Acer Iconia Tab W500, the Fujitsu Stylisitic Q550, the HP Slate 500, the EXOPC Slate, the Asus Eee Slate EP121, the Motion Computing CL900 and of course the MSI WindPad 110W. With so many Windows slates in production, why don't you hear about it anymore?
Like versions of Android before Honeycomb, Windows 7 just wasn't designed for tablets. Android 2.x was intended for smartphones with smaller screens, so the software was not properly scaled. Windows 7 can display different resolutions and offers native touch support. However, it continued to be developed primarily for keyboard and mouse input. This shows. Using your fingers can be awkward and downright frustrating.
Manufacturers have tried to address this shortcoming by shipping their devices with various improvements and user interface improvements. For example, the WindPad 110W offers "Smart Tracker" that allows users to navigate the operating system more conventionally, while hotkeys facilitate access to frequently used functions. Windows 7 isn't perfect with these additions, but they certainly make it more enjoyable to use.
Devices like the MSI WindPad 110W not only offer a familiar user experience, but also a wider choice of hardware. While practically all Android Honeycomb tablets use ARM-based SoCs like the Nvidia Tegra 2, Windows 7 tablets can choose from a variety of Intel and AMD processors. This flexibility will only increase in the future as Windows 8 offers full native compatibility with the ARM architecture.
The WindPad 110W is powered by the 40 nm Fusion APU AMD Z-01 with two cores, which was specially developed for tablet computers and has a thermal power rating of only 5.9 watts. This is currently the only tablet we know of that uses the Z-01 as the vast majority use the Intel Atom line, which is largely made up of single core processors. With this in mind, we will analyze the details of the WindPad 110W as well as the impressions after installing the Windows 8 developer preview on the tablet.