Desktops and Notebooks: Acer Iconia Tab W500 with Windows Wants To Be Tablet and Netbook
Apple ignited the consumer-tablet market with 2010's iPad, which quickly became a best-selling device. Manufacturers like Samsung, anxious to carve off their own piece of the tablet pie, soon began releasing touch-screen devices loaded with Google Android. Research In Motion has released the PlayBook, a 7-inch tablet that carries the company's iconic BlackBerry brand, and Hewlett-Packard is prepping a tablet loaded with its recently acquired webOS for a summer release. Despite the consumer hunger for tablets, Microsoft has yet to make a huge push into the space. Rumors abound that the next version of Windows, dubbed "Windows 8 by media and analysts, will run on mobile devices such as tablets. But until Windows 8 reaches store shelvessomething that might not happen until the latter half of 2012those who want the Windows experience on a tablet will need to seek out devices like Acer's Iconia Tab W500, which runs Windows. Those seeking a versatile deviceand can't stand the idea of abandoning a physical QWERTY keyboard in favor of a virtual onecould gravitate toward the Iconia Tab, which features a detachable keyboard and a netbook-like lightness. However, those who want a lightweight operating system along the lines of Apple's iOS or Google Android 3.0 could find themselves disappointed by Iconia Tab's unmodified Windows 7, which at moments feels like an imperfect fit with a touch-screen. Ultimately, Acer's entry seems unsure whether it wants to be a tablet or a netbookleaving it up to users to decide if and how it meets their needs.