Tablets, E-Readers, Netbooks

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-01-04 Print this article Print


In addition, Smarthouse reports that HTC could launch a tablet PC running the Google Android operating system, claiming that "an Android-based device ... is set to be shown privately to core HTC customers at the CES Show." This tablet will supposedly "incorporate new Qualcomm processors, touch technology and new software from Adobe."

CES will also see functionality introduced in the area of e-readers. Futurist Ray Kurzweil plans to use the event to roll out Blio, an application that supposedly allows e-books to be read on any device with an operating system, including netbooks, laptops, tablet PCs and smartphones.

"Unlike any other system on the market, this platform will display books just as they were printed with the same colors, fonts and layouts, and it will support full media functionality such as graphics, video, games and Web links," a Blio PR representative wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK, adding that the application will be on display at the Microsoft booth.


Netbooks represented a double-edged sword for the PC manufacturing industry in 2009. On one hand, they were the one surefire seller in a year where PC sales otherwise declined; however, ultracheap devices translates into low margins for manufacturers. 

Click here for eWEEK's review of netbooks and laptops from 2009.

The tech industry will try to solve this issue in two ways, both of which will likely be visible at CES. First, it will continue to offer netbooks-although the newer devices may be even more stripped down than in the past; think a smartphone with a larger screen and keyboard and no receiver, and you have the idea.

Second, manufacturers will be offering netbooks with larger screens and more powerful processors at a higher price point. One example is Lenovo's ThinkPad X100e, powered by AMD Athlon Neo single- or dual-core processors or else the Turion dual-core processor, and being offered with an 11.6-inch high-definition display for less than $500.

Netbooks will also be refined and made more robust, as evidenced by new offerings from Samsung. The N210, N220, N150 and NB30 will offer 10.1-inch displays, as well as applications that speed Web connectivity.

But at least some of the focus will be on devices that offer higher margins. In summer, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested that "ultrathins," which offer more powerful computing and higher cost along with a netbook's portability, would be something that Microsoft would push for along with its manufacturers. Whether such a concerted effort can be made to boost hardware and software margins, given the fragmented nature of the PC marketplace, remains to be seen.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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