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MSI to reintroduce WindPad tablets at CES, claims Oak Trail improves performance and battery life

Joanna Stern
December 13, 2010
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You'll remember that back at Computex MSI introduced two tablets or so-called WinPads -- there was the Windows 7 / Atom slate and another one of the Android / ARM variety. Well, MSI is planning to resurrect those with some slight improvements for CES, and this time it's gearing up to actually release them both. First up is the 10.1-inch Windows 7 Home Premium version, which will be one of the first Intel Atom Oak Trail-powered devices out there, says the company. According to MSI's Director of North American Sales Andy Tung, Intel's tablet solution does show both battery life and performance improvements over the current Atom chips, but it's "not extremely significant." Based on our discussion with Tung, we got the feeling that it's a step in the right direction for Atom but still not as long-lasting as it needs to be to compete with ARM-based tablets. Beyond that, the tablet measures less than an inch thick and will have a 1024 x 600-resolution, multitouch display, mini-HDMI and mini-USB ports, an SD card slot, and an accelerometer. Tung wasn't ready to reveal pricing, but he said it should be available in early 2011.

On the Android side of things, MSI's got a dual-core Tegra 2-powered 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800-resolution slate prepped with the same selection of ports and features -- although, this one is slightly thinner and also has a drop-proof design. So, what version of Android will it run? Well, that depends on Google's timing, says Tung. If Android 3.0 or Honeycomb is available by the February / March timeframe MSI will go with that option -- however, if it's not, it will go with Gingerbread, so it can hit the market earlier in 2011. We have to say both tablets sound rather intriguing, but will they be able to go up against the hundreds of others coming at CES: The Tablet Year? We'll know more in Vegas, that's for sure!

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