Tablets

PalmPad, Eee Pad, and LePad line up to challenge iPad

As we wait for tablets to come to market to challenge the Apple iPad, here's information on upcoming "pads" from HP, ASUS, and Lenovo.

While the Apple iPad has sold briskly and gained enterprise support in many places, there are lots of companies and IT leaders waiting for iPad competitors to show up before they take the leap on a corporate experiment with touchscreen tablets.

Since CES 2010 in January we've heard a steady stream of announcements, rumors, and buzz about upcoming tablets, but most of this has been bluster. None of the major PC vendors have released a product to compete with the iPad.

However, we've gotten new information this week on three tablet competitors that are borrowing the "pad" name (which tells us plenty about their strategy). These three pads all have near-final product names, which makes them at least appear a little closer to reality.

ASUS Eee Pad

ASUS confirmed to Netbook News this week that it has decided to change horses for the tablet race. The Taiwanese computer maker is jumping off Windows Embedded Compact 7 and building its Eee Pad tablet with Android instead. ASUS will use Android 3.0 (code name: Gingerbread), which will be released this fall. For the Eee Pad itself to arrive, we'll likely have to wait until CES 2011 in January.

Since ASUS was the company that popularized the netbook revolution with its Eee PC, has some Linux software experience with its Express Gate mini distro, and recently broke into the top five PC sellers worldwide, it is clearly an important player to watch in the tablet race.

HP Palmpad

Hewlett-Packard has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office to trademark the term Palmpad in relation to "handheld and mobile computers, PDAs, electronic notepads, mobile digital electronic devices." So Palmpad appears to be the name of HP's tablet/slate/pad expected to arrive before the end of the year, though HP has yet to officially confirm the name.

This is the latest development in HP's off-beat 2010 tablet saga. It started in January when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off an HP device at the opening keynote at CES as part of the announcement of "slate PC" devices running Windows 7. Then HP bought Palm in April, reportedly killed its Windows 7-based slate PC because Windows was too power-hungry, and confirmed that it plans to use Palm's webOS to power its iPad competitor.

Lenovo LePad

Lenovo's U1 Hybrid (below) was one of the most talked about products at CES 2010. It was a full Windows laptop, but it had a separate LCD that popped out and turned into a touchscreen tablet with its own Linux-based UI. At the time, I wondered why Lenovo just didn't market the Linux tablet as a separate product.

According to recent comments by a Lenovo executive, the company plans to release an Android-based tablet called the LePad in China at the end of 2010. This strategy falls in line with Lenovo's Android-based LePhone, which launched in China earlier this year. Based on statements from the company, Lenovo is expected to bring both products to other regions if they are successful in China.

Keep in mind that the product photo below is of the U1 Hybrid and not the LePad, but since Lenovo has already created this tablet-like device it's reasonable to assume that it could borrow from some of the design elements.

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

35 comments
brendan
brendan

There is a difference between a tablet and a PAD! Apple has done a great job, as always, breaking out a new category of hardware device - the PAD. If the PC makers hope to draft off of the iPAD wave they should make certain they are not re-dressing their old tablets up as PADs. The concept of the iPAD is simple connectivity & accessibility not a fully functioning machine. Good luck to the PC makers - I think they will get it right this time. brendan.keegan@wwts.com

DHOLYER
DHOLYER

Although the iPADD is not a PC, it can run Java app's and Apple .ICA app's. The HP white paper talked about a fully Windows running PC. A iPADD really only is a remote control terminal and to to any thing more than store data it needs a connection. Once being a self educated Computer Programmer I prefer programs not App's. So if the tablet is just a pretty remote, I'll always select a Computer over a remote control. I know the HP is a computer, the others in time will reveal if they are or just pretty remote controls. And by the way I never buy the first model I wait at least for the semi bug fixed version. And doing that does lower blood pressure, and can save money.

turrenti
turrenti

jeez these offer nothing, im waiting on the google tablet myself. What about the e-ink hybrid one( or whatever it is)? That is what I want the most.

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Tolmaci
Tolmaci

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rshenry
rshenry

So I have an Asus T91 running Win7. Performance could be better, but functionality is superlative to anything in this article. It is compatible and works with the software I use elsewhere. I'm disappointed that Asus is going 'droid. PalmOS will never do what I need it to do. "iSaaS" has limits,especially financial - only want to pay for something once.

HAL_9000
HAL_9000

As I used to be hooked on the keyboard concept I own a Palm Pre smart phone but now I am beginning to see that the concept of the Pad/Slate/Tablet with on screen keyboard really is a much better gadget choice for my mobile/traveling work days as well as my personal life style that could replace laptop and a big bulky smartphone. I still hate the idea of being slave chained to iTunes even for a simple file transfer to my device so no Apples for me until they stop forcing people into their add on software and controlled market place (which probably snatches as much of our personal data as Google does). iPad got the hardware, battery performance and the size right - now we just have to wait for the proper OS to show up - (go Palm!) Last week I tested a chinese Android based aPad - the OS seems to run well on these Chinese aPads however the 7 inch form factor was too small, but the real showstopper was the battery performance and the lack of a good media player. If there was a VLC player version for Android then maybe I would consider the Android based Asus eeePad (because I love Asus laptops) but I still don't like Google and their hunger for my personal data so Android is out for now. I know the Palm Web OS well and I know how "open" the Palm platform is to mods etc. so that will be my choice for my future "Pad". Go Palm!

kitkat7
kitkat7

But I posted a reply to the wrong comment and can't move it .. see "kitkat7" under the first post.

tryonQc
tryonQc

there are many more ipad competitor comming and some re not from big well known company ... and running w7 with an extra layer on top like ... the exoPC :)

yobtaf
yobtaf

What Apple has that non of these can't offer is across the board product integration. However, competition is great for all of us. I love it!

mising69
mising69

Although I am a fan of alternative OSes, I really like the idea of the Lenovo. Nice to have a keyboard when you need it, and lose the bulk when you don't.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

I love my Eee PCs, so I expect Asus will produce a good tablet with a lot of functionality at a nice price. However, the unit I most would like to test is Lenovo's U1 hybrid. It may be the design that best satisfies the need for content creation and content consumption.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

I'm not interested in a 'pad'. I want either something pocketable or a proper computer with real keyboard, not an in-between product that's neither pocketable nor fully versatile.

Xhopp3r
Xhopp3r

I don't agree. Something pocketable would be too small. Laptops are ok, but having a laptop that I can hold in any way I want, other than my lap, or set it on the desk, would be fantastic. I've been doing my work on a laptop for more than a few years now, and I am looking forward to the day I'll switch it out for a "pad". In fact, it is my opinion that all laptops should be replaced by "pads" and all desktop pcs as we know them should be replaced with multi touch surface tables, walls, tv's...etc. Maybe in the future we'll reach the point where we'll interact with holograms. All files, folders, programs will be holograms we can grab with our hands and move around and manipulate them the way we do now with our mouse and keyboard.

Junkmale53
Junkmale53

Unless i'm at a table, that's low enough to look straight down on, a pad is a two handed device. One hand to hold it, the other to use it. Kinda like always having to balance your laptop in your hand http://is.gd/dAQD8 Not really easy to use. Think about putting a pad on your desk and spending an hour staring straight down at the surface and then tell me about your chiropractic bills. The fact that a laptop can sit upright on it's own makes it so much easier to use. Pads are awesome, but like acidburn said, if it could fit in my pocket it would be even better. I'm interested in your thoughts on long term usability of a pad. If it's something you'd only use for 5 minutes here and there, my HTC is pretty kick ass. : )

pfyearwood
pfyearwood

When you purchase all the add-ons you want to use with a pad-class unit, might as will use the money and buy a full function laptop or netbook. I agree with those who want something that fits a pocket, as in the old Palm z31, my pocket pal. The closest thing these day, not a smart phone, is the iPod Touch. Just add the Documents to Go App and other goodies and you have a mini iPad. And you don't have the monthly expense of the iPhone. Paul

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

" If you must use it for hours on end, and you must put the "pad" down on a desk, then do not fear. ... There will be options. Such as: "pad" cases that can stand like a picture frame, or "pad" support systems that can help you set it on the desk like a laptop, external keyboard.....etc. If I have to carry an external support and keyboard, what is the advantage of a tablet over a conventional laptop? As to replacing desktop systems with touch devices, it's very difficult for people who do data entry all day to use a device that does not provide tactile feedback. I started out doing data entry, and entry devices that don't let me 'know' where my fingers are without looking are not going to replace the traditional number pad. What you propose is fine for those it suits, but your opinion that all laptops and desktops should be replaced with the devices you favor doesn't take into account how other people work.

Xhopp3r
Xhopp3r

Instead of thinking about putting the pad on your desk, think about sitting in a chair with the pad in your hands. It's kind of like sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office with a magazine in your hands. If you must use it for hours on end, and you must put the "pad" down on a desk, then do not fear. The end of the world will not have arrived. There will be options. Such as: "pad" cases that can stand like a picture frame, or "pad" support systems that can help you set it on the desk like a laptop, external keyboard.....etc. The possibilities are endless. These are small problems to overcome. Instead of thinking about problems and posing them to someone else, think about problems and solutions to the problems you have just thought about and then you'll find out you might not even want to pose the problems to anyone else.

Acidburn27
Acidburn27

I do agree there...not much they're really useful for aside from if you do graphics design a lot or similar...you might as well get a laptop =P

Acidburn27
Acidburn27

I wonder how well Android will work on a Tablet...recently played with Android 2.0 quite a bit on the HTC Desire, so far I'm pretty impressed...I think Asus can make a good go at this as long as they don't just end up copying the iPad.

goalvago
goalvago

el interes comercial esta por encima del interes tecnico y de servicio, creo que todos tienen como mira minimizar las ventas de apple sin importar la calidad de su producto

alopez
alopez

Asus, while not a classic, historical "player" in the game, does seem like they are off to a good start focusing on core Pad-like functionality. After playing with Android recently, I have to admit that I am starting to wonder about the future of the Microsoft operating system.

QAonCall
QAonCall

Any vendor hooking up with Google should be leery as more and more information surfaces about their spying, and privacy violations. Additionally, the Net Neutrality push has even further pushed them into their own corner. I am currently removing any google applications and even blocking them from my corporate desktops. Until they come clean about what they are spying on, and why, and what information they are retaining, they lose me as a customer. When search engines all do basically the same thing, and the only difference is heirarchal, then I will teach my workers to do better key word searches, not rely on a company I can't trust. If the WaPo had broke a story about MS working for the government to spy, the entire IT world would have revolted. With Google doing it, hardly a whimper. With their past indiscretions, they are not trustworthy.

Junkmale53
Junkmale53

I'm kind of a Google fanboy and don't like FaceBook because of how it hold's peoples info. That said, i know Google has my complete calendar (where i'm at and when) and my email... is that what you're talking about? Seriously "spying" is a pretty harsh word.

aroc
aroc

For instance MS has "renewed" its agreement with Russian national security services to provide source code for its operating systems to include Windows 7. Don't think that won't turn into Win 7 backdoors, and that the backdoors won't "leak" to the Chinese cyber spies and Russian hacker gangs. No better than Google, and just maybe a tad worse? According to Windows analyst/journalist Woody Leonhard, Windows Live is quite as bad as Facebook (and Google's initial iteration of Buzz) in revealing all your "friends" to each other. Who IS on your Christmas card list? ;-}

QAonCall
QAonCall

Try this...(lmao) Google, google spying! Google gives: About 2,740,000 (?) Bing gives: 2,830,000 Yahoo gives: 149,002,184 (multiple search engines) You can add Washington Post to filter, as well as WiFi mapping, etc. Google is tracking much more than previously published. As well as working for the NSA and other intelligence agencies, and not disclosing when and where they are allowing disclosures. Think Chinese Hack, and what the Chinese got, what Google shared with the government, and why they immediately went to the NSA? Also ask yourself, why did the Chinese really hack Google? Was it an NSA (or other intelligence) target, and Google was acting on their behalf? I don't know answers, but I know Google has lied enough about what they are and are not doing enough, that they are off my Christmas Card list.

Junkmale53
Junkmale53

http://is.gd/dATbR Apple said its iPhone, iPad and ** Mac ** computers collect location information, but do so anonymously in batches and encrypt it before sending the data over a WiFi connection from the devices to Apple's servers every 12 hours. The Mac laptop collects and sends location info? Can you imagine if Dell did this?????

NexS
NexS

About the move away from Windows 7. That move will cut off many Enterprise clients from implementing these devices into the workplace. In the same, disregarding move, it puts the devices in the same, useless position that the iPad resides in: Single purpose machine. Their loss, not mine.

kitkat7
kitkat7

I too don't trust Google and will not buy their OS. And Apple's apps are more like "iCandy", very cute, but I prefer the Palm's apps productivity-wise. The Lenovo could be a winner for business as it most likely will be very high quality, as usual, but could also be expensive (as usual!). I've always found Lenovo (IBM) to be dependable products. Our team uses Lenovo X61-S for work and the small foootprint, durability, and great battery life is terrific! But what a brilliant move on HP's part to buy Palm and have a ready-made OS to get into the phone and tablet market. This is exciting news!! Yes indeed, Go Palm!! Palm OS is perfect for a tablet .. lightweight, fast, customizable. It was such a relief when HP bought Palm. I thought a competitor would buy Palm and kill off the OS. Now Palm OS lives on! I hope the Palmpad comes with phone functionality .. would like to be able to transfer a phone call to/from it like you do in a car with bluetooth. Would also want to sync the phone's data to it as well. It should also come with USB ports as there are some business applications where it is still handy to use a keyboard and mouse (configuring network equipment for example, or other technical work). It would also be practical to include a sturdy, built-in stand, like on the back of a picture frame, where you pull it out and set the tablet up anywhere. Maybe make it adjustable too? Okay, now I'm asking for too much :-). Currently my personal portable is a Toshiba NB-305 netbook with a full size keyboard .. I love it. But I do sometimes wish I could slip the screen off and just get cozy in a chair to do some reading, vertically that is. So, can't wait .. go Palm !! :-)

HAL_9000
HAL_9000

Kitkat - google/research the HP Slate announced earlier this year (with Windows mobile OS) - I expect the hardware specs and features will stay the same and that this device will be the new home for the Palm OS. Go to youtube and search for "Gizmo - HP Slate Vs. Apple iPad " ...... i think you will be pleased.

HAL_9000
HAL_9000

Thanks for the HP/Palm intel - a great indicator that Web OS will live on. I agree about the battery life is on the low side. Remeber that those 5 hours was for the power hungry WIndows based O/S so I would expect/hope the Web OS to provide longer battery life.

kitkat7
kitkat7

Cool device .. thanks Hal_9000! Liked seeing USB and Bluetooth, and nice idea with the HDMI in the docking station. But they've GOT to do something about the battery life - 5 hours! E-gads.. My Toshiba NB-305 netbook gets 10-11, and Lenovo X-61 gets 7. And I prefer a customer replaceable battery, so you can carry a spare when travelling. That may be a show stopper for me. Bought an HP Touchsmart computer for my in-laws a couple of Christmas's ago .. a little sluggish to boot up, but otherwise very responsive. I wanted to keep it for myself ;-). Point is that I'm familiar with HP's touchscreen technology and had no issues with it. Wonder which touchscreen technology they'll use .. HP or Palm. If you haven't seen it already, found a story titled "HP delays Android slate to focus on killer webOS tablet" re: HP giving priority to Palm OS development ahead of Google and Windows 7. They also mention that Palm?s former chairman and CEO Jon Rubinstein, also Apple?s former hardware chief who helped create the iPod, now leads the Palm global business unit at HP. Looks like a recipe for success!