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  Windows 7 Slate: The EXOPC
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Location: BlogsAndy's Blog    
Posted by: host 12/4/2010 9:17 AM


Earlier this week I was sent a fun new toy – an EXOPC Slate running Windows 7. I was a bit skeptical about how well Windows 7 would work in a tablet form, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this is a great little device. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few quirks that come along with Win7 on a slate, but overall the experience is fun.

Unboxing the EXOPC

The EXOPC comes in simple, attractive packaging and includes a power adapter and Getting Started Manual. The device itself weighs just over 2 pounds and has an 11.6” capacitive touch display. It might be a little bulky for an e-reader, but I did find it very comfortable to handle.

  

The Good

The biggest benefit of a Win7 Slate – and it is a big one – is compatibility. You can run whatever Windows applications you’re familiar with, and also get the full experience of browsing the web with both Silverlight and Flash available. Heck you could even install Unity 3D or whatever else you want, it’s Windows. The EXOPC comes with 2 USB slots as well, so if you want to add a keyboard and mouse, you can dig up whatever old USB device you want and plug it in, and you can bet the drivers will be available. 2 GB of RAM and a 32 GB SSD Drive are standard to the device as well, offering ample space and good performance.


The Bad

There were two things that I was concerned about most with a Win7 based slate: Battery Life and Boot-up Time. And yes, these are legitimate concerns with the EXOPC Slate, but honestly I don’t think they are deal breakers. The manufacturer estimates a 4-hour battery life on full charge, and I think that is pretty realistic from my experiences so far. The boot-up time from sleep is 10 to 15 seconds, and the screen does go into a standby mode to save power, which it can immediately wake from on a touch. On a cold boot, of course, you should expect a much longer boot time, but I wouldn’t expect to do that too much.

There is also some wonkiness with Windows 7 in a slate form, for example the EXOPC has wired the accelerometer so that rotating the device changes the page orientation. But as you can see from the video below, the transition is not very pretty (the screen just blacks out for a few seconds).




Developing for the EXOPC

Another huge advantage of a Win7 slate over other tablet devices is the huge array of development tools. There is no compromise at all in this area because you can use Silverlight, Flash, WPF, or whatever other tool you’re used to.

The EXOPC device also ships with an “EXOPC UI Layer” which is sort of like a little App Store with applications tuned for the device.  It’s a great concept and I assume there will be some manner of monetization for developers in the future. I ported one of my Silverlight physics demos to the device which took a matter of minutes. Deployment to the UI Layer consisted of creating an icon and XML description file, after which you just place the files into a special directory on the device. You can read the full documentation on the development process on this page.


Summary

Slates, Tablets, call them what you will, but this form factor is all the rage. If you want to tote along one of these trendy new devices without sacrificing the applications you’re used to, then maybe a Windows 7 based slate such as the EXOPC will work for you.

 

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Comments (2)   Add Comment
Re: Windows 7 Slate: The EXOPC    By Anonymous on 12/5/2010 1:56 PM
The boot-up time from sleep is 2 seconds if you remove millenium.exe from startup, it's a bug in it.

Re: Windows 7 Slate: The EXOPC    By Anonymous on 12/6/2010 9:33 PM
Where can I get one of these in montreal?


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