This link was thrown my way by a friend – I’d spotted it on one of my feeds earlier in the day, but hadn’t checked it.
So this Razer Tablet is designed for gaming, the controls, the physical design, and the spec suggests that. Is it the sign of things to come? – Well sort of, but in my opinion not for a few more years yet.
[Note: I want to point this out here, but that screen on that Tablet showing that game… I’m dubious as to that tablet running that game!]
If you take gaming to mean console level graphics and games (gaming PC level) then the tablets cannot do that right now, not for the power consumption, and not without burning the users hands. People say that tablets are the gaming future because of the games available on phones and tablets sell amazingly well, take Angry Birds – which is addictive, I can vouch for that. Games like that though are simple, aren’t very demanding on the systems that run them, and are optimized for limited device sets, iPhones are spec’d to Apple’s liking, and Android phone all have very similar specifications with regards to processor and gfx.
What does Razer’s tablet concept tell us?
Well quite a bit really. First, is that Razer believe this is a targetable market, which is fair game. Secondly, the ultrabook revolution that Intel have been working on can be transferred into tablets; that in itself is a good sign for Intel who have been wanting to get into the tablet space for some time now. Thirdly, proves to me that tablet gaming at console quality is not going to catch on.
Why would you have a gaming tablet? I mean take the handheld gaming systems of today, namely the PSP (and it’s subsequent spin offs and sequels) it does it’s job very well, and has sales figures to back it. I can’t see the need for a gaming tablet for gaming, if you want a tablet buy a normal tablet and a PSP, boosh – happy days.
That covers the here and now, but what about the future?
** Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chips are coming out, and that is a real improvement over previous generations, and Nvidia plans on carrying on with the Tegra line for sometime yet, Tegra 4 and Tegra 5 are in the pipeline and have roadmaps. Nvidia are a GPU manufacturer, and should churn out something interesting for use in a future gaming tablet.
** Intel are working on their CPU tick-tock strategy, which has gone well so far, but still limits them to classic pc systems. However, their roadmap has changed for future CPUs, take a look at Sandy-Bridge, quad core cpu with intergrated GPU, all on the same die, but 95W of power. Ivy-Bridge, same chips, better GFX though, 75W power. Those are top spec CPUs, go down the range, and that power requirement drops. Assuming Intel can get a low powered chip with CPU and GPU integrated that can compete with Nvidia’s Tegra chips – which it will do someday; then we could see something good yet.
** You may of noticed that I haven’t mentioned AMD, a CPU and GPU manufacturer, and well placed to take on the tablet sector, in fact their fusion APUs could well do so, if AMD get their act together and make some worthy parts, but at this time, that is unlikely, and they are well out of the race at this time – but things can change, so they should never be truly discounted.
How long until all this happens? – Well about 2 years minimum based on previous cycles of releases, more likely closer to 5 years before it becomes the Gaming Tablet we would envisage, something with respectable battery life and graphical quality.
CPU makers going into the tablet realm though complicates matters. The Tegra chips, just like Snapdragon or Apple CPUs, are all ARM processors, and are a different architecture to those in PCs (x86). I’m also fairly certain that Android is written only for ARM, and Windows 8 will be both ARM and x86. So that gaming tablet would be running Windows 8, which also makes sense as games of the calibre expected are not on Android.
So, the gaming tablet will be an ultra mobile PC, and should be viewed as such, of course it will get slapped with a “Tablet premium price”, and I don’t see a market or need for them. It does seem that all the manufacturers are on the bandwagon now though, so we’ll see how long that lasts.