Tablets are big news, but that usually means Apple's iPad, Android tablets, or even the BlackBerry Playbook. Windows, by far the largest operating system on consumer PCs, has been largely left out in the cold.
It's ironic, as Windows tablets have been around for years, in the form of slates and convertible laptops with touch-screen lids that rotate and fold down over the keyboard. To date, none of these has been terribly successful, largely because they failed on both the software and hardware fronts. The Windows OS is simply not designed for fingertip (or even stylus) input, and the CPUs used to power most Windows tablets have been so underpowered as to make these devices mostly useless.
Stepping into the ring following the launch Apple's second-generation iPad is the Acer Iconia W500. Similar to Lenovo's (still MIA U1) Hybrid and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the 10.1-inch W500 consists of a touch-screen slate and a separate keyboard dock. When combined, the two halves form something close to a traditional laptop. The W500 is $549 with Windows 7 Home Premium, or $619 with Windows 7 Professional. Both versions have 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. Acer also has a dockless Android version, called the A500. … Read more