Tablet PC maker Motion Computing has launched a small-size version of its slate tablet, the LS800, taking the format down to roughly an A5 notebook.
"It's a new class of ultra-portable," said Elizabeth Clark, head of product management. The 9in x 6.7in x 0.87in beast has a mass of 1kg. This means it weighs 1 Newton, but the company was apparently not tempted to use that name, after Apple's first disastrous foray into PDAs.
The device is a pure slate, like the laptop-sized LE1600 which Motion launched in May. The two Motion devices are both part of a wave of new-generation Tablets which are causing the much-maligned format to be re-assessed.
The LS800 has dual-array microphones, the same bright screen as the LE1600, and a carbon fibre casing. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, with an SD slot, and Ethernet, and a fingerprint reader. It has a 1.2GHz Sonoma processor, 20GB of disk and 256MB to 512MB of memory. Any optical disks are external, and the price starts at £1,095.
Motion has put thought into the features, including a radio button to turn off signals on board aeroplanes or in hospitals. At a preview in London, the company showed voice dictation for forms data entry.
Motion has also gone to town on the accessories. There is a tiny Bluetooth portable keyboard, a docking station that doubles as a prop to hold the slate upright (portrait or landscape) on a desk, and a stylish leather shoulder bag, with a clear side for the screen, which would look good on Lois Lane.
Despite the disappointing take-up of Tablets so far, Motion expects a surge of use. "The Tablet is ahead of the adoption curve that PDAs took," said Andy Toal, Northern European manager for Motion. "So far slates have gone to verticals, but as they get more competent, they are crossing over. An ultraportable will take us into areas where Tablets could not be taken before."
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