[Via I, Cringely]
An old friend has been telling me for months that the future of personal computing was coming with new Windows tablets using the Bay Trail system-on-chip architecture built with Intel Silvermont cores. Silvermont is the first major Atom revision in years and is designed to be much faster. Bay Trail would lead to $199 8-inch Windows tablets while also fixing the limitations of Intel’s previous Clover Trail. Well Bay Trail units are finally shipping but my techie friend is sorely disappointed with his.
The lure of this platform for Intel is great. Manufacturers could use the same chassis and chipsets for everything except gaming boxes and servers. Eight inch tablets, ChromeBooks, Ultrabooks, 10-inch tablets, and netbooks, all one chassis with up to four gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD. One size fits all for home, car, travel, and work.
That’s the dream, but here’s the reality, at least so far. While the first Bay Trail tablets have the important features of SD card, HDMI, USB, and GPS, most of these are hobbled in one way or another.
In the units shipping so far from Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba (my buddy has a Toshiba Encore), if you are charging you can’t use the single USB port for anything else. This means it can only be used as a workstation on battery power. It can only play a DVD movie from battery. This is dumb.
There are several things simply wrong with this. You cannot use the device if it is charging. So you can only do things with it on battery power? Wow. Just wow!
And if companies do something to route around this, they can lose their Windows certification.
Why make a product that works this way?