Windows 7 is a versatile and all around excellent operating system. It is not a great touch-based operating system though. Luckily a few companies such as Tegatech and Viewsonic have set out to make a Windows tablet for productivity that also runs a side of “Android” for when you just want a great touch experience.
This solution is certainly no Windows 8, but does it at least have temporary potential?
At least as a short-term fix, the idea of a tablet running Windows 7 and Android certainly sounds like at least a somewhat decent plan. On the flipside of things, Windows 7 is meant for an x86 processor and Android is meant for ARM. This makes you wonder how well they really can play together.
The first option up to bat is the Tagatech Tega 2 tablet computer. The Tega 2 features an Atom N455 1.66GHz processor, 1GB of Memory, and a SDD drive with options of 16,32, and 64GB. The unit also has a gorgeous 10.1-inch multi-touch display, and overall is fairly close to the size of an iPad. The Tega V2 dual-boots into the older Android version 1.6. Tegatech is also working to get version 2.1 to its hardware soon.
So how does Windows 7 work on the Tegatech V2? A lot like you would expect. Windows 7 just isn’t touch optimized and so hitting buttons, browsing, and working with touch alone isn’t a whole lot of fun. Generally if you are getting a Windows 7 tablet you plan on getting a stand and a wireless keyboard/mouse set for productivity uses.
On the Android front, the Tega V2 actually handles Android 1.6 fairly reasonably. There are a limit to the apps supported (no real app store) and it’s an older version but it still handles things like YouTube with relative ease.
Overall not a bad machine if you are dying for a Windows tablet that also has a touch experience, this might be as close as you will get until Windows 8. At the same time with a price tag of roughly $1000 for the base model, you could get a basic netbook and tablet for about the same price.
Next we have the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 and 10 Pro. The Viewsonic 10 came out earlier this year and features specifications that aren’t too different from Tega V2, including a 1.66GHz processor and 10.1-inch display. The interesting part is that the Viewpad 10 is now found for as cheap as $480 versus $1000 for the Tega V2. The Viewpad 10 also runs Android 2.2, which includes flash support.
The Android side of the boot-up runs fairly good, though again no official Market means you have to search a little harder for the apps you want and need. Overall, the tablet provides a passable Android experience.
On the Windows 7 side the machine is fairly solid, and at least as good of a performer as a netbook.
Add a stand, keyboard, and mouse and you’ll have a somewhat capable productivity machine, while having Android for the entertainment and consumption side of the tablet experience.
It’s also worth noting that very recently 10PRO has arrived on scene from Viewsonic. Essentially the system has very similar specifications to the original version except 2GB of RAM and a list price of about $699. The unique idea of the 10PRO, however is that you don’t boot into Android.
It virtualizes the Android experience so you can run both Windows/Android together without rebooting. This sounds like a really cool idea. Unfortunately the hardware in the 10PRO make for a lagging experience that is best left alone.
Overall, none of these tablets quite get it right. Windows 7 just isn’t a great touch experience and Android just isn’t as good on x86. Overall though, the $480 ViewPad 10 might be a great choice if you are looking for something that can install Windows 8 Developer Preview and still give you a little side of Android until 8 gets more apps.
For now, Microsoft just doesn’t offer the greatest touch experience. We can certainly expect that to change very soon thanks to Windows 8. What do you think about the idea of an Android/Windows hybrid? Is this a good idea? Share your thoughts and comments below!