In the midst of “tablet fever,” whatever happened to the Samsung Q1EX?

Sam_q1ex_1 Just to illustrate how quirky I can sometimes be, my current random thoughts consist of "I wonder whatever happened to the Samsung Q1EX?" and "Why am I even having random thoughts about a UMPC over a year old that is practically forgotten?" But seriously, with tablets being all the rage these days, whether they're juiced up with Android or crippled by Windows CE, why didn't the Q1EX ever gain a foothold, when similar devices like the Viliv X70 and Viliv S5 did?

I remember seeing the Q1EX posted on multiple sites, and even here last March by Jenn, without drawing so much as a yawn. I know the UMPC category has always struggled to find that balance between price, usability, and size that would keep it relevant, but looking at the Q1EX today, now that we know Windows 7 is a very competent OS for mobile devices, the specs still hold up well to some of its competitors.

Follow past the break for a quick look back at the Q1EX, and I'll let you be the judge.

First off, I won't gloss over the fact that at $750, the Samsung Q1EX is priced higher than it probably should have been, which has led to poor sales. In the meantime, Samsung has clearly shifted their attention to cheaper netbooks and eBook readers, but they had a temporary change of heart when they released the Mondi WiMAX tablet last summer, which itself has become somewhat of an abandoned device.

Anyways, here are the specs for the Q1EX-71G, as currently still listed for sale direct from Samsung:

  • VIA Nano ULV U2500 @ 1.2GHz
  • 7-inch resistive touchscreen (1024 x 600)
  • Windows XP Tablet
  • 2 GB DDR2 RAM
  • 60 GB HDD
  • VIA Chrome9 HC
  • 802.11b/g & Bluetooth v2.0
  • 4-cell Li-Ion battery (3.5 hours, 6-cell optional)
  • 8.96" W x 0.9" D x 4.92" H
  • 1.43 lbs.

The specs are still "right there," with the 1.2GHz variant of the Nano being just a bit slower than the ever-popular Atom N270 and about even with the Atom Z520 running at 1.33GHz, from what I can tell in my Google search. As for the video chipset, the Chrome9 HC seems to compete decently with the GMA500 that all Atom Z-series devices use, but it doesn't have the luxury of hardware acceleration in Flash 10.1 like the GMA500 now does. Initial reports said the Q1EX would offer integrated HSDPA and/or WiMAX, but apparently that never happened, at least in the US.

Sam_q1ex_3 One other thing that made the Q1EX interesting is the optional multi-use case, dock and keyboard accessory that wraps around the body of the computer for easy portability, plus provides Ethernet and VGA ports. With this, it would be simple to type comfortably for an extended period, instead of resorting to hunt-and-peck typing on the touchscreen. Also, an optional 6-cell battery is available that gives up to 6 hours of usage, and it's designed to work in the accessory case, even though it creates a bulge on the back of the Q1EX.

So there it is, the tablet that no one seems to own. Of course, there are probably a few owners out there, mainly in vertical markets, and hopefully they can chime in with their thoughts on the device. Because of all the attention being given to the iPad lately, especially by manufacturers using ARM processors, maybe Samsung will decide to hop back into the tablet game, because after all, everyone's doing it.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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