Since its official launch last summer, we have been patiently waiting for the next move of Intel's promising Oaktrail platform, the successor to the long-serving Atom Z-series found in so many UMPCs over the past couple of years. And apart from the potential for a new generation of UMPC devices, we were eager to see if Oak Trail would make its way into the booming tablet market as well.
An OEM manufacturer by the name of Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has emerged to be one of the first companies with some answers to those questions by revealing a series of Oak Trail-powered tablets at the CeBIT expo taking place this week in Hanover, Germany. Out of a range that includes a larger 10-inch product, the device that interests us most is the more compact 7-inch model. Using an Intel Atom Z670 Lincroft processor, the tablet also features a WSVGA capacitive touch screen, 1GB DDR2 RAM, an inbuilt SSD of unspecified capacity, a 1.3MP webcam and 3MP rear camera, b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, optional 3.5G, and the standard array of G/ambient light sensors. With a large 3750mAh battery, the ECS tablet is capable of over 5 hours of use, while wrapping everything in a package that weighs only around 12.7 ounces. Although the device is designed to run Windows 7, it's also notable that MeeGo and Android 3.0 Honeycomb are listed as OS options.
Currently only being shown as a non-working mock-up at CeBIT and coming from an OEM manufacturer that designs and manufactures for other brands, it's so far uncertain when we could see this interesting Intel-powered tablet on store shelves and under what company/brand name. ECS claims the tablet should be ready for mass production by May, with the company currently in negotiations with potential partners in the US and Europe.
With a competitive mix of hardware and a broad range of potential OS options in the form of Windows 7, Android, and MeeGo, the 7-inch ECS tablet looks like a very interesting device in a crowded marketplace. Hopefully we can look forward to formal announcements to get the final product to market in the near future. In the meantime, have a look at Chippy's informative video below.[UMPC Portal 1 & 2]