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CeBIT: MSI announces Android tablet

Win 7 and Android versions of WindPad

Just months after the late-2010 launch of its WindPad 100W Windows 7 tablet, MSI has announced plans to bring out a version of the WindPad that runs Google's Android operating system.

MSI also demonstrated a prototype of the WindPad 110W, a more conventional second-gen sucessor to the 100W, which also runs Windows 7.

Both of the new tablets on show here at CeBIT feature orientation-locking switches and small trackpad buttons on the righthand side, enabling users to control their tablet while still supporting its weight with both hands. An MSI product manager told us this addition had been made because users were finding tablets too tiring to use on the go.

WindPad 100A tablet

The WindPad 100A will run Google Android 3.0 'Honeycomb', although the engineer's prototype that PC Advisor got its hands on was still based on Android 2.2. The 'A' stands for Android, of course, just as the 'W' in 100W and 110W stands for Windows.

The WindPad 100A is based on an nVidia Tegra 2 processor and has a 10.1in capacitive touchscreen.

MSI WindPad 100A front

The WindPad 100A's new touchpad button is just visible on the right - it's the small darker square above the other controls

MSI WindPad 100A side

The white light gives away the location of the orientation-locking switch

WindPad 110W tablet

The WindPad 110W also has a 10.1in touchscreen, but is based on an AMD Brazos C50 chip (compared with the 100W's Intel Menlow Z530). It's also distinguished from its predecessor by the same orientation lock and touchpad button as the WindPad 100A.

Just as we had done with Asus this morning (Asus is also offering both Win 7 and Android tablets), we asked an MSI representative for the thinking behind its dual-OS tablet strategy. And we received the same answer: the firm is targeting two different market strands, and believes Win 7 is the suitable environment for a professional tablet. Android, on the other hand, holds more appeal for the consumer market.

MSI told us that the WindPad 100A and 110W are likely to hit the UK market around the middle of 2011, and estimated prices of 399 euros for the 100A and 499 euros for the 110W.

See also:

5 reasons you need a tablet

Apple iPad review

Stay tuned for all the latest product announcements from CeBIT, as PC Advisor reports from Hannover over the next three days.


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