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Alienware May Wait on Producing Gaming Tablets

By - Source: Pocket-lint | B 24 comments

Alienware has considered a gaming tablet, but the technology just isn't at an accepted level yet.

Recently Pocket-lint spoke to Alienware product manager Eoin Leyden about producing a tablet developed specifically for playing PC games, perhaps following in the footsteps of Razer's Project Fiona which features bolted-on controllers on both sides of the device.

"We have discussed [tablets] a couple of times." Eoin said. "There are issues and limitations that make it difficult to see that would appeal to our core audience right now."

The biggest issue thus far, according to Leyden, is transferring the hard core gaming experience to a touch-based environment. Playing Angry Birds on a tablet device makes sense, but installing the likes of World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2 doesn't given they depend on numerous commands assigned to the keyboard. How would that multi-key setup translate to a touch-based environment?

"The issue is the input mechanism and how the game uses the input mechanisms and turns them into in-game actions," he said.

Instead of taking Razer's route and bolting on two controllers donning thumbsticks and buttons, Leyden believes a different approach needs to be made. One example includes installing eye tracking technology that would allow players to control their character simply by eye movement.

But to be honest, input shouldn't be an issue at this point for Alienware: just look at what Asus did with its Transformer tablets, adding two USB 2.0 ports and an additional battery to the dock. If the company wants to address the hard core PC gamer, this would seemingly be the way to go... at least in the input department.

That said, Alienware seems to be holding out on a gaming tablet simply based on the performance of current SoCs. Both smartphones and tablets are quickly evolving, mirroring a decade of rapid PC evolution that started with 3DFX cranking out the first GPU. As Pocket-lint points out, more cores, more RAM and bigger GPUs get dumped into the devices every year. What was once top-of-the-line yesterday is obsolete tomorrow, yet today's tablet configurations aren't at an acceptable level to don the high-class Alienware branding.

"From a performance point of view tablets are on an accelerated curve," he said. "They aren't quite there yet though."

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  • 4 Hide
    mcvf , February 8, 2012 6:52 AM
    Just about playing WoW on non-pro level - you can just touch all those icons on the bottom, which nobody really does in reality, but it is possible. An FPS game on the other hand, is no-go.
  • 2 Hide
    arlandi , February 8, 2012 7:09 AM
    that's good. it's best to wait for the technology to mature all the way to acceptable level than rushing with current tech. i don't want an Alienware Tablet you can only play Angry Bird on...
  • -3 Hide
    billybobser , February 8, 2012 7:40 AM
    question, how do I use both my hands if I'm holding the tablet.

    (having it on a stand pretty much makes it a laptop.)
  • Display all 24 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    RealityClash , February 8, 2012 7:46 AM
    Razer's tablet is cool and all but wouldn't it make more sense just to make the tablet a bit longer so there's a bit of room at each end for a joystick and several buttons on each end of the display (possibly even triggers underneath). That way it'd be much nicer to game on while still keeping the device thin and light (which is the whole point in a tablet) as well as making it much easier to do your usual web browsing etc
  • 2 Hide
    stingstang , February 8, 2012 9:48 AM
    I don't understand the reasoning here. A gaming tablet is just like a large handheld gaming console, but no one wants to buy a playstation vita? So, just because it's called a tablet, we're going to have everyone jumping for it, huh?
  • 1 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , February 8, 2012 9:51 AM
    billybobserquestion, how do I use both my hands if I'm holding the tablet.

    How do you use both your hands if you are holding a controller ?
  • 3 Hide
    synd , February 8, 2012 10:11 AM
    Someone was faster to release a shitty and overpriced product - Razer.
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , February 8, 2012 10:44 AM
    To turn a gaming tablet into something useful input wise, would just about make it a laptop. And they already sell laptops, Alienware is making total sense here.
  • -1 Hide
    notsleep , February 8, 2012 11:30 AM
    playing something like starcraft would be cool with a touch or kinect enabled tablet. :) 
  • 2 Hide
    Nightsilver , February 8, 2012 11:55 AM
    Lol. Gaming tablets. Lol.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 8, 2012 12:10 PM
    Bluetooth keyboards. DUH!!!
  • 1 Hide
    yanjustin98 , February 8, 2012 12:22 PM
    Well let's just say that I am quite happy they are waiting to introduce a gaming marketed tablet. First of all, it's probably going to be overpriced anyways, and I don't see the point of a "gaming" tablet. Might as well buy a laptop. If they make it gaming you might as well add USB ports, or a USB dongle which would be pretty funny. Let's just hope tablets don't come with 1394, eSATA, and DVI within the next year because then the gap between PC and tablet would be closing too rapidly. I'm probably leaping too far though -_-.
  • 2 Hide
    sporkimus , February 8, 2012 12:38 PM
    What they need to realize that is hard-core gamers will never embrace tablets as a substitute to an actual computer.
  • 0 Hide
    sublime2k , February 8, 2012 1:00 PM
    Gaming tablet, LOL.
  • 0 Hide
    BSMonitor , February 8, 2012 1:39 PM
    hardcore_gamerHow do you use both your hands if you are holding a controller ?

    The controller is formed around the hands. Size and cupping of the hands taken into consideration. A tablet has an entirely different form factor and size. None of which takes into consideration using both hands to input possibly synchronously.
  • 0 Hide
    Star72 , February 8, 2012 3:20 PM
    hardcore_gamerHow do you use both your hands if you are holding a controller ?

    Well the controller is connected (wired or wireless) to the screen & the console/pc & using the controller is what your hands are supposed to be doing in that situation. With a tablet you have to hold the tablet & try to use the controls on the screeen. It really doesn't sound like a good comparison on your part.
  • 0 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 8, 2012 5:09 PM
    my fujitsu T901 TABLET plays crysis just fine.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , February 8, 2012 5:58 PM
    Isn't the term 'gaming tablet' a little contradictory? Are there any decent tablet games? Its not for lack of processing power its just that devs haven't figured out how to make decent games using a touch interface.
  • 0 Hide
    alxianthelast , February 8, 2012 6:52 PM
    At this point they'd be better off considering cutting cords and developing BCI and eye tracking that works as fast as people can click. But we're so used to mouse that in most games we click where we're not even looking. It will be difficult/impossible to replace it on mobile devices that you have to hold.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 8, 2012 9:16 PM
    I would love to see a manufacturer try and cram an i5 processor and a mid-range discrete GPU in a tablet, with only passive cooling.
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