Alienware May Wait on Producing Gaming Tablets
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 What was once top-of-the-line yesterday is obsolete tomorrow, yet today's tablet configurations aren't at an acceptable level to don the high-class Alienware branding.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."