Alienware May Wait on Producing Gaming Tablets

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 What was once top-of-the-line yesterday is obsolete tomorrow, yet today's tablet configurations aren't at an acceptable level to don the high-class Alienware branding.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

  • mcvf
    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.
  • arlandi
    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...
  • billybobser
    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.)
  • RealityClash
    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
  • stingstang
    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?
  • hardcore_gamer
    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 ?
  • synd
    Someone was faster to release a shitty and overpriced product - Razer.
  • GreaseMonkey_62
    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.
  • notsleep
    playing something like starcraft would be cool with a touch or kinect enabled tablet. :)
  • Nightsilver
    Lol. Gaming tablets. Lol.