Is Alienware Working On A Gaming Tablet?

On Thursday, during an Ask Me Anything session on Alienware Arena, General Manager Frank Azor hinted that the company may be working on a gaming handheld/tablet. More specifically, he said that there's a good chance the device is in development, but the company is not ready to announce anything at this time. We expect to hear more during E3 2015 this June.

"Nothing to announce about a new tablet yet but it's a space we are looking at and have been for a while now," he said.

As for the current Alienware Alpha "console," Azor said that the company is happy with the sales numbers thus far. He didn't provide any specifics but instead said that Alienware is satisfied with the response the company has received from Alpha owners. He also provided insight into the company's hardware refresh schedule, reporting that it could be once a year or every two years, max.

"We want to stay on top of major performance improvements, so when we see big leaps in gaming performance capabilities from our partners, we will introduce a new version of Alpha," he said.

Azor also hinted that Alienware will soon make an official announcement regarding the Steam Machine version of its Alpha console. Naturally, this will come bundled with Valve's Steam Controller that, according to previous reports, has "gone gold," meaning partners such as Alienware are likely gearing up for a big reveal at this year's Game Developers Conference in March.

"We are not planning on offering a Steam OS/Windows Dual-Boot solution at this time. However, nothing prevents customers from doing this on their own if they'd like," Azor said. "The challenge comes in delivering that experience with a gamepad solely and not requiring a keyboard and mouse."

In addition to the AMA session, Alienware has knocked $50 off the base price of the Alpha console, which now starts at $499. The base model includes a fourth-generation Intel Core i3 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU (with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory), Windows 8.1 and 4 GB of RAM. The company also offers three other meaty configurations costing $649.99, $749.99 and $849.99.

Will the Steam Machine initiative make a dent in the living room? Probably not when gamers can purchase something like the Assassin's Creed Xbox One bundle for $349.99. Steam Machines are meant to be open platforms, allowing customers to upgrade the components when needed. However, as Valve has already noticed with the Steam Controller, change can be rather difficult to accomplish.

Still, Azor indicated that Alienware has experienced a nice flow of revenue with the Alpha console, so perhaps living room gamers are indeed ready for something different. Hopefully, we'll see what change is all about at the Game Developers Conference in March.

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  • fuzzion
    Alienware is owned by Dell.

    Currently Dell already has their own high end tablets.

    So it would make sense to add a much more beefed up version of the tablet
    under the alienware branding.

  • jazzy663
    Wouldn't put it past them. But, it'll be like all Alienware products - overpriced, underpowered, and something everyone will ridicule you for owning.
  • loki1944
    I build my own computers nowadays, but I have to say that they make quality products, my old i7 960 Alienware deskstop is still kicking though my 2003 Alienware desktop just had the GPU go down. As far as laptops I've had good experiences with both Alienware and Dell for gaming laptops; had one Alienware survive hours of bouncing in the trunk of a HMMWV for hours in '06, my 2008 Dell XPS with dual 8800s is still runing strong (battery is kaput though) after spending 6 months in third world countries, and my little M11X still works like a charm after breathing in 9 months of A-Stan pollution. So I'm interested if Alienware does this tablet thing, because if it stands up like the rest of their stuff I've had then that will will be great.
  • Haravikk
    I actually like the Alpha; it's not completely next-gen as it may only just run some of the newest games, but for such a tiny machine it's actually pretty well specced for the entry level model (not sure I'd pay the extra for the next one up, when you can just slap another stick of RAM into the base model for $40 or so).

    I only hope it doesn't tank, as I think the Alpha is most exciting for what the next model will hold, as mobile processors (particular Nvidia ones) are coming ahead leaps and bounds. Either that or I'd be interested to see an AMD-based model, as a decent AMD APU (for the co-processor possibilities) plus a good Radeon chip could actually be a great combination if developers finally start to add HSA code (since the Xbox One and PS4 should both be capable of using it).

    My main gripe with the Alpha is that it seems like they could easily have made the GPU upgradeable as well; even if the boards were purely proprietary, it would prevent the Alpha being stuck on the 320m. Not that it's a bad chip, for the size and thermals it's actually pretty damned good, but there's no sense putting an i5 or i7 into an Alpha when the graphics are the most limiting part.
  • NightLight
    there is no such thing as a gaming tablet. Games are meant to play on PC. The end.
  • spartanmk2
    Owning an Alienware is like having a tricked out Kia Soul when you could be enjoying a Subaru WRX.
  • aetius453
    I'm with loki1944 on this one. Alienware makes a great product--even though it is overpriced (that I will admit). I bought a tower system in 2001 and it ran for 8 years without anything needing to be replaced. Sometimes--you do get what you pay for! I would be very interested in a tablet offering from them.
  • robisinho
    I don't think they are doing it. I think they are playing with the idea of an optional tablet interface to their console and desktop lines.
  • game junky
    Meh - I get that everyone is mobile these days but I think you can get by with a desktop at home and a tablet on the go without having to resort to a high-end tablet to game on. I am on the road for work fairly often and I get by with my Yoga 2 Pro for steam games like L4D or ios games on my phone without feeling like I am missing my gaming PC while in a hotel room. If I felt like I needed a better mobile gaming experience, I would be getting a PSP (not a PS4 owner so it's not about brand, it's just the best pocket gaming console out there).

    Am I alone on that front? Doubt it...but I am sure there is someone out there that is saying "OMFG - a gaming life is complete!" I thought those people would have picked up Razer's gaming tablet if there was really a market for those but what do I know
  • Never4Nothing
    Alienware Laptops kick ass. I've owned several Alienware Laptops and have never been disappointed. I'm still using the one I've purchased over 10 years ago. People will ridicule you for owning one? Never happened...Ever! If I'm going to be ridiculed, let it be for owning an Alienware laptop.