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A Peek at Samsung’s Fresh Windows 8 Tablets

Note: This is a guest post written by Nancy Perkins

Samsung Galaxy Note

With all the revealed goodies at the Samsung Unpacked segment of the Berlin IFA electronics expo, there’s no doubt that the South Korean electronics giant stole the show.

While the main event was the unveiling of the Galaxy Note 2, the event also included some Windows Phone 8 handsets and Windows 8 slates as well. Let’s take a closer look at those Windows 8 tablets and see what the buzz is all about.

What’s in a Name?

samsung-ativ-smart-pc

The Win8 tablets are called Ativ Smart PCs, and they come in two varieties: One is the standard unit that is powered by an Intel Atom processor, while the Pro version gets a faster, fancier Core i5. These two come with a keyboard dock, so it becomes a laptop once strapped in. There’s also an Ativ Tab that runs Windows RT. For this article, let’s focus on the Smart PCs and treat them as tablets that simply have dockable keyboards.

We’re assuming “Ativ” stands for some of the big words thrown around during the IFA presentation, words such as “creative” and “innovative.” In essence, all devices strive to achieve this, and only time will tell if Samsung’s new creation will prove worthy of its promise.

A number of people will still be put off by the insistence of Microsoft that Windows 8 offers a full suite of apps, because that won’t be the case until the Windows ecosystem gets enough apps to rival the respective app stores of both Apple and Android. Right now, many apps still don’t have ports for Windows mobile devices—this includes certain productivity, multimedia, and VoIP phone service apps.

What’s in an OS?

Windows 8 RTM

While the design and specs on these Ativ Smart PCs are nice, the whole experience of using them will ultimately hinge upon the experience offered by the Windows 8 operating system. It can also be true that a big chunk of the excitement surrounding these tablet PCs has to do with the relative freshness and the big promise of Windows 8.

On an interesting note, the Sony VAIO Duo 11 hybrid tablet also revealed at the IFA expo packs the same OS, but the Samsung Ativ series seems so much closer to production than their Sony counterparts. Of course, Microsoft has its own Surface series of Tablet PCs running either Windows RT (the Win8 version specifically for ARM-equipped devices) or Win8 Pro (for the Intel-equipped Surface Pro version).

What makes Win8 on the Ativ tablets so interesting is seeing how it stacks up to the predominant Android tablet from Samsung—the Galaxy Tab line. Which will prove to be a better option for the market once the Win8-powered ones are available? Truth be told, though, it’s kind of nice just having a viable option apart from Android tablets to counter the boring and largely underwhelming iOS-toting iPads.

Windows 8 tablets are also ideal to watch movies online. There are many online streaming services out there. To pick the best why not have a quick look at Now TV vs LOVEFiLM for all the details.

Release dates and prices are all marked with TBA status. Right now, all we have are peeks into these fresh Windows 8 slates from Samsung. It’s going to be interesting once the full details on the specs and some previews of the device surface on the news wire, so make sure to keep an eye out for those. Still, it’s understandable if you feel some excitement about this device—it is one of the major players that could shake things up in the tablet segment. Apple and Google better watch out: the Ativ Smart PC is coming.

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