EXCLUSIVE: Samsung to release ‘slate’ PC

A senior Samsung executive has confirmed that the company will release a ‘slate’ PC in the second half of this year.

While remaining coy on the platform the slate would use the director of Samsung Australia’s IT division Philip Newton told APC that PC-grade processing power and connectivity would be cornerstones of the device.

As previously reported Newton cites shortcomings in both those areas as critical issues for the iPad.

“The problems I see with the iPad are its processing power and (lack of) connectivity to a certain extent” Newton said during a panel discussion at the Samsung Forum in Singapore.

“I do feel that that slate-type platform has legs but I think the legs need to be far more powerful for example an Atom-based product which has far greater flexibility not to mention inputs and outputs. This has more potential than an iPad.”

This hints that it could run on Intel’s Atom processor and perhaps even the forthcoming ‘Moorestown’ platform rather than the ARM chip favoured by Apple’s iPad.

Emmanuele Silanesu national product and marketing manager for Samsung Australia’s IT division told APC that Samsung would release its slate “in the second half of the year”  and the device would have a clear focus on the consumer market – unlike its Q1 UMPC device (shown below) which was a posterchild for Microsoft’s failed UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) push in 2006.    

“The Q1 was a very niche product for a vertical market it wasn’t a consumer product” Silanesu explains. “It was limited (in functionality) the price was relatively high and it wasn’t an attractive device for consumers.”

Silanesu told APC that while he sees a role for both ARM-based and x86-based devices “the smartphone will become a secondary device like a smartphone now is and like the PDA was.”

“But there is the ability for a slate-based product to become a primary device in terms of its processing power and IO. That’s where I think we could get critical mass in having a product which could become your primary device – one you could take to university and do a PowerPoint presentation on it for example or a device that could be taken home or to the office and docked.”

Samsung’s pre-slate strategy includes using its family of ebook readers to pave the way for broad consumer acceptance of a slate. “The ebook is the beginning of a very long story which goes all the way into high-end slate-like products” Newton says.

David Flynn attended the Samsung Forum 2010 in Singapore as a guest of Samsung.