PC tablets not yet ready for action -

X86 based netbooks are likely to suffer more than Apple's iPad when a spate of Windows based tablets appear over the next month or two.

And one of the drawbacks that PC tablets will have lies fairly and squarely with Windows 7's incapability to emulate the features the Apple iPad has, according to Inventec, a large original design manufacturer (ODM) that is rumoured to be manufacturing HP's Slate, according to Digitimes.

The problem is a perennial one in the PC industry - of course X86 based tablets have been around for years, but have few users other than a dedicated hardcore bunch. The PC industry always attempts to copy Apple when it has successful products but has repeatedly failed to capitalise on the design house's success.

Not that the iPad is without its drawback. According to US market research company Displaysearch, Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, will give all students a 13-inch Macbook laptop and an iPad.

But Displaysearch says that using the iPad as an academic aid has one big problem - and that is that there are very few textbooks available in digital format. A number of companies including Scrollmotion, Inkling, and Coursesmart are converting textbooks to iPad formats.

Displaysearch points out that TFT LCDs are more suitable for electronic textbooks than elecrophoretic displays like the Kindle. But: "The question remains whether students will embrace the electronic format, as students - at least the good ones - read for long periods of time, and reading even the best TFT LCD for a long period of time will cause more eyestrain than reading printed text."

And because the legion of PC vendors compete with each other furiously over price, performance and features, they're unable to come up with a unified approach that means the likelihood of textbooks on PC tablets is unlikely.