Over the past few months, I’ve been testing the M&A Companion Pad running Microsoft Windows 7.  Readers of this blog may recall my earlier review of the HP Compaq multitouch monitor with Windows 7 – also a thumbs down.   Unfortunately, this tablet is the best of both worlds – poor hardware and software.   The tablet itself is thick, heavy and suffers from poor battery life.  Windows 7, while a solid desktop and laptop operating system, isn’t optimized for tablets nor are most of its applications.  That said, Windows applications are starting to surface that are optimized for tablets like the excellent US Today application available from Intel’s AppUp Center.   Windows 8, which I previously blogged about, is positioned to challenge the iPad for dominance in the tablet market.  Top tier hardware manufacturers appear to be lining up to support Windows 8.   However, Windows 8 is not expected to ship until late 2012.

Earlier this week Boston Consulting Group published a survey that indicated that 42% of US users would prefer a Windows tablet – leading both Apple (27%) and Android (20%).  This confirms a similar study from Forrester and demonstrates the value of the Windows brand.  Only time will tell if Windows 8 can deliver on the promise without losing ground to its competitors.

Tablet specifications:
Processor: Intel Atom 1.66GHz
Resolution: 1366×768
Memory: 2GB
Hard Disk: 30GB
Camera: 1.3MP front facing
Output: Mini HDMI
Price: $699

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