Gateway's convertible notebook Tablet PC
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
You gotta feel sorry for Gateway. They were once invincible and super-cool with great computers and their funky Holstein-cow design cardboard shipping boxes. But after the dot-com bust things were never quite the same for Gateway. They tried retail stores, bought eMachines, began selling other electronics, but nothing worked and eventually Acer bought picked them up in 2007. Gateway sold its business computing operation to a company called MPC, but they went bankrupt. So now Gateway is still there, sort of, but their machines are only sold at some retailers and on some websites. Very sad.
As of early 2009, the quite pleasant C Series notebook convertible is still listed as available from Amazon, CompUSA and TigerDirect. The current Gateway C-Series consists the C-143 models, replacing the C-141 that had followed up on the CX200 Series introduced in October of 2005 and the company's initial M275 Tablet PC convertible.
That said, the C-143 comes in two models, the C-141X, starting at US$1,079, and the C-141XL, starting at US$1,299. The difference in processing power is not as large as it was with the predecessor C-141, with one model using the 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo T8300 and the other the 2.2MHz Core 2 Duo T7500. The machines are nicely equipped, with 3 or 4GB of RAM, 160 or 200GB 5400 or 7200rpm SATA drives and ample connectivity. Essentially, what happened between the C-141 and the C-143 is some slight reconfiguration and dropping the US$879 loss-leader 141X model in favor of the much quicker 143X.
Overall, the current C-Series hasn't changed much from its predecessor or even the prior generation CX200. It's still a 6+ pound notebook with a 14-inch wide-format display and 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. The XL model comes with Mobility Radeon X2300 256MB PCI Express Graphics, while the base model must do with standard Intel GMA X3100 circuitry. There's a multi-format, dual layer DVD writer, Vista Ultimate, Microsoft Works 9.0, and a 7-in1 media reader that can handle the Memory Stick, MemoryStick Pro, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, xD-Picture Card, Mini Secure Digital, and RS-Multimedia Card formats. There are three USB 2.0 ports, Firewire, Bluetooth, and 802.11a/b/g WiFi.
With Acer, which introduced the original Tablet PC Convertible in the Fall of 2002, now owning Gateway, it should be interesting to see where the Gateway Tablet PCs (or adaptible notebooks) are headed, if anywhere.