Greetings from Los Angeles! The TabletPCReview team is in LA-LA land to experience the glitz and glamour, not of Hollywood, but of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3.
E3 is the gaming event of the year, and sets the stage for the next 365 days and beyond in the gaming world. Consoles are launched, games are demoed, and marketing reps dole out company schwag by the ton.
So what’s TabletPCReview doing there, outside of stocking up on t-shirts and key chains? In the last year, tablets have become a major force in gaming. A recent survey conducted by Google AdMob found that gaming was a top tablet activity, with 84% respondents claiming they play games on their tablet. Also, GameStop president Tony Bartel has expressed interest in having his company, a videogame retail chain, actually build its own tablet, should the major OEMs not step up to the plate and make tablets even more gamer friendly.
“If we can work with our partners and the OEMs and they come up with a great tablet that is enabled with a great gaming experience and couple with a Bluetooth controller, then there’s no need to go out and develop our own,” Bartel told IT World. “But if we can’t find one that’s great for gaming, then we will create our own.”
Bartel said this before Google announced the Honeycomb 3.1 USB hosting feature, which enables any tablet running Honeycomb 3.1 to work with just about any USB-base gamepad, like the XBOX 360 and PS3 controllers. Obviously, Google was thinking about gamers when they flipped the switch on this particular Honeycomb feature.
Hardware in Focus
E3 is not just about games. It’s also about hardware and components. Nintendo is set to unveil its follow up to the massively successful Wii. Tentatively dubbed Project Café, rumors indicate it will have a tablet-like control pad. Tablet component makers NVIDIA and AMD will also be on hand, demoing their latest and greatest mobile processors.
NVIDIA turned heads recently with a video showcasing its upcoming Kal-El chip’s gaming prowess. This is the same quad-core ARM chip that is scheduled to arrive in tablets in late 2011, and promises big things for tablet gaming.
AMD also made news recently on the tablet front with its Z-Series x86 Fusion APU. As with NVIDIA, the same chips that power gaming consumer tablets with smooth HD playback and 3D graphics support will also be found in enterprise-class tablets built for productivity and security.
We have time booked with both NVIDIA and AMD, and you can bet we will make a straight shot towards Nintendo to check out that tablet controller once the E3 doors open on June 7. Be sure to check back throughout the week, and also take a look at the other sites in the TechnologyGuide family, including NotebookReview and DesktopReview. Both sites have boots on the ground just itching to demo the biggest games and best hardware.