Gateway has been around for a long time and their entrance into the Tablet PC market was welcomed. Even though they chose not to use the Tablet PC term, they developed several different convertible models offered at relatively low prices. While other companies were starting Tablet PC prices above the $1500 range, Gateway introduced a Tablet PC around the $1,100 mark. The Gateway® C-141X is available for under $1,000.
The challenge for the early models was the digitizer on the convertible as well as the weight. As an owner of the early models, the digitizer pen was annoying to use and the experience was a turn-off. I constantly used the keyboard over the pen because of the lousy "ink" feel.
Gateway responded to the concerns of the early adopters and modified their models. Screen resolution, weight, and battery life remain issues for all Tableteers because we all continue to wish for more power, higher resolutions, and longer battery life. The last thing we want is for Gateway to stop offering the Tablet PC.
I am concerned Gateway is giving up on the Tablet PC. There are two indicators of concern.
A Change in Ownership
When Acer purchased Gateway, my heart sank. Acer was a big proponent of the Tablet PC but their interest waned as sales never took off for them. With Acer purchasing Gateway, we all knew it was a matter of time that the Acer culture would overtake the company we love.
A Change in Distribution
Friday's announcement is a grave concern, Gateway has now moved away from direct sales. The news brought a tear to my eyes. According to Mark Hill, “We believe that our retail and e-tail partners offer consumers the best, easiest and most effective way to purchase Gateway products.”
These retailers do not offer the Tablet PC - nor do they understand the value of the Tablet PC. Most likely, the Gateway Convertible will never make it to the retail channel and the product will be dropped because of poor sales. Game over.