Razer to build Project Fiona PC gaming tablet

Razer has unveiled portable gaming concept systems at the last couple of Consumer Electronics Shows. Two years ago, it was a netbook-like device called the Switchblade. Last year, it was a PC-based tablet with dual analog sticks dubbed Project Fiona. The Switchblade was never put into production (although parts of it did show up in Razer’s larger Blade notebook), but Project Fiona has been given the green light.

A couple of Facebook posts by Razer CEO and Creative Director Min-Liang Tan reveal that Project Fiona will come to market with a little help from the community. Razer will be sharing “high-level concepts” and soliciting suggestions on some design decisions. The firm appears open to input on features, specifications, and pricing. The underlying operating system has been decided, though. Neowin confirmed with Tan that Project Fiona will run Windows 8.

Project Fiona isn’t the only gaming tablet to tackle the problem of imprecise touchscreen controls, of course. The Wikipad combines a Tegra 3-based 10″ tablet with a docking station that features dual analog sticks, a D-pad, triggers, and a handful of buttons. That system runs Android and will cost $500 when it becomes available at the end of the month. There’s a lot to like about the Wikipad, including its microSD slot, 8.6-mm thickness (without the controller dock), and the fact that it’s running the latest Jelly Bean version of Google’s OS. The asking price is a little steep for a 16GB device with a 1280×800 display resolution, though.

Envisioned as a PC gaming tablet from the beginning, Project Fiona should be considerably more powerful than the Wikipad. The concept we saw was running a Core i7 CPU, and it seems likely Razer will offer at least enough horsepower to play blockbuster games with decent graphical settings. If Razer wants my opinion, it should offer a display resolution of at least 1080p, plus a docking system that supports both dual analog sticks and a Transformer-style keyboard—not necessarily at the same time. If Razer goes through the trouble of creating a PC gaming tablet, it would be nice if FPS, RTS, and MMO players had the option of using a keyboard and mouse instead of gamepad controls.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Nail on the head with the docking station. As far as screen resolution goes… They may have chose this resolution because the tablet can’t really power anything better with any sort of eye candy. And we all know the first thing people do when they get in game is turn all the graphic options up and down notice what a terribly laggy slugfest it really is.

    • Decelerate
    • 7 years ago

    I think they should focus on their gaming laptop (namely that multi-touchpad that many reviewers are still complaining about), but if they have the ressources to risk on this project, then by all means. In my opinion the project will very likely fail, since the rest of the ecosystem isn’t built for it (a bit like Android and tablet apps). I want them to succeed, since I highly value innovative risk-taking and passion, but not to the point where I would bet actual money for it. And that alone is cause for concern.

    Best of luck to them, they’ll really need it.

    • puppetworx
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t even take people who game on a laptop seriously, but a tablet with console style controllers for serious gamers? Now that’s a niche market. If it was based around console games then maybe it would have a chance. With that hardware it must weigh in at what 1kg? So you have to hold that up in front of you and use console style controls against people sat relaxing at a desk using a keyboard and mouse? This thing is DOA.

    I appreciate the vision, but technically it really can’t compete with regular PC gaming.

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 7 years ago

    You guys are so negative. I think it’s a pretty cool idea. It solves two major problems with an otherwise great portable gaming platform: controls and performance.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      and that whole “there are no good games on the platform, not even ones that fit a touchscreen well such as an RTS or sim, except of course for Microtransaction laden trash that is 1% fun and 99% money grab” problem.

        • ALiLPinkMonster
        • 7 years ago

        This isn’t an ARM based Android tablet. The plan is for a PC meant to not only run Win8 but also to be capable of running modern PC games. So yeah, if they can fit a decent enough GPU into a tablet then it solves that problem as well.

    • Rageypoo
    • 7 years ago

    Wake me up when I can plug in an Xbox 360 controller to my tablet to play my games, or better yet wireless functionality.

      • Dissonance
      • 7 years ago

      Wake up! Nvidia built support for the Xbox 360 controller, among other gamepads, into its Tegra 3 driver. Works great, at least for the games that take advantage.

      [url<]https://techreport.com/review/22201/asus-eee-pad-transformer-prime-tablet/10[/url<]

        • ALiLPinkMonster
        • 7 years ago

        That too. I have a Tegra 2 device but the app I mentioned works perfectly for it.

      • ALiLPinkMonster
      • 7 years ago

      There’s this great little Android app called “USB/BT JoyCenter.” Check it out.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      Any windows 8 x86 tablet will do that.

    • squeeb
    • 7 years ago

    “Razer to lose lots of money on Project Fiona” sounds more accurate.

    • burntham77
    • 7 years ago

    A 10 inch tablet is already on the verge of being too big to be what I would call “casually portable.” This only hurts it in this regard. I’ve actually moved away from tablet gaming (my Xoom is now used mainly for reading), and picked up a DSi XL. Even being larger than a DS, it’s still very small (almost pocketable), and has a far better portable gaming experience than a tablet.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Everyone wants to sell tablets these days. They’d better hope it’s not gonna fade just as quickly as Netbooks.

      • tootercomputer
      • 7 years ago

      I suspect it will vary by hardware and needs. IMHO, I think the i5 version of the Surface will be very attractive to a large swatch of consumers because it will have the convenient size of a tablet but the power and features (USB3, keyboard) that other tablet platforms do not have. The history of the ipad, its incredible popularity, and the rise of tablets everywhere, is pretty good validation of the platform in terms of its size. So the i5 Surface with its power features (assuming Win 8 is not a disaster, which I doubt, especially on that platform) could bridge the gap between tablets and notebooks in a way that netbooks did not.

      All that said, MS has such a history of fumbling some things, so it could screw this up. But time will tell.

    • steelcity_ballin
    • 7 years ago

    this has “ready to fail” written all over it.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    i7 mobile? So i’m guessing it will be a ultrabook with the screen attached to the body instead of being connected with a hinge. That said in what niche of the market would this fall in? The tablet gaming market? If you ask my opinion, this product should fail, but seing how the ipad is getting so many sales i clearly don’t understand the market. Personally i won’t buy, will see how many do after this releases.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      If nothing else, you have to give Razer credit for trying. Even if it does fail miserably, they at least tried to create a good mobile platform for PC games. There are a lot of tablet/PC makers, but few who try things like this.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        [i<]True gamers[/i<] don't want [i<]anyone[/i<] to try and make a gaming tablet. Touchscreens are the root of so many evils, with minor infactions like glossy screens covered in fingerprints, right up to serious crimes against gaming such as shocking ergonomics, input lag and non-tactile feedback. Honestly - the only gaming devices I'm comfortable holding for more than an hour are a gamepad or a mouse.

          • ALiLPinkMonster
          • 7 years ago

          … which is why they are attaching the tablet to a gamepad and considering using an i7?

          Oh and [i<]true gamers[/i<] don't make arrogant generalizations about their fellow gamers. 🙂

          • squeeb
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]Touchscreens are the root of so many evils, with minor infactions like glossy screens covered in fingerprints, right up to serious crimes against gaming such as shocking ergonomics, input lag and non-tactile feedback.[/quote<] Couldn't agree more.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    This has all the makings of being put into everyone’s “Greatest Computing Failures of All Time” lists.

    • brucethemoose
    • 7 years ago

    My opinion?

    They should make 2 “tablets”:

    1: A dirt cheap, 720p wireless screen for your Xbox/PS3/laptop or whatever.

    2: A premium version of this with a cheap ARM chip and 1080p+ screen, which would serve as a thin client for a good desktop/laptop whatever, but still have a bit of functionality on its own.

    Seriously Razer, think outside the box. Literally, as in outside the freaking tablet.

    Let’s take the best case scenario, assume I’m a Razer fan with a blade laptop. Why would I buy an expensive tablet with vastly inferior hardware in a seemingly very uncomfortable form factor? What I WOULD buy is a cheap portable screen/controller for my laptop, so I could plop it down in the kitchen/office/backpack/whatever, and enjoy some light gaming/browsing on the tablet WITHOUT having to waste my money on a whole computer. If I’m gaming on the Blade, I could put that expensive, underutilized i7 in my blade to work, and to go online for some game help or facebook without alt-tabbing and stopping/glitching my game.

    Let’s take my situation: I got a good desktop, and an OK but cheap and bulky 15.6″ laptop. There’s no way I could afford that tablet. If I could, I would buy a hardware upgrade/ good laptop over it. But I might buy what is essentially a wireless screen so I could enjoy HD Skyrim from the comfort of my bed and room, or play some Assassin’s Creed running on the laptop in my backpack while I’m on the go.

    But shelling out $700+ (probably $1100+) for Core i7 branding/a lousy GPU in a form factor that’s both awkward to use, expensive to stuff hardware in, and horrendously embarrassing in public? No, just no.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I can see a picture of a cheap, no-name Taiwanese tablet that has lousy viewing angles, washed out contrast and a skinned version of Android that will (without any shadow of a doubt) be inferior to the stock UI and similarly tardy with respect to Android updates.

    They have then attached a bulky-looking case/cover for it that has what must be the single worst 4-button layout I’ve seen on any controller to date….

    Give me the ability to use a wireless playstation or 360 controller with a tablet and this product just lost its whole [i<]raison d'etre.[/i<]

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      I though Nvidia already supported external controller support (ie, xbox 360) with its Tegra 3 platform and that this was one of the features offered by most “Tegra Zone” games.

      While this product may not make a lot of sense at first look, with everyone gearing up to release PC tablets for Win 8, someone had to focus on a gaming version. The big question is what sort of mobile GPU they can squeeze into this thing (maybe even integrate a discrete GPU into the gaming control dock through Thunderbolt or something – but then it would likely have to be plugged in for gaming…) If they get the input controls right and figure out how to get a decent enough GPU on board, I don’t see how a ~ $1000 or more gaming tablet is much more of a misguided product than the $1000+ gaming laptops that have been around for years.

    • 5150
    • 7 years ago

    So, is April Fool’s early or late this year?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      It’s 2012…so late.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This