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Razer Project Fiona concept hints at power of portable Windows 8

Razer's Project Fiona concept gaming tablet, shown at CES 2012, suggests that Windows 8 is a serious player in portable gaming, and that Razer is serious about moving into manufacturing computers.

LAS VEGAS--That game onscreen in the picture below? It's Firefall, a full-fledged online first-person shooter for PC. Razer says Firefall, and other PC games, will run on its Project Fiona tablet in Windows 8.


The tablet is a concept. Razer says it's targeting a sub-$1,000 price tag when it brings the final version to market, planned for the end of this year.

Fiona looks to be the first true Windows 8 gaming tablet. For its specs, Razer intends to use a third-generation (aka Ivy Bridge) Intel Core i7 CPU, along with a solid-state drive (SSD). Razer reps here at CES 2012 were circumspect when I asked about the graphics chip in Fiona. CEO Min-Liang Tan said he wanted to highlight Ivy Bridge and Windows 8 gaming, although he at least acknowledged the possibility of a discrete graphics chip from AMD or Nvidia.

Now playing: Watch this: A First Look at the Project Fiona Tablet concept

Razer had few other specifics available for Fiona, understandable given that it's a concept. It has a 10.1-inch screen, with 1,280x800-pixel resolution. Tan said the device will have battery life akin to that of a laptop, not a tablet. It will also have force feedback and an accelerometer built into the game pad handles.

He also said that it will come with a touch screen, as well as an Android OS overlay. His goal for Fiona is to offer sufficient horsepower for true PC gaming, as well as tabletlike portability and ease of use. Tan would not confirm whether the game pad handles are removable.

If you've followed the genesis of Razer's Switchblade concept from CES 2011, you'll know it evolved into a more familiar design as it became the Blade laptop later in the year. That product, Razer says, is out in the wild with friends and family now, although it plans to begin taking orders this month.

Will Fiona evolve between now and launch? I expect that it will. I also expect that when the Blade finally becomes available for some hands-on time, we'll finally have an idea about how seriously we should consider Razer in this area, as it evolves from a maker of high-end mice and keyboards into a computer systems vendor.