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5 Reasons Tablets Suck, and You Won't Buy One

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the for-some-values-of-you dept.

GUI 553

Crazzaper writes "When the iPad was announced, a lot of people who didn't care about tablets came out to bash Apple's new device. These same people said 'I would have bought it if it had a full OS,' but in reality full OS tablets existed before the iPad rumors even started. This article gives an interesting perspective on why this happened, and argues that there's five big reasons why more powerful tablets exists but no one cares."

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Battery life (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#31552020)

The thing is, it's not about the widget. It's about the opportunities it enables, the possibilities it creates. A tablet that plays 10 hours of hi-def video and audio on one battery charge definitely has its niche. One that does so on a screen that you can actually use with Citrix or RDP over wireless or cellular wireless? Another niche. Ebooks too? You can use it to carry your reference materials? And you can keep up with your social media at the same time? What about navi? Will it find me the closest theatre that's playing the movie I want to see, even if I'm in a strange town, give me showtimes and navigate me to it?

Yeah, a full OS on a tablet platform isn't going to fly - until the tablet is powerful enough and the OS light enough to do enough niche things that it has broad utility. That would be right about... now.

Re:Battery life (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 4 years ago | (#31552152)

A tablet that plays 10 hours of hi-def video and audio on one battery charge definitely has its niche.

That would require quite a breakthrough, either in battery or processor tech.

But you're right, it is about the opportunities it enables and possibilities it can create. If my blackberry had a video projection system, or if I had shades with hi-def monitors in them it would be way better than any tablet for me. The OS is beautifully optimized for the hardware.

Re:Battery life (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#31552228)

That would require quite a breakthrough, either in battery or processor tech.

Apparently we have that. The new ARM processors when put with the new hardware decoders are capable of this, as we'll see. Apparently Apple was waiting for just this breakthrough to enable this platform and as soon as it was able, made it.

The HP one will run Vista apparently on Intel Atom. I don't have high hopes they'll deliver as much battery life, though the platform will be very interesting. I would still rather have an Android slate with Snapdragon, and probably put a real Linux on it. I hear there are at least 150 models of that coming our way here soon.

When it's time, it's time. It seems now it's time for this.

Let's just try to remember that all of these things aren't about the widget - they're about the needs and desires of people, and what they can do with it. That, to me, is what's so frustrating about the Apple tablet. They're putting their business needs in the way of people's full exploitation of the device's potential, or allowing their cellular partners to do so. We'll have none of that nonsense on the Android version, or on the HP slate once Windows is wiped off and replaced with a decent OS.

Re:Battery life (0, Offtopic)

dfghjk (711126) | about 4 years ago | (#31552516)

"Apparently we have that. The new ARM processors when put with the new hardware decoders are capable of this, as we'll see. Apparently Apple was waiting for just this breakthrough to enable this platform and as soon as it was able, made it."

Fanboyism never ends. Just because Apple said it doesn't mean it's so nor was there any "breakthrough" recently that Apple was waiting for. Apple has never claimed realistic battery life ratings.

Re:Battery life (1)

Vancorps (746090) | about 4 years ago | (#31552284)

That would require neither as HP sells extended life batteries giving you up to 16 hours of battery life. with HD video it should get you a good 10 hours. This is also an accessory for their tablet. I'm sure Lenovo and the others have such options too.

Re:Battery life (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31552486)

It's about the opportunities it enables

It's also about the price.

Apple has the right idea, having a tablet start at $500. Other companies should be able to make something similar for $350.

But really, when a company puts out a netbook in the form of a tablet, prices it like a netbook, then you'll see a lot of us come off the sidelines and buy. It's not that we have anything against tablets, it's just that it's not really worth an additional $500 for the privilege of not having a physical keyboard. Few people would use a tablet as their main system. But a lot of people would like to have one in addition to their main system. For that, the price point needs to be well under $500, and it needs to have a real OS, and no tie-ins to a single source for applications.

niches (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 4 years ago | (#31552028)

More powerful = lower battery life. Yes, tablets are niche devices, but if you think about it there are a LOT of niches a tablet with some flexibility and a good amount of battery life can fill. Book reader, obviously. Notepad replacement, somewhat. Inventory control, yup. It's all been a matter of expense, durability, communications and operating life.

Re:niches (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 4 years ago | (#31552160)

More powerful = lower battery life.

Not necessarily devices for instance tend to grow more powerful over time while also gaining increased battery life via various improvements. However more powerful in the context of say a single sector of a single release cycle and then yes you will see the trade offs in power for battery life.

Re:niches (5, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 4 years ago | (#31552180)

Jesse Schell, in his famous DICE talk, explained why the iPhone succeeded and the iPad will flop. Paraphrased:

Convergence doesn't happen. Technologies diverge, for the most part. The PVR diverged from the desktop computer which diverged from the game console. The only reason why the iPhone, a case of convergence, was so successful was what he called the "pocket exception" - things that go in your pocket converge with each other.

The Swiss Army knife is an example of convergence: it has scissors, tweezers, knives, files, screwdrivers, etc. It does nothing perfectly and everything adequately. The iPhone is like that. But if someone got you a "Swiss Army" kitchen utensil, with a spatula and a ladle and tongs and a couple knives in a single sheath, you would think it was the stupidest thing in the world. "And that's why everyone hates the iPad."

forgetting the reasons why it will succeed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552344)

1) Count on signed up developers to pre-order in hopes that they can cash in - after a few "Look at me I got Rich from an app" PR stunts
2) Induce sheep like mental state in average Apple fan via Jobsian induced reality distortion field
3) ????
4) Profit

If ploy fails - claim you are way ahead of the market.

Re:niches (4, Insightful)

LtGordon (1421725) | about 4 years ago | (#31552374)

Also, the iPhone had a huge advantage simply in that most people already owned phones, and so the iPhone was really just a cool upgrade from what they had, and can cost as little as $99 upfront. For the iPad to succeed, Apple will have to convince people that now they need to go out and buy a tablet computer for ~$500. At best, I see them dominating the eBook-reader and netbook markets, which are in themselves relatively small. Sales will never be on the same order of magnitude as the iPhone.

Re:niches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552392)

Are there any other things that converge in Jesse Schell's pocket?
(besides, I keep my Swiss Army knife in my backpack, not my pocket, which indicates that there is a 'backpack' convergence, does it not? ;-) )

Re:niches (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552396)

Convergence happens all the time. My home phone has an intercom and answering machine built in. By refrigerator has a built-in water dispenser. A typical TV is the convergence of a monitor, sound system, and receiver. Some even have built-in DVD players. How many all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier devices are on the market? I have a stereo with a CD turntable and tape deck built in (yes, I'm old but not old enough to have a record player on top of it). My desk has a filing cabinet built into it. How many microwave ovens have vents to help vent fumes from the range they are positioned above? In short, convergence happens when it makes sense.

Re:niches (4, Insightful)

tronbradia (961235) | about 4 years ago | (#31552402)

The only reason why the iPhone, a case of convergence, was so successful was what he called the "pocket exception" - things that go in your pocket converge with each other..."And that's why everyone hates the iPad."

Um, no.

The personal computer is a stereo, a TV, a typewriter, a calculator, and serves infinite other random functions. But I mean, who would want one of those? Oh sorry I guess you keep yours in your pocket.

Speakers and OTA (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31552538)

True, a PC can be all these things, but a jack of all trades is a master of none.

The personal computer is a stereo

Unlike even a $200 stereo, a PC isn't necessarily sold with decent speakers.

a TV

True, a PC is more skilled at video on demand. But what's the PC's counterpart to an over-the-air broadcast? Those are available even out in Bufftuck Nowhere where the only remotely high-speed Internet access option is satellite, which places severe limits on monthly viewing. Besides, most PC monitors aren't big enough for four people in a living room to sit comfortably around. If you want a big monitor for a PC, you have to buy (yes) a TV.

Re:niches (4, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 years ago | (#31552602)

Yet most people do not use PC to watch TV. And most people nowdays will just buy a console rather than build a gaming PC.

That's what grandparent was talking about.

Re:niches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552618)

The personal computer is a stereo, a TV, a typewriter, a calculator, and serves infinite other random functions. But I mean, who would want one of those? Oh sorry I guess you keep yours in your pocket.

The difference is that the PC does all that you stated more than adequately.

Re:niches (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 4 years ago | (#31552436)

The Swiss Army knife is an example of convergence: it has scissors, tweezers, knives, files, screwdrivers, etc. It does nothing perfectly and everything adequately. The iPhone is like that. But if someone got you a "Swiss Army" kitchen utensil, with a spatula and a ladle and tongs and a couple knives in a single sheath, you would think it was the stupidest thing in the world. "And that's why everyone hates the iPad."

The problem is, Mr. Schell is trying to apply rules but doesn't really understand them at the heart of the matter. It's not just things that fit in our pockets that we want to converge, but items we carry in our daily lives, when we have limited space. Cars and stereo systems don't fit in our pockets, but for some reason cars all have built in stereos. We could all just bring boom boxes with us in the car, but we don't because the benefit of having the stereo there all the time outweighs the duplication and the fact that car stereos are usually not as high of quality due to space and cost concerns.

Ask college students if they want all their textbooks to converge into a single device, if it can be done so without increasing cost or removing important features. Items like backpacks, luggage, sunglasses, clothing, personal transport, etc. are instances where convergence is desired by the general public. When was the last time you saw a student carrying a laptop case and a separate bag for their books? Those have pretty much converged at this point... but contrary to Mr. Schell's assertion you can't fit either in your pocket.

Now I don't plan on buying an iPad anytime soon, nor would I venture to guess how successful of a product it is going to be without trying one out. But this sort of overgeneralization as a method of prediction is weak tea.

Re:niches (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 4 years ago | (#31552520)

I’m sorry, but what does all that have to do with the iPhone in particular, rather than smartphones in general?
Maybe it looks like that for Americans, since your providers kept you in the dark ages.

I had smartphones that were nothing short of full computers back in 2003. Of course the sound was still mono, the memory was small, and it still lacked a touch screen. But it had video/audio, a browser, file manager, e-mail, Java, the ability to install what you like, a camera, Putty, games, bluetooth, a scientific calculator, a PIM suite, removable storage, copy/paste with a separate button (worked like shift on PCs).

The only novelty of the iPhone was a touch screen with a fitting UI, and... well... that’s about it.
And actually it wasn’t even a novelty at all, by Japanese standards. Rather a late contender.
Plus you bought this functionality for the price of lacking half the functionality and freedom of any other smartphone on the market.

The iPhone is just. another. phone. And a pretty mediocre one.
So get out of your delusion. You too Mr. Schell!

Not at all true (2, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 4 years ago | (#31552580)

First of all, who said that the iPad is a "convergence" device? It's not meant to replace desktops and laptops (in fact, it requires one!) it's meant to supplement them.

Secondly, broad generalizations rarely make accurate predictions. This argument makes no sense because it makes no real consideration of the merits and potential uses for the device. As long as it fills an unfilled niche, or works better than existing alternatives it will find success.

For example, I currently have a laptop, but is it not convenient enough for me to use it as such (It basically sits at home and waits for me to use it there). I do most of my computing on my iPhone. With the iPad, I will be able to access the internet anywhere, and produce documents on the go. So it may be a good fit for me, and I may be able to sell my macbook and buy a mac mini instead. Of course, I'm going to have to hold one in my hands and play with it for a while before I will be willing to shell out $$$ for one.

Re:niches (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 4 years ago | (#31552632)

TFA is mainly about the iPad, but TSA is talking about tablets in general - and so am I. I think the iPad is too heavily locked down to meet its full potential, and am waiting for sub-$200 Linux-based devices to take the fore.

Re:niches (1)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#31552372)

More powerful = lower battery life. Yes, tablets are niche devices, but if you think about it there are a LOT of niches a tablet with some flexibility and a good amount of battery life can fill. Book reader, obviously. Notepad replacement, somewhat. Inventory control, yup. It's all been a matter of expense, durability, communications and operating life.

The problem I see is that, in principle, these devices are produced by marketing processes the way much legislation is produced by our political process. By that I mean, it doesn't come from a genuine need or from overwhelming customer demand. It's a solution in search of a problem. They are producing these devices and then trying to find uses/markets for them instead of finding a use/market and producing a device to fit that need. To me this is backwards. Because this is being done in a backwards fashion, I am not remotely surprised that the technology is not taking off. To me, this is rather predictable and it would be a lot more strange if anything else happened.

The question now is whether Apple's marketing can create a perceived demand and let these devices catch on bandwagon-style. I don't like it one bit, but talented marketing is able to "convince people to buy products for needs they didn't even know they had." It's mindless and it relies on sheep-like behavior that would properly be replaced with intelligent assessment of needs and wants. In that sense, it highlights a difference between the consumer mindset and the customer mindset. But it does sell products and it does create trends. It'll be interesting to see what Apple does with this.

They Will Buy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552040)

It will sell, Steve's groupies have no choice but to buy it.

Wow (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 4 years ago | (#31552052)

That's a heck of a lot of Microsoft pushing for one little article.

That said, I agree fully. Tablets have always sucked, and the iPad is just another iteration of the same game. Maybe it'll bring some fresh ideas to usability, and maybe not. For the few folks who actually have a use for a tablet, it's an exciting time.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 4 years ago | (#31552280)

Totally agreed. That article had m$ written all over the place. I loved how he jumped to the conclusion "microsft has to do this" after each reason of why the tablets suck.

The article, in fewer words "The iPad sucks, just like every other tablet, and only microsoft can save us from tablet-sucking. Oh! They are about to release a tablet, how convenient."

More advertisement.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 4 years ago | (#31552600)

That's not what I got from it at all. What I read was "the iPad is the first potentially viable tablet computing device, and other computer makers need to get with the program so that Apple doesn't have a monopoly on the market".

Not really. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 4 years ago | (#31552076)

...full OS tablets existed before the iPad rumors even started.

But they weren't/aren't tablet OSs. They're desktop OSs with touchscreen "support" crowbarred in. The OS may talk to the hardware properly, but the interface for both the OS and the applications weren't adapted to it.

Re:Not really. (1)

bmo (77928) | about 4 years ago | (#31552084)

And to top it off, you paid a huge premium for a machine that's less powerful than a similarly sized notebook/laptop.

And you had to carry around a keyboard anyway, due to character recognition sucking hard.


Re:Not really. (1)

a1terego (912274) | about 4 years ago | (#31552342)

Actually character recognition is really good especially with the newer Windows 7 tablet interface. Besides it is/was not a choice between full-fledged performance and touchscreen capability. HP hybrid tx2000 series tablet pcs are regular fully-powered laptops that double as tablets. It makes sense when you need to read and annotate a lot of documents or take notes. There's also the fact the most laptop owners have access to a powerful desktop when they need to do heavy-duty creative/productive work. Having said that, the older tablets had terrible screens in terms of readability. I am looking forward to a tablet hybrid that uses Pixel Qi screens

Re:Not really. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 4 years ago | (#31552158)

...full OS tablets existed before the iPad rumors even started.

But they weren't/aren't tablet OSs. They're desktop OSs with touchscreen "support" crowbarred in. The OS may talk to the hardware properly, but the interface for both the OS and the applications weren't adapted to it.

Well, that summarizes points 2, 4, & 5 from the article.

Re:Not really. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 4 years ago | (#31552450)

Reading it, most of the article doesn't make much sense.

Everything comes comes down to point 4.
Points 1 and 2 aren't reasons at all, they're symptoms of 4.
I'm not sure what to make of point 3.

He could have made a case in #5 about a lack of programs that would be useful on tablets, but no. He went right back to applying #4 to current apps.

5 stupid rationalizations from iPad camp (3, Funny)

CxDoo (918501) | about 4 years ago | (#31552078)

Breaking news!

I own a tablet PC.
It kicks ass.
And runs Windows 7.
Which kicks ass too.

Now continue with the program.

Re:5 stupid rationalizations from iPad camp (1)

fidget42 (538823) | about 4 years ago | (#31552264)

What tablet do you own and what apps do you run?

Re:5 stupid rationalizations from iPad camp (1)

CxDoo (918501) | about 4 years ago | (#31552494)

I own Fujitsu Siemens ST5031D and regularly use the following apps

MS Reader
MS OneNote
MS Office
Battle for Wesnoth
ChessBase Fritz 11
VMWare Workstation
The Longest Journey (in virtual machine)
Various chess training software (in vm)
+ whatever I find interesting I know I *can* try out.

Basically, when home I will use desktop only if i need keyboard/screen size/cpu power/gpu power.

Tablet as a computer with a real, complete OS is a good thing. It works.
Bull like "there are no apps", "bad interface" and so on is just, well, bull.

Posted from a tablet PC (+ watching TV lying on a sofa).

Shit article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552090)

Apple fanboy knocks M$ and apologizes for the iPad. "It really is great, it's not Apple fault you don't understand the wonder of Jobs' vision."


His Reasons Why... (4, Informative)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | about 4 years ago | (#31552122)

1. Tablets Are Niche Devices
2. Full OSes Were Always There, Yet Those Who Complained That The iPad Doesn't Have One Still Never Bought One
3. High-End Hardware Specs Sometimes Don't Matter
4. Interface, Interface, Interface
5. Lack Of Tablet Apps

Re:His Reasons Why... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#31552454)

The full power tablets were $2000 machines. That sets up a whole different
set of expectations than a $500 machine. Previous tablets were marketed as
business machines to companies that could afford them. Now that prices have
come down on the relevant tech, they are being marketed to individuals by
everyone and not just Apple.

A $2000 tablet hybrid might make a great casual couch surfing device. However
you're never likely to find someone willing to pay that much for it.

The iPad created a lot of interest in competitors driven by disappointment.

Someone might even create a "hackintosh" with one of those competitors.

I disagree, tablets (slates) can be useful (1)

Xeoz (1648225) | about 4 years ago | (#31552124)

If you want a little computer that is extremely mobile and can follow you to the meeting table or the bed then a slate device is where it's at. The technology simply wasn't there before. Most of the old tablets only worked with a stylus, the ones that had touch screens only had single-touch and were very poor at detecting them. Now we have multi-touch capacitive and much smarter software and more powerful hardware. The iPad still sucks because it is an overgrown iPhone, a novelty that keeps you locked into the app store. Windows slates will be useful. And before the mac fanboys start flaming me over "But windowz isnt design for touch", Windows 7 works very well for touch. Also, since it can run any windows software there will be more software specifically designed to help touch screen users.

Personally, I will be getting a new generation slate PC, probably the HP Slate or the Hanvon BC10C.

Tablets suck (3, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#31552126)

    I agree with the article. Their reasons are pretty good.

    I've owned a couple of tablets (bought from friends who grew tired of them), and worked on a few more. Generally, they do suck. Like it or not, you'll get to a point where you need to type something out, and voila, you wish you had a laptop. Most of the tablets could switch to laptop mode, but who wants to keep flipping their computer around just to be able to type. Eventually, the stylus is stuck in it's holder, and you now have a very expensive, and usually slower, laptop.

    I'm working on a piece of embedded equipment right now, with a touch screen. The interface is absolutely perfect, as long as you're giving a selection of large buttons to push. We even have provisions in our interface for a full QWERTY keyboard for the portions that require that kind of input.

    800x600 on a 8" screen is cute, and wonderful for a 10-key (0-9), but those fun and games go away if I switch away from the specific application. We have a keyboard and mouse attached too. The touch screen is all fun and games, unless you want to do something serious.

    I tried out the PDA fad once upon a time too. You don't realize how much typing is required until you try to send a real email, or ssh to a server. No number of aliased commands made up it. Even from my crackberry, I may send a few paragraphs, since it has a qwerty keyboard, but writing something like this, I wait until I'm at a real computer.

Re:Tablets suck (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | about 4 years ago | (#31552408)

Win7 has an excellent virtual keyboard. On my 1280x800 8.9" tablet convertible, it can sit on the lower 3rd of the screen and I type quite quickly (no touch-typing tho) and a slightly larger device, coupled with multi-touch would most likely work even better.

Re:Tablets suck (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 4 years ago | (#31552566)

I've owned a couple of tablets (bought from friends who grew tired of them), and worked on a few more. Generally, they do suck. Like it or not, you'll get to a point where you need to type something out, and voila, you wish you had a laptop.

I have an HP TX2 -- a convertable tablet PC, built from stock HP laptop components with a little bit added on and priced to be "consumer" level. I bought the thing for about $800 a year ago, with 4 GB of ram. Hardly "expensive", and at the time there wasn't a laptop in the same price range that would correct its only fault, slightly underpowered graphics.

The tablet features of the OS are hardly lacking. There's essentially the same pop-up keyboard/stylus area that Windows 7 has, and it's the best model for touch input you could hope for. Write out word by word, and the computed text appears in a small box below each word; tap on that box, and you can either choose from other matches or just correct it letter-by-letter. You can also just do letter-by-letter input (each letter is its own box, which is altered after you draw the letter) or use the keyboard button. And on top of that, Vista's GUI widgets are more than large enough for a finger or a stylus -- You don't REALLY think that XP and Vista got big buttons just to copy apple do you?

And since it's convertable, if I do need to type out something and don't want to hand-write it, I can just open it up, type what I want, and then close it again. And if it wasn't converatble... well, you'd do the same thing that I did with my old Palm PDA's.

Use a #!@#%ing fold-able bluetooth keyboard.

well duh (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | about 4 years ago | (#31552128)

Windows is not and never has been a tablet OS. a Tablet isn't a desktop, you can't use the two in the same fashion. the pointers are different(fingers/stylus, vs a mouse pointer) You can't just graph touch inputs into a desktop GUI, and expect everything to work right. MSFT has made one decent touch based app, That is why tablets have thus failed. Everyone tries to treat them as notebooks with touch screens, not as tablets with their own gui designs.

Apple with their sometimes annoying closed systems, are breaking MSFT out of their bad habits. It took 3-4 years but MSFT fianlly realized that putting a desktop Interface on their phones was a bad idea that limited usability. With the Ipad maybe in 5 years MSFT will make a real windows tablet OS, that ditches a wide bar that eats up valuable real estate and come up with a new way to work with tablets. I would say linux might get their first, but Linux devs while innovative seem to have no luck in advertising to manufacturers.

typing this on my mac, with my Iphone nearby i will say i won't get an ipad, my purpose of a small tablet will be primarily for browsing and unfortunately that will require flash. though someone finally taking a stand against flash is refreshing.

Re:well duh (1)

jd142 (129673) | about 4 years ago | (#31552410)

You're right, a real tablet needs a different os and a different metaphor for interaction.

For example, most people are probably going to be single tasking on a tablet, but still want multiple tasks open at once. Surf the web, but have your im in the background to pop up when you get a message.

Get rid of the menu bars and task launchers that are always on teh scrieen and make use of the types of input you have available. For example, tapping with three fingers at once (just like hitting ctrl+alt+del) could bring up the launcher menu. Like hitting ctrl+esc or the windows key in windows.

There are already gestures, like finger down to page down or finger across to turn a page. Just make using two fingers swap between running tasks, like alt+tab. Or take advantage of the fact that most people will be holding the tablet with two hands and make use of tabs on opposite sides of the screen at the same time be a gesture.

I'm writing this on laptop with a swivel screen and when I put it in pad mode, these gestures are there. Problem is that because I bought the really cheap one, it is far too heavy to use as an actual tablet. It takes two hands to hold it comfortably.

I keep thinking that I want a tablet that will let me read, surf, watch video, read email, videochat, and do some basic typing(just turn it in landscape mode and bring up a translucent qwerty keyboard as big as a regular notebook keyboard). All seem to promise they can do that, but they aren't quite there yet.

Maybe its out there, but it isn't getting the press that the ipad has.

Re:well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552440)

my purpose of a small tablet will be primarily for browsing and unfortunately that will require flash. though someone finally taking a stand against flash is refreshing.

And thank God it didn't have to be you.

Re:well duh (1, Troll)

tclgeek (587784) | about 4 years ago | (#31552478)

linux devs innovative? Since when? Most linux apps I use are just copies of established apps. Very, very little innovation from my perspective.

Re:well duh (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 4 years ago | (#31552568)

What? Windows is THE tablet OS. Since its whole UI is designed to be used solely by the mouse. Hell even MS Word is mainly a button-pusher app, with a irrelevant text area. ;)

Try to use Windows with a mouse only. And then with the keyboard only.
Some things will be impossible with the keyboard only. While you can do everything with the mouse.

I know because I was forced to try it out.

P.S.: Yes, I’m exaggerating it a bit. ;)

I gave tablets serious consideration (2, Informative)

ffreeloader (1105115) | about 4 years ago | (#31552138)

I didn't get one though for one reason only: small monitors/screens. My eyesight is getting worse as I get older, and I really need a monitor larger than 12.1". I love the 17" monitor on my current laptop. It's easy to read and doesn't strain my eyes even at 1440x900.

If tablets were made with 16"+ monitors I would have bought a tablet rather than my current laptop. I really like the capabilities of a tablet, but until/unless they are made with larger monitors I'll never buy one.

Tablets are mostly-output devices (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 4 years ago | (#31552146)

There's a class of devices which are mostly-output. Game machines, e-readers, and smartphones without keyboards fall into this category. Their primary function is to display content created elsewhere. Input requirements are minimal.

Think of Apple's "iPad" as a big e-reader, with color and video, and it makes more sense.

Re:Tablets are mostly-output devices (1)

BoberFett (127537) | about 4 years ago | (#31552404)

It actually makes less sense. Why would I pay twice as much for this output device than I would pay for an iPhone? If it's not meant for input anyways, might as well get the cheaper, more portable version.

Re:Tablets are mostly-output devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552514)

Personally I'd like see tablets move into a thin-client direction. Instead of framing them as gimped laptops, make them out to be home/office appliances, that sit passively charged and function similar to those lcd picture frames/clocks when not in your hands. Have a built in camera/mic and you can do skype, or chat between several tablets networked together, with decent speakers you could do internet radio (like the chumby). I wonder how effective/cheap you could make them if all the IO and graphics are wrapped up in a wireless VNC connection.

Tablets suck and you won't buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552194)

Telling me what do you, are you?

If Bill says it, it must be true (4, Funny)

whereiswaldo (459052) | about 4 years ago | (#31552204)

"Within five years, I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America. It will come with a full 640 KB of RAM which should be enough for anybody. We will continue to out-innovate Apple. Then we're going to fscking kill Google."

Re:If Bill says it, it must be true (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#31552238)

I actually remember nearly ten years ago sitting about fifty feet away from Bill Gates while he was holding up his wonderful new tablet PC and telling us that it was going to be the future of computing; I wondered what kind of crack he was smoking at the time (well, we were in LA after all), and I still wonder today.

I can certainly see cases where a tablet would be far more useful than a laptop or netbook, but for general computing it's a non-starter.

Re:If Bill says it, it must be true (-1, Flamebait)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 4 years ago | (#31552310)

'Then we're going to fscking kill Google."'

'fsking'? Really? Are you a child, or speaking to children?

It's 'fucking'.

What you meant to say is, 'Then we're going to fucking kill Google."

Enough with the bullshit baby talk.

Re:If Bill says it, it must be true (1)

siride (974284) | about 4 years ago | (#31552510)

No, he meant he was going to kill Google by way of a file system check. On large ext3 volumes, those take forever. Might as well just kill yourself instead of waiting.

Re:If Bill says it, it must be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552578)

"Within five years, I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America. It will come with a full 640 KB of RAM which should be enough for anybody. We will continue to out-innovate Apple. Then we're going to fscking kill Google."

and, "OS/2 will be the platform for the 90's"

The article isn't talking about the iPad (4, Insightful)

oneTheory (1194569) | about 4 years ago | (#31552220)

I have no intention of getting an iPad, but all the reasons the article points out why tablets suck actually point to the possibility that the iPad might actually succeed.

Unlike the other tablets, the iPad is designed with an interface done correctly for a tablet. It's not trying to be a full OS because the interface wouldn't work correctly. It's going with the iPhone OS which is a touch-centric OS.

Author ignores the main reason tablets failed (4, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#31552224)

The biggest reason tablets have never succeeded more is because they've always been expensive. I've seen some tablets I'd love to own, but they're in the $2,000 - $2,500 range, which is way more than I'll spend on a tablet. Now that we're reaching the point where costs are low enough that they can make decently powered tablets in the $500-$700 range, which is where the typical laptop is (I said laptop, not netbook), I think that they'll sell a lot more.

Go throughout history and you see plenty of innovations that never catch on until a decade or so later when the prices drop significantly to where people don't view buying one as a major investment.

Re:Author ignores the main reason tablets failed (1)

BoberFett (127537) | about 4 years ago | (#31552412)

A full laptop can also do a lot more than the iPad. Pads need to get to the $200-300 range before we see widespread adoption. That's why I was excited for the Crunchpad until was stillbirthed.

Re:Author ignores the main reason tablets failed (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 4 years ago | (#31552492)

You're exactly right. Reason the tablet hasn't succeded is because of the cost. If they had tablets sitting next to tablets with same specs and price we'd all own tablets. Give it time, ultra portable laptops were very expensive at one time untilthey were rebranded as netbooks and the price dropped. People said laptops would never go anywhere either and now it's very common to replace your desktop with a laptop. We'll see how 2015 goes, if they can cram a quad CPU and 10 hr life in one for $500 I think they'll sell well. I love my pentium m equiped tablet.

My problem with iPad (4, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#31552252)

Is that it's not an open platform. It doesn't matter that much to me that it isn't the sake as a desktop OS X install, I am OK with that.

My issues are:

  • No multitasking in the iPhone OS. Even cell phone OSes can do that.
  • No way to easily develop complex applications for it
  • The platform is closed: executables have to be signed, can't share or download software from third parties.
  • Closed APIs that the platform developer users for their own tools, but doesn't let anyone else use
  • Apple has to approve every frigging application.
  • The folks at Apple are total dicks about what applications they accept/refuse.
  • The folks at Apple can deactivate or tamper apps you have already purchaed, and tamper with your device's settings/experience at any time they feel like it.
  • The folks at Apple make retroactive rejections for stupid reasons, for example deactivating Commodore emulator after it was already approved. Refusing Google Voice.
  • App approval process It's not a simple "Is this program safe?", or has the developer tested it for stability check. They demand apps meet a long list of criteria that are difficult to meet, AND ordinary people will want apps that inherently don't meet all their stringent criteria.

I have some advice for you! (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 4 years ago | (#31552388)

Don't buy an iPad!

There are rumors that limited third-party multi-tasking support is coming, but if Apple's level of dick-i-tude is over your threshold of acceptability, that's not likely to change in the near future.

I'm not saying I agree that they're dicks, nor that I disagree. I understand and respect that this metric is pretty subjective. If you had published an app that was accepted, for instance, and sold a million copies, I'm sure you'd feel somewhat different. But love them or hate them, there's not going to be a fundamental shift in their corporate "personality", so based on what you said, don't buy their shit.

Problem solved. Next?

Same can be said of the iPhone, but... (4, Insightful)

oneTheory (1194569) | about 4 years ago | (#31552456)

...unfortunately apple is one of the only companies that is willing to invest in creating new interfaces for new devices instead of slapping windows on there and expecting that it will be useful.

Hence the iPhone for 2 years was one of the only devices with an interface allowing the best use of the hardware. Tons of other phones had great hardware features but crappy interfaces that made the overall device cumbersome.

Re:My problem with iPad (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 4 years ago | (#31552472)

Is that it's not an open platform.

That's an important point to many of us here.

My issues are: No multitasking in the iPhone OS. Even cell phone OSes can do that.

...and you immediately drop yourself into the category of people who don't know what they're talking about.

Re:My problem with iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552642)

  • No way to easily develop complex applications for it

By the very nature of a complex application, wouldn't it not be easy to develop?

Or are you trying to call that managed, java-clone crap of .Net that Microsoft uses something that can easily create complex applications?

Last I checked, its quite easy to create complex applications in Objective-C, which is basically C with Smalltalk like message passing.

I'm glad there's no managed vm crap sitting on top of the OS, and that I can use virtually any standard C library I want.

Pfft (0, Offtopic)

oGMo (379) | about 4 years ago | (#31552258)

From the article:

Ever since tablets were usable, they've had full operating systems, primarily Windows.

Windows is a "full operating system" in the sense a cheapass laundry machine is a "full cleaning solution". It's a cobbled-together appliance with rusty parts you're lucky doesn't burn down your house.

The reason people don't want a tablet, especially the iPad, is because it doesn't do anything special. It's pretty much the same "throw existing apps on something without a keyboard and call it a tablet" that everyone else has tried. That's not how the iPod and iPhone were successful. It's not how smartphones became successful in general, or even how netbooks became successful. If you want to make a real tablet, you've got to have a focused, tablet-oriented system, and a pervasive tablet UI. Unfortunately, the one possibly valid point in the article starts to hint at this and then veers back into clueless land.

Re:Pfft (2, Funny)

siride (974284) | about 4 years ago | (#31552558)

1998 called: it wants its anti-Windows rant back. Now if you want to see a truly cobbled together desktop system, take a look at the Linux desktop stack.

I Have a Tablet, and It's Brilliant! (4, Informative)

meehawl (73285) | about 4 years ago | (#31552260)

Just got a Hp Tm2 [google.com]. Capacitive multitouch screen + Wacom pressure-sensitive digitiser screen + huge multitouch trackpad. I added a 3-button scrolling trackball for my own UI preference. 10 watt CULV dual-core CPU. Dual boot Ubuntu and Win7, with each virtualising the physical partition of the other on-demand, and virtual XP and OSx86 just for kicks. Yes, the basic screen UIs such as Gnome and Win7 File Explorer are less than optimal for finger manipulation. But there are so many replacement apps and shells that this is not really an issue. And the ability to avoid the mouse/trackball unless absolutely necessary and directly interact with the objects on screen is both amazing and liberating. I suspect that many of the people who diss on TabletPCs simply haven't really used one, or have not yet found a compelling reason to use one or haven't really looked very much. Personally, I use wanted a tablet for the immediacy of interacting directly on the screen, and the amazingly convenient comic book/ebook/media viewer it enables. I'm no stranger to mechanically disintermediated UIs -- was using a light pen in the early 1980s and a mouse since the Mac came out in the mid-80s -- but after a few years of a touchscreen phone/PDA I simply knew my next PC had to have touch. The irony is that with some deep discounting and some coupons, my TabletPC cost less than the higher-end iPad will cost, *and* it can easily run 1080p from both MKV/AVC and Flash with ease.

Re:I Have a Tablet, and It's Brilliant! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#31552582)

Gnome and Win7 File Explorer are less than optimal for finger manipulation

Enlightenment is very finger friendly.

Tablets in the real world (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#31552268)

A tablet or slate running OS X would suck (for most uses) as badly as a slate running Windows Tablet Edition does. That's why Apple refused to make one: Jobs doesn't like to repeat the colossal, obvious mistakes of others, because that'd make him look mortal. ;) Tablets do have some things they're good for – I have an "hpad" (HP TC1100 slate) that I run Photoshop on, and it's a great drawing tablet; I work for a nursing facility that makes some decent use of TabletPC Thinkpads – but it's true: they simply aren't very good as general-purpose laptop replacements.

Re:Tablets in the real world (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 4 years ago | (#31552528)

A tablet or slate running OS X

And yet for every iPhone / iPad devotee, you'll often hear "But it IS running a real OS, that's OS X there! That's why it's better than Symbian, WinMo, etc!" ... I'm confused... what exactly is the iPad running, then? :P

Enough with the speculative stories and discussion (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 4 years ago | (#31552270)

Okay, we get it. Windows tablets never took off the way Microsoft thought they would. The iPad is a failure, even though it hasn't been released yet and we have no idea how well or poorly it will sell. Anyone who is excited about the iPad is a Mac Fanboi. Everyone who trashes the iPad is a Windows Zealot. Your opinion is silly and unsupportable because it differs from mine.

There, I saved you some reading.

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552300)

tablet pc's already failed like 10 years ago... that's why they are trying to sell them as tables now...

I have Samsung Q1 UMPC (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | about 4 years ago | (#31552304)

Those "five reasons" are somewhat stupid. Let's see:

they're unable to do everything you can do on a laptop - sure, and the laptop is unable to do everything that you can do on a quantum computer. So what? The only requirement here is for the tablet to do what you need it to do.

They've shipped with stylus-pointing devices that were frankly not that easy to use - does this mean that a greasy finger that covers what you press is any better?

Because full desktop/laptop operating systems don't work on a tablet device - that's certainly news (or another, deeper level of cluelessness on part of the author.) As matter of fact, they work just fine.

All user-interface mechanics on a full-blown OS are designed to work with a mouse, not your finger/stylus - leaving dirty fingers alone, the stylus and the mouse are the same to the tablet.

This is why phones have interfaces designed specifically for usage on their screen sizes and device sizes - and what does this have to do with tablets?

Can you imagine pecking around with your finger on ultra-thin scroll bars and tiny buttons? - the author clearly has a finger mania.

Very few people have one, let alone know of or even care about the device - I have a tablet, and other people have theirs, because they have a specific need for a tablet. A tablet is not a solution to all world's ills, it is a niche product - but if you have a niche application then it fits nicely.

The point isn't to cram as much technology into a tablet as physically possible. It's far better to make the tablet really intuitive to use in a way that makes sense for that kind of form factor. - No, it's far more important to preserve compatibility with existing software. You can learn how to use a tablet in minutes, and you need to do it only once. However you can't write software that fast, and you need to do it every time you need a new application.

Tablet makers: please, don't try to pump insane hardware specs into your tablets and bloat up prices. - the author is obviously unaware that most of PC functions are nowadays built into the same chip that has the CPU and memory interface and Ethernet and USB... it will cost more to have less.

Then when you need to type, you have to put the stylus down and use your fingers or peck at the virtual keys with the thing - why do you need to "put the stylus down", I wonder? Besides, typing on any tablet, beyond a few words, is ill-advised. Typing requires a keyboard. However it is interesting that the author ignores existence of pretty good handwriting recognition systems for tablets. Perhaps because they require a stylus, and not fingers? :-)

The fact that most tablets run on Windows or another non-tablet friendly OS means that pretty much most applications are not going to be tablet and finger friendly - it means just the opposite. A Windows or Linux tablet has access to all the apps that exist for those platforms, and all of those apps run just fine when controlled with a stylus. Granted, you'd have to have a frag wish if you control a FPS game with a stylus or your finger. But a USB mouse is what, $10 these days?

Re:I have Samsung Q1 UMPC (2, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about 4 years ago | (#31552598)

The article is an example of starting out with an opinion and deriving all your arguments from it. The author has clearly bought into Apple's argument for tablet UI usability. All his arguments flow from that propaganda.

Long Tail... (4, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | about 4 years ago | (#31552352)

There's niches and there's niches. It would be possible to create a device that's useful for only one task, and if only a few million people in the world are interested in that task, then you've got a really limited market.

Tablet devices have long been billed as fully functional computes with a new form-factor, but in some ways, they've been the worst of both worlds. As others have pointed out, the form-factor is typically tacked onto the OS, rather than both being designed to work flawlessly together. And they've historically been underpowered systems which would never replace a desktop.

What's interesting about the iPad is that it answers a different question than other tablets have. Rather than asking, "what sort of device would computer users want to buy?", it seems to me that Apple has asked, "What sort of device would appeal to people who hate computers?"

That question leads to others, like, "What tasks do people want to do without having to boot up a computer?" Reading, watching movies, web browsing, playing games. Sure, there are more things you can do with an iPad--they wouldn't have migrated iWork to the platform if they didn't think some people would want to use it for work--but I think the main thing they've done is build something that is indeed a computer, but that a lot of people who don't like computers don't have to see as one.

Like Apple or not, they've done a great job with interface design on the iPhone, and the lessons learned there transfer well to the iPad. Will it succeed or fail? I don't know; it depends on your definition, I guess. I doubt iPad sales will ever quite catch up with the iPhone's, but of course, that's a pretty high bar to shoot for. They've set their target at 10 million this year. Again, like Apple or not, it's been a while since they fell short of sales estimates, even on completely new products.

In fact, they've made some big wins on products which everyone thought would fail. The original iPod was going to be just another MP3 player. They killed the iPod Mini, their most successful model, at its sales peak and replaced it with the Nano, a complete redesign, and got a huge sales bump. They made the screen-less shuffle, providing fewer features than the competitors that Jobs referred to as crap, and outselling those competitors by a mile. They released the iPhone for $599, no SDK, no MMS, no cut and paste, and all sorts of other things wrong with it according to the chatter on the Internet, and yet, here we are.

I'm sure there are going to be a lot of new tablets released in short order, some of which might be even better than Apple's in some ways or others. But I'm not sure it's time to bet against Apple in terms of long term success for the product.

Re:Long Tail... (1)

BoberFett (127537) | about 4 years ago | (#31552448)

Clearly the west isn't interested, so I'm just going to have to wait for some Chinese company to build a cheap, wireless web tablet. That's all I want. Nothing more, nothing less. If I want to do anything that actually requires a computer, I'll use a real computer.

Re:Long Tail... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 4 years ago | (#31552534)

How cheap is cheap, enough for you to buy it? What form factor do you want? Do you need 3G? Want multitouch? Flash support?

Strange logic actually supports iPad success (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31552354)

While the abstract tries to bash the iPad, the article leaves all avenues open for the iPad to be a success. For example, the article touts the failure of the stylus and lack of tablet apps, when the iPad doesn't use a stylus, has a finger-based UI, and will have over a hundred thousand (iPhone) apps available at launch, with many specialized just for the iPad.

Small differences add up (2, Insightful)

Zigurd (3528) | about 4 years ago | (#31552362)

Earlier tablet products were user interface disasters. Fiddly pen-based inputs. Bad handwriting recognition. Tiny, mouse-oriented buttons.

iPhone changed the set of expectations for a touch UI. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and other new-generation touch UIs will leave the old tablet UIs behind. iPad will pioneer a new generation of office productivity software specifically designed for touch interaction.

So, while there is no guarantee this is all enough to make tablets a success, it sure is not a rehash of previous failed products. Tablet prices are also low enough to encourage experimentation rather than to require a business case for a more expensive device.

Ergonomics (1)

davepermen (998198) | about 4 years ago | (#31552386)

they're not ergonomic. not for reading. not for writing. that is why they (hopefully) will fail. i have one right now to read/write stuff on. i can't lay it onto my legs on a chair to read nicely, like i could with a laptop. the angle is bad, i want to hold it to see directly onto it. but holding for more than some minutes is annoying. it weights (no matter if it's not much weight). writing on it sucks, too. gladly, i have a windows option, where i have the option to use the pen input instead of the multitouch keyboard (which i will hate on the ipad). and while you type with your hands, you can nearly not see on the screen anymore anyways, filling it wiht your hands. so when sitting, you want to write with one hand, hold it with the other. the keyboard doesn't fit your setup, then.. no, they really suck. i, too, have a convertible. next version will have slate mode, notebook mode, multitouch, pen input (capazitive) etc. it will allow me to use the best of normal laptop, tablet, pen, fingers etc. that will be awesome. normal tablets, no thanks. they completely fail at ergonomics. MASSIVELY. and when they do that, they should provide some good counterargument. phones do have that: you can take them always with you. doesn't matter then, that they're quite small, quite slow. the portability is a huge gain. what PLUS do tablets actually have? what do i GAIN from having one? i still wait for the one simple answer showing me a reason i should get one.. (i know some specific cases where i most likely will get one.. in the car, and for home-automation. maybe for djing, too.. other than that, no idea.. for the ordinary user, no idea)

Wrong... (2, Interesting)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 4 years ago | (#31552394)

Actually, I will buy not one, not two, but probably three or maybe even more. The iPad is exactly what I've been needing for 20 years. Great device specs and I'm sure Apple will live up to the hype. I'm also sure that the OS issue will be resolved in time. MacOSX will be on the iPad and Apps will run on the MacOSX (e.g., my laptop). Life just gets better.

I have a tablet, but no idea who else would use it (2, Interesting)

ilyag (572316) | about 4 years ago | (#31552406)

I use the tablet to take down mathematical lectures on it. It's very nice for lectures which use tons of math symbols and diagrams, especially because it doesn't clutter up my desk as much. I find it nicer to have tons of files that I almost never look at, than when I had tons of papers I almost never look at, then lost and couldn't find when I did need one.

However, I can't invent any other use for a tablet PC. If math lectures didn't have diagrams, I'd use Word or LaTeX. Typing is faster than writing on a tablet. Maybe art students have a use for it? Anybody know other uses?

Why not a slide out keyboard? (1)

Posting=!Working (197779) | about 4 years ago | (#31552444)

Why don't they follow the trend with phones and have a smaller slide out keyboard. It doesn't have to be a full one, just one like cell phones have, Qwerty only with an Alt key for numbers and special characters. If three rows of full size keys are too much, even a cell phone sized keyboard would help, I've kinda gotten used to typing with my thumbs now. It beats a touch screen keyboard.

Re:Why not a slide out keyboard? (2, Insightful)

tclgeek (587784) | about 4 years ago | (#31552488)

It would add cost. Probably suck a little power (it is, after all, more wires and whatnot). And you can only use it in one orientation. And it would be a very awkward size. Not quite full size, but too big to use thumbs. And it wouldn't fit with Apple's aesthetic.

Apple's tablet is different from other tablets. (3, Interesting)

master_p (608214) | about 4 years ago | (#31552532)

Apple's tablet is different from other tablets so far:

1. it does not have a user interface that follows the desktop metaphor, which is not appropriate for a tablet.
2. it has a multitouch interface, unlike other tablets.
3. it has quite a low price.
4. it boots way faster than other devices.
5. it is lighter than other devices.

For me, the only reason not considering an iPad is lack of Flash support and lack of openness. I think it's on the right path, and if these two are solved, I'll consider buying one.

Price (1)

ivoras (455934) | about 4 years ago | (#31552610)

People will buy anything if the price is right. Offhand I'd say iPad needs to be a tiny bit cheaper to succeed widely but the crowd who thinks iPhones are affordable will buy them up regardless and the rest of us will wait for less extravagant alternatives (the Android looks like a no-brainer possible future competitor, in cheaper hardware).

Tablets are not niche, they were just unaffordable and without a good UI - at least the second problem will be solved by porting apps made for mobile phone touch interfaces. Time will solve the first one.

Tablets are bad, TOUCH interface is GREAT (1)

mikenevans (1771944) | about 4 years ago | (#31552612)

I have to agree that "tablets," as most people are used to them do suck. I had one and it was just too cumbersome to use. However, touch screens as business machines have been HUGELY successful when the **interface** is good. Think of all the restaurants, from fast food to fine dining, hospitals, retails stores, dry cleaners, and the thousands of other places where touch interfaces are the only method of interacting with their computers. I've never been to a McDonald's and heard the cashier say "man, if only I had a real keyboard for this thing". It's not the "tablet;" it's the software that's always been the biggest problem because it was never designed to be interacted with through touch. Only time will tell if the iPad has made this transformation successfully, but since it's comes from an O/S designed from the beginning for touch, it's already way ahead of every other "tablet" device. And this isn't just for Apple: Google's Android on larger devices shows similar promise.

I'm going to buy an Ipad - and here is why: (3, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | about 4 years ago | (#31552616)

Let me start by saying that the only Apple device I own right now is an Ipod touch. I'm typing this on a Windows notebook and my big machine is a Windows desktop. I don't have any love for Apple or their policies - they do some things right and some things very, very wrong.

That said, there's some changes in "books" coming. We've had Kindle and Sony reader for a while and now others are jumping on the bandwagon. As limited as those devices are, they're selling in very large numbers. Kindle is Amazon's number one selling product - that says something, right? As the number of e-readers becomes larger and larger there's more incentive for the publishing houses to make their books available electronically. Between that and the large public domain book libraries available online there's a strong case for electronic books.

But sitting in a chair at a desktop computer to read books online is awkward - and trying to do it on a notebook is even worse. The Ipod touch is a little better but the screen is too darned small. We like to be able to hold the book and sit / slouch / lay wherever so a tablet-like e-reader is probably the best solution. Unfortunately, the attempts at tablet machines up to this point have been ill-conceived botches. Windows isn't made to be a tablet operating system - its touchscreen support is primitive and incomplete. This and the need of designers to add just one more feature has resulted in fragile yet heavy machines with short battery life - not worth their price.

Some say that the Ipad is limited - but if what I do is read email, browse the web and play an occasional game or two then it does 99.9% of what I need. Add in music and videos and that slick multi-touch interface and it meets my needs very well. Yes, I know - and when I need to do some serious typing, write some code, etc. I'll sit down at that Windows desktop and go to work. Apple did one more very nice thing - they made a case for the Ipad that opens like a book. This allows you to hold it like a book; same approximate size and weight, just like you're used to.

I've been watching this electronic book stuff for a while now - and I feel it's time for me to jump. I'll give away / donate my home library (thousands of dusty books) and replace them with an Ipad. Even if it did nothing else it'd be worth the price for just this one function.

Those are dumb criteria. Give me a good reader. (1)

Sarusa (104047) | about 4 years ago | (#31552644)

All these articles that say tablets are doomed because they're not laptops or desktops are completely missing the point. I don't want another laptop or desktop, I want a niche filled that nobody's filled yet.

I just want:
    - Good ebook and comic book reader. Which means something like Pixel Qi's transflective screen at 9.7 inches. Must be low power and color. eInk color could be good enough.
    - Open formats - having a kindle store would be fine as long as I could still read pdfs, epubs, and just directories full of jpgs/pngs loaded via usb or sd card.
    - Web browsing. Wifi is good enough, I can use my phone as an access point. But I wouldn't spit at 3g/4g/wimax.
    - Non crappy OS. Nothing designed for mouse and keyboard and just repurposed.
    - Note taking. Nothing complex, but I need to be able to scribble down notes. They don't need to be OCRed or complex.

That's about it. I don't need to run all my desktop apps. Give me that and I'll buy it. Kindle is not it. iPad is not it. MS's foldout tablet looks interesting but I have no confidence on their ability to deliver. Luckily there's a lot of other stuff in the pipeline.

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