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Google Preparing iPad Rival?

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the here's-hoping dept.

Google 397

dazedNconfuzed noted an update in the ongoing rumor train about the Google iPad Competitor. It would be based on Android (not ChromeOS) and supposedly Eric Schmidt was telling people about it at a party in LA recently. If any Googlers want to leak me s3cr3t information, I promise anonymity, though without an actual product, price or date it's tough to get really excited. But the iPad clearly has significant limitations that someone else can capitalize on.

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397 comments

first ?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818358)

first ??

Wow.. a brand new item (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818364)

Google is making an Archos 7.. or is it an Ipad?

Teh suXX0rs (-1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31818384)

iPhone/iPad is great because Apple owns every aspect of it.

An Android "gPad" would suck because Google would have to give up some control to an OEM. The alternative is that they produce the HW themselves, but we saw what happens when they do that (Nexus One).

Re:Teh wr0/\/g20Rz (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818464)

Google never made Android hardware. Both "Google" phones, the Nexus one and the G1 were designed and manufactured by HTC.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (2, Informative)

teh31337one (1590023) | about 4 years ago | (#31818476)

The alternative is that they produce the HW themselves, but we saw what happens when they do that (Nexus One).

But Nexus One is manufactured by HTC

Quite the opposite (3, Interesting)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 4 years ago | (#31818490)

Apple is selling a phone with outdated hardware (screen size and type, low screen resolution, bad camera etc), while Android vendors continuously improve the hardware - look at Samsung Galaxy S specs, for example. The same will hopefully be true for android MIDs

By the way, I own nexus one, and with the right firmware (latest cyanogenmod with UV kernel), it's a great phone.

Re:Quite the opposite (1, Insightful)

Foppel (23660) | about 4 years ago | (#31819004)

By the way, I own nexus one, and with the right firmware (latest cyanogenmod with UV kernel), it's a great phone.

And this sentence illustrates perfectly the biggest issue with the android platform.

Re:Quite the opposite (3, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 4 years ago | (#31819312)

By the way, I own nexus one, and with the right firmware (latest cyanogenmod with UV kernel), it's a great phone.

That, to a large extent, is the problem. It's a perfectly reasonable thing for you to say, don't get me wrong, but 9/10 of the population would look at you and say, "Firmware? Is that some kind of new exercise plan? What do kernels have to do with it? Is their a corn diet too?"

I exaggerate only very slightly. iPhone continues to dominate the consumer smartphone space because people buy an iPhone and use it. Every so often iTunes pops up and tells you there's an OS update. It downloads and installs in a few minutes automatically like every other sync. Yeah, the major releases are sometimes a bit messy, but mostly it all just does what people expect it to, automatically.

If you get an app from the App Store it just work on your phone. No need to worry about which version of the OS is on it, whether your carrier has installed their own UI mods, or whether your phone supports the features. Even if your phone has some obvious missing feature, like a location based app on a first gen iPhone, the app works with the existing feature set and simply provides what information it can.

I'm not saying that the iPhone paradigm is better or worse. Certainly there is something to be said for flexibility and portability. When it comes to computers and electronics though, most people seem to prefer predictable and intuitive to flexible and portable. Ideally people want both, but we both know how easy that is to accomplish.

Re:Quite the opposite (2, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | about 4 years ago | (#31819318)

Apple is selling a phone with outdated hardware (screen size and type, low screen resolution, bad camera etc), while Android vendors continuously improve the hardware - look at Samsung Galaxy S specs, for example.

Yet iPhone dominates Android in the market. Why do you suppose that is? It's because people don't care about spec sheets as much as you might think. They care about the only thing that truly matters, and that's the experiences having the device brings. No Android device can compete with the iPhone in that aspect, outside of a geek niche, regardless of specs.

And your specific list is fairly suspect:

1. Screen size: Some Android phones have larger screens. But this also means larger phones. It's a trade-off and not a simple matter of one is superior to the other.
2. Screen type: I assume you mean OLED, which is, presently, inferior to LCD is most respects. And just like #1, this is only on some phones.
3. Low screen resolution: Again, like #1 and #2, only some Android sets are higher resolution. Do you see a trend here? Do you see a problem? But anyway, most people really don't care. Sure, they'll prefer the higher resolution, but it's rarely going to be a deciding factor.
4. Bad camera: All cell phones have bad cameras. Megapixels are already almost meaningless on compact P&S cameras, and are more so on the minute CCDs on cell phones. And, surprise, surprise, not all Android phones have superior cameras.

In other words, pretty much nobody cares. It's the experience that matters, and the experience with an Android, any Android, is inferior to that of the iPhone, excepting the case where a person places higher value on some of Android's strengths, none of which you actually listed. The only inherent strength that Android has over iPhone is tinkerability. The fact that this resonates so well with many here on Slashdot is no surprise, and I'm glad such a phone exists for them, but to mistake niche appeal for something more than it is is a big mistake.

The same will hopefully be true for android MIDs

You are more correct than you realize.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (-1, Offtopic)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 4 years ago | (#31818508)

There was a country where people thought having total control over everything would be good. It was called the Soviet Union. It didn't last very long.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31818768)

It lasted 50 years, and turned a backwards agrarian society into a world superpower and put the first man in space.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#31818938)

It also butchered it's own people by the 10's of millions.

Russia also wasn't quite as backwards as you're trying to make it out to be.

Their big problem was being a corrupt inbred aristocracy rather than being primitive.

Also, Russia put their first man in space the same way the US did: captured German rocket scientists.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (1, Offtopic)

jason.sweet (1272826) | about 4 years ago | (#31818964)

The transformation from an agrarian society was already underway when the Soviet Union was formed. In fact, it was probably the political destabilization caused by that very transformation that allowed the Soviet Union to be formed. And 50 years as a country is not particularly impressive. That's a bit like bragging that your marriage lasted 6 months.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (3, Interesting)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about 4 years ago | (#31819074)

It lasted 50 years, and turned a backwards agrarian society into a world superpower and put the first man in space.

Pre Soviet Russia was not a backwards agrarian society, any more than other states were.

It was never a world super power, but it was a nuclear one, driven by fear after being driven by hate.

The soviets were so powerful, they signed a pact with Nazi Germany, and offered many congratulations to Hitler, each time he domino'd a single state, including france. And during this time it decided to get a bloody nose picking on Finland.

Afterwards, when the panzers rolled across these so called previous agrarian lands, the soviets screamed for a second front from people it had cast into the fires of history to be crushed while it stood by and watched (and in the case of Poland, decided to go join the fun.)

Despite all is supposed power, it spread a failed political doctrine far and wide, caused untold damage to the planet, and now 1 in 5 people have an AK47, and a higher percentage have failed and weak governments. It never got true amphibious power, and spent the whole cold war in agressive posture, yet never able to make a move, failing in the end because of its own weight, and inability to go on.

And this summary does not count the millions killed and enslaved and left in misery by this comparitive short period in human history.

Oh don't worry, You won't quit publishing garbage, because its what good socialist and communists do.

Re:Teh suXX0rs (1, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#31818770)

"When Hitler rose to power, a lot of people just stopped playing. And you know who those people were? The French. Are you French, Clyde?"

google ipad (4, Informative)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 4 years ago | (#31818388)

You can already buy it [ebay.com].

Re:google ipad (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#31818440)

Those are some pretty CG renderings, but a device with those specs and 3G would be receiving much more noise than, well... none.

It doesn't help that it claims to have a paltry 128MB of RAM and Android 1.6/

wrong spin (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | about 4 years ago | (#31818638)

a device with those specs and 3G would be receiving much more noise than, well... none

Well, clearly it's the wrong story. "Company releases new multi-touch tablet device with accelerometers and 3g capabilities." That thing fizzles at the gate.

"Apple releases magical and revolutionary device with mindblowing features. It will change the future of media and the planet, and it's glory will echo throughout eternity!" Send out the skin tight girl jeans, put on some popular music and a novel graphic overlay. Hey, you just made a billion dollars!

That's why you need marketing departments. They are depraved human beings, but someone has to polish the turds.

Re:wrong spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31819366)

Google device has gyroscopes, so it can stand unassisted on your beer belly (assuming you have one). This makes it a better couch surfing device.

Re:google ipad (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 4 years ago | (#31818664)

It's not just a rendering, there are several Chinese ipad knock-offs with Android. Their production has just started now, so the information is pretty scarce. However none of them mention 3g support, so this particular ebay listing might be bogus.

I agree that the specs are not great at all, at least 256MB is a must for android. Some other sites claim 256MB for the knock-off.

Re:google ipad (2, Informative)

Buelldozer (713671) | about 4 years ago | (#31818730)

I've put that on my watch list. I want to see if any of these actually get delivered. In theory it wouldn't be hard to for a Chinese manufacturer to build the hardware and port Android to it. Based on the ebay username (lifengsihai), and the fact that it's shipping out of Hong Kong, this looks like what is happening.

It should be noted that this device ships, supposedly, with Android 1.6. If that's true I wonder if it's possible to upgrade it to 2.1?

I also wonder about it's 3G support. I mean "built-in 3G HDSPA/UMTS/WCDMA modem" seems a touch unrealistic?

It's a neat looking package but I have deep concerns about it. I wouldn't order one without someone else taking the risk first.

Take a peek at what else this seller has on offer: http://shop.ebay.com/lifengsihai/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p4340 [ebay.com] There is some interesting stuff in there.

Apple, Google, Microsoft... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818424)

What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found. It's temping to declare that their relevance has hit a new low. Competition is good, regardless of which side you're on, but it's really, really nice to see Microsoft no longer be competitive in a market.

Re:Apple, Google, Microsoft... (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31818688)

What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found.

I don't know if "Microsoft maintains its 30-year tradition of not entering the consumer PC market" really counts as "newsworthy."

No Windows Mobile tablet (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31819406)

What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found.

I don't know if "Microsoft maintains its 30-year tradition of not entering the consumer PC market" really counts as "newsworthy."

I think it has more to do with the wholesale rebranding of Windows Mobile as an operating system for phones, not tablets or smartbooks [wikipedia.org]. Microsoft used to have an OS for smartbooks [wikipedia.org] but abandoned it.

Re:Apple, Google, Microsoft... (1)

dskzero (960168) | about 4 years ago | (#31818882)

Why would Microsoft release a Tablet PC?

Re:Apple, Google, Microsoft... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 4 years ago | (#31819006)

Why would Microsoft release a game console?
Why would Microsoft release a portable music device?

That said, I agree that, similar to what nomadic said above, "Microsoft continues to stay out of tablet hardware market" isn't exactly newsworthy.

Re:Apple, Google, Microsoft... (1)

dskzero (960168) | about 4 years ago | (#31819116)

That doesn't completely clarifies why would microsoft release a Tablet PC, given that the Zune was pointless and the Xbox 360 is simply a way to find some gain from a powerful industries, but it is a point, so I'll concede.

Re:Apple, Google, Microsoft... (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 4 years ago | (#31818922)

you're not looking hard enough. Apple and Google both license ActiveSync from Microsoft. Every iphone, ipod touch and ipad has a fully licensed ActiveSync client that you pay for even if you don't use Exchange email. all the iSecurity features Apple hypes are just ActiveSync features and MS code. iPhone OS 4 is going to support Exchange 2010.

Google licenses it as well, but so far only for Google Docs. if this iGoogle pad will have document transfer then it will be MS code and patents running it. a lot of people do buy Touchdown from the marketplace which is a fully licensed ActiveSync client

New Product Launch Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818428)

The name of the new product is called "iMenstrual".

Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (4, Interesting)

rjamestaylor (117847) | about 4 years ago | (#31818430)

Really hoping this rumor is true - not that I need to buy another "pad" device (yes, I stood in line for an iPad) - but I'd really like to see how the Closed vs. Open platform models play out. Best case: Apple revises its Closed stance in response to a thriving gPad ecosystem.

I really like my iProducts, but having been a proponent of open platforms for so long I am uneasy at the tight hold Apple holds over developers and users.

For example, why hasn't Apple approved the Opera Mini yet? I'd welcome a choice in browsers, personally.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (5, Interesting)

StreetStealth (980200) | about 4 years ago | (#31818530)

I don't think either will "win." They are two worlds with two different goals.

Apple's model will always compromise developer flexibility when user experience is at stake. Google's model will always compromise user experience when developer flexibility is at stake.

People will choose based on what is important to them.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (5, Interesting)

uprise78 (1256084) | about 4 years ago | (#31818692)

Totally agree. This is totally exemplified by dmesg0's comment above: "By the way, I own nexus one, and with the right firmware (latest cyanogenmod with UV kernel), it's a great phone." Do you really think that Apple would ever let it's users deal with something that nerdy? It's a totally different target audience. The iPhone/iPad is about simplifying things so much that the actual hardare gets out of your way. Android is more about tinkering and spec sheets and more nerdy goods. If you look at the iPad's spec sheet on the Apple webpage it doesn't even show the GPU or RAM! What nerd on earth would ever stand for buying a product with no RAM numbers given? Different strokes for different folks. It is 100% obvious that the iPad was not created for Slashdotters. It was created for Slashdotters parents, grandparents and sisters or anyone else who has come to a Slashdotter wondering why "the internet doesn't work".

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818876)

Different strokes for different folks. It is 100% obvious that the iPad was not created for Slashdotters.

The issue isn't so much that geeks weren't the target audience, but that they are specifically excluded. There's a big difference between marketing it to a user set, and locking out a user set (which is what they've done)... How else can you rationalize the inability to install apps from outside of the app store (even if it involved purchasing an "unlock" code from Apple)? There is so much that Apple could do to make the i(Pad|Pod|Phone) so much more geek friendly without sacrificing their #1 goal (user experience above all else) that not doing it is almost silly (and hence why a lot of Apple haters point to the draconian control measures). Yet they don't allow it. Perhaps part of the reason is controversy keeps them fresh in the mind (would we be having these conversations if Apple was as open as Google?)... Perhaps part of it is that they think that they can get away with it in the long run, so why not...

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31819066)

>How else can you rationalize the inability to install apps from outside of the app store
Because your friend who thinks he knows way more about technology than he actually does would come across a badly written howto in some bodybuilding forum he reads and would then proceed to screw up his phone. He'd then have a hard time following instructions from support on how to restore it to factory settings, and which point he'd be upset that he lost all his high scores in his games. He would then tell everyone about how the iPhone sucks.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31819182)

Well, if you can screw up the phone by installing an app, then that speaks loads about the operating system... And if you're going to say that, then perhaps the reason for their draconian control measures is that they know their OS sucks, but they can make it look nice by keeping a tight hold on it...

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

poopdeville (841677) | about 4 years ago | (#31819360)

Well, if you can screw up the phone by installing an app, then that speaks loads about the operating system...

Sorry, it doesn't. If I can convince you to run "sudo rm -rf /", it's hardly the operating system's fault everything got deleted.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818908)

Umm, Android phones are a great alternative to the iPhone even without a custom ROM. My mother uses one (a Telus branded Milestone) and loves it.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 4 years ago | (#31819266)

At face value, that's all true. But it also misses a very important part of the bigger picture. It's those "nerds", tweakers, and hackers that push the state of the art which we all end up enjoying. Sometimes there's really sudden, disruptive change. But often that disruption comes from a series of small hacks that stack up in ways central gatekeepers never foresee or approve of. And that means that even the stereotypical parents, grandparents, and sisters can benefit even if they don't even understand how the Internet works much less what custom firmware is.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 4 years ago | (#31819374)

The problem is that the "nerds", tweakers, and hackers usually push the state of the art for other "nerds", tweakers, and hackers. Very rarely have they done so so in a way that benefits "ordinary folks". Look at the state of Linux on the desktop. It's great for us, but despite what anybody says, it doesn't have the level of usability (different from eyecandy, looks, etc) that would prevent tech support calls to me from my mom. Therefore, we have two different markets with varying degrees of overlap. Nothing is wrong with that.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31819362)

Do you really think that Apple would ever let it's users deal with something that nerdy? It's a totally different target audience.

So Apple targets people who aren't really interested in doing anything that Apple doesn't allow. They're not interested in the people who bought the original Apple or Macintosh computers.

That's fine. They're a successful company that now makes a fortune from limiting peoples' options.

But do you understand that the Internet and personal computing were made by people who reject that approach? The people who made Apple a success in the first place are people who probably formatted the hard drive on their new Macs within at most a day or so. The first place we looked was extensions or control panel or settings. If people like that wanted somebody to hand us a sealed black box and be grateful that it just "works" (as long as "works" means "things that Apple thinks you should be doing").

We should be very careful of applauding a company for marginalizing creativity and exploration. The worst case is that the rest of the companies making technology will decide to emulate Apple's success. We're just enabling a future that's a lot less interesting.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (5, Funny)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31818708)

Apple's model will always compromise developer flexibility when user experience is at stake. Google's model will always compromise user experience when developer flexibility is at stake.

People will choose based on what is important to them.

That's the most succinct and accurate synopsis of these two companies I've ever seen. Give this man a cookie.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31819212)

Give this man a cookie.

So we can track the sites he visits and report any suspicious activity?

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818846)

Apple's model will always compromise developer flexibility when vendor lockin is at stake.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#31819002)

The problem isn't the almighty "user experience". The problem is that Apple will compromise developer flexibility on a whim.

An actual genuine engineering rationale would be one thing. However, the faithful are just searching for any excuse they can find. If some stupid restriction was a sound engineering tradeoff yesterday, then it was also that same thing when the product was first launched. Adding new restrictions is just acting in bad faith.

Apple built it's power and now is seeking to dispose of those that helped it gain that power.

There are some obvious comparisons here that would trigger Godwins Law.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

rdtreefrog (1092265) | about 4 years ago | (#31818644)

I am very much in your line of thinking. Sadly, I think Closed in this case has the upper hand because the Open world isn't doing enough to make it easy on users. Basic apps loaded on device, 1 touch button to access a host of other apps that install just as quckly, and have been verified to work on the device.. etc etc.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

thepike (1781582) | about 4 years ago | (#31818806)

And, even if the usability were the same, Apple has marketing that the open world usually lacks. I know that Android phones are getting marketed well (at least Droid on TV and Nexus One online) but they've got nothing on Apple commercials and hype. That'll hurt the open market.

Add to that the possibility of having multiple competing open devices (droid vs eris vs nexus one etc) while close has one, and the sales of any one open device will be lower than the one closed device, again making things look bad. And Apple has the jump here, and name recognition.

As much as I support the open movement and even this particular (vaporous) device, there are some issues.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#31819076)

> apps loaded on device, 1 touch button to access a host of other apps that
> install just as quckly, and have been verified to work on the device.

Sounds like a Unix package manager actually.

Not terribly revolutionary, magical, or original.

OTOH, at least one of those nasty chaotic Macs will allow me to install a
non broken web browser or an application that plays just about any video
file you can dredge up.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31819206)

Best case: Apple revises its Closed stance in response to a thriving gPad ecosystem.

I don't think that will ever happen.

For better or worse, Apple is married to closed systems. In fact, I'd make a significant bet that we'll be seeing future desktop and laptop products from Apple that are also locked into the app store. Apple has staked its future on the notion that people don't really want to do anything with their systems that's outside the realm of what Apple will allow.

Those of us that like to be able to really dig into the capabilities of our technology and make our equipment our own will just have to find a "pad" computer for the rest of us.

Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#31819398)

I think I agree with you. The main thing that bothers me about Apple's approach to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad is the restricted nature of the application distribution. It's bad enough that they force you to go through their App Store, but even worse when their approval process seems self-serving.

Even so, I could cut Apple some slack for wanting to exhibit some control over their platform in order to ensure a good experience; having the app store lets them filter out horrible applications and malware. Even though it would annoy me, I could understand Apple wanting a cut of applications' profits. What really annoys me is when they don't approve nice-looking applications from real developers. Why not approve Opera Mini? Why not approve Google Voice?

What's more, I think it's a bad idea for Apple to be doing this, for their own sake. I may be wrong about this, but it seems to me that if Apple wants these platforms to be successful, they should be encouraging developers to invest in coming up with innovative new applications. By refusing to approve applications that stray too close to Apple's turf, they're essentially sending the message, "Don't invest too much in building applications. No matter how good they are, we might block them for completely arbitrary reasons."

I'm Preparing For The (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818450)

Google BLEND [youtube.com].

Enjoy.

Yours In Petrograd,
Kilgore T.

Fantastic! (2, Interesting)

mikkelm (1000451) | about 4 years ago | (#31818496)

Apple revives a ten year old niche that no one really liked for reasons that are still entirely relevant, and now it is speculated that Google will compete with a Google-style "open" alternative. It was interesting when their battle was over smartphones, but when it is over shoveling out pointless generic consumer electronics, it is not.

Re:Fantastic! (3, Interesting)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31818660)

One could have said similar things about consumer smart phones before the iPhone was released. I don't think anyone would have predicted before the iPhone release that we'd have 50 million iPhones sold, plus tens of millions of other devices riding off of its popularity, many powered by Google's mobile OS. Four years ago, something like the iPhone would have been called "pointless consumer electronics" too, pointing out the failure of the PDA market. I see no reason why we couldn't see a repeat in the tablet market.

I have no doubt Google has at the very least explored a direct rival in the tablet space.

Re:Fantastic! (2, Interesting)

mikkelm (1000451) | about 4 years ago | (#31818800)

That's a preposterous assertion. Four years ago, just as six years ago, and ten years ago, the emphasis was on pushing more features and more technologies into phones. The iPhone was not a revolutionary device, it was an evolutionary one. No one would have called it a pointless consumer electronics device, and no one would have pointed to a market which failed in large part to a lack of features which are integral to the smart phone. Nor is it at all pertinent to suggest that people would point to a dead market to dismiss the applicability of similar features to a living market, when the issue at hand is that the tablet market itself /is/ the PDA market in your analogy, and not merely a thriving market absorbing the redeeming features of failed products.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 years ago | (#31818900)

Everyone's chasing Apple's formfactor and design concept. Just like how everyone's chased Palm's formfactor back in the 90's and early 00's.

That's a revolution. When you do something and everyone follows.

Re:Fantastic! (2, Insightful)

mikkelm (1000451) | about 4 years ago | (#31819126)

What kind of vague assertion is that? "Form factor" and "design concept"? The "form factor" is an obvious, logical concept that was carried over from.. PDAs and tablets! Apple didn't invent the concept of a touch input device. As for design concept, that's such a non-argument that I don't even know where to start.

It's an evolution. It's not a revolution.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

dskzero (960168) | about 4 years ago | (#31818932)

One could have said similar things about consumer smart phones before the iPhone was released.

The difference here is that 10 years ago smartphones weren't really there to start a competition.

Re:Fantastic! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31819160)

I don't think anyone would have predicted before the iPhone release that we'd have 50 million iPhones sold, plus tens of millions of other devices riding off of its popularity, many powered by Google's mobile OS.

I think you're right that iPhone's success wasn't widely predicted (obviously there will always be exceptions, where people said, "I knew this would be popular") but I really do think that nearly everyone foresaw that smart phones in general were going to be a big thing, with millions and millions of people waiting for the first one that wouldn't suck.

Four years ago, something like the iPhone would have been called "pointless consumer electronics" too, pointing out the failure of the PDA market. I see no reason why we couldn't see a repeat in the tablet market.

I just have to totally disagree with that. The failure of the PDA market was that the products were all fairly lame and just didn't measure up to people's expectations coming from desktop personal computers, but the demand for it and the cry of "when will somebody get this right?!" was always strong. People wanted good pocket-sized computers but there were never any good ones on the market until $PRODUCT. (I don't wanna fight over what that product is, but many passionately inter-flaming factions, agree that it's now on the market.)

It's the demand for "keyboardless but still too big to conveniently carry" that I think a lot of people are questioning; that is: if anyone ever makes a decent device and gives it a good software stack, even then, will it be useful? It's an awkward form factor, no matter how high-tech the guts or good the software. Gimme the tech from a thousand years from now, put it in an iPad form factor, and I think most people still won't want it, unless it's able to fold up or something. It's too big and too small at the same time. Lame.

Re:Fantastic! (4, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 4 years ago | (#31819042)

Apple revives a ten year old niche that no one really liked for reasons that are still entirely relevant, and now it is speculated that Google will compete with a Google-style "open" alternative. It was interesting when their battle was over smartphones, but when it is over shoveling out pointless generic consumer electronics, it is not.

Just because a 'niche' is old, it doesn't mean it is pointless. Sometimes old technology can be reshaped and innovated upon, providing a solution that finds a market today when it didn't in the past. There are reasons that technologies fail, including lack of maturity, market not being ready or lack of supporting technologies. The Wii Remote was laughed at for being a modern light pointer, now Microsoft and Sony are doing their best to emulate it. You can't simply right off technology as being old and thus irrelevant.

Microsoft didn't succeed with tablet PCs, partly because like Windows CE, they were trying to shoe-horn a desktop UI into something that would benefit from an adapted UI. To use the automobile analogy: you don't design a car by starting with boat that uses an outboard motor. Computers are the same.

how about Notion Ink's Adam Tablet (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818498)

Not from Google per se, but how about Notion Ink's Adam Tablet? Gizmodo had a piece about it ... http://gizmodo.com/5471559/notion-ink-adam-tablet-caught-on-video-specs-finalized

Biggest iPad Limitation: No HTML Editing (5, Interesting)

psydeshow (154300) | about 4 years ago | (#31818522)

I have an iPad. I liked it, until I tried to compose a blog post. Mobile Safari doesn't support content-editable fields.

Typing HTML code into textareas in order to compose blog posts and web pages is NOT fun. Google Docs doesn't work. and rich HTML in Gmail or other webmail services doesn't work. There are HTML editor apps, but that doesn't mean what I think it means, because they are all code editors not rich text editors.

The bottom line is that Apple supports rich text output in PDF and proprietary formats, but not HTML. Not even a little bit.

Everyone has their own priorities, of course, but until Mobile Safari supports tinyMCE and other rich text editors, I have to consider the iPad a toy. Then again, it's perfect for posting on Slashdot! (And it even supports unicode, so why should I complain?)

Re:Biggest iPad Limitation: No HTML Editing (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | about 4 years ago | (#31818830)

I have an iPad. I liked it, until I tried to compose a blog post. Mobile Safari doesn't support content-editable fields.

I'm not arguing with you, but could you clarify that statement a bit? I've made Slashdot posts using Mobile Safari on a demo iPad at an Apple Store so it is possible to use text entry fields, at least.

Re:Biggest iPad Limitation: No HTML Editing (4, Informative)

psydeshow (154300) | about 4 years ago | (#31818986)

Content-editable is the standard that allows rich text HTML editing. You get a textarea with support for WYSIWYG HTML composition. Slashdot doesn't use it, but most blogs do.

Safari has supported it for years, but Mobile Safari doesn't, because it wasn't really needed on the iPhone. The iPad, OTOH, is pitched as a composition device.

The lack of support is frustrating if you use Blogger or WordPress or any decent Content Management Systen.

Re:Biggest iPad Limitation: No HTML Editing (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | about 4 years ago | (#31819156)

Okay, thanks, I get what you mean now. Seems like a fairly large omission for the iPad.

Re:Biggest iPad Limitation: No HTML Editing (1)

rinoid (451982) | about 4 years ago | (#31819020)

Did you throw in the word "proprietary" just to sound cool? How does Apple support rich text output in proprietary text formats?

The on screen keyboard is not the best for long posts but I do quite well with bits like this, and even longer emails. In fact
I've gotten sort of quick at this on screen keyboard, only in landscape mode though.

Why don't Google docs work? Something short in mobile safari?

I did notice the particular type of editable field in Wordpress not being editable on my iPad but then just opened the nice Wordpress app and kept on trucking.

----

Here on this site I can't ad just the threshold of comments seen. The slider doesn't work for some reason.

Overall mobile safari is pretty damn impressive. MUCH more impressive than the web browser I built (not).

tinyMCE? Thanks! (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about 4 years ago | (#31819208)

I went out to Google "tinyMCE" because you mentioned it and I found a perfectly suitable Javascript widget that I have wanted for a long time. Thanks!

Terrible product names (1)

youngdev (1238812) | about 4 years ago | (#31818538)

NO MORE PADS!!!!!!!!

*Tab is a terrible name. For a company who is lauded for their marketing genius, every time I hear the name of their product, I think about menstruation. IPad is just a terrible name. iTab isn't terrible but really Steve, try a new letter or even a whole new word. Not everything in the product line has to start with "i". Google would do well to avoid this trap altogether.

Re:Terrible product names (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#31818604)

I'm sure if Apple could be bothered to climb down from their tower of money that they'd be happy to hear your ideas that should correct their obviously failed business practices.

Re:Terrible product names (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31818928)

Well an aesthetic criticism is not necessarily a criticism of a business model. There are plenty of stupid product names that have done well, but that doesn't mean the name isn't still stupid. World History Grand Champion in the Mind-numbingly Stupid Name Category, for example, is the Nintendo Wii--and that's done pretty successfully.

Re:Terrible product names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818796)

NO MORE PADS!!!!!!!!

*Tab is a terrible name. For a company who is lauded for their marketing genius, every time I hear the name of their product, I think about menstruation. IPad is just a terrible name. iTab isn't terrible but really Steve, try a new letter or even a whole new word. Not everything in the product line has to start with "i". Google would do well to avoid this trap altogether.

The phrase "slate" is often used with these types of personal computers.

iSlate would have translated to "is late", which would have made for some good jokes while were waiting for release dates.

IPad Competition (1)

painandgreed (692585) | about 4 years ago | (#31818616)

Did anybody really think they wouldn't? Seriously, who was not expecting everybody who made an iPhone imitator not to make an iPad imitator? MS has already revamped and trying to re-advertise their tablet offerings. Still, I don't think what they get is that what they need is really not a tablet with WinOS, but a touch screen slate with a better OS designed to do what the device is supposed to do. I expect Android to come out with a larger version of the Droid. Since Palm is up for sale, I guess they probably won't come up with something any time soon. Who I do see jumping into the competition will be Amazon and other book reader manufacturers who will try and capitalize on the iPad sales as well as from having them cannibalize their own sales.

Despite being a Mac fan, I think this if fine and good. I like Mac products because they put time and efforts into their designs, not simply because they have an Apple on the side. Let's see the competition. Let's see Flash on a Droid. Let's see open source app competition for other products. Let's see some fresh and new ideas incorporated into new products that others haven't tried before. Let's see everybody have to put some time and effort into their devices and raise the bar a little with every release. Apple may be my first choice, but it certainly isn't my final choice. If another product is better and suits my needs, I will switch.

I am _not_ planning an iPad killer (1)

sextoynazi (1717510) | about 4 years ago | (#31818620)

You might have assumed that already, but lack of experience in manufacturing electronics doesn't seem to be dissuading anyone else.

Well then (1)

dsavi (1540343) | about 4 years ago | (#31818628)

Let's hope they get the eye candy right, because for the first time I can say that that is the only reason that an Apple product looks better. There, I said it.

Sunlight readable VGA please! (0)

Shivetya (243324) | about 4 years ago | (#31818678)

Two reason I will not buy an iPad

The LCD is not sunlight readable, it is another fashion over function device

USB support, lack there of.

Actually the first is the real killer. I will not buy something that only works indoors or should I say, is usable only where the light isn't bright and the glare can be minimized. Sorry, having to change the devices orientation based on lighting sources while even INDOORS is usability bullshit.

Damn, why is it the majority of upcoming computing devices practically require you to be indoors? Basement dwellers rejoice, your new freedom empowering computing/etc device is optimized for work under the stairs.

My marine GPS is perfectly legible in direct sunlight, let alone rugged enough to get a bit wet. Hell I would be afraid to take an iPad outside, less it get wet or too hot, totally disregarding the fact I cannot read it unless I held it above my head to block the sun

Re:Sunlight readable VGA please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31818916)

Two reason I will not buy an iPad

You are making the erroneous assumption that anyone here or, especially, at Apple actually cares why you won't buy an iPad. The've already sold half a million of the things, you know.

Archos 7 inch internet tablet (3, Informative)

Sheik Yerbouti (96423) | about 4 years ago | (#31818690)

Archos has been making an Android based tablet for some time now well before the iPad came out. Of course Microsoft has been trying to sell various tablets for years since Pen Windows plus various WinCE devices, UMPCs, Windows XP tablets etc.. Universal reaction tablets are dumb and waste of money. Steve Job's throws on his magic turtleneck and tells everyone "This is a magical device. I am really proud of the team. I really think your going to love it." And people go stand in line to get a tablet. Umm so can we all just agree there is a certain group of people that will buy whatever Steve tells them they need and hype it for him endlessly? Sorry folks but you who behave this way represent an abnormality and are not really representative you are iPeople.

Re:Archos 7 inch internet tablet (4, Insightful)

NekSnappa (803141) | about 4 years ago | (#31819102)

Umm, no we can't.

You compare devices that keep trying to make a desktop OS on tablet HW work. A method which has previously failed several times. To a device that uses an OS from a popular cell phone that was designed from the ground up to be touch enabled.

While Android was designed for cell phone use. The interface was intentionally left wide open to make it usable on a wide range of HW. There's nothing wrong with that. I think it's great. Problem is that it allows different manufacturers to put their own UI on it which when combined with the variety of HW, makes it harder on developers to ensure that their software works as they intended on every device.

Usability will trump capability with consumers. No matter how "superior" the capabilities are. i.e. It's the interface stupid.

Re:Archos 7 inch internet tablet (5, Insightful)

rinoid (451982) | about 4 years ago | (#31819134)

This isn't about any of your anti ranting. It's not about you, me, or "people that will buy whatever Steve tells them they need and hype it for him endlessly?".

It's about a pretty good product people want. Not your dreams or anyone elses particularly. There is no need to attempt to brand purchasers of a _thing_ a fanboy, a hero, or a sheep. It just is and this convo is a waste of energy.

It's (the iPad) a great little device, it doesn't blow smoke up my ass and it doesn't do everything but damn it has been nice to have.

Re:Archos 7 inch internet tablet (1)

Caste11an (898046) | about 4 years ago | (#31819150)

Umm so can we all just agree there is a certain group of people that will buy whatever Steve tells them they need and hype it for him endlessly?

I think the word you're looking for is "consumers."

Re:Archos 7 inch internet tablet (3, Informative)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 4 years ago | (#31819174)

I have an Archos 5 tablet (which is much smaller than the 7) and I am completely happy with it. Though it is locked down, it wasn't hard to unlock and have access to the whole library of Android apps. It also has GPS, which means I can use it to give directions in my car, track bicycle trips, use while hiking, etc. My only complaint is that the screen is glossy and unreadable outdoors, but an anti-glare protector fixed that. Oh and it had wifi included, connects and charges via USB, and *gasp* has a microSD slot for more memory. Why did I want an iPad again?

Android tablets have been here for a while (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 4 years ago | (#31818696)

Did you miss CES when a dozen Android tablets were announced? Did you not notice the multiple android tablets that were released this month and last month?

How come when Apple does something people take notice. But when a hundred others go through more traditional channels such as trade shows people who think they are industry insiders don't have a clue?

Re:Android tablets have been here for a while (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 years ago | (#31818984)

Because those devices largely suck with no real thought put into optimising the experience of using what is essentially a giant PDA.

Re:Android tablets have been here for a while (2, Insightful)

Uksi (68751) | about 4 years ago | (#31819306)

Exactly! Slapping Android on a tablet is an easy answer and easy answers to hard problems never sold well.

Zekret knoliz (3, Insightful)

HoppQ (29469) | about 4 years ago | (#31818704)

I can tell you all there is to know. It will have 4 cameras, 2 on both side, for 3D video conferencing. Obviously the display is 3D as well. It will have a number of sniffers to detect chemicals. It has more than one so that you can easily detect who it was that farted in the elevator. A 3D holographic arrow will pop up to tell you! The sniffed data is used to automatically update your twitter and facebook accounts. It will have 4g, WiMax, WiFi, and Token Ring networking support. The touchscreen display can give tactile feedback, making an onscreen display feel like real. Obviously it has uses in internet porn as well.

Most importantly, the product is not only free, Google will pay you to use it. In return you will give Google the rights to all data the device collects or sends. In order to unlock the device though you have to brand the google logo on your buttocks.

Very questionable (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 4 years ago | (#31818740)

If any Googlers want to leak me s3cr3t information, I promise anonymity

Looks like a very questionable idea, would probably break NDA, for one thing

Sidenote (1)

standingfast (821758) | about 4 years ago | (#31818784)

It will be interesting to see if the iPad will remain in the middle of the entertainment vs. productivity market, or if it will be shifted more to the entertainment side of things by more business oriented devices.

Use this to promote Android (2, Insightful)

elewton (1743958) | about 4 years ago | (#31818874)

I believe that Google should spare no expense in SOLID build quality. Even if it's expensive, a high-resolution, magnesium-cased, tough, PADD-style device would make Android the platform with clearly the BEST tablet device. Put the best of everything into it; cameras, good speakers. Enough to mesmerize the tech journalists. Other, more reasonable, price-points would benefit from being in that market.

don't get it (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 4 years ago | (#31818940)

But the iPad clearly has significant limitations that someone else can capitalize on.

Yeah, less memory than a Nomad.

When was the last time that a /. opinion on anything counted for something? The track record of this community on what the greatest thing ever is and what will fail is not exactly stellar.

Re:don't get it (0, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#31819204)

The track record of this community on what the greatest thing ever is and what will fail is not exactly stellar.

Being great and not failing are two very different things. It's in your best interest to remember that.

Ideapad U1 (1)

muindaur (925372) | about 4 years ago | (#31819096)

The Lenovo Ideapad U1 Tablet slated for this summer is the first real rival I think.

It kicks the iPad's rear for the shear fact you get a Windows 7 notebook with a detachable tablet screen that performs the same function as the iPad with WiFi and 3G.

The tablet part will have an 8 hour battery life running Linux on the snapdragon processor I think.

I don't care if it looks like a copycat either because it's taking a good idea and expanding on it.

Full Disclosure:

I have a strong personal distaste for Apple products due to high price tag with less features.

"Mothership" pad / netbook (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 4 years ago | (#31819178)

I'd like to see a pad or netbook that's an explicit extension of a smartphone. You pop your Android / iPhone / etc. smartphone into the device. You're still using your smartphone but the "mothership" pad / netbook gives you a bigger touchscreen, more battery life, a real keyboard, webcam, better (if still not necessarily great) audio, etc. etc. No worries about syncing since the mothership has no RAM or SSDs (at least none intended for explicit use by the user.) Pop the smartphone out of it on the fly when you don't want to carry the mothership around. Basically a dumb terminal for your smartphone.

I'd rather have Nokia or Intel (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | about 4 years ago | (#31819218)

With MeeGo (the Moblin-Maemo offspring), surely we could have a tablet that was more open than the iPad and closer to a standard Linux to develop for than Android. You could have an OMAP or an Atom processor depending on your price / performance / power draw constraints. If Dalvik's VM etc ran on it you could even have Android applications. That'd be far more attractive to me, giving me access to more applications whilst still retaining advantages for development and openness.

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