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Hands-On Demo Shows Asus E-Reader Tablet In Action

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the daylight-readable dept.

Handhelds 108

MojoKid writes "Mobile computing is making its mark at Computex 2010, with tablet PCs and e-readers of all sorts coming out for the first time as rivals to Apple's iPad. After announcing its Eee Pad tablet PC, Asus offered some hands-on time with its new e-Reader/e-Writer, designed for students and mobile business professionals. The little slate's features include 10-hour battery life, 2,450 dpi resolution touch screen, pen writing and input controls, 2MP camera, USB port, and a MicroSD slot. In addition, Asus also has strong ties with Amazon, so it wouldn't be a reach to see some sort of partnership between Asus and Amazon with the Kindle bookstore as a content provider."

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color? (1, Insightful)

bodland (522967) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431442)

Not interested in gray scale.

Re:color? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431622)

Normally, the display is gray scale because an e-ink display is used which causes less of a draw on power and extends out the battery life to a week. I'm guessing that the 10-our battery life is a conservative estimate. Otherwise your standard eee-pc/iPad clone outperforms such a device because they're color, available now at 300$, and last up to 10 hours.

Re:color? (2, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431890)

Normally, the display is gray scale because an e-ink display is used which causes less of a draw on power and extends out the battery life to a week. I'm guessing that the 10-our battery life is a conservative estimate. Otherwise your standard eee-pc/iPad clone outperforms such a device because they're color, available now at 300$, and last up to 10 hours.

The specs make this look like a note taking / annotation device. That's something the kindle sucks at. Jobs won't allow a stylus near the iPad, so they're avoiding that market altogether. Netbooks are fine for typists as long as your notes are all text. As soon as diagrams are involved they suck too.

So really this is a $$$ replacement for a pad of lined paper. That said, if the applications are well put together, it might well have a market even if that market doesn't include you or me.

Re:color? (2, Interesting)

bodland (522967) | more than 3 years ago | (#32434342)

Without color this device simply will not attract the "note takers"..." who is the biggest market segment of "note takers" who adopt new devices quickly?

College students. Ever seen a young person react to monochrome display...?? "Yucky" pretty much sums it up.

I think it is important to realize that tablet devices are going move quickly beyond the static brick...flexible displays will allow a thin device that has all the characteristics and user experience of a magazine with moving pictures and internet access. Text books, magazines, video, personal apps, media...will all converge...onto one device. Even note taking...

Why would anyone make a device that dumps itself into a tiny niche market?? The real driving factor that people seem to miss is content. What kind of content does a person want monochrome displays for? Mass Media market content is in color. Digital content cannot be free any longer and the publisher's are all lining up to make sure of it. Mark these words:

Publisher's are working very hard to reduce the largest expense they have....an expense that drives advertising costs sky high. Printing and paper. Drastically reduce those two things and make money distributing content to mobile multi-function devices...is where publisher's are all going.

Excuse me?! (4, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32434904)

I am one of the "note takers," essentially a professional one. I don't use color. I don't WANT color. Color destroys readability.

Right now I use a LiveScribe Pulse pen.

1) No immediate feedback.
2) Clumsy applications.
3) Limited memory.
4) Must be synchronized to a PC.
5) No close handwriting recognition integration.
6) VERY limited user interface.

I would LOVE to be using a tablet of some kind so that I can actually see what I'm doing. So why am I using an ink-based pen? Because there is NO alternative for taking many hours worth of handwritten notes on battery power with very low weight right now. Back in the day there was the Newton 2x00 and it was, so far as I'm concerned, the Greatest Device Ever Created for my purposes and I would still be using it (I have three, two were backups) if not for the fact that the NCU (sync software) wasn't updated beyond Windows 95 / Mac OS 8 compatibility, so synchronizing is now impossible.

For a good 10 years I've been crossing my fingers hoping against hope that someone would come up with a Newton-like replacement: similar form factor, similar display, similar high-resolution stylus-based digitizer, etc. This looks damned close in terms of size and input method.

Re:Excuse me?! (2, Informative)

UBfusion (1303959) | more than 3 years ago | (#32436202)

Have you ever tried to sync the Newton in a Win95 Virtual Machine? I use VMs a lot for old hardware (cameras, scanners, phones, music players) and in 90% of the cases it works.

Re:Excuse me?! (1)

df770 (998444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32439224)

How big was this Newton 2x00? I use the nokia tablets as "electronic paper" with xournal, an opensource app availabe for all linux distros. There is no handwriting recognition, but it allows me to make quick handwritten notes, text marking, and you can annotate pdfs with it. All it requires is a good touchscreen. I have tried xournal on the smartq's but their touchscreen controllers can't handle the handwriting well. The nokias can, though. Basically you might look for any tablet like device that somehow supports xournal.

Re:color? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32432162)

I'm guessing that the 10-our battery life is a conservative estimate

Are you basing that on the long history of a diverse group of electronics manufacturers conservatively estimating battery life?

Re:color? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432512)

That guess was based on the assumption they were using an e-ink screen, but using a much higher refresh rate to get gray-scale videos and smooth writing with the stylus. As someone else has already posted, it's probably not e-ink but probably LCD as someone else has mentioned.

Re:color? (2, Informative)

Drathus (152223) | more than 3 years ago | (#32434766)

He says in the video it's a TFT-LCD. Just grayscale and not backlit. Hence the 10 hour life.

Not eInk. No interest from me in using it as a reader, or much of anything else I guess.

Re:color? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32431662)

But at least it's not made by Apple!

Re:color? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432710)

I am. Colour does not really add any functionnality, I'm more than willig to trade color for resolution and battery life. I'm wooried about responsiveness though.

Re:color? (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433854)

I just bought a cheap greyscale duplexing laser printer (Samsung ML-2851ND), so I know what you mean.

However, I was pretty happy when Palm PDAs went from greyscale to color apps... as far as conveying information goes, it does add a lot of practical uses.

Maybe to put it this way... if I could buy a big cheap greyscale LCD for my computer just to read news, I think I would still primarily use the smaller color screen.

Re:color? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32443308)

I just bought a cheap greyscale duplexing laser printer (Samsung ML-2851ND), so I know what you mean.

Really? Where do you get grey toner? Pretty sure you bought a black and white laser printer.

Maybe to put it this way... if I could buy a big cheap greyscale LCD for my computer just to read news, I think I would still primarily use the smaller color screen.

You and almost everyone else. Big mono displays have been cheaper since the VGA days or so. My mom used to use a Mac IIci with a two-page mono display on 8*24 (non-GC) for graphic arts (An $8,000 system with 4MB RAM and 80MB disk!) because she needed real estate and displaying color is not that important in your average basic four-color (or less!) job. But everyone else got 13" and 14" VGA monitors when you could get a 20" greyscale for the same price, because color is important.

Great Names (-1, Offtopic)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431490)

I just can't decide between the Pee Pad and the Anus Reader, they both sound so... biological.

Clarification: (4, Informative)

ThoughtMonster (1602047) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431502)

The screen does *not* have a 2450dpi resolution (which would be ridiculous). The dpi metric refers to the input sensitivity. The screen is a 8" 1024x600 panel.

The panel is obviously not e-ink...is this old school monochrome LCD, then? If the viewing angles are OK, I don't see why not.

Re:Clarification: (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431588)

That's actually quite an excellent DPI, especially for a portable device... This may be exactly what i've been waiting for in a nice tablet to use for notes and drawings.

Re:Clarification: (0)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431882)

It's roughly the same as the iPad (9" @ 1024x768 color) which has quickly become the benchmark for such things.

Re:Clarification: (2, Informative)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432584)

The GP pointed out this is not about resolution, but about touch sensitivity... I have not read anything about the iPad having a great DPI, it's just regular fat finger touchscreen technology for as far as I know, which should equate to roughly 130 DPI. That would make this tablets almost 20 times more sensitive and much more suitable for drawing...

Re:Clarification: (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431862)

That could be consistent with Pixel Qi screen, which is being shown in several devices now; and looks quite greyscale with its backlight off. Not really so greyscale as in the linked video of Asus device / why wouldn't they show the color mode?

Re:Clarification: (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433212)

I think that if they had a Pixel Qi screen, they'd just say so. And of course it would also support color.

As it is, it really looks just like a monochrome LCD. Which, in this case, means an epic fail.

Re:Clarification: (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433860)

Fail? I don't know about that. My ten+ year old Palm has one of the best reading screens I've seen, outside of the Pixel Qi. If modern monochrome LCD bests it then I think that's awesome. Why not use it?

Re:Clarification: (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431886)

The panel is obviously not e-ink...is this old school monochrome LCD, then? If the viewing angles are OK, I don't see why not.

There are some LCDs that are non-backlit, but are very contrasty with very nice viewing angles available. The Aluratek Librie e-reader's a cheap ($120-ish) version of that whose screen is almost like e-Ink, and very, very nice. Probably active-matrix panels to avoid all the nasty ghosting monochrome panels of old are. I used one and I didn't realize it was LCD - I just thought it was quite responsive, then saw it was actually an LCD.

Alas, it's major setback is the cheap plasticky feel, the sharp "I'm high tech" edges and ridges, and positively lousy looking and feeling firmware. (And that's a major setback of all these devices is crappy-ass firmware...).

Re:Clarification: (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432242)

Not to be overly pedantic, but I don't really see how it wasn't blatently obvious that they were talking about input resolution in the summary. They referred to the touch screen portion of the device when listing DPI, not display resolution.

Re:Clarification: (1)

Smurf (7981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432562)

Not to be overly pedantic, but I don't really see how it wasn't blatently obvious that they were talking about input resolution in the summary. They referred to the touch screen portion of the device when listing DPI, not display resolution.

The article said "2450 dpi touch resolution screen" which is relatively clear, if you know what they are talking about (most people don't).

But the summary said "2450 dpi resolution touch screen" which is very ambiguous, almost misleading.

So yeah, you are being rather pedantic.

Re:Clarification: (1)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432320)

Saying that a magnitude which increases as technology evolves is ridiculous is bound to the era in which it is said. It is also bound to be quoted years for now, like the phrase famously (and, it seems, erroneously) attributed to Thomas J Watson [wikipedia.org] , "I think there is a world market for about five computers".

Re:Clarification: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32432506)

2500 dpi is actually the perfect screen resolution for an e-reader device: it's the same as a typical commercial printing press. Of course the actual screen resolutions on current e-reader devices are much much worse, just like their contrast is very bad compared to proper paper.

Re:Clarification: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32434396)

The screen does *not* have a 2450dpi resolution (which would be ridiculous).

That would not be ridiculous. 2450dpi is Ludicrous Resolution. Any greater resolution and the screen goes plaid.

Does it run Linux? (3, Insightful)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431518)

Does it?

Re:Does it run Linux? (2, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431814)

Just wait for it, in 3... 2... 1... Now it does! :)

2450 dpi PEN resolution (2, Informative)

irp (260932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431520)

The digitizer has 2450 dpi resolution. The screen is 1024x786 with 64 grey levels.

It look like a concept I could use. For lab journals etc - snap an image, write a note.

Dots per inch, not per screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32431532)

2450 dpi?

Is something wrong with math here, or I missed few years of consumer development?

Re:Dots per inch, not per screen (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431674)

Yeah, I saw that and thought, "Wow, what awesome resolution for reading text!"

Re:Dots per inch, not per screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32432868)

Apparently the guy up above (who thought the way the summary stated this was misleading, and offered clarification) was right after all. People are so thick-headed that you can't expect them to realize that when you talk about the dpi of the touch screen, you mean the FRAKKING TOUCH SCREEN, not the underlying display. It's not especially revolutionary in that context, though it is quite decent.

Wishlist (3, Interesting)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431576)

What I would like is to use such a thing as a terminal. Use it as a screen / digitizer combination at work or at home, and to be able to use it as a separate PC when on the train. As I don't do no flash, I cannot see what OS it has and if software can be installed on it, but it could make a great, finally ergonomic, X terminal.

Re:Wishlist (3, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431972)

What I would like is to use such a thing to read books that I own, not DRM-krippled rental boks that Amazon foists on Kindle users.

Until then, no thanks. I've got books on my shelves that are over 100 years old, and I can still read them, although the publisher, printer and distributer have all long-since gone out of business. I've got books I bought 20 years ago, and I can still read them.

There's no commitment, and no possibility of commitment, from Amazon or any of the other DRM-krippled e-bok vendors that I will be able to read their rental boks tomorrow, much less twenty years from now.

Re:Wishlist (2, Informative)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433004)

Have you considered transcribing or digitizing those hundred-year-old books for Project Gutenberg, so that we can read them too? I haven't looked up what formats they're interested in, and I don't know how you'd do it without either being labor-intensive or destructive, but if you were willing, I bet the Project would benefit from it.

Re:Wishlist (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437112)

I have maybe 15,000 ebooks from a variety of sources, none of them currently have DRM, though 2 of them originally came from Amazon (bought by friends as gifts). Stripping the DRM from an ebook is pretty trivial. Even if Amazon disappears, I have my DRM-free files now, stored and backed up. Even if Amazon decides to send those books down the memory hole, I still have them.

That's ownership, in my book. Granted, it'd be great if I didn't have to spend the 5 minutes it took to rip the DRM off of them.

Re:Wishlist (1)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 3 years ago | (#32438578)

How many copies are there in the world of your 100-year-old books? What's the percentage of books published 100 years ago that have surviving copies to this day? One intriguing prospect of e-books is that storage is so cheap that we may not have to lose a substantial portion of our written culture because of the natural loss of paper books. We probably have the technology today to make a million back-ups of every book on Project Gutenberg with unused disk space.

DRM is certainly annoying, but in 100 years, I'm going to guess that it'll be trivially broken. I think students of history in 2110 would be appreciative of the volumes we can save for them by not putting our thoughts only on paper.

Re:Wishlist (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32443722)

Well, if it makes your rant feel any better, of all the format's out there Amazon's is the most trivial (and by trivial, I do mean trivial) to "unprotect" for future reading.

DRM is a pretty strong word for a book obfuscated with a key derived from your serial number.

Re:Wishlist (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432420)

it looks like a custom OS or one of the many cellphone OS's, you can probably make a better guess at it using the image below the Flash movie than the movie itself since they only demo a single app.

Digicam? (1)

Thinine (869482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431578)

WTF is the point of a digicam with a grayscale screen? I remember pictures taken with an old QuickTake 100 with fondness, but not enough to pay $199 to recreate its capabilities.

Re:Digicam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32431642)

Maybe send e-mail them to your other computer with a colour monitor? The possibilities are endless..

Re:Digicam? (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431664)

WTF is the point of a digicam with a grayscale screen?

It's an e-reader device. I imagine the camera might be useful for taking a picture of diagrams you have drawn by hand on paper or your lecturer has drawn on the blackboard. I don't see any reason why the photos shouldn't be in colour either - my samsung laser printer only does black and white, but the built in scanner does colour.

Do schools still have blackboards?

Re:Digicam? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432656)

Do schools still have blackboards?

I think they're all whiteboards now, with colored ink, but I'm willing to be few educators use more than one color at a time.

Re:Digicam? (2, Informative)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433874)

I do IT support in public schools in a major U.S. city. We have neither white nor black boards these days. All teachers now are using LCD projectors to display content that comes either from a PC or from a "document camera" -- a video camera aimed at a plain piece of paper. In addition, many teachers are using interactive whiteboards which digitize content as you write it on the board

So there is little reason for a student to take a snapshot in class -- everything is already digitized as it is displayed by the teacher, and the teacher can easily post all content on a website after class.

Re:Digicam? (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431900)

So I take you think it was a mistake to offer, for almost 3 decades now, color video in cameras with electronic (and typically b&w) viewfinders? Same with many bridge digicams...I guess they should revert to making b&w pictures when using their built-in electronic viewfinder.

Re:Digicam? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433002)

the same point as megapixel pictures taken on a device with a 2" 640x480 display: lots.

Not released and already an epic fail... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431826)

Give me 8.5" by 11" or A4 size screen with the resolution to replicate a FULL PAGE OF TEXT.

Why cant these tablet makers get it through their heads? 1200X600 = too small I want to see a full page and annotate it. Otherwise it is another leisure toy and not a real tool for education or work.

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432696)

Give me 8.5" by 11" or A4 size screen with the resolution to replicate a FULL PAGE OF TEXT.

Why cant these tablet makers get it through their heads? 1200X600 = too small I want to see a full page and annotate it. Otherwise it is another leisure toy and not a real tool for education or work.

While I can see how this might be useful for a copy-editor or similar, why is this going to matter for the rest of us?

Print is dying, my friend. Soon (if not already) everything important will come in a digital format as well as a printed one, and the application doing the printing will be expected to resize and adjust so things look good once printed.

The demo illustrated one of the key features as to why this is the case - adjustable fonts. Can't do that once it has been printed out...

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432952)

Print is dying, my friend. Soon (if not already) everything important will come in a digital format as well as a printed one, and the application doing the printing will be expected to resize and adjust so things look good once printed.

This strikes me as the same printing clusterfuck we've had since the mid '90s. If you were trying to say that there is some brand new problem now, I don't know what it is.

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32434376)

More portable devices should mean less paper. And since the mid 90's, a certain gadget called a 'cell phone' has paved the way for even more capable devices.

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

hmmm (115599) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432910)

Very true. Business users need an A4 page size device or there is little point.

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433432)

Why? Are people forgetting that it's a computer? As someone who routinely takes notes in business meetings I can assure you that taking notes on a smaller surface is not a problem, most people don't even use full size notebooks, you won't find any in this office because they take up a lot of room when most meetings you're just writing down action items. Then of course there is the side effect that at least with my Windows 7 tablets that can be taught the user's handwriting, the notes you've taken can then fit on a single page of A4 or legal or whatever form factor you find works best in the hard copy world.

Sorry, at least currently, the 9" form factor is great for carrying around and actually using. The tablets in use around here are 12" and they are more than sufficient, the larger screen size only serves to make the devices more expensive. When you want higher res then it's time to hook up an external monitor, something we have in the office everywhere as we like docking stations and they make it so darned easy. There was a lot of excitement over the iPad here although not from me personally until people starting working with them. They just aren't nearly as useful albeit they are definitely simpler to use. Throwing Windows 7 into a kiosk mode isn't that hard though and since I'm starting to use XenApp and XenDesktop we even have our own app store that is available. I have no idea why people think that an interface needs to be 100% customized for touch when you can easily have both.

I won't be paying for the privilege to be locked into Apple anytime soon. Windows will be around a while but clients now have no problem running any flavor of Linux as the Citrix client makes connecting to their virtual desktop easy.

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433426)

You are probably in the market for a high end iRex reader (IREX Digital Reader 1000S). It's not quite A4, but the resolution is high enough to view PDF files:

Specs of the display:

10.2 Inch (diagonal) electronic paper display
1024 x 1280 pixel resolution at 160 pixels per inch (eInk)
16-level grey scale

With PDF search & pen input available, although I haven't tried that (and I don't know how the input is stored).

I don't think anything comes close for business use. But it still might fall a bit short (e.g. for input reasons, eInk is hard to use for regular computer input methods) and it's priced for business use as well. I'm not affiliated with them.

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433514)

1200X600 is a little on the low side for such a large screen. I like reading small text, so I perfer something closer to 300dpi--even 150 would be ok, but I wouldn't be as interested. FYI, 300dpi means a 2400x1650 screen on a Statement-sized screen, which is about 9.7" diagonal.

But this device is Letter/A4 including the bezel, and I think it is too large for mobility. There's a reason your composition notebooks, hardcovers, and trade paperbacks aren't Letter/A4. They'd be too bulky to carry around, both when transporting, and in use.

Ideally, I'd rather a foldable Statement/A5 that becomes Letter/A4 when opened up, possibly with a bezel. Anything more would be

Re:Not released and already an epic fail... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32443756)

I'm not sure the product managers at Asus really would consider a product to be an epic fail because one poster on the internet doesn't like it for their needs.

As a hint: you are one of six billion people, your needs *might* just not be the same as the rest of them.

To rephrase your question:

Why can't these Slashdotters get it through their heads? Their needs are not the mainstream needs, and the tablet makers do not care if it doesn't meet them.

Active digitizer (1)

TheTick21 (143167) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431918)

He never touched the screen with his hand while using the pen. So probably no active digitizer. Also doesnt seem to have an eraser end on the pen. Sigh.

Re:Active digitizer (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432724)

I noticed this as well. I had a used Toshiba M200 for a year or so, until I broke the stylus. I could have gotten a replacement, but the $75 price tag was a huge downer for me. Even if it wasn't finger-friendly, a screen you can touch with anything is superior to a proprietary-stylus-only design in my book.

Re:Active digitizer (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433966)

Or, more likely he had the stylus in his hand and didn't want to put it away just to appease the paranoid.

This might be the end... (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#32431950)

... of paper on my desktop, the one under my notebook. I write in shades of gray (or blue) so it would be functionally equivalent to paper and much better for long term storage of my notes (which I can afford to lose). But it must start up *quickly*. Paper starts up in zero time.

Furthermore I can hopefully put pdf files in it with a SD card :-)

Re:This might be the end... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433984)

Except when it takes a half hour to boot up because it's still in the office supply store or requires a new pen to properly work with the upgrade.

Asus already has a better tablet than this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32431994)

It's called the T91, and it beat the iPad to market by a year. Full color LCD touchscreen, plus it runs Windows XP so that the user isn't tied to any app store. Install whatever the heck you want on it. And when I bought mine when it first came out, it cost the same as an iPad.

Unfortunately, it has a keyboard, so they had to market it as a netbook instead of a tablet. Really this shows the genius of Apple's marketing. They can sell a toy like an iPad at the same price as a real computer like the T91 that does everything the iPad does and more, and people will still buy it.

Asus should just remove the keyboard from the T91 and call it a tablet. They could probably charge $200.00 more for it.

Re:Asus already has a better tablet than this. (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432926)

Based on personal experience with tablets, Windows XP is not really a good thing. The transition from desktop with keyboard and mouse to touch isn't good, and the US of displaying multiple applications in windows is not a good experience on a tablets.

Re:Asus already has a better tablet than this. (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437382)


Take the keyboard off, put Windows 7 on it, and I'd buy it. Not otherwise, though.

Is it just me? (2, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432090)

Am I out of line by whining that we all should be well over the use of monochrome displays in these devices? When I see an eReader using a monochrome display I think "that looks so last decade...", and the strange thing to me is that it takes Apple and its iPad to deliver full color output? Like its some huge friggin' technological effort to create a tablet device with color; so they get to charge almost $1000 a pop? I don't get it. Am I missing the incredible technological leap that has been made with the iPad?

Re:Is it just me? (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432364)

It's not technology leaps, it's market segmentation. Segment 1: Color, plus some feature, minus others. $500 Segment 2: Grey-scale, plus some features, minus others. $200 Segment 3: Color, plus keyboard, plus some features, minus others. $300 And so on.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 3 years ago | (#32436012)

Power. My kindle is never turned off unless I am on a plane and required to do so. it lasts for weeks if the radio is off and days if not.

The screen is also nicer to the eyes.

Please people, do not slam these displays unless you have spent an hour reading from one. Many people refuse to look at them as they think they are just black and white PCs or LCD displays.

Re:Is it just me? (3, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432452)

Am I out of line by whining that we all should be well over the use of monochrome displays in these devices?

Well, yeah.

When I see an eReader using a monochrome display I think "that looks so last decade..."

What matters isn't how something looks, but how it works and, unless you're interested in photographs and videos (ie, not in the target market for this device) monochrome works perfectly fine as it is. Plus if it reduces costs so much that they can sell it for only $199, I'm all for it.

and the strange thing to me is that it takes Apple and its iPad to deliver full color output?

No, we've had color tablets for *years*, Apple's only "invention" was giving theirs a sane price.

At first I was fairly skeptical of this eee-Pad or whatever, I thought it was gonna be little more than an iPad clone with the Apple logo switched by an Asus one, and retail for about as much. But this actually looks like an interesting device, not one aimed at the "rich hipster" who wants to watch Blu-Ray movies on his living room, but one aimed at students and workers which likely thought about getting a Tablet PC to do their work, but found the iPad too limited and the others too expensive.

Monochrome? so are my notes. Small? so much the better. Camera on the back? I'm not interested in chatting up with it, I want it to document stuff. And to top it off it's only $199. Just genius.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432650)

Monochrome? so are my notes.

Fine for you. Not for the mass-market.

Small? so much the better. Camera on the back? I'm not interested in chatting up with it, I want it to document stuff. And to top it off it's only $199. Just genius.

We're talking about the iPad, right? Last I heard it was well over $600 for the base model.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

rinoid (451982) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432954)

Jesus christ are you daft or just lazy?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=apple+ipad+price [lmgtfy.com]

16gb wifi only - 499.00

and going up for a few increases in memory, then more for wifi+3g.

Sigh.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432992)

Last I heard it was well over $600 for the base model.

If by well over $600 you mean $499 you are correct. http://www.apple.com/ipad/ [apple.com] Apparently not drinking the kool-aid extends to not checking facts. The base model has never been advertised as being well over $600.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433270)

We're talking about the iPad, right? Last I heard it was well over $600 for the base model.

Um, no. We're talking about the Asus E-Reader Tablet which is said to have a release price of $199. RTFT (read the fucking title) of the article if you're not sure about what's under discussion ;-)

Re:Is it just me? (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32435210)

It's not aimed at the mass market, it's aimed at students and business users. To make an analogy, if the iPad is a big-ass iPhone then this is a big-ass Palm III, which may not have been popular on the mass market either but did well enough in the corporate world to sustain Palm for years.

Now I don't blame you if you're not in the target market for this device, it *is* a fairly restricted market compared to the whole (or even the iPad's), but there is a need for a low-cost tablet that can double as an eReader in both universities and businesses, and this looks like a pretty good fit for that market IMHO. And as part of that market (being a student), I'm excited about this ;)

Re:Is it just me? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432948)

Apple's only "invention" was giving theirs a sane price.

that and not putting a full OS designed for keyboard and mouse on the thing...

Re:Is it just me? (1)

ygtai (1330807) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437622)

I kind of hope it can be in 4 colors -- off/black/red/blue. One of my professors used his Tablet PC as the blackboard for his writing in class, and published them on his website after each class. I also use mine for taking personal notes and designing whatever that needs sketches -- state diagrams, block diagrams, or even formulas. I like it better than on paper, because correcting errors is much easier. But Tablet PCs are so far still too bulky. And I, as well as that professor, do often use more than one ink color, usually 2 or 3 colors, for our purpose.

Re:Is it just me? (2, Informative)

bendodge (998616) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432488)

No, we're all missing the incredible technological leap in battery density and/or screen power consumption. Color screens take too much power or cost too much. Ever held an iPad? It's HEAVY. But hope is not dead: Qualcomm says they will ship a full-color, video-capable e-ink device this year [slashgear.com] .

By the way, my brother is an absolute eReader fanatic and has specs of almost every eReader imaginable: http://ereaders.bsgprogrammers.com/ [bsgprogrammers.com]

Re:Is it just me? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 3 years ago | (#32438584)

The amazing battery life is achieved by having no backlight, which is not very amazing when you can get the same battery life, 10 hours, with an ipad, or weeks with the amazon/bn devices.

This is not amazing at all. If you want a device like this, get a proper ereader with e-ink.

Re:Is it just me? (2, Insightful)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432490)

There are huge benefits to using E-ink for a reader over a traditional screen (battery life, eye-strain), and right now E-ink is essentially limited to monochrome. Add to that the fact that most books are just black text on white and it becomes more of a balanced trade-off than you make it sound. The iPad is a web/video browsing device that also happens to show books, so clearly monochrome would be out of the question.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433312)

I don't personally think that e-ink is so much better on the eyes as is commonly thought. I don't really notice any difference between focusing long term on a computer screen vs. long term reading a book, and most people I've talked to don't either. Yes this is anecdotal. I've been looking for a qualitative study comparing e-ink to traditional LCD and I haven't been able to fine one. If I stare at a book or a monitor for an extended period of time my eyes get a little dry and tired. It is a known fact that reading a book and reading a monitor will both induce a bit of squinting increasing eye-strain, and reduces the number of eye-blinks by 50% or more resulting in dry eyes. The two real issue that I have witnessed have to do with the font size and ambient light. I notice that when I bump up the font size that it significantly reduces eyestrain, and this is where e-readers of all types have an advantage over books - adjustable font sizes. I also notice that when I adjust ambient lighting conditions it makes reading books or the computer screen less of a strain.

Until there is a study that measures eye squint / blinks and strain for e-ink I'm not buying this particular "fact".

Re:Is it just me? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433714)

I don't know about blinking, but for me there is a huge difference in eyestrain caused by e-ink or LCDs. When I got my iPad I was ready to put my e-reader up on eBay, but I thought better of it.

The iPad is great for reading reference material: fast and easy search, quick flipping through the book, images and diagrams come out great... However the iPad sucks for prolonged reading of text. This is where the e-readers really shine, I can read with an e-reader for hours on end without any eye strain, and I can do so sitting outside in the sun as well. Try that with an iPad or laptop...

In fact, the e-reader comes so close to reading a proper book that after a while I often find myself trying to turn a physical page when using the e-reader.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32443258)

This is where the e-readers really shine, I can read with an e-reader for hours on end without any eye strain, and I can do so sitting outside in the sun as well. Try that with an iPad or laptop...

I have a notebook whose screen is ordinary active TFT but with an LED backlight so bright I can read outside for hours. Not that the battery life lasts for hours with it turned all the way up. The iPad could have had a transflective screen that would have been more than acceptable outside, but Apple would have either had to settle for a typical profit margin or priced the iPad out of existence.

Anyone who bought a 1st gen iPad is a toolbag anyway. We can expect it to get cameras and all the other cool doodads that iPods and iPhones lacked originally if one just waits. I might even buy one someday if someone gets Android running gracefully on it, I'd like the good battery life, but can't handle living in Apple-lockin hell. I got out of macs in the Performa days and every time I look back it motivates me to run faster.

Re:Is it just me? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432620)

Plenty of other companies do colour tablets. Have been since XP Tablet Edition almost a decade ago. The issue is that they're power-hungry and they cause eyestrain because you're basically staring at the backlight when you're reading off them. Monochrome reflective displays, often as E-ink, are favoured for "readers" because you're only getting ambient light and they run for a long time. Apple's made a judgement call and decided that long-term reading isn't used enough to justify hobbling a whole tablet to accomodate it. For battery life, they've just put a really fucking huge battery in there.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

getNewNickName (980625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432970)

The technological leap is the battery life. Monochrome displays were a workaround to increase battery life. The iPad gets 10 real hours of battery life, which is enough for a days worth of use.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 3 years ago | (#32435466)

yawn....

The technology leap has to be the display itself. The ipad and its many predecessors simply cannot be used when sitting on a bench in a park in broad daylight. To me, this is a big letdown and the reason I did not buy one.

The only two technologies that can do it are the e-ink/e-paper (Sony eReader, Kindle etc), and the reflective LCD (the "flective" part of PixelQi's "transflective" display), which this Asus tablet is also using.

Bitching about the battery size limiting what the full LCD-based tablets can do is like complaining that the shitty mileage you're getting with your car could be improved by using magic gasoline that packs more energy per gallon than the regular one.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433288)

From my perspective, Apple just gives the *majority* what they appear to want. Most of Slashdot's viewer base is the *minority*. For every serious geek I know there at least 15 non-geeks I know (numbers are fictional.. but you get my point). Personally I don't think comparing a e-reader to an iPad is fair, thats only one function of it and probably not even the main one for most users. Also you can get an ipad for $499, it does a lot more than just read books for that price..

Re:Is it just me? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433372)

When I see an eReader using a monochrome display I think "that looks so last decade...", and the strange thing to me is that it takes Apple and its iPad to deliver full color output?

Most dedicated e-book readers on the market are eInk-based, whereas iPad uses a rather typical TFT screen. eInk is monochrome only for now (color prototypes have been available for a while, but not seen in production yet). It has other advantages, though - such as battery life measured in days rather than hours, readability in sunlight, and being easier on the eyes.

Re:Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32435754)

"Am I out of line by whining that we all should be well over the use of monochrome displays in these devices?"

Depends on what you are complaining about since you seem to sort of mix in the tech (LCD/e-ink), maybe resolution/screen size, and monochrome/greyscale/color. What are you complaining about e-ink specifically?

Another way to approach this, have you seen a good e-ink device? If so, then no, you aren't whining. If not, then maybe you are. Reflective greyscale is nice. Once you get your hands on one, you really only complain that they should be pushing the dpi up more and more than they have, or getting color e-ink sooner. Those, to me, are the real holdups here. Their only real push into actual products the last few years is that screens have increased greyscale from 4 level to 16, and the screen sizes have gotten larger (there's a device with a larger screen than the DX). Resolution and color haven't bounced up accordingly.

I didn't buy the original Kindle when it hit years ago. Then I read on /. people saying e-ink was so much better. As if, I thought at the time. So I bought a Kindle 2. I returned the Kindle 2 because of it's screen size (it's screen is pretty small, while the device size is fine). But I immediately saw how nice the screen was. I ended up buying and keeping a DX. (I still think the Kindle 2 seems to have a nicer screen, not sure why.) I read about 2 hours a day, in low light, with my DX.

I have no problems reading a CRT, or pushing resolution on a crappy CRT and getting by, and typically spend hours upon hours in front of a computer reading, so I'm not someone who whines about crappy monitors. But e-ink is just damn nice to read. Even when my eyes are tired from reading CRTs and LCDs, which takes hours upon hours to happen (like 15hour days), I can still read without strain on my DX immediately after.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32443780)

Tablets are typically used inside. E-books are often not.

The iPad is not usable on a beach, in a park, or anywhere else in direct sunlight, unfortunately. (I wish it was.)

The Kindle, however, works beautifully. B&W e-ink and LCD screens works great without backlights and don't get washed out in direct sunlight. Color LCDs, by their very nature, do, and we are not even remotely close to a good purely reflective color screen.

So until then, I'll use a tablet inside, and its my Kindle that goes on vacation with me. Especially once it dawned on me that I could toss it in a ziploc bag and use it around sand and water without worry.

Why not SD? (1)

lehphyro (1465921) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432566)

Why all these devices have MicroSD ports instead of simple SD ports? Dont tell me it's about size, my palm zire 72 launched in 2004 have one.

Re:Why not SD? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432744)

Popularity?

Re:Why not SD? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433540)

Yes, that was back in the day you actually had to change SD cards to get some throughput and storage space. Nowadays you can get devices with fast USB connections (Palm absolutely sucked at USB throughput) and 8 GB micro-SD cards for almost the same price as regular SD cards. There is simply no need to swap these things anymore, so size does not matter.

That said, I still prefer normal sized SDHC cards over those tiny ones. It does not make much difference for the device (I think) and I can swap them between my computer, my laptop, my eBook and my compact and digital SLR camera. I probably forgot a few devices :). Of course, you could buy micro-SD cards with a converter as well, but I admit that that is a bit too much work (I would forget to take the adapter with me for sure, or loose it etc.).

Re:Why not SD? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32434064)

For the same reason that Apple has been marketing smaller and smaller iPods. Because there are suckers that will pay for a device that's arbitrarily small missing the point that after a point it becomes completely counter productive. But in this case it does make some sense, it means you can download someting on your phone and then put it on a card that fits in the tablet.

Documents? Annotations? (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32432866)

I'd find this thing very useful if it could easily grab a good-quality photo of a document. 2MP doesn't seem enough, although if it's prepared for that it could be. I have a 3.2 MP camera in my mobile phone, and it doesn't do a very good job of grabbing a document's photo. Now, if this thing did a better job of it, (by for example taking a fast sequence of photos and software-joining them to get better quality), and if the document's classification system doesn't suck, well, I'd like one. Provided, of course, that the pencil annotations' format is an open one, because, you know Asus, I like you, but I'm not the type to marry.

Any word on the openness of the annotations' format?

yuck (1)

charliemopps11 (1606697) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433394)

it looks like a large palm3. $200, its not color, or eink, It's going to be tied to amazon? Come on. E-Readers need to either be CHEAPER or BETTER than books. Right now they are neither. So their only purpose at the moment is geek bling at the local starbucks. Call me when they're $25 and not tethered to amazon and they might be worth my interest.

Re:yuck (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#32433970)

Heh, yeah... every few months I poke my head up at these ebook reader / smartphone "developments" and ask... "is it better than my Palm T|X running Plucker?". The answer has been "no" for the past several years (even with the Palm Pre).

Seriously, can someone just bring back a nice lineup of Palm PDAs, and maybe just slap on a (slightly) more modern OS?

THIS I WANT! (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32434716)

Greyscale screen, stylus input, reading/writing emphasis, perfect size (about the same as the original Apple Newton, only thinner), fast refresh, AWESOME.

If it's as nice as it looks, this may be my ideal reading/writing device, depending on included apps and connectivity. Much more interesting to me as a dedicated reader/writer than the iPad, which has the wrong sort of display, no stylus input, and is slightly the wrong shape (more like a 4:3 display, less like a flip notebook).

B&W = Not an iPad killer (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 3 years ago | (#32435596)

But this will definitely put the last nail in the Apple Newton's coffin.

another incorrect use of "content" (1)

brre (596949) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437442)

the Kindle bookstore as a content provider

You mean media provider.

The content, if any, of the works is provided by the authors, artists, photographers, and so on who created them.

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