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The Coming Onslaught of iPad Competitors

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the let's-back-off-from-the-k-word dept.

Handhelds 497

harrymcc writes "The iPad is selling as well as it is in part because no large manufacturer has had a direct rival out yet. But boy, is that going to change in the next few months. Over at Technologizer, I rounded up known information on 32 current and future tablet computing devices, from potentially worthy iPad competitors to wannabees to interesting specialty devices. By early 2011 these things are going to be everywhere, and it'll be fascinating to see how they fare." Related: the tablet-type device I've been watching most eagerly, Notion Ink's Adam, seems to finally have a realistic manufacturing prediction and price range (by November; up to $498 for the version with 3G and Pixel Qi screen).

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497 comments

Do not want. (-1, Redundant)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234496)

Do not want. Any.

Re:Do not want. (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234538)

ok but what if I took one of these, added a hard protective plastic coating, and then some ports for keyboards and such. i'd call it a 'laptop'.

Re:Do not want. (0, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234582)

ok but what if I took one of these, added a hard protective plastic coating, and then some ports for keyboards and such. i'd call it a 'laptop'.

I'd call it a shitty, underpowered laptop with a shitty form factor and a shitty lack of an included, attached, keyboard.

Tablets fucking suck.

Re:Do not want. (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234614)

tablets are great for 'consuming' content (now I feel dirty even using marketspeak like that).

but its true, its not oriented to create things. you basically tap your paw and get some goody back. for that, they work great. to expect more means a true revolution in UI design. not gonna happen with apple (they are too happy with the 'consuming pre-made content' notion) and will take a true visionary to accomplish.

we're still waiting. but hopeful.

Re:Do not want. (5, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234652)

Have you seen some of the art (and, for that matter, heard some of the music) that people have created on the ipad? It sucks for "creating content" in the "i have to type on a keyboard" sense, but it's actually pretty effective when you don't need a full keyboard to create something.

For some things, a keyboard will probably always be better. For others, the keyboard is really kind of pointless, and a tablet with no keyboard works surprisingly well.

Re:Do not want. (4, Interesting)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234892)

ppffft. I'll be interested when it has pressure sensitivity. Anybody who can draw something halfway decent on an ipad could make something spectacular on a wacom.

Re:Do not want. (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235094)

Perhaps - the point is that the iPad *can* be used for more "creation" than simply "typing stuff into a text editor." The "it's for consumption only" meme is a little ridiculous because it assumes that "creation" requires a keyboard, and in some cases, that's simply not true.

Re:Do not want. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234970)

It's a great controller for DAW's, lighting rigs... It's already starting to change the workflow for film crews. Great device and I'm left looking at the android pads and scratching my head. I'd like to develop in Vala using clutter/Gtk but android is some braindead also-ran platform that requires me to jump through more hoops than the iPad. I looked at all the devices in that list and there's no serious competition for the iPad there.

The current iPad is underpowered and needs something a bit better than the USB "camera kit" for physical connectivity. If version 2 delivers, it's going to be used for more than control and become an amazingly useful device in it's own right.

Re:Do not want. (2, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235124)

Exactly - it's not going to fill every "creation" niche out there, but there are places where it is an excellent addition to the toolkit.

I think we'll probably see some interesting updates in version 2 or 3 of the ipad, but I think you might see them pushing more for bluetooth or wifi/bonjour connectivity to other devices. Apple seems to hate putting ports on their devices... I don't think we're likely to see 4 mini-usb ports suddenly appear in the iPad 2.

Re:Do not want. (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234872)

There are tablets with keyboards that slide out, or swivel out, or detach. They work very well as laptops or as tablets or whatever you want to call how you're using the device.

Re:Do not want. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234550)

Do not want. Any.

If more tablets leads to better and cheaper eReaders, then I'm all for it.

Re:Do not want. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234576)

Great... but I do want.

So where does that leave us? Me happy, and you no worse off but apparently whiny.

Re:Do not want. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235112)

Great... but I do want.

Fine, now you just have to ask yourself the question which particular brand device is more likely to get you laid [slashdot.org] .

Re:Do not want. (4, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234706)

Well, you don't have to worry about it. Most of them are pure vapour, and the rest of them appear to have been thoroughly trashed by reviewers and are unlikely ever to bother you by appearing in a store where you might accidentally purchase them.

Re:Do not want. (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234906)

Do not want. Any.

How self-centered and selfish of you.

No soup [wikipedia.org] (tablet) for you!

Re:Do not want. (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235114)

Do not want. Any.

Oh, so YOU'RE the guy that Balmer was listing to!

damn.... (5, Interesting)

sejanus (18670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234500)

What will I do with 32 tablets in the house?

Re:damn.... (5, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234536)

take one each day for a month and call me. at the end of the month.

(I'm not a doctor and I don't even play one on tv. but happy to complete your punchline for you..)

Re:damn.... (2, Funny)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234804)

It was all going fine till I got to the suppositories.

Re:damn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234542)

What will I do with 32 tablets in the house?

Overdose?

WLAN party (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234866)

What will I do with 32 tablets in the house?

Start a WLAN party and play multiplayer tablet games.

Re:damn.... (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235068)

Quoth the doctor, "Take 32 tablets and sue me in the morning."

Useless review (3, Insightful)

thammoud (193905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234512)

Most have a question mark next to the review. Steve can sleep at night.

Re:Useless review (4, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234638)

Steve can sleep at night.

Judging by what happened to most of the iPod killers and what Microsoft is looking likely to do I'd say he'll be sleeping soundly. I'd be more worried about Android based tablets, ChromeOS on the other hand is IMHO a joke.

Re:Useless review (1)

ThePengwin (934031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234762)

I agree. i really do not see a sizable gap between a full desktop OS and a mobile OS that needs to be filled.

ChromeOS seems like it will be 100% useless upon the arrival of android 3, If the reports of the tablet friendly interface improvements are true.

Re:Useless review (1)

laktech (998064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235096)

good thing HP bought Palm then.

Re:Useless review (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234710)

And the ones that don't have a question mark have an "Engaget reviewed it and wasn't impressed."

Re:Useless review (3, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234816)

I was holding out for an Android device, but realised that almost all of them are Android 1.6. Why would I want a device with an ancient (comparatively) OS. It's usually a sign the manufacturer isn't going to update the device so rooting and custom firmware. This is what pushed me to an iPad. Sure, they are more expensive and locked down, but at least I know it'll be updated for at least 2 years.

Add to this that most of the reviews around seem to give the Androids a bit of a slamming - poor build quality, bad touchsceens, old OSs, and even buggy software that crashes the OS (looking at you Archos).

Pretty much, the Android manufacturers are way late to market and only doing a half arsed job.

Really? Do you remember the history of the PC? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235072)

Do you remember the history of the PC?

Apple was the first major player in this market. Sure, there were a few other companies that achieved some level of success, but Apple was by far the first to be really successful with their Apple II. They dominated the last few years of the 1970s, and into the 1980s.

Then IBM released their PC, which itself was followed by various PC clones. By the late 1980s, Apple was nearly destroyed. They went from the top of the industry to near the bottom, in around a decade.

It will likely happen again. Apple will again hit rock bottom, as they did the first time around. Their business model of selling expensive devices to hipsters (basically the same model they used in the 1970s and 1980s) results in a quick adoption rate among those with money to burn, but soon market forces bring in competitors who appeal to the other 98% of the population. Apple will again be relegated to the 2% marketshare they "enjoyed" in the PC market for so many years.

so... (3, Insightful)

stillpixel (1575443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234524)

Yep, I bet everyone will abandon the iPad once some of the incredible competitor models are revealed.. I really can't wait for one of those awesome Windows 7 based 'tablets' ... other companies have been making 'tablet' computers since the early 2000's, but not until Apple produced one of their own has anyone really taken interest in them.

Re:so... (4, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234612)

iPad : "Awesome Windows 7 based 'tablets" :: iPod : Zune ?

 

Re:so... (3, Interesting)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234896)

Very likely.

I'm a iPhone/iPad owner and developer. I have toyed around with Android, and although competitive in the smartphone market, it honestly is no iPhone alternative, not for my business nor for my confort and am not confident of it's potential for a tablet without some huge facelift and heavy hardware requirements.

At this point I'd say there are 3 companies that can honestly compete with Apple and none seem to be interested in doing so:

  • Sony, making a tablet driven by the same OS that powers the PS3, complete with PSN and it's own online store.
  • Nintendo, making a tablet driven by the same OS that powers the Wii, same as above: with access to it's own online shop.
  • Microsoft, but not with Windows Mobile or any windows based product, instead with the XBox version of their OS. XBox's newest dashboard is even PERFECT to compete with both, the iPhone and iPad if used properly.

All these things have a very obvious thing in common, one thing that all that jump to compete with Apple don't realize: the iOS is not designed on desktop principles, it's design, intentional or not, is much closer to a video game hand-held who's success is purely due to it's open yet controlled online marketplace.

Re:so... (-1, Offtopic)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234968)

Right now I wish there was a "-11 Apostrophe Abuse" on the dropdown.

Re:so... (-1, Flamebait)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235098)

Right now, I wish, sooo wish, there was a "-12 Don't know Apostrophe From Comma Abuse" on the, you know, drop down.

Re:so... (0, Troll)

hardware1949 (1777614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235016)

Vista. Nuff said.

Re:so... (1, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234620)

I doubt any other tablet will have the media fawning over it to the degree they did with the iPad. I also doubt any other manufacturer has the number of followers who would buy one no matter what its capabilities are. Apple does enjoy certain marketing advantages (that they've earned to a degree) that others don't have.

Re:so... (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234658)

Apple does enjoy certain marketing advantages (that they've earned to a degree) that others don't have.

Yes, like a history of thoughtful design and a slew of devices that work much better than their competitors for normal usage patterns, despite having fewer "and the kitchen sink" features.

Re:so... (0, Flamebait)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234678)

a history of thoughtful design and a slew of devices that work much better than their competitors

If you are only counting the tiny number of popular competitors to Apple, I guess you have a point. You know, like if you only pay attention to Apple's marketing department telling you who their competitors are?

Re:so... (2, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234884)

I noticed that you left off the last part of my post:

[...] for normal usage patterns, despite having fewer "and the kitchen sink" features.

It's almost like you're trying to distort what I said to mean something I didn't say, so you can congratulate yourself on how clever you are for making a trite counterpoint!

Re:so... (0)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234904)

I guess you have a point.

I'm glad you agree with me, sir!

(C WUT I DID THAR?)

Re:so... (5, Interesting)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235122)

Yes, like a history of thoughtful design and a slew of devices that work much better than their competitors for normal usage patterns, despite having fewer "and the kitchen sink" features.

Yes, exactly. I don't think many of the people who use the term "marketing" really understand what it means. It's not just making things pretty and paying for a good advertising campaign which I think most people use it to mean. Marketing begins with determining what the market actually wants. Then determining how to sell it in that market. It's all based on customer satisfaction. People use "marketing" like some sort of pejorative, but in reality, there is no secret to marketing but making the customer happy by giving them a product they are happy with and continue to enjoy. Apple has done this. They do this to the point that people wonder why they would ever want their product at first glance ("No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."), but once they get ahold of it they like it, tell their friends, their friends buy them, and then when they need another product they trust the company to provide a similarly satisfactory product (at which point we are no longer talking about marketing but branding, which is a different rant).

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234738)

It will if they really step it up, i.e. add free 3G.

Re:so... (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234670)

Well, those "tablets" were pretty limited. they were just laptops with a different screen, sometimes one that rotated, the touch features generally required a stylus and weren't very useful...

I wonder about security vulnerabilities in Windows (whatever) running on iPad like devices. Are these devices going to run spyware/virus/adware/malware/etc. protection all the time?

Anyone Ever Actually SEEN An iPad??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234756)

Yes, 'everyone' will abandon 'teh iPad!!!'

Oh wait...one actually has to own an iPad to actually 'abandon' it...

I'm sure the local Starbucks is absolutely packed with Hipster Douchebags all showing off their 'OMG!!! iPad!!!'s to each other. Meanwhile out in the real world...

Re:Anyone Ever Actually SEEN An iPad??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234890)

Meanwhile out in the real world...

There are millions of them and millions that want them.

Re:so... (4, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234864)

One problem with Windows 7, "it isnt a tablet OS" were Android and Apple iOS 4 are. Yes you can skin windows 7 but as soon as you open an application you are back were you started with a desktop orientated application with menu's etc that are not tablet friendly. This has been why Windows tablets have been a failure and why Apple has sold more tablets in the last few months than the PC/Windows makers have in 10 years. I must give apple kudos for the iPAD (and Google for Android) as it forces "all applications to be tablet friendly" this is not so with Windows 7. Microsoft do have Windows Mobile 7 due out later this year but I think it will be a hard sell especially considering it will have bugger all applications (sorry WM 6.5 apps wont work on WM 7) especially with Android now offering over 75,000 applications and apple now around 200,000.

Re:so... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235028)

One problem with Windows 7, "it isnt a tablet OS" were Android and Apple iOS 4 are. Yes you can skin windows 7 but as soon as you open an application you are back were you started with a desktop orientated application with menu's etc that are not tablet friendly.
I think if MS really tried they COULD make a tablet friendly system based on windows. MS already has a media player, a web browser, an office suite, a mail client and so on in-house so they could adapt all of those for the tablet form factor. Some third party devs could probablly be railroaded into adapting thier apps too.

What do you think the critical apps are for a tablet platform to have?

It also isn't setup for fast booting (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235110)

Windows 7 is a PC OS. That is what it is designed for, that is what it does well. It was designed to run on a desktop or laptop. Wonderful, doesn't mean you want to put it on a tablet. Part of the point of a device like that, the reason you'd get a system without some of the normal features you might want (like a keyboard) is the fast, appliance like boot times. You run an OS that is designed to be kind of "always on/hibernated" like a phone so when you grab the device, instant boot. Windows 7 isn't designed to do that.

Re:so... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234908)

"other companies have been making 'tablet' computers since the early 2000's"

You mean all those cutting edger ME based tablets?

Still waiting for my Smartbook (5, Interesting)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234564)

When are all those ARM-based netbooks with Linux that we were promised going to show up? I'll take one with a Tegra 2 processor, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and a Pixel Qi display please!

I'll pay extra for one in a form factor more like a Macbook Air, with a little extra screen, decent sized trackpad, etc.

Hello? Anybody out there?

Re:Still waiting for my Smartbook (2, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234720)

When are all those ARM-based netbooks with Linux that we were promised going to show up? I'll take one with a Tegra 2 processor, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and a Pixel Qi display please!

I'll pay extra for one in a form factor more like a Macbook Air, with a little extra screen, decent sized trackpad, etc.

Hello? Anybody out there?

Shhh... Keep quiet. We're currently really busy copying Apple and failing faster than you can say "and one more thing".

Re:Still waiting for my Smartbook (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234742)

Really Good netbooks would cannibalize notebook sales. Expect "product differentiation" to ensure little of that happens.

Re:Still waiting for my Smartbook (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234852)

As I've posted before, you won't see them in bestbuy, but they've been on sale since 2003 or so, hell, I own an ARM based netbook and a MIPS based netbook myself. From time to time they get short amounts of shelf life in Frys electronics or other larger electronics stores, but they have been being sold for a long time. I have to say I'm pretty happy with my MIPS based one, aside from some slight keyboard woes I'm pretty happy with it, flashed the stupid locked down linux that came on it with Debian and later Gentoo. (Mine is a Skytone Alpha)

Part of the issue you see though, they generally don't advertise the ARM based ones, and the ones that do make their way to some stores in the US NEVER list that they are ARM, you pretty much have to look up the model to find that out. If you want one on the cheap, check out a local HAM radio swap meet, I've actually met quite a few other people there with ARM/Mips based netbooks, and sometimes they have some used ones to sell cheap.

Heck with Ipad, where is the Kindle competitor? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234610)

Ipad is another short-running, indoor-only battery hog. If I want that, I'll buy a laptop.

Put up a Kindle-like thing that runs Linux and I'll buy it in an instant. Reflective sunlight-friendly display, and should run on commodity digicam or cell phone batteries or (better yet) ordinary AA's. The old TRS-80 model 100 from the 1980's stayed in demand for decades because it did all that.

Not sure how much "onslaught" there will be... (5, Insightful)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234628)

...when checking the one-liner review verdicts for the devices in this list:

"Engadget didn’t find it terribly satisfying."
"The Android Blog tried one and wasn’t exactly knocked out."
"UMPC Portal’s review says it’s not anywhere near as good as it looks."
"Engadget really didn’t care for it."
"Ubergizmo gave it a semi-positive review."

Does this sound anything like the reviews the iPad got? Hopefully the situation will change quickly to bring competition to benefit us customers.

Re:Not sure how much "onslaught" there will be... (1)

ThePengwin (934031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234788)

The ones that are currently out seem like the "get it to market, and cash in on the hype" and "me too" devices (Maybe except the archos branded ones, as they are primarily for music/video).

I hope that the notion ink adam does not fall into this category. From what I read it seems the developer is really thinking about making a good device, and not about when they can release it.

Re:Not sure how much "onslaught" there will be... (2, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234938)

you mean the cheap ass $150 unit that K-Mart is selling, next you will be comparing a $12,000 Kia with a $120,000 Mercedes S class saloon. The reality is "you only have one iPAD" were with Android in the next year you will have over 60 models, some cheap some expensive and many with more features than the iPAD. Good example is the MSI android tablet with a Webca,, SD card slot, USB, HDMI out and a bigger high res screen. I have even seen tablets with a LAN port just in case you have no WiFi access, the game has just started and Apple will have to seriously pick up its game. Soon I will be able to purchase a AU$500 Android tablet with 64GB of storage that can be upgraded and a bigger capacitive touch screen were right now Apple iPAD costs me AU$1,000 with no upgrade option and no USB/HDMI ports or webcam.

Can I... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234634)

...run the same programs on any of these tablets? Port some libre software from one to another without paying extra? Release libre software for these tablets?

If they are like the iPad, I guess not...

Re:Can I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234838)

From the devices reviewed in TFA (and from what I see on the net as well) vast majority of non-Apple tablets (or convertibles) will run either Android or Windows 7 with an odd Linux, WebOS or Blackberry device thrown in the mix. So from the portability perspective things should be good (but then I haven't got the faintest idea how things are done in the Windows land so I may be wrong about the other half of the list).

Re:Can I... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235074)

Well it seems most of these tablets are either running full windows or android.

Those running full windows, i'd expect those to be as open to developers as any other PC. It may or may not be possible to run linux on them depending on the particular hardware.

Android devices seem to be varying in thier openness from very open indeed to rather locked down (afaict android vendors CAN prevent the installation of non-market apps and can lock down the bootloader to stop you replaing the system with a clean image). I'd expect the tablets to be towards the less locked down end of the scale given that they won't be so tied to the whims of mobile phone operators as phones are.

Few Months? (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234662)

Since when does more than 5 months count as a "few"?

The one thing I want... (4, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234666)

I want a good all-in-one reader. PDFs, CBR/CBZ files, Word or Open Office documents... etc. Sure, throw in a media player, but I really just want a book replacement. Most of the ones on the market are limited in scope and frankly, TOO SMALL. Make the screen a standard paper size, make it able to read all kinds of formats, and I will be a happy, happy man.

Oh, and make it cheap.

Re:The one thing I want... (2, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234928)

If you're reading CBR/CBZ you'll want color too. If they could put out a reader that did what you stated and could do it in color I'd buy one today. I don't need a backlight draining the battery.

Wow, 32 present and future, but couldn't get the 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234680)

How about the one that launched before the iPad? AlwaysInnovating Touchbook [alwaysinnovating.com] , anyone?

Alas, it's not available right now -- they stopped production (and quickly sold out) while developing the (unannounced) next model due sometime this summer. I'm greatly looking forward to it...

Its not just 'lack of competition' (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234692)

The iPad is selling as well as it is in part because no large manufacturer has had a direct rival out yet.

Even with a 'direct rival' they will still sell well as some people prefer one brand over another.

Nice try at an Apple bash tho..:)

Re:Its not just 'lack of competition' (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235108)

Did you see the words "in part" in the sentence you quoted? That's right, a qualifying phrase. And I don't see any point in quibbling over it. It's clearly true: if you want a decent tablet today, you need to buy an iPad because the others suck. The iPad is locked down hard, which I don't like, but it doesn't actually suck.

Not every comment is a try at an Apple bash.

I'm hoping that in the next few months, some kind of worthy competition for the iPad will appear. And then, some people will buy tablets that aren't iPads, thus trivially proving that sentence you quoted. The iPad will continue to sell well, just as the iPod continues to sell well despite the presence in the market of non-sucky competitors.

History repeats (5, Insightful)

cshbell (931989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234694)

Go back about five years in the archives of most tech publications and you can find similar stories about "The coming onslaught of iPod competitors." Look how that worked out.

For some reason, the tech community believes that the commoditize-and-cannabalize cycle that typified the 1980s and 1990s is a perpetual law. It isn't, and Apple's success this decade is a resounding rejoinder to that view. Apple's products aren't, in all respects, better than the competitors; what they are is more polished, more refined, and an order of magnitude easier to pick up on and figure out on your own.

The typical screeds about how Apple's success is due to marketing prowess, reality distortion fields, media sycophancy, etc. are all a bunch of red herrings. Apple makes great products, and it's a real shame that more companies haven't picked up on how they do it and why. It's not rocket science to diligently refine your products while at the same time planning their long-term placement growth; it's just more involved than most companies want to be.

So sure, I'm sure there will be an onslaught of cheaper, different tablets that mindless consumers (Who, I might add, the tech community still believes to be largely ignorant about technology. You know, in 2010.) will buy up and the iPad will be dead. It's impossible that, say, every single one of the competitor tablets will be inferior in one or more significant ways that fails to make an appreciable dent in the iPad's adoption rate. Equally impossible that Apple would refine the iPad beyond its current iteration to entice new customers. I mean, really.

I'm not giving Apple the keys to the kingdom carte blanche, as heaven knows they've made their share of mistakes, but on the whole, I think they've been too successful, too visionary, and too aggressive to continue this endless narrative about how, just when they're about to succeed, the commodity tech market comes up aces and wins the hand.

Re:History repeats (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234728)

The typical screeds about how Apple's success is due to marketing prowess, reality distortion fields, media sycophancy, etc. are all a bunch of red herrings.

They certainly are not "red herrings," they are relevant and the reason that Apple has been successful this past decade. Case-in-point: they have everyone calling their line of personal computers "Macs" and every other company's products "PCs," despite the fact that the differences at this point are superficial. Apple also has everyone convinced that their products are "better," even though few people can really say what makes Apple products "better" and what Apple products are actually better than.

The OLPC XO was very easy to use, yet somehow Sugar/Linux doesn't get the same sort of attention Mac OS X or iOS do. Being easy to use, being polished, being "better" does not get you very far.

Re:History repeats (5, Funny)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234824)

I'll tell you what makes Macs better. The UI. Everyone know that green plus buttons should make a windows smaller, and a red X should sometimes close a program, and sometimes only close the window, leaving the program still running. Most of all, everyone know that the most logical way to eject a disk from a drive is to throw it in the garbage can. Until Apples competitors can match Apple in at least these obviously superior UI elements, they have no hope of being compared to Apple in quality and ease of use.

Re:History repeats (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235082)

I see a funny mod and wish I could mod you +10 insightful.

Its like no one talks about the glaring problems in the UIs from apple.

Its almost like someone was...

Hey, who are-

[Connection Lost]

Re:History repeats (2, Insightful)

Kostya (1146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234846)

Are you seriously comparing the OLPC XO Sugar interface to iOS and the iPad?

I own both. While I have always loved the OLPC for what it represents, the total experience is not even in the same league as an iPad. Not even remotely close. I'm not dissing OLPC--I love mine. But it isn't even fair to put the two in the same ring and say they are the same kind of polish or experience.

I agree with your points about Macs vs. PCs--Apple has somehow cast the conversation about the OS and the UI and then magically extended that to the hardware. But your comparison of Sugar and iOS is ... wow.

Re:History repeats (4, Insightful)

cshbell (931989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234862)

The OLPC XO was very easy to use, yet somehow Sugar/Linux doesn't get the same sort of attention Mac OS X or iOS do.

What real-world questions did the OLPC XO answer? I've never used one, so I honestly have no idea.

For as many people as bought the various Apple products, Macs in the XP and Vista era answered the question, "Would you like your computer to not be a malware-infested heap of frustration?", the iPod answered the question, "Would you like to carry all your CDs in a fun little pocket-sized box?", and the iPhone answered the question, "Would you like to carry the Internet in your pocket?" Not really novel stuff, but it was packaged thoughtfully and it made sense to a lot of people without requiring a great amount of explanation. The iPad is arguably the first major Apple product in a while that doesn't immediately scratch an obvious itch. Its selling point is more along the lines of, "A lot of what you do with your computer, in a smaller, sleeker package."

Again, I don't think it's rocket science. Apple built what their own people thought would be great, and lo and behold, a couple million other people thought it was great too. Sure, Apple is a slick marketer (although Apple's marketing budget is in line with other tech companies its size: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2009/10/28/apples-2009-ad-budget-half-a-billion/ [cnn.com] ) and gets a lot of free love from pop culture, but it would be myopic to suggest that this is much more than sugar-coating on an already solid and aggressive business model.

Re:History repeats (3, Interesting)

PipsqueakOnAP133 (761720) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234936)

I haven't used an OLPC XO before but after watching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwzCsOFxT-U [youtube.com] , I'm convinced that "being easy to use, being polished, and being better" in terms of usability DOES get you very far.

In other words, watching the quick tour of OLPC XO's interface has given me the opinion that Sugar/Linux doesn't get the same attention because it is not easier to use nor polished. I mean, look at that, and look at an iPad.

For starters, the iPad UI didn't need a bunch of chat bubbles to explain it. Am I really supposed to know off the top of my head what those icons or the circle means? Cuz there certainly isn't anything obvious sticking out at first glance. Like, what's the star trek communication badge icon do? And the shooting star? I'm taking a guess but this has tic-tac-toe installed?

And I have to drag the mouse to the edge to activate the menu? That's discoverable.... but would be very annoying. (I have a friend who sets at least 3 corners on his mac to trigger Expose. When using his machine, it triggers all the time on accident and drives me nuts.)

Re:History repeats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235150)

> The OLPC XO was very easy to use

Apparently you've never tried to print anything on your XO. Or load a PDF from a USB stick. Or try to save a document anywhere. Or, really, do anything at all except play with the toy apps that come with Sugar.

Seriously, Sugar's usability for real-world tasks is simply abysmal. But that's what you get when you throw everything out and try to wrap your OS around bizarro concepts your designers came up with and some unproven mesh networking ideas.

Re:History repeats (1, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234878)

"Apple's products aren't, in all respects, better than the competitors; what they are is more polished, more refined, and an order of magnitude easier to pick up on and figure out on your own."

Really? "Hold it wrong and lose the signal" doesn't scream "more polished, more refined, and an order of magnitude easier to pick up on" to me. But then, I am not subject to the RDF, so maybe I don't get it.

Re:History repeats (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234886)

> Apple's products aren't, in all respects, better than the competitors; what they are is more polished, more refined, and an order of magnitude easier to pick up on and
> figure out on your own.

Perhaps in the past. The 1,000,000 new Android users every 5 days seem to suggest this is no longer correct.

Re:History repeats (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235024)

A lot of the folks thinking about iPad competitors seem to be overlooking two things:
1. The iPad of today running iOS 3.2 is virtually yesterday's news. All iPad owners are going to get a huge upgrade in functionality when iOS 4.x comes out for it later this fall. That will, essentially, make it a "new" product again.
2. Many of the competitors aren't slated to come out until late in Q1 2011 anyway. They won't be competing against the current iPad hardware, they'll be competing against iPad2 or whatever Apple calls next year's model. With a 2011 release date, the specs better not be in any way comparable to what the iPad has today or they'll be a year behind.

As for sales of the iPad... I don't know anyone who owns one who isn't thinking of buying another one. It is so insanely useful to have a 1.5 pound computer that fits in any flat satchel and whose battery lasts all day. If you have kids and you don't have an iPad you don't know what you're missing.

No, what Apple's products are is fashionable (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235066)

Apple is first and foremost a fashion company these days, which is how they get their amazing margins. The fashion industry defies the normal pricing trend in that not only are people willing to spend more, but costing more can even be a GOOD thing.

The iPod was not the first MP3 player or anything. What it was is a fashion accessory. It was, and still is, trendy to have one. Notice that the white earbuds because a status statement, to the point that 3rd party companies had to start making them. Etymotic said they'd never before had requests for white, but when the iPod came out people wanted higher quality earphones, but only if they were white.

That is what really drives Apple business, and is why their profits are so high. Their margins are extremely high. In the tech industry, this is not tolerated. You find consumers are extremely price sensitive. However in the fashion industry it is, and to Apple's good fortune they've figured out how to sell tech as fashion.

Now as for iPad competitors, well how much that'll matter will depend on two things:

1) How technically good and cheap the competitors are. If the other tablets offer as good or better of a system for less, they'll sell well to anyone buying the tablet as a tool. After all as a tool the iPad is rather expensive since there are few tasks a tablet is truly well suited for. Most tasks, there are other devices that do a better job, other devices people usually own. So a good price will go a long way to making a niche device worth it. Likewise a good technical system (like the ability to install custom apps) will help. If the competitors have that, it'll hurt the iPad.

2) How much the buying is fashion driven. If the iPad becomes a fashion statement, then it won't really matter what competes with it. It'll sell largely on its fashion, and thus the price and utility won't be much of an issue. People will buy it to have it and show it off, and need no other reason. However if it doesn't become a fashion item, then competition will be much more of a problem, since it'll have to compete on price and that is just something Apple doesn't do.

That is really what it comes down to. So long as Apple keeps making devices that are fashionable, they are golden. They will sell lots, and they can sell them for a premium price, which equates to massive profits. If they can't do that, then they are in trouble. Not going out of business in trouble, they survived for many years not doing that, but their big profits will evaporate in a hurry and their sales will plummet unless they change.

Who knows when that'll happen, or if it ever will. Some companies can ride the fashion wave forever, others have their time in the sun and then fade out.

Re:History repeats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235076)

"Go back about five years in the archives of most tech publications and you can find similar stories about "The coming onslaught of iPod competitors." Look how that worked out."

Umm, when was the last time you bought an ipod. And mp3 player. mp3 players haven't been decisive anymore for quite some time in making or breaking a tech company. That' slong dead.

The mistake you are making is looking at past performance as an indicator of future performance. The ipod competitors didn't catch up. But they adopted, and because of it, the chips can cheaper and cheaper such they got stuck in the phone market, leading to smartphones and the like. Apple saw that, and had to adapt--hence the iphone. What's been happening is the cycle has been getting shorter and shorter.

"It isn't, and Apple's success this decade is a resounding rejoinder to that view."

Bullshit.

Apple's answer (you should call them NeXT if you are going back to the 80s and 90s) was to join them since they couldn't beat them, because Apple was beaten to a pulp. I can say this because despite your long comment, you don't demonstrate one product that makes them an exception. So let's see:

Apple joined up on being dependent on OS software like MS with OS X.

Apple joined up on mp3 players, see ipod.

Apple joined up on cell phones, see iphone.

Apple joined up on stripped down crap, see itouch

Apple joined up on tablets, see ipad.

All these things have or are on their way to being commodities, and all existed before Apple came out with them. Apple just branded them as theirs. Even their IP is such, with them going after cell manufacturers in kind to and protest of Nokia's GSM patents, has faltered.

Every single one of their current products is or has followed what Apple did for the PC--they didn't invent it, they did a new spin on it with the Macintosh, others adopted and caught up, the Apple product continued but lost out.

This is why as soon as Apple has a product hit, they have to evolve. And they are losing in that evolution, because they aren't evolving fast enough anymore. And making mistakes during the evolution too.

Maybe you just fail to see Apple as one of the cannibals, and yet all that that speaks to is you being in Apple's distortion field. Not a single product of theirs has been like "wow."

Apple joined the mainstream. That's why they are successful, for now. They've simply, for now, been successful adopting instead of innovating. And when they lose a product line or it starts to falter, they release a different product with their spin--most recently with their tablet PC called the ipad.

Also, change your 10 year selection to the past 15 years. Newton dead. Clones started and killed. Apple migration from m68k chips to PPCs were initially successful, then trailed off. They got hammered in hardware performance--they lost. They lost even the OS wars when Win95 came out. And as already mentioned, even their products in the last 10, more than half have already run their course. In fact, to me, it seems the cycle has gotten shorter--maybe 5-8 generations of various mp3 players and they've been overtaken by the general market or move to smartphones, 3 generations of phones and Android has caught them, and the ipad, hell, it seems the cycle is less than a year now. Would have been shorter if other companies like HP had half a brain, and even then, Apple almost got tripped up by Crunchpad if they didn't have that fiasco.

All that speaks to isn't a rejoinder, but that is simply Apple joining that sick cycle you were telling everyone they weren't doing. They were more efficient these past 10 years in doing it, but other companies have gotten wise and adapted. So unless Apple comes out with a 3d hovering visual display box with real time 10x supercomputer goodness for $750 next year, their cycle is done. Not out of their realm, but unlikely. The other area is robotics, but I think there, Sony might catch them in less than a year (although Sony is just shitty when coming up with decent shit consistently). They'll still pull a profit, but there's no more rabbit tricks. What I do predict is that Steve boy, with no more tricks left, is going to finally retire.

So keep drinking the K-A. Your Apple will still be around. But next year, the ipad might be going the way of the Apple TV. In any case, it's hardly a rejoinder, rather the opposite; it's proof they got their clock cleaned, they learn to make a digital watch, and now every one else is making them too, and they're like "shit, there's only so many ways to tell time."

Re:History repeats (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235106)

This is all nice, but Google has already done this with Android phones and the iPhone. The reason people expect it with the iPad is that there is a perfect platform out there already for an iPad clone, Android, which basically does everything iOS does roughly as well or at least within a stone's throw of iOS, and some things better.

The only reason it's not on any mainstream tablets yet is that Google hasn't yet certified a tablet specification (i.e. you need to have phone capabilities), and therefore any pure, non-cellular-voice-enabled Android tablets can't be released with Google apps and more importantly, with access to the Android Market.

So, yeah, I won't harp on about reality distortion fields and breathless Apple marketing because I don't need to. There are already crappy, off-brand Android tablet clones. The good ones will come out when Google says they can come out. This isn't vaporware, it's Google exerting some control over their platform, which is a good thing, seeing as they let things get a little too chaotic for a while with the Android OS versions.

No competitors yet (1)

kentsin (225902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234714)

meeGo?

Not hardware, software!

Wait now, didn't we agree (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234744)

Wait now, didn't we agree there was no such thing as a market for an iPad? And now we're suddenly discussing what knock-offs will compete for a slice of the profits?

The latter is quite simple, none of the other really get out of the Catch 22. Users don't buy until there's apps and app developers don't develop until there's a market. Unless you're Steve Jobs and provably have millions of followers, then you hit critical hype and get a sufficient quantity of apps and users out there simultaneously to set the snowball rolling. Exhibit A, the iPhone. Out of the box quite satisfactory but nothing special compared to HTC and the other smart phones. But hell, given all the useful and funny and clever (and gimmicky and useless) apps Ive seen for it, even I want one by now. Not because I think Apple is that great, but because that's where the applications are.

I think next they'll make the home entertainment center common - oh they've been around forever with Windows Media Center and such but so had the Windows tablets. I don't really count the AppleTV as one either, it's more of a warmup. Not as a console replacement, but one taking a big chunk out of the "casual" gaming market Nintendo has shown is there with the Wii too. And really bringing that together has the core in your system setup, not a Mac. And possibly finally bring around the TV revolution where more people get series and movies via iTunes over the Internet than over broadcasts and cable. Well, the legal revolution anyway ;).

Re:Wait now, didn't we agree (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234782)

I think next they'll make the home entertainment center common

Their pro-DRM stance should fit in nicely with the current state of affairs surrounding set-top boxes.

And possibly finally bring around the TV revolution where more people get series and movies via iTunes over the Internet than over broadcasts and cable.

Nicely DRMed and "protected" (read: restricted) from the users doing what they want to do with the clips. Mandatory, un-skippable advertising? You bet! Time shifting? Only for the shows that they want to let you time shift!

You know, a lot of us were saying that it is unfortunate that there is a market for the iPad, since it is so restrictive and designed to undermine its users' freedoms. If Apple ventures into TV, we will probably wind up saying the same thing, unless Apple decides to do an about-face (I won't hold my breath).

Re:Wait now, didn't we agree (2, Insightful)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235146)

Their pro-DRM stance should fit in nicely with the current state of affairs surrounding set-top boxes.

DRM? Like how they took all the DRM off all the iTMS downloads? Or are you talking about how they insist on approving apps to make sure there isn't scamware in their store, unlike Android, which has ALREADY had problems.

I don't care if you hate Steve and his turtlenecks, or if you hate every hipster with a trust fund whos daddy bought him a Macbook. it's time to face it: Apple makes good shit that works well, and people like it.

Another iPod^H^H iPad killer! (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234750)

It is the quantity of the iPod killers that counts you know. I am not an apple fanboi but I think displacing the iPad is going to be a pretty difficult task.

Viliv X10? Lenovo IdeaPad U1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234758)

Well, I'm waiting for something decent to appear. What I need from such a device is Android, 7"+ screen, decent 3D hw accel, capacitive touch screen and HDMI output. Surprisingly, I couldn't find anything meeting these criteria except Viliv X10 (http://blog.laptopmag.com/viliv-x10-android-tablet-blows-our-mind-with-1366-x-768-screen-3d-graphics-hp-video) which seems to have it all but won't be available until Q4.

Lenovo IdeaPad U1 (http://netbookboards.com/2010/01/07/ces-2010-lenovo-introduces-ideapad-u1-hybrid-tabletnotebook-with-detachable-screen/) looks sweet too with detachable screen (that means read keyboard! :) ) but it's unclear when it will be released, in what form or with which hardware specs.

Curiously, none of them are mentioned in TFA.

Missing option, er, I mean, item (3, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234764)

He totally forgot the Pandigital Novel [pandigital.net] -- a 7" Android tablet that is pitched mainly as an e-reader but which has many other capabilities. Sure, it's gotten lukewarm reviews, but at least it exists, unlike most of what's on his list.

On a related note, does anyone know if the new WebKit browser on the now-$139 Kindle is any good?

Great, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234768)

Why is there still no decent Android-based iPod Touch competitor?

Windows 7 tablets? (3, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234812)

I can't imagine any of the Windows 7 tablets being worth buying. Any x86 chip that can run Windows 7 will burn more battery life and dissipate more heat than an ARM chip. Do you want a heavy tablet (lots of batteries) or a tablet with super-short battery life? I don't. Do you want a tablet with a vent on one side that blows hot air out while you are using it? I don't.

Of the various ARM chips, the exciting one is the Tegra 2. 8 cores: two ARM 9 cores at 1 GHz each, plus audio DSP, video encode and decode, graphics accelerator, an image processor and an ARM 7 core used for housekeeping. All with a typical heat dissipation of 500 milliWatts, or perhaps less. (I saw a YouTube video that claimed a Tegra 2 can decode 1080P video while dissipating only 350 Watts.)

The iPad gets its long battery life and lack of a hot air vent from the A4 chip, which is an ARM core of some sort (IIRC an ARM 8) at 1 GHz. I believe the iPad also has a graphics accelerator. Presumably a Tegra 2 chip can smoke the iPad on performance, and it's already good enough.

Also, Windows 7 was designed for a mouse. Will the Windows 7 tablets come with a stylus for precision pointing? Or will Microsoft make an all-new GUI environment just for tablets? I'd rather just have Android.

So I'm waiting for a smartbook or tablet with a Tegra 2 and a Pixel Qi screen, running some sort of Linux (likely Android). I had hoped that devices like that would ship this summer but I guess they are delayed.

steveha

Re:Windows 7 tablets? (2, Funny)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235018)

I saw a YouTube video that claimed a Tegra 2 can decode 1080P video while dissipating only 350 Watts...

I really hope you missed a decimal point there.

Right (1, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234876)

By early 2011 these things are going to be everywhere, and it'll be fascinating to see how they fare."

According to slashdot, they will all fail because despite Apples sales records, no one on earth would want something that isn't a notebook or laptop and falls in between!

It's fascinating (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234900)

It's really sad to see how some manufacturers seem to honestly think that a Windows 7 tablet is going to work well, let alone be an "iPad killer" of any sort. Windows 7 is a great OS, but it's in no way suited for a touch UI and even if you collaborated with Microsoft to make a "for touch UI" Windows version, you would still have the problem of the entire Windows software ecosystem not conforming to the touch UI norms, so that basically won't help you at all. The only 2 potential competitors the iPad might get are Android 3.0 and Meego devices. No, current Android is not good enough.

Business Success (2, Interesting)

RegTooLate (1135209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234964)

The iPad and alike competitors should bet on business communication suites. One which has video conferencing, document presentation and sharing collaboration tools will be the most successful. I would like it if I could do an impromptu video conference meeting with anyone remotely as face to face interaction leads to better understanding and communication. Take the meeting collaboration space, have the pads chirp to each other forming a meeting share where they can present documents live and collaborate in the editing. Combine the video conference and meeting function together so remote operations are included just like person to person. You could make a remote desktop viewer that shares to everyone else. Give us a headphone and mic jack for privacy as well. Make a scrum board that has tasks that are passed seamlessly through the pads and updated live remote and interoffice. That is a sweet pad.

Re:Business Success (2, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235166)

Clearly some of the usual business-oriented players are moving in this direction (see RIM [mobilemag.com] , Cisco [cisco.com] ); but Apple has shown that the big money is in entertainment devices. It's actually kind of funny how this works. Microsoft and RIM were dominating the suit-wearing, jet-setting crowd, but then Steve Jobs waltzes in and sells high end smartphones and iPod Touch's to McDonalds workers and teenagers (many of whom can't really afford them), dwarfs MSFT's profits, and creates huge new markets out of thin air.

... but getting back on subject, I agree, that sounds like a really useful gadget that I would like myself. :^)

iPad will ultimately fail like the iPod did (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235026)

lbecause the iPad is just as lame as the original iPod - just ask CmdrTaco http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/10/23/1816257

All sorts of talk.. (4, Insightful)

proxima (165692) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235078)

When the ipad was first announced, many commentators predicted that there would be a deluge of Android-based competitors with more features (Flash!) for less money. Here we are almost seven months later and frankly, this article sums up the sorry state of competition. Most of the devices are unavailable and many don't even have firm release dates (others are late). The predictions about beating Apple's pricing fell through (e.g. the JooJoo is $499, though it's a larger and significantly different device).

Eventually we will have a nice selection of tablets, just like we now have a nice selection of smartphones. But you may have to wait a year or two for them; meanwhile, Apple will sell lots and lots of ipads, establishing a solid market for which developers will make lots of apps.

Frankly, if I was waiting for one of these competitors I'd be getting pretty frustrated. The Notion Ink Adam has been hyped up all over the place, and keeps getting pushed back. The currently available devices (like the one from KMart) get pretty horrible reviews; it's clear that trying to go too cheap on the tablets leads to some huge sacrifices in quality of the screen, for example.

What's interesting to me is that the major ereaders have responded to the ipad. Amazon and BN released apps for the ipad (Amazon on launch day!), while they both substantially dropped their ereader prices (responding to each other, too). They're carving out a niche - dedicated ereaders with eink screens getting down to the price points where people can buy them as gifts for each other in this coming holiday season. BN's nook actually runs Android, though it has to be jailbroken to make use of it.

Doesnt solve the problem. (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235120)

The problem with the Ipad is that it's $500 These "alternatives" are also $500... they don't solve the problem. People want to surf the net, read books, and maybe do word processing on these things. There's no reason they need to be so built up that they cost $500. I can build a relatively high-end gaming computer for that much. There's no reason a pad should cost that much.

How about a single good one? (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235190)

So many mediocre tablets from startups trying to cash in.

How about a quality unit from a top tier company?

BTW just read this bombshell.

Oracle is now suing Android over Java!!!

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_15762198?nclick_check=1 [mercurynews.com]

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