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Hands-on With the iPad Alternatives On Display At IFA

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the touchy-feely-wanty-wanty dept.

Handhelds 156

Barence writes "This week's IFA show has seen a flurry of Android-based alternatives to the iPad emerge from leading manufacturers. The Samsung Galaxy Tab made a strong first impression on PC Pro's reviewer. The 7-inch tablet's TFT screen 'beams forth with rich, saturated colors and wide, wide viewing angles,' the device is capable of Full HD playback and the TouchWiz UI is 'clearly intended to draw customers away from the iFamily.' Elsewhere, ViewSonic has launched a pair of 7-inch and 10-inch tablets, the larger of which dual boots into either Android or Windows 7. 'Our first moments with Windows 7 were surprisingly painless, too: we expected the Atom processor and 1GB of memory to be horrendously sluggish, but it wasn't the case,' PC Pro reports. Finally, Toshiba's 10.1-in. Folio 100 marries Android 2.2 with Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform to deliver 'mighty graphics crunching power.' The build quality left a little to desire, though. 'The 14mm thick chassis feels lightweight, and even relatively gentle twisting motions left the Folio's plastic body creaking under the stress.'"

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156 comments

Software. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488094)

Software, software, software, software, software, software, software.

HOW IS THE SOFTWARE?

Re:Software. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488168)

Bloated, slow, useless, unnecessary and pointless? Enjoy your consumer paradise while the oil lasts!

Re:Software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489772)

I will, thanks.

Re:Software. (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488388)

Software doesn't have numbers that make it easy to dismiss as lame.

Obviously the Nomad was the most popular pmd because it had the best numbers.

Re:Software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488488)

Software? There's an app for that

Re:Software. (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488842)

Software, software, software, software, software, software, software.

HOW IS THE SOFTWARE?

And price. Price of hardware and price of software.

Re:Software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489246)

Almost all the new tablets are Android, which will be just as wonderful as Android phones?

Display (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488114)

Am I the only one who doesn't like OLED and AMOLED displays? Sure they have vibrant colors but they are too saturated and not "real". Kinda like TVs at the hardware stores are setup to compete over color, without any regard for looking real.

Re:Display (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488198)

I guess it depends what you're using them for. For web browsing I like the saturated colour, it tends to make things a little easier to distinguish on a small screen (my experience is with the HTC Desire), and menus and apps look visually very appealing. For movies/Youtube the screen is small enough that the colours aren't really off-putting, but on a slightly bigger screen, for watching TV or feature length movies I'd probably find it too much.

Re:Display (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488454)

well, on the Tab you're not getting AMOLED as they've run out of them. This is why they're shipping with "Super TFT". HTC are doing it with the Desire, too.

Re:Display (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33490052)

Am I the only one who doesn't like OLED and AMOLED displays? Sure they have vibrant colors but they are too saturated and not "real". Kinda like TVs at the hardware stores are setup to compete over color, without any regard for looking real.

On phones and other basic devices, I can certainly see where you're coming from. But for something like a TV, you'd have to assume that you'd have control over the color levels to provide an accurate image. In short, what you're complaining about is a software problem and not a hardware problem (e.g., the color levels that phones and tablets are set to output by default).

I don't care what they run now, (4, Interesting)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488134)

I care about being able to install, without having to ask permission, in the future any or other possible OSs. Windows 7 starter is a non starter.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (2, Interesting)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488192)

not only a non-starter, but I hate having windows forced down my throat as being "free"... it's NOT, you're paying for it... and I, for one, refuse to pay for something I do not want on the device... I want to be able to buy it without an OS... not even Android... I just want driver disks made available or available for download

Re:I don't care what they run now, (4, Informative)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488240)

So click decline on the EULA screen. Part of the EULA says that if you decline the manufacturer is responsible for giving you a refund.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (2, Insightful)

InEnacWeTrust (1638615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488422)

So click decline on the EULA screen. Part of the EULA says that if you decline the manufacturer is responsible for giving you a refund.

Indeed, and in some countries (Europe mainly, I don't know much about the situation overseas) there's been several court cases where the guy declining the EULA and wanting a refund won against the retailer who denied it to them.

Refund ranged from the retail price of Windows Home edition to a flat amount (100$ or so) to 1/4th or 1/5th of the total price of the computer on which the software was installed. This refund was not limited to Windows per se but also included all the preinstalled software that the retailer paid.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488448)

I'm afraid that you belong to such a minute minority that your needs will never be catered for, or only by super special vendors. I'm willing to bet that >99% of the buyers of say, an tablet PC, want the device to work and be usable out of the box. Even if they were keen to install something else on it later. And that means having an OS and some applications pre-installed is a must. Having to download drivers, to download all the software, whatever is not just a chore, you can't even do it with your device if it doesn't come with anything installed.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (1, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488406)

I care about being able to install, without having to ask permission, in the future any or other possible OSs. Windows 7 starter is a non starter.

While I wouldn't use Windows 7 if I could avoid it on a tablet, I'd rather have Windows 7 forced on me than iOS.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488502)

The problem is that manufacturers seem to be stuck bundling some sort of an OS with their computers. IIRC that was the justification that Dell gave for offering FreeDOS with some of their computers, since they'd likely end up in trouble for encouraging piracy, they had to include something.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488648)

And car makers are stuck bundling an engine with their cars.

You should have to tow your new chassis off the lot to your garage to drop an engine of your choice in.

Re:I don't care what they run now, (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489546)

You can sell a car kit, or indeed any portion thereof. Licensing is up to the purchaser if they want to drive it on the street, but even in litigation- and regulation-happy California you are permitted one (curses!) fully custom automobile that is not subject to many restrictions normally placed on road-going vehicles. IIRC they invent a VIN and it's attached to the body so it's in your best interest to have something infinitely repairable and more to the point, that will make you happy forever. If I were shorter I would have considered a GT40, but 6'2" is about the maximum driver height for an unmodified vehicle (i.e. factory spec body.) Now I fantasize about a tube-frame version of the lancer evo with a 4motion TDI setup :)

Re:I don't care what they run now, (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488702)

That's because the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of people want an OS pre-installed. Why would they cater to a miniscule minority over the people who make up 99.9% of their customer base?

Is it just because I'm a nerd (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488150)

Is it just because I'm a nerd that I think a thin netbook with a proper keyboard would be more useful and just as portable?

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488234)

If it's because you're a nerd you're probably asking the wrong audience! Personally I can't see the advantages over a netbook or ultra-portable laptop, but the disadvantages (lack of keyboard, plus I don't see how I'm meant to hold it for prolonged periods, e.g. for watching a movie, the keyboard on a netbook functions as a stand to hold it upright on my lap) are off-putting. The gadget fan in me can see the attraction of a killer interface for controlling technology in the home, but since most of my technology can't talk to one device right now, and the devices in question are a little pricey to use as fancy remote controls, I do have issues seeing how I can possibly justify one of these right now.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (3, Informative)

jmak (409787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488272)

There was also Tegra-based Toshiba AC100 [engadget.com] on display, with a lot more nerd-appeal IMHO.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

zarzu (1581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488390)

this would be very interesting if it had a touch screen and the screen was invertible. why make such a thin netbook if you can't use it as a tablet? it's just meh this way.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

happymellon (927696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488408)

I would agree that it looks awesome. When I first looked I thought that $450-$550 seemed a bit much, thinking about it though, if it can really get 7 hours of real usage then this could be something that a traveller could use.

The "all day battery" lie (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489266)

Leave it to us to make up new scummy standards for the rest of the world to copy --kinda like "unlimited internet" turned out:

At least on websearches, netbooks are increasingly advertised with an "all day" batt life, while the description on the same page details it as 7 hours for the traveller. That fails on many counts:

a day is more than 300% of 7 hours
a workday is 7 to 8 hours, lunch not included --no room for a crafty "this is a *business* machine following a shorter day's quantification."

If I went to lunch, I would enjoy plugging my laptop to the lunchroom's WAP, but the laptop would not guarantee the power that would be stolen from my work.

I prefer more subtle advertisement lies to the ones that pretend the buyer's IQ is 0, since packaging lies imply dozens of invisible hardware lies... only in the US can sell a lie in ads if worded in loophole talk and defended by the lawyer-commercial conglomerates

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488764)

There was also Tegra-based Toshiba AC100 [engadget.com] on display, with a lot more nerd-appeal IMHO.

I might buy one of these, if you can install a proper distro instead of this silly little smartphone OS. Tegra as such is relatively open, and there are instructions on getting Ubuntu and Gentoo on the devkit, but the netbook may be a different matter.

Here "relatively open" means that you need to run Nvidia's own kernel branch based on 2.6.29, and the video drivers seem to be closed blobs. I think I'll get a GNU/RMS-approved Lemote Yeeloong instead.

http://tegradeveloper.nvidia.com/tegra/forums/tegra-forums/linux-development [nvidia.com]

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488866)

The Toshiba Folio 100 lacks build quality as lots of people already reported, just check the videos on the web, it is pure plastic.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488244)

2011 should be the year of the Netvertible. There are several already, but if they get thinner, lighter, and with better battery life could be a good middle ground between netbooks and tablets.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488270)

I'd love one, but there's a bit of work to do to get close enough to "instant-on" while still having a great battery life. I think some of the Asus 1000 series are getting pretty good battery life these days (8-10 hours) full-on. This is at least in the ballpark, I think.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (0, Troll)

Cabriel (803429) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488386)

let me know when the knetbooks get touch screens and kill the trackpad (usb mice reduce portability). Until then, I'll be over at the tablets, drooling in anticipation. :)

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488460)

let me know when the knetbooks get touch screens and kill the trackpad (usb mice reduce portability). Until then, I'll be over at the tablets, drooling in anticipation. :)

How about [laptopsdirect.co.uk] now [amazon.co.uk] ?

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488456)

Probably (I don't know much about "nerd" culture), I'm a geek and I'm loving my iPad... I only got it because there was no Android devices on the market at the time that were even worth looking at. Still a little way off there, gotta get that build quality up and ensure all devices are current releases (not 6-12 month old releases of Android).

I don't want to have to root a device just to get the latest OS.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488540)

True netbooks are starting to become rare. The $100 to $200 price range ones are getting to be a rarity and increasingly the choice involves Windows and higher specs than a netbook really needs. Which is really unfortunate, because while I like my Asus eeepc, it does have that battery life problem where the USB ports are constantly powered up. It looks to me like the manufacturers have really lost touch with the point of a netbook. It's supposed to be inexpensive and relatively spartan to make it mobile while still being reasonably functional for basic computing tasks.

Sounds like you want a Touchbook (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488586)

I agree with you and that's why I think the Always Innovating Touchbook is about the sweetest thing possible. It's an ARM-based touchscreen tablet with a detachable keyboard. Unfortunately it's being brought to market by a small company and just like the Open Pandora, they have been having trouble with filling orders and continuously lengthening deadlines. It was supposed to come out in 2007 and finally came out in 2009 and now they are sold out. Always Innovating is promising that the new version will be coming out in September but I didn't believe them so I bought one on eBay.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488652)

No, you aren't a nerd (at least here, you are in good company!) But you may be part of a dying breed.

I teach at a community college. The other day, one of my students in engineering calculus was astounded to see me typing in a black window with white text at "lightspeed" (xterm with tab-autocomplete :) His comments started a microconversation in the class, of which none of the handful of 18yo students (to my shock) had ever heard of "DOS"!

I explained to them that when I was their age, about half of the computers a person would run into in daily life had a non-gui interface. This was when Win 3.11 was king of the (relatively rare) home PC.

I don't know...kind of put it all into perspective for me....dang kids these days...never had to pop a boot floppy into a computer to get the OS up, never have experience monochrome terminals. Last semester, I had a student take an online class using only an Ipod! Guess the keyboard is optional to these noobs!

It's all about the applications (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488938)

Is it just because I'm a nerd that I think a thin netbook with a proper keyboard would be more useful and just as portable?

Even running WIndows (and then it's not thin) you simply don't have the range of usable applications for a netbook that you do for an iPad. Don't forget that every single iPad application is written to perform well on it, and be usable for the input choices you have. You can't say the same for running most applications on a Netbook except for some writing tools.

Re:It's all about the applications (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489208)

Don't forget that every single iPad application is written to perform well on it, and be usable for the input choices you have.

While this is the idea behind Apple's walled garden approach, it's not universally true. Some applications just don't perform that well, for example, Netflix's app is basically just a web view, and isn't optimized at all for the iPad. Also, MLB at bat can be pretty sluggish sometimes.

Other apps are fundamentally flawed because of the input choices. I'm thinking specifically of apps like Penultimate, where I wish I had an actual pen to jot notes with. I've tried the chunky capacitive pens, and they're just not a replacement for an actual digitized screen you would find on a tablet PC. Also, I will mention Apple's iWork suite for iPad, which tries so hard to be touch only, but just BEGS for a keyboard and mouse. I've really tried to like it and use it, but the most I've done is some edits to already made documents.

Re:Is it just because I'm a nerd (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489398)

I guess I'm not as much of a nerd as I thought I was. I had to get an Ipad to support one of my bigger clients (work paid for it). I figured I would spend a few days learning the ropes (documents to go, pages, email setup, etc) then it would go on the shelf or more likely craigslist. Instead, my notebook is now collecting dust. I thought I would need my usb slots, full os, flash, etc...but so far I haven't really run into anything I couldn't do with it. I have had a few occasions where i had to think and be creative about it, but generally its been able to handle everything I have thrown at it. I have a tiny TZ series Vaio that I thought was the ideal consultant device but i haven't turned it on in almost a month and am not questioning whether i should keep it.

Im starting to think the fragmentation of Android is going to make it really hard to compete. I picked up one of the a-pad's at the beginning of summer, as expected its crap, picked up an Archos 7 tablet and its so limited that its worthless as well. I look forward to seeing an android tablet that is on par spec and feature wise, but so far they all seem to fall short in one way or another.

7" screen? Why? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488154)

That pretty much kills the device right there(at least for a lot of uses). If you are going to have a tablet with a software keyboard you are going to have to make it easy to type on, 7" just won't do it. Phones aren't that much smaller but are infinitely more portable. Looks like Samsung just figured they could split the difference between a phone and iPad and the product would be great, without actually realizing why each device has the form factor it does.

Re:7" screen? Why? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488220)

I would guess that the performance not being sluggish under Windows 7 with that processor they've used is related to it not running any anti-virus as well. I think we know how that ends for most people. It may not be sluggish now, but it soon will be.

Re:7" screen? Why? (3, Insightful)

PriyanPhoenix (900509) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488224)

Although this ignores the fact the Tab comes preloaded with Swype as its keyboard. Most who have tried it view Swype's mechanic as the future of touchscreen text input (and it will no doubt migrate in some for to the iPhone at some point). However it would actually be worse suited to a larger screen because the swiping motions would need to be significantly longer/larger to reach across a larger keyboard.

Given the chosen input method, the 7" form factor appears to be a better decision, not a worse one.

Re:7" screen? Why? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488552)

You don't have to make the keyboard larger on the larger screen. So Swype is probably fairly size agnostic.

Re:7" screen? Why? (3, Funny)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488770)

brain@kumanopuusan ~ % parse-english < "Most who have tried it view Swype's mechanic as the future of touchscreen text input (and it will no doubt migrate in some for to the iPhone at some point)."
SYNTAX ERROR: PREPOSITION OBJECT NOT FOUND AT LINE 1, COLUMN 116:
(A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore?
>R
SYNTAX ERROR: PREPOSITION OBJECT NOT FOUND AT LINE 1, COLUMN 116:
(A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore?
>I
SYNTAX ERROR: PREPOSITION OBJECT NOT FOUND AT LINE 1, COLUMN 124:
(A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore?
>I
SYNTAX ERROR: PREPOSITION OBJECT NOT FOUND AT LINE 1, COLUMN 128:
(A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore?
>I
FATAL ERROR: CEREBRAL ANEURYSM DETECTED

Re:7" screen? Why? (1)

PriyanPhoenix (900509) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488814)

Funny, but seriously, it was missing 1 letter in "form". You probably could have picked a better post for this... ;)

Re:7" screen? Why? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488886)

This sure was a lot lamer, and a lot more work, than one of those annoying "FTFY" posts. Surely a Ralph Wiggam "Me fail English? That's unpossible" would have sufficed.

Re:7" screen? Why? (2, Interesting)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489078)

It was while trying to read your informative, insightful (and on-topic!) post that I stumbled over your minor typo.
I apologize for lowering the S/N ratio. I'll try to keep my humorless musings to myself (starting right after this post, evidently).

Re:7" screen? Why? (1)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488232)

I have no problem typing on my cell phone's 3 inch screen, I doubt people will have much problems with a 7" screen either. It's nowhere near as good as an actual keyboard, but this isn't a PC or laptop replacement we're talking about. The iPad isn't much better.

Re:7" screen? Why? (0, Redundant)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488268)

Maybe they're planning to put Swype on it - that helps a lot with typing on touch screen mobiles and I think Samsung have some kind of a deal to have it on their mobiles already even though it's still in beta elsewhere. If they're expecting people to use this as a lightweight web browser then that's probably a good compromise, but I agree I'd hate to do any serious typing on it (even with a bluetooth keyboard, you have the issue of how you comfortably prop up a tablet device and keep your lap free for the keyboard - if you go the route of a stand then you may as well have a netbook).

Re:7" screen? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488356)

...I saw a comment that pretty much exactly said this, before the iPad came out, about its screen.

Wallet sized (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488546)

It might fit into a pocket so you don't have to carry a bag. 7" is probably the absolute max you don't need a bag for.

Looks nice (3, Interesting)

webheaded (997188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488156)

I'd be more interested in that 10" Viewsonic...the only really annoying thing I got while reading about it was the fact that you can't run Android 2.2 on it yet. That's kind of disappointing. This is definitely something I could pick up and play with though.

On the other hand, I think I'm interested more in color e-ink over this flurry of tablet PCs. Every time I see one, all I really think of is reading stuff. Like say...a comic book or even a normal book. I'm sure they're fine little PCs but I already have a netbook with an actual keyboard. The allure of a tablet is so-so.

I'll be more impressed when I can actually buy one (4, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488160)

Especially if I can buy one for a reasonable price. As I understand it, the Samsung will cost about $1000. In any case, I'm tired of the constant announcements, and no actual products.

Re:I'll be more impressed when I can actually buy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488242)

Wait for the Rockchip 2818 Clones running Android 2.2 at a lot less.
They also have 8 inch models with sharp and japan display.
they will be sub $100 after an initial release price of say $140, although obsolete VIA ones are less than that now.
ARM+DSP at low power beats anything MS on battery - so I wonder what MS is thinking.

Re:I'll be more impressed when I can actually buy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489262)

I'm tired of the constant announcements, and no actual products.

Agreed. About a year and a half/two years ago (post Kindle, pre iPad) Plastic Logic (pre)announced a large format e-reader. It then took them until January of this year to announce the price (~$1000), and release date (this summer). Then when the release date rolled around, they announced "Sorry, but we've decided not to release after all. But wait for version 2.0! It's going to be even better!"

I'm not holding my breath.

Re:I'll be more impressed when I can actually buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489276)

Um no, your information is WRONG. The galaxy tab will be cheaper than the iPad.

iPad is the gold standard? (5, Interesting)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488204)

I find it interesting that these after-the-fact products use Apple's offerings (iPhone and now the iPad) as the benchmark product. This tells me that other manufacturers see that Apple got it right, whether it's due to marketing or technology,
By comparing themselves to Apple's products, other manufacturers have made them the gold standard.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488248)

They definitely got some things right. Personally, I think the forced "walled garden" is wrong, but obviously I'm not their target market. I don't think the price is right for what it is either. The devices shown here also seem a bit expensive but are a bit closer to general purpose computers.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488542)

I actually think that this are two points where Apple got it right. At least the market at large thinks so.

Price: the iPad not really expensive. Price of an iPad is not far from a netbook.

It's not a general purpose computer. That may be a weak point, may also be a strong point. The weak point being that it has limited functionality; the strong point being that it can focus on being really good at the functions it can do. Sounds a bit like the Unix philosophy of having many bits and pieces of software that each do one thing, and do that one thing well. And considering the success of the iPad it's doing what many people want it to do, and it's doing that well.

I agree with the "walled garden" issue. I would love to see Apple have an official app store where only vetted apps are available, but also leaving the door open to third-party "use at your own risk" app stores.

These competitors may fall in between: not specialised enough to do without a keyboard, not general purpose enough to buy one instead of a cheaper netbook.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489314)

I bought my last netbook from Dell for $219 over the summer. My iPad cost $499, plus I needed a $30 display adapter for it. So if by "Price of an iPad is not far from a netbook." you mean "Price of an iPad is over twice that of a netbook" I'd agree with you.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489474)

Then you had a great offer, or a less-specced device. I just did a quick google search on 10" netbooks (the iPad is 9.7") and prices were $290-$420 depending on specs. I'm sure you can find cheaper and more expensive models too.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488288)

I agree.

Not so long ago in a /. discussion I got the complaint "how could you have missed the article about smartphone xyz?!". The replier even gave a link to said article. The headline was " releases iPhone competitor". No "new Android-based smartphone", no, an "iPhone competitor".

It's been like that since the iPhone resp. iPad were released. Not just on /., but all over the media. Also in my local daily.

Since the iPad was released I have been receiving spam from Chinese manufacturers offering '7" iPad' tablets - usually running Andriod, offered at prices of US$50-80 each. Called iPad in the subject of the e-mail, for the rest they are no-brand as usual.

I've seen the iPhone, and it looks great. I've played a bit with it, it's really easy. I've talked to people who own an iPad, all positive. I have seen a link claiming some 90% satisfaction ratio with the iPhone - very high. So yes Apple is doing something right, because with just marketing they can't do this. Microsoft can't outmarket them in this respect, and MS's marketing team is very good at their job, yet MS's products are not a golden standard.

Still it's getting irritating. iPad competitor. iPhone alternative. iPod killer. The actual brand or manufacturer the story is about is not mentioned; Apple's product however IS mentioned, giving it free marketing, effectively promoting it. After all who wants to buy an "alternative" that has not yet been released, when you can get the "real thing" now?

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489114)

And I agree with you. This only makes other brands look like the cheap counterpart, lacking authenticity and personality.

That's what Apple has really achieved: To be a status symbol of "authentic" products with "personality" (although everyone has one or want to have one).

If any brand of cars started to compared themselves with another brand, probably people wouldn't even look at them, but in that spectrum money difference is a big deal. Buying an iPod vs. any other MP3/video player would be a $100 difference perhaps, while buying a Mercedes-Benz and will impact your wallet harder than buying a Hyundai. Even though, Hyundai doesn't market its Genesis as a Mercedes killer, even though its design was undoubtedly copied.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489608)

I am interested in an Andriod wifi only device that is small like myopic touch. Just to play around with.
In other words an iPod touch that runs Android OS??
I am using my iPod?

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (3, Interesting)

oblivionboy (181090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489948)

Dude! Have you TRIED an iPad? Its really the thing.

Listen, I'm not an Apple fanboy by anymeans, however I'll tell you what I was a fanboy of for years: tablets. I bought lots from ebay, from the venerable IBM Thinkpad730T, various Fujitsu tablets, and even pretty much every MessagePad that came out. The MessagePads were the coolest, and there's alot from there that is missing from the iPad. That said though, all the "PC" style tablets were horrible, and they have become oddities in my closet. Why? The user experience.

The user experience was terrible, because they were tied to Windows. And Windows has never been a tablet OS, no matter what "Edition" you get it in. Its a desktop OS, at least in its consumer form, and so was "adapted" rather than designed from the beginning to work well with a tablet. Don't mention Linux, its got the same problem. Unless of course you redesigned Linux's interface from scratch for a tablet interface, you won't get anywhere with it. Oh wait, gee Google did that with Android. And I hear its pretty successful.

But Apple kick started the whole thing off with the iPhone, at least in the popular mind set, and its a pretty neat device as things go. But, looking at the iPad, you start to think that maybe this is where they wanted to go all along. In fact I can't actually imagine anyone designing the iOS interface for the small size of the iPhone. Im sure what happened was that they had this tablet program, and they realized that for reason x, y and z (processing power, memory, battery life, whatever), what they wanted to offer wasn't feasable, but was a few years off. So they scaled it down screen wise and put it on the iPhone. But make no mistake, as soon as you play with the iPad more than casually (ie: daily use, integrated into your life), the iPhone seems kind of like a toy by comparison. And the iPad has done what no other tablet has done that I'm aware of (except maybe the original MessagePads, and the new Android based ones coming up), which is start from the ground up with an OS designed for tablets, and create a great tablet experience.

So right now iPad competitor is a pretty good term. It might not be three years out, but today, everyone that has tried in the past has more or less failed. The recent announcement was that they sold 3.5 million iPads? I think Fujitsu would cream there pants to have that much success in their portable computing division.

Anyways try it before you judge. You might be surprised. I would give the same advice to the Android tablets, or any new kind of tablet OS that is designed properly for the format.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (3, Interesting)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488300)

Since Apple sold more iPad's in 80 days than all other manufacturers combined probably sold in a year, yeah, they're the gold standard.

I say probably because I couldn't find many tablet sales number past 2005. There were a total of 1 million tablets sold that year, Apple sold 3 million iPad in the first 80 days. I don't think the market got better for tablets after 2005.

I could be wrong, but I've wasted more time researching this than I wanted to.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (2, Interesting)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489844)

I say probably because I couldn't find many tablet sales number past 2005. There were a total of 1 million tablets sold that year, Apple sold 3 million iPad in the first 80 days. I don't think the market got better for tablets after 2005.

If there was a market, none of the product offerings met the needs of that market. I looked at tablets back in the early 2000s. The tablets at the time weren't much more than half-assed attempts using a laptop form factor with a touch-sensitive pivoting screen that looked like it would snap right off if you looked at it wrong. They were big, bulky, and expensive.

Maybe Apple just happened to hit the target first once the technology evolved that would allow development of the proper form factor.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (1)

drej (1663541) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488302)

Well, it's not like they really had a choice. As far as the general public is concerned, Apple's products are the best ever and the absolute pinnacle of technology. So in order to appeal to a wide audience the other manufacturers have to compare themselves to Apple I think. It's the only basis of comparison the general public has. In order to make Linux appealing you have to say "It's better than Windows"; just providing data and technical mumbo jumbo won't do it for a general audience.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488568)

There is an article in the nyt on the AppleTV [nytimes.com] . It is interesting that they do a bit of revisionist history, claiming that the iPod was a superior device. In fact it had many of the limitation people complain of the iPad. I did not allow wireless connection for data. It did not have a memory slot. It was firewire only.

It was not superior, but it was effective for a Mac owner. There was enough memory to hold many songs. The firewire interface was necessary because mostly computers still ran USB 1.1. The problem with my nomad, for instance, was that transferring songs was dead slow. It was also rugged, unlike the nomad.

What we will likely see on other devices is feature bloat. They will be able to do some whiz bang thing, but the overall machine will have never been thought out from the user point of view. It is like the android commercials. In the commercials, the human become a slave to the machine, the body turning into the machine to serve it. This to me is unacceptable industrial design.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (2, Insightful)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489720)

In fact it had many of the limitation people complain of the iPad. I did not allow wireless connection for data. It did not have a memory slot. It was firewire only.

Which MP3 player in 2001 did have wireless? And do you remember the size and prices of memory cards in 2001?

The iPod also didn't use a delicate huge ass 3.5" hard drive and a slow serial port connection or USB 1.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489970)

It is interesting that they do a bit of revisionist history, claiming that the iPod was a superior device. In fact it had many of the limitation people complain of the iPad. I did not allow wireless connection for data. It did not have a memory slot. It was firewire only.

I think that sometimes product reviewers put too much emphasis on the number of features on a product's spec sheet, and equate "superior" to "more features than anybody else." Unless a feature is well-implemented and actually used by the majority of the target market, it's useless. In fact, it's worse than useless. Even if a product has feature X implemented poorly, reports of its poor implementation may influence the buying decision even if it's a feature the buyer has no intention of using.

Case in point: the new iPod Touch's rear camera. Its low-resolution (1 megapixel) is, IMHO, a poor implementation and not up to what one would expect from Apple. This poor implementation could be a bigger hit against the iPod Touch than leaving the camera out entirely. Instead of rants against the lack of a camera, the rants will now be about a lousy camera.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488574)

Not sure if it is the companies or the press that is making the ipad/iphone comparisons.

Re:iPad is the gold standard? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489258)

By comparing themselves to Apple's products, other manufacturers have made them the gold standard.

Apple is the gold standard because the iPad has made them more gold per unit sold than anyone else's attempts to sell a tablet.

Alternative to Blackberry (0)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488254)

I'm looking at these as eventual replacements for corporate blackberry devices. A small clean easy to use device with WiFi only - for corporate email and calendaring (read Exchange) with a good web browser and a note taking app. Viewing MS docs and PDFs is a bonus. Price it under $200 and my company would buy 500+

Re:Alternative to Blackberry (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488588)

Archos got some in that price range, funny that the article do not seem to mention them. TI made cortex A8 variants, capacitive screens at 7 or 10.1 inch, was demoed with android 2.1 but will ship with 2.2. The largest, 101, even have a two angle stand so that one can use the onscreen keyboard with both hands.

Re:Alternative to Blackberry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488670)

If tablet devices start to make inroads in Blackberry's market, Blackberry will introduce its own. Meanwhile, Blackberry is number one for security, so unless other networks can up their game on that score, Blackberry still wins in the enterprise domain.

Android forces a 3G device... (1)

awjr (1248008) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488278)

Have absolutely no idea why Google are forcing tablets to have 3G. The Tab will come in at around $100-$200 with a 2 year contract. I actually think this type of price discounting FUD should be illegal. Tell me the total cost of the device and what part of the monthly fee goes towards the cost.

Anyway, so I already have a mobile phone that allows tethering, so I would like a wi-fi only Android 2.2 tablet please. I do not need another SIM. Google, get your act together.

The actual price, contract free, is likely to be in the $750 range. In the UK, the price of the Tab has been stated as being slightly more expensive than a Galaxy S. I can get one of those for around £400, so I expect to get a Tab around £500.

My problem is still that most new phones can tether. So my tablet does not need to have 3G functionality.

Re:Android forces a 3G device... (1)

Enry (630) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488334)

My understanding (and I'm sure some /.er will correct me if I'm wrong) is that Google only allows the market to be installed on phones or devices that have cell/data service. Google gets some portion of the monthly fee and that's what is funding Android development.

Re:Android forces a 3G device... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488482)

Funny you say this - you know you can use the Tab without SIM? And everything will work (well, except SMS and calls :-))... magic!

Re:Android forces a 3G device... (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488666)

The Tab will come in at around $100-$200 with a 2 year contract. I actually think this type of price discounting FUD should be illegal. Tell me the total cost of the device and what part of the monthly fee goes towards the cost.

It probably still is illegal in some countries. It used to be illegal to bundle a product and a service in Finland, but after some heavy lobbying an exception was made for 3G-capable phones to "speed up the transition to 3G". Obviously, unless the law is updated, all future phones will be 3G compatible long after the actual network has been shut down.

Decades ago, we used to laugh at the Norwegians who bought phones for one NOK (about 16 US cents) and paid five times as much as us for phone calls. Apparently they were just before their time.

Samsung, set sails for fail. (4, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488282)

I have an iPad and will get an android tablet whenever one comes out.

But Samsung has decided to fail before they even get out of the gate. $900 for their tablet? Are you flipping serious? 7'' instead of 10'', 4GB of memory instead of 64.

I can see it now, in the board of directors meeting

"Apple is printing money with these at $500, I bet if we double the price, we can make twice as much money!!!"

If they want to go after the iPad, which they do, they need to create a comparable product at the same price point.

Re:Samsung, set sails for fail. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488490)

If they want to go after the iPad, which they do, they need to create a comparable product at the same price point.

realistically, they would have to make a *better* product at a *lower* price point to be seriously considered. we're talking about competition with an apple product after all.

sorry for posting as anonymous, cbf signing in.

If Samsung can't price for volume, who can? (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488912)

$900 for their tablet? Are you flipping serious?

This surprised me as well, because I thought Samsung would be aiming for an equal price point, trimming features as needed to make it happen.

The thing is, Apple has a tremendous advantage now in terms of volume. They know they can sell millions of iPads so they buy all parts in huge quantities. Who else can go into that market assuming the same? All other competitors have to either cost more, or be of much shoddier quality for the same price - except for large companies like Samsung that could take a gamble on entry pricing to get a foot in the market.

Re:Samsung, set sails for fail. (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489104)

I can see it now, in the board of directors meeting "Apple is printing money with these at $500, I bet if we double the price, we can make twice as much money!!!"

Gee, I would hope they aren't that bad at math - even Apple doesn't make a hundred percent profit. Even with a 33% margin for Apple, Samsung would make 4 times as much as Apple assuming same production cost.

Talking of printing: how's native printing on Android doing?

Re:Samsung, set sails for fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489212)

Nobody has the financial ability to make an iPad competitor at Apple's price point, because no other manufacturer has the scale necessary to drive the component prices down. And that's just hardware - what about if they wanted a cell-data enabled version? Is Samsung going to spend the money to go through the certification process? Is anyone?

Plus, you get Android. The iPad isn't mainlyabout the device or hardware, it's about the software. What do you get with Android? A whole lot of half-baked apps. Oh boy. Why would I subject myself to that?

Notice how you still advertize the iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488394)

You say, "iPad Alternatives", but you still got "iPad in the headline. Geeze! On Slashdot, a day without Apple is a slow "news" day indeed... Eh, just like the old days when every portable cassette player with the headset was a Walkman

Apple, the new Sony

I'll stick to my N900... why tablets, again? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488506)

I'll stick to my Nokia N900.

"But that's a phone and not a tablet", you might say. Nokia disagrees: "Such devices should be seen more as portable computers with phone functionality rather than traditional mobile phones mainly capable making a phone call. N900 belongs to this category of mobile computers." (http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=57214)

You might argue that tablets can do all sorts of whiz-bang things my phone can't. I don't know what they are, exactly. Play music? No, my N900 does that. Play videos? My N900 does that too. Okay, so you're not going to watch a movie on a 3.5 inch screen (a 3.5 _foot_ screen would be more like it), but you're not going to watch movies on a 7 inch screen either, are you? But watching a 20 minute TED talk (ted.com) is something the N900 handles well.

Play games, then---well, the N900 does that too. It runs all the emulators debian runs (i.e. nes, snes, game boy, amiga, c64). There are native ports of commercial games (you supply the data files): HoMM2, Quake; abandonware (Beneath a Steel Sky, descent), Linux games (Battle for Wesnoth, Frozen Bubble), you name it. Okay, so you can't play starcraft except using the stratagus engine which is weird, but hey---can other non-x86 linux tablets run x86 windows games? :-)

Or if you don't want a media circus but just want to communicate, take notes, put appointments in your calendar and be productive (instead of reading slashdot :D), you can do that too. Sure, it has a smaller screen and a smaller keyboard, and it ain't lightning fast, but it fits in your pocket so you can have computing wherever you go.

And... well, I guess I'm coming near a point besides just sharing my experience; or if not a point, then a question: if you're going to go somewhere and you're going to carry a bag with you (I suspect you don't have 7-to-10 inch pockets), why not carry a computer with a decent-sized keyboard? You know, on'-o'-dem laptops? I'm genuinely curious: which jobs are tablets the best for, and why?

Re:I'll stick to my N900... why tablets, again? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489218)

Okay, so you're not going to watch a movie on a 3.5 inch screen (a 3.5 _foot_ screen would be more like it), but you're not going to watch movies on a 7 inch screen either, are you?

Uhhh..maybe? A 7 inch screen is 4 times the size of a 3.5 one. And about the minimum size where watching anything longer than 20 minutes becomes realistic.

Re:I'll stick to my N900... why tablets, again? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489324)

if you're going to go somewhere and you're going to carry a bag with you (I suspect you don't have 7-to-10 inch pockets), why not carry a computer with a decent-sized keyboard?

Because I don't *want that*. I want a thin, light-weight device with a large screen I can pull out and pop up google maps to quickly look something up, or to browse my email or the web, or to watch a movie or read a book. Fundamentally, it comes down to the display: yeah, I could squint at a tiny little device, but if I can get a tablet, why the hell wouldn't I?

It's funny, really: you gloss over the "smaller screen and a smaller keyboard". and the fact that "it ain't lightning fast", but... that's the *entire fucking point*.

Linux-based, someone? (1)

Herve5 (879674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488658)

Was there any product other than the german Wetab (of which... we hear less and less...) that would feature an open architecture?
FWIW, and with all my wishes: http://wetab.mobi/en [wetab.mobi]

MeeGo (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489452)

Oh good, some remembered the MeeGo option, I was surprised you Open-source buffs didn't pounce on this one immediately.

Check out the video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EdNBTwHxWk [youtube.com] , it's quite nice, and seeing it run Open Office give me great hope that it will not have to worry about the whole "does it have apps?" question, since it will most likely run all existing linux apps.

Details here: http://wetab.mobi/en/product-details [wetab.mobi]

Amazon( http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B003JFKUSK [amazon.de] ) lists this as starting from EUR 449, though I would take that figure with a pinch of salt.

I am hoping a lot more companies seriously consider MeeGo, I kinda like it :D

Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488672)

All I want from a tablet is a good PDF reader with a big enough display to fit a single page of a typical scientific paper (mostly US Letter or DIN A4 format) so I can read comfortably. The tablet should be relatively light, i.e. lighter than the iPad which is too heavy for my taste and rugged so I don't have to worry too much about breaking it or scratching the display. Having two dedicated buttons for flipping pages forward and backward would be a plus. The most important feature software-wise would be running a decent BibTeX managing software which let's me build a library of papers, books, reports, etc. by using a built-in WLAN connection to the Internet and a Web browser to access the likes of citeseer, IEEE, ACM, and so forth. What I don't need is graphics power or any fancy features. A real USB port that lets me connect the tablet to a host computer or an external USB mass storage device (like an external harddisk, USB stick, or a digital camera for instance) would be a definite plus. A DVI connector that allows me to use the tablet to give a presentation using the built-in PDF reader would be absolutely great. Programming should be easy and not require learning a new set of libraries for one of those strange phone operating systems like iOS or Android. This is where a nice stripped-down GNU/Linux distribution would shine. That would be no iPad competitor, it would be in a league of its own aimed at people who want to use the tablet for basic productivity tasks in academia, schools, industry as opposed to watching videos, listening to music, or playing car racing games.

Pure Android Please (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488746)

I want one with just Android installed. I don't want any permanent third party apps or extra UI layers. I'm kicking myself for not buying a Nexus One when I had the chance because it is the only phone to offer a pure Android experience. There are other nice phones out there, but they do stupid things like add Nascar apps that can't be removed or have a different UI.

Re:Pure Android Please (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488850)

You still have the chance, google is selling it over its developers shop worldwide.
One of the many reasons why I did not go for an Android Tablet yet, the Google reference device is still missing.

Went for the iPad (2, Interesting)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488822)

To sum things up, I tried to avoid it, but so far I am not going for an Android Tablet. To sum things up
Archos: Cheap but Archos sucks
Toshiba: Nice Tablet comes close to what I want but the build quality sucks
Samsung: Too small for my needs, and costs a whopping 700 Euros for half the screen estate of the ipad, they outpriced it for me, but the screen size also is too small.

Only the Samsung one allows access to the Android market directly, the others need hacks to open the access.

In other words I finally gave in and ordered an ipad... Sorry Android but this year you only have made it to my mobile phone!

Full-HD playback? (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489254)

I'm impressed that they can do Full-HD on a screen with a resolution of 1024x600.

not very pro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33489282)

'Our first moments with Windows 7 were surprisingly painless, too: we expected the Atom processor and 1GB of memory to be horrendously sluggish, but it wasn't the case,' PC Pro reports.

I'm not sure how "pro" I'd consider PC Pro if they had no clue that Windows 7 runs perfectly fine on all the 1GB Atom-based netbooks that are out there. This is something that people have been reporting success with for well over a year now, yet PC Pro is taken by surprise by it. And yes, I'm aware of the difference in form factor that we're dealing with here, but that doesn't change the fact that the underlying systems are essentially identical.
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