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Is Tablet Success Bound To Their Crackability?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-you-dare-unlock-that-bootloader dept.

Android 339

Hitting the front page for the first time, rippeltippel writes "The Economist recently published an article about HP quitting the tablet market. Nothing new I said, until I read 'the announcement showed that the firm had finally seen the light about the tablet market — namely, that there is no such thing.' But are the games closed with the iPad as a clear winner? Possibly not: 'hackers have embraced the Nook, "rooting" its underlying Linux software ... so it can run many more applications from Google's online app store and elsewhere.' A review on Amazon's Kindle tablet page reads: 'They've cracked it — this is the future.' Can it possibly be read as 'Crackable tablets are the future of tablets?'" Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones. It is a shame that Palm/HP, who were one of the only vendors open from the start, more or less lost the game. Unfortunately it seems that tablet and ebook reader vendors have yet to get the message.

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339 comments

That they've gotten the message remains to be seen (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276568)

HTC seems to have been the only one to actually "get" it with the others having pretty locked down phones including e-fuse locked down bootloaders.

Re:That they've gotten the message remains to be s (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276684)

And who is in first place again? https://www.idooble.com/posts/1434 [idooble.com] Amusingly enough when you add HTCs android share and Windows Mobile share, you get 20% of the market, with only Apple having more.

Re:That they've gotten the message remains to be s (4, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277092)

Note that what Nielsen calls "market share," isn't, by the common definition. It's actually installed base, which is a trailing indicator. People who bought phones almost two years ago, and haven't upgraded because they're under contract and not eligible for a subsidy are in those numbers. "Q2 market share" should refer to sales during Q2, not how many people owned a brand.

Since Android sales have been increasing faster than iPhone sales, Android market share is actually greater than what Nielsen implies.

Where Nielsen's "market share" shows Android/iOS at 39% / 28%, NPD's report on true market share [npd.com] (sales) shows 52% / 29%.

Re:That they've gotten the message remains to be s (1, Troll)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276758)

What? HTC locks their bootloaders and forces you to void your warranty (for real, by permanently modifying part of your EFS) to unlock them. Meanwhile Samsung's bootloaders are completely unlocked from the start, and they really don't seem to care at all what you do with the phone - I sent back a rooted Galaxy S running a custom ROM for warranty repairs and they sent back a new one, no questions asked. I think LG leaves their bootloaders wide open, too.

Motorola could be a wild card in this regard now that they're owned by Google. We'll see.

Re:That they've gotten the message remains to be s (2)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276788)

You need to friend HTC on Facebook. You're out of date.

Re:That they've gotten the message remains to be s (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276770)

HTC has the advantage of not having chintzy hardware either.

They appear to have decent designers, even Sense has some nice features (though I eventually reverted back to Cyanogen on my G2, mostly to get 2.3 though).

All of their phones I've seen have been pretty solid feeling, and decent. I feel the same-way about LG, they have the best low-end stuff by far IMO.

Re:That they've gotten the message remains to be s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276794)

Motorola promised an unlocked bootloader for the Atrix 4G with the Gingerbread update, but that never happened. Thank god for Pudding!

So hackers like it (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276572)

So hackers like it but do companies want hackers as their customers?

Fickle and prone to viciously turning on anything for any perceived slight does not sound like big pluses for a target market, let alone their "love" for the nook is because it is cheap.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276614)

The fact is that it's hard to justify paying laptop prices for what is seen as a luxury item.

Especially with something like the HP Touchpad that doesn't exactly have a lot of apps going for it. (Seriously, still no ssh client for webos?)

If this HP situation has taught us anything, it's that for $200 and less people are very interested in tablets. $500? Not so much.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276696)

The fact is that it's hard to justify paying laptop prices for what is seen as a luxury item.

Ah, but if you're an Apple cultist then a tablet isn't an expensive alternative to a laptop, it's a cheap alternative to a Mac laptop.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276864)

I think my folks look at the ipad as a huge screen version of their iphones. And they know they love those things to bits. They don't know anything about Mac's or OSX, and don't really care to. What they know is that the iphone-thingies work great, and the ipad works just like that but on a big screen.

Re:So hackers like it (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276626)

Barnes and Noble seems to not mind. The hackability comes from the fact that the device will boot anything that has the right bootloader and OS information on the microSD in the reader. They've not changed that behavior with subsequent releases of the Color hardware. It's such that you can run the pre-release Honeycomb that was hacked out of the Simulator image and a bit of CyanogenMod 7 kernel and other bits on the SD.

Several of the other vendors are no longer preventing the practice by way of locked down bootloaders, etc. Like HTC, they just tell you that it will likely void your warranty and you're on your own after doing it.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

Reformed Lurker (1677950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276728)

Barnes and Noble seems to not mind.

You might have hit the key here. Traditional phone vendors and carriers are into control - since that has always been their business models. Companies like B&N are booksellers first and hardware guys second - as long as their primary business (book selling) works, whatever else can be done with the hardware is just added value. Like the carriers they still control their products - but that's books.

This also may be why the Kindle tablet will succeed - they are building on the B&N model but have a lot more content to push then just books. As long as they can successfully push their content, they likely won't care what else goes on the device.

Of course, there's that support issue that happens when you deal in hardware, but if you make it cheap enough just send new ones vice spin up megacosts for support.

B&N sells Nook as an enabler (1)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276970)

They're a *bookseller*; to riff on the "Gillette strategy", the Nook's the handle and the e-books/e-mags are the consumable blades. That's why they told MS to get stuffed on their patent-troll lawsuit; they want to minimize the cost of the reader to get you hooked, then sell you content. Paying danegeld to Ballmer isn't part of that strategy.

For me, I'm interested in the 7" form factor, but if it's locked to one book source, not so much. A vanilla Android tablet will support the Kindle *AND* Nook apps, Aldiko reader, etc. A hacked Nook Color (giving them points for telling off MS) might be just about right.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276654)

The nook's strength is that it's a rootable Android tablet, the fact that it's cheap is just a bonus.

I've bought many "hacker" devices that companies produced shortly before they went out of business or otherwise ruined themselves. The Treo 180, Treo 650 (Palm made some awesome stuff as they split and merged repeatedly), and the Nokia N900. What do they have in common?

They allow open development, and they were all bloody expensive top-of-the-line devices when they came out.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276660)

So hackers like it but do companies want hackers as their customers?

Hardware companies do! Service companies, not so much.

Re:So hackers like it (2)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276768)

Hackers aren't great software customers but they're great hardware customers.

Since hardware and software companies(or perhaps the service providers) want to be able to team up to sell a unified, coherent stack, the hackers are a source of tension between them.

I expect this will culminate in the hardware designs being a bit two-faced; they'll play ball with the DRM-aware, trusted-platform specs well enough to not lose their service-provider contracts and be accused of bad faith, but poorly enough that savvy customers can still jailbreak them and run what they want to. This is a good way for hardware manufacturers to have their cake and eat it too.

Re:So hackers like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276940)

Not to mention they refuse to spend a dime on anything at all unless it's either shiny, Japanese, or if you hold a gun to their heads (and can then resist pulling the trigger just to shut up their endless freshman-level short-sighted economic rationalizations long enough to actually get money out of them). Not exactly a market you want to target.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276960)

Maybe you should ask router manufacturers. For them, "DD-WRT compatible" has gotten a marketing point to have. I wouldn't necessarily call flashing DD-WRT "hacking" tho. Neither is flashing a prebuilt cyanogenmod.

Re:So hackers like it (1)

heckler95 (1140369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277200)

With smartphones, it comes down to a battle between advanced ("hacker") customers and the megacorp wireless carriers. For example, from Motorola's perspective, Verizon is the primary customer. Joe Smartphoneuser comes second at best. The carriers have a vested interest in maintaining control over the devices, especially when they do underhanded things like charge extra for the same data bandwidth depending on whether it's consumed by the phone or by a tethered laptop. Losing that control means losing significant (zero-cost) revenue and they communicate this interest to phone manufacturers, threatening not to carry their devices if they're too easy to circumvent. The flipside of the coin is the small minority of customers who may choose a different phone or different carrier because they like rooting their devices or side-stepping certain carrier-imposed software or controls. This group's buying power and influence over a phone manufacturer is dwarfed by that of any of the major carriers. It's dollars and cents, plain and simple.

Having seen this play out in the smartphone world, I won't be too surprised to see it continue with tablets. The one hope is that since not all tablets are tied to a wireless carrier, the manufacturers won't be handcuffed when it comes to listening to and responding to customer wants and needs. There's no pressure from wireless carriers for tablet makers to lock-down their devices if they're WiFi only.

FINALLY! (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276574)

Have people seen the light? Is the current cycle of the curated computing craze coming to an end?

I sure hope so.

Re:FINALLY! (4, Insightful)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276688)

Not likely...

Hell, the success in the tablet space has been exactly inversely proportional to the ability to "hack" the device. Look at the iPad 2.

Someone needs to figure out that the average dumb schmuck doesn't give two shits about "rooting" a device. They just want something that gets email, surfs the web, and allows them to consume the content of their choice. In fact, if anything, the more options/tweaking/etc you give an average user, the more likely they'll just fuck up the device/os/etc.

Us geeks of course want to fuck with the shit we buy...but we're not the target market either. The target market is the average dumb schmuck.

Re:FINALLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277042)

Seriously. Having to use the command line in linux isn't a feature to most people. They want to click the IE or "internet button and have what they want. Apple understands this very well.

Re:FINALLY! (3, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277058)

Gruber [daringfireball.net] said it best :

“open and better” is a recipe for success; “open but worse” is a recipe for obscurity.

Re:FINALLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277082)

The average "dumb" schmuck is smart enough to know they have better things to do with their time than root a tablet to feel in control.
Geeks would complain that a quark was a closed system, but I guess that's why they have string theory...

Re:FINALLY! (1)

dohnut (189348) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277088)

The target market is the average dumb schmuck.

Funny, that's what your auto mechanic thinks about you.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277286)

Well if we're talking about cars, my auto mechanic is right....

Re:FINALLY! (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277244)

Nothing about ease of use implies the need to lock down the device with no way to override the lock.

Re:FINALLY! (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276708)

It will never "end." It is a large market. Some people prefer safety at any cost, to freedom. That is fine. I just hope that soon it won't be the ONLY option.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276884)

Well it has come and gone in cycles in the past. Maybe the cycles are just swinging harder and longer with every oscillation. I mean before the iPhone came out we were at a level of openness unprecedented in computing history. It didn't seem so great back then, but we had forgotten what a proprietary hellhole felt like. Then Apple reminded us.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276840)

I agree with all of my ability to agree on something. I fear the pad with one thing to justify that fear, the closed nature of it. Certainly, it's not surprising that the current mentality around the pad stems from Apple's involvement, as they have always been about closed systems. The fact that they became the near defacto face of the pad craze reinforces that mentality. I think it's interesting to hear that Microsoft wants to continue to bring the PC to the pad, though, with Windows 8. I thought that they would just follow Apple blindly, but I'm very happy to hear that they understand that while there are people that want curated computing, there is a significant number of people that want the flexibility to do what they want. It feels funny to defend MS in that way...we'll see how that plays out. But if they realize their future is open-computing then and act on that, then we all benefit. And of course Android and Linux and all the usual players in open computing are commended, as well.

That said, tablets are a niche, but I fear that the niche could spread like a cancer to the desktop space...so I'm always happy to hear stories where the tablet is viewed with openness in mind.

Re:FINALLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277258)

I think Apple really likes their cut of ALL the software revenues for iOS devices. So they won't be changing their minds soon.

Fortunately, their greed is quickly making them a bit player in the mobile space just like they are on the desktop.

They cracked it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276578)

in every nook and cranny

Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited software. (2, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276582)

What most people want from a tablet is email, web and angry birds. Anything beyond that is just gravy. Frankly, I dont see much in the way of serious software for tablets due to hardware limitations. This is the same problem thats plagued the form factor since its inception back in the late 80s. Too much simply requires a keyboard and mouse. A tablet and touch interface works best for viewing content, not creating.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276680)

Irrelevant. What we want isn't what most people want. The catch is that we can have what we want without impacting what most people want, but they actively fight to deny it.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276686)

Which is fine, really, considering that all you need for "keyboard and mouse" is just a bluetooth keyboard for the tablets. My Acer Iconia A500 has been surprisingly useful, especially once I added a Bluetooth keyboard to the mix. If I expect to do content creation (documents, etc...) I just tote along two lightweight devices instead of one. Bam! Everything my netbook was supposed to do and didn't quite provide.

Having said this, for many, they don't need more than the 200-300 dollar devices (with 3G/4G access...)- the stuff we're seeing is more pricey toys than much else.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276718)

Which is fine, really, considering that all you need for "keyboard and mouse" is just a bluetooth keyboard for the tablets.

So you end up with an expensive, underpowered laptop with lousy ergonomics. Sounds like a win!

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276850)

That is where it is now, what about in 2 or 3 years? Could we see a tablet that is as powerful as most laptops? You take a iPad 2 for example and add to it a ZAGG keyboard/case you now have effectively created your laptop. Is it cost effective no, but it could be someday, could it not?

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277196)

Bingo. The iPad is to tablets as the original Macintosh was to GUI computers. We're only on the second generation tablets, there's really no telling where this will go.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276978)

lousy ergonomics?

A bluetooth keyboard and mouse will (assuming you don't choose poorly) have much better ergonomics than a laptop keyboard and "mouse". The laptop screen being attached to they keyboard also provides extremely poor ergonomics since either the screen is too low or the keyboard too high. And yes you could just use the bluetooth keyboard and mouse with the laptop, but now you aren't using the keyboard on the laptop so why not get a tablet?

*Note: I don't use tablets, I use a laptop, but a tablet plus bluetooth mouse/keyboard plus some aort of stand for the tablet is the same ergonomics as a desktop machine which is *way* better than that of a laptop.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277184)

If you bother with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, than you've got a device that is significantly less portable than a tablet, would require more time to set up, and would be far more limited in where you could use it, and many of the places where you could sort of use it would result in ergonomics inferior to a laptop. I will concede that a laptop has inferior ergonomics to a properly positioned desktop with a monitor, but I wouldn't call it extremely poor. Extremely poor fits better for a tablet design, as it has the keyboard, mouse, and screen all on the same plane

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277266)

And now you have three devices with batteries that you need to charge and worry about running out. If I connect a mouse and/or keyboard to a laptop, there still is one power source to worry about.

Also, for a tablet+keyboard+mouse you need a desk, you can put a laptop on your, well, lap and only need a chair to sit on.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276832)

> Which is fine, really, considering that all you need for "keyboard and mouse" is just a bluetooth keyboard for the tablets.

Except that is not all that I need by a long stretch.

On a "pack light" trip to Europe, the iPad will be left behind because of it's limitations. Leaving the laptop behind is not an option because we may need to take advantage of a full web browser including flash. The iPad is convenient but redundant.

It's artificial limitations matter in the real world (or real web). It's being left home.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

Coriolis (110923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277168)

Honestly, Flash is not a really good reason to pack a laptop. I spent 5 months travelling across 3 countries with a 1st gen eeePC, and I don't recall visiting a single Flash-requiring website. I was getting tired of the weight of the pack as it was, a laptop would've been murder. What I probably would've missed is the ability to run OpenVPN, and a few things of that ilk. I would've had to go to the trouble of setting up a proper L2TP VPN, etc. I might have run into a few connection problems here and there. But I suspect an iPad would probably have worked out just fine. If you're serious about packing light, don't take any kind of damn computer. Even the iPad weighs too much really, and you will be constantly worrying about someone stealing it, especially because, like me, you will have made it into your primary link back home. My advice is to organise your trip around locally-available means of communication. No, I wouldn't follow my advice either, but that's being a geek for you ;)

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277172)

Depends on your definitions of "real web" and "pack light", no? I would argue carrying a laptop is by definition not packing light. Heck, carrying any computing device isn't. For many people, an iPad is sufficient. It's all I carried on my last Europe trip, and I surely didn't miss Flash based websites for the few times I was web browsing at all in Burgundy.
Biggest issue was that O2 in all their wisdom refused to sell me a prepaid 3G data SIM without a French bank account.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276762)

Until you dock it which turns it into a workstation (of sorts). I expect this is the future.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276892)

Until you dock it which turns it into a workstation (of sorts). I expect this is the future.

Welcome to the future. Motorolas Atrix [motorola.com] - a smartphone that turns into a laptop.

Re:Doubt it. Limited hardware means limited softwa (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276984)

>> touch interface works best for viewing content, not creating

you are right, like 90% of all users are consumers, not creators.

Umm, no? (3, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276586)

Very vocal minority are making noise that they want hackable widgets. How about some statistics showing just how many widgets are actually hacked? Is it even 5%?

The real story, much to the chagrin of the FOSS fan boyz is that sometimes closed and functional will sell better than clunky but open.

Re:Umm, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276784)

sometimes closed and functional will sell better than clunky but open.

s/sometimes/virtually always,/g

The mass market is not the "hacker" demographic. The mass market is mostly unaware of how to hack a device, what a bootloader is, what a ROM is - and they do not have any interest in learning what those things are. They have other things they want to do, and their computer is a tool for doing other things, not an end for hacking and fiddling in itself.

Re:Umm, no? (1, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276792)

Very vocal minority are making noise that they want hackable widgets. How about some statistics showing just how many widgets are actually hacked? Is it even 5%?

OK. 5% of 65million phones is 3.25 million phones. (Probably more as I only found old data with a quick google) In 2009, Palm, Symbian and "Others" was only 3.7 million phones. So I guess that 5% is enough. http://seekingalpha.com/article/194442-predicting-2010-north-american-smartphone-market-share [seekingalpha.com]


And that is assuming your 5% is correct, which I disagree with. Cynaogen is almost mainstream. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/22/android_on_touchpad_project/ [theregister.co.uk] Almost everyone I know with an Android, has it. Admittedly, my sample has less blithering idiots than the public at large...

Re:Umm, no? (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277008)

I like dickish comments like these. They ignore the obvious fact that users don't know or care if a platform is "open" or "closed." The problem is that vendors go out of their way to cripple these devices. They expend extra effort and time to deliberately deny people the ability to do as they wish.

Re:Umm, no? (1)

skozsert (1714328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277054)

More along the lines of closed and clunky, but with a snappy black turtleneck, will sell better than clunky but open.

Re:Umm, no? (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277238)

Well its about fucking time the "vocal minority" is shouting for something I think is worthwhile. Just give me free access to my gadget and then the "VM" can go back to forcing schools to teach creationism.

Re:Umm, no? (2)

HotTuna (928802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277250)

True story - I'm no Apple guy, and I have to admit I don't know exactly what "Jailbreaking" accomplishes, but when the AP Clerk, logistics Coordinator and Receptionist are talking about jailbreaking their iphones by the watercooler - I'd say it seems Apple has even brought device hacking into the mainstream...

You want success? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276588)

Tablets will become successful once the price drops. They are being marketed as a replacement for a PC or laptop, with appropriate price. But for most people, they perform badly as a replacement (who wants to input a long document with one hand, or place the screen on a horizontal surface to use two hands?). Once they are marketed as and sold at the price of what they are, a portable media center and multimedia player, I am sure more people will start getting them as a third or fourth machine (behind desktop, laptop, and phone).

Re:You want success? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276816)

I was wondering if anyone else would notice this. It can only "replace" a desktop or laptop for a very limited subset of users. It it can augment them very well! Just not at $500.

Re:You want success? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277216)

It can only "replace" a desktop or laptop for a very limited subset of users.

A very large limited subset of users.

here's what Slashdotters don't get:

Your typical idealized Slashdotter sits down at his PC, immediately opens a browser, immediately clicks a bookmark folder which spawns sixteen tabs. Then he immediately switches do a different workspace and opens his media player and starts playing music. Then he switches over to a new workspace and opens a command shell. Then a fourth workspace to open his email client. He then proceeds to type out long-winded responses debating subtle nuances of arcane technical topics.

Your typical regular person sits down at his PC, opens a single browser, and goes to Facebook. For the next two hours, he rarely types anything other than "haha lol" over and over.

One of these users absolutely must have a multi-display, multi-tasking, multi-windowed environment.

The other represents 90% of the population.

Usability is everything (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276596)

The iPad is so successful because of high quality industrial design and ease of use. Software is everything. If you focus on "crackability" you'll be as successful as Linux on the desktop.

Re:Usability is everything (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276706)

Why not have both?

Say it was possible to install any OS you wanted on the iPad, and Apple even provided the tools to do so. How would that negatively affect the iPad's sales? This doesn't even break the Apple fanboy's mantra, that open isn't usable and usable isn't open.

Re:Usability is everything (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276760)

When you bork it and complain loudly and profusely on the web what will be hard is that the iPad doesn't work, not that your crappy little distro didn't work.

Re:Usability is everything (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276804)

Yeah that will be much worse than every geek on the planet calling it the electronic embodiment of Orwell's 1984.

Re:Usability is everything (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276852)

For the normal 95% of the world, yes, it will be.

Searches returning results complaining about 1984 written by someone who has their tinfoil hat on too tight is one thing. Searches that say 'iPad doesn't work' will influence them in a way the company doesn't want.

Re:Usability is everything (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276954)

Except some users might actually be googling the phrase "iPad button doesn't wake up device" -- which could, if arbitrary software was installed, mislead and confuse users who don't realize that the page they've clicked on is a description of an Android (or some other OS) issue on the iPad hardware. Confused users who can't solve their problem will simply return the device and ask for a refund, and never buy that product again.

Not too many people will be googling, "Software Freedom and the iPad, Richard Stallman's comments on..." or "Similarities between Apple's app store policies and George Orwell's 1984."

The people who *care* about software freedom already know what the story is with the iPad. Most people in the mass market don't care about software freedom - they can open and view and edit word documents, emails, pdfs, etc. on their iPad, so as far as they're concerned... it's open enough. People with immediate support needs don't want to wade through a dozen sites searching for solutions to their problem. If that's the customer support experience, they won't be repeat customers.

Re:Usability is everything (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277118)

So in short, having the iPad open would be bad for SEO and would overwhelm the users' little minds.

Fuck this. What the hell happened to our species' intellect? Did we breed it out in just the few generations that have lived in a world where you can get by with your wallet as your only tool and skill? Shit.

Re:Usability is everything (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277000)

Would people that would complain like that even try to install a different OS? Most of the people that would make such a complaint don't know what an OS is. Jailbreakers don't seem to have tarnished the iPhone's reputation. Worse case scenario, their technologically inclined friends or family install it and blame it on the person who did that. They'll also blame them messing with the iPad as the cause when the cable TV stops working.

Re:Usability is everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277230)

There are several reason why it makes no sense for Apple to allow install of different OS.
1. They are making A LOT of money and guaranteeing future profits by making their devices closed platform. It is a classical vendor lock-in and monopoly.
2. You don't need different OS on your coffee maker or a toaster. iPod, iPhone and iPad might look like general purpose computers but in fact merely are appliances and that is how Apple want them to be. Majority of people are simply too dumb to use general purpose computers.

That is the secret of Apple's success. Very simple, well made appliances with excellent business models of extracting profits based on the monopolistic position in the market.

What? (4, Insightful)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276630)

"Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones. It is a shame that Palm/HP, who were one of the only vendors open from the start, more or less lost the game."

If users really wanted to control the software on their phones then Palm/HP, who were one of the only vendors open from the start, wouldn't have more or less lost the game, now would it? If the control was what users wanted, would they buy devices with no keyboards on which they can't even run their own software if it doesn't get a blessing from The Man? The sad truth is that users don't give a damn about freedom. We here do, but they don't. They just want to have a cooler version of TV which they can take with them and impress their friends with all of the apps they have. This is sad but true.

Re:What? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276734)

Most of the people are buying status and "cool" when they're buying those iPads. Those of us that want more control and ability have already bought Android stuff, where you can actually put on software that doesn't get the blessing from The Man. (As proof of this, the Facepla...er...book... app for Honeycomb doesn't exist- but the phone app itself is "stable" on it. All it took to get it loaded outside of the market was getting the APK for that and just loading it on the tablet, something that you can do with/without adb to help with. With an iPhone/iPad that would only be possible if you jailbroke the thing- iPwnt.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276824)

Most of the people are buying status and "cool" when they're buying those iPads. Those of us that want more control and ability have already bought Android stuff, where you can actually put on software that doesn't get the blessing from The Man.

Most people buy "hey, I can browse the internet!" and "hey, I can read my email", and "hey, it has a map that shows me where I am", and "hey, it plays music and videos and the TV show I missed yesterday", and "hey, I can download and read loads of books" and "hey, I can show you all my photos" and "hey, I can play Angry Birds" and so on and so on and they don't give a damn about status and "cool" when they are buying an iPad.

Re:What? (1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276914)

No.

You would like to believe this and you would like others to believe this but it's really not the case.

Apple is currently an over-hyped conspicuous consumption brand. A lot of iPhone, iPad, and MBA sales are due to that.

Fanboys even like to cultivate this idea by comparing Apple to the likes of BMW. (another conspicuous consumption brand)

Re:What? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277176)

Have you ever considered the possibility that you might be the one who is mistaken? Perhaps your opinion is the one that you want other to believe despite it not really being the case.

Re:What? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277016)

Then there are some of us who realized that a 10" screen with a fully functional webkit browser on the device was preferable for browsing Facepla...er...book to using a native phone app designed for small screen sizes.

And for those of us who like large print, it's trivially easy to load the iPhone version of Facepla...er....book app on an iPad, and pixel double to fill the screen.

TBH, not sure the Facebook app should be your go-to example of how Android gives you more control and ability vs. the iPad.

Re:What? (3)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276862)

Clearly there are other factors at play here. It's not just about "hackability". All things being equal, a device that doesn't require iTunes and doesn't actively ban stuff like Flash will be more useful even to n00bs.

The sad part here is that "hackability" is nothing more than the ability to install whatever software you want.

Apple fanboys are trying to radically redefine the term "geek" or "hacker".

Tablets aren't for "working" on (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276742)

That's not to say you can't so work with them. In fact, I do. But tablets are about consumption right now, and Apple's taught that dog to hunt. Tech folks need to step out of Mom's basement and realize that the rest of us just want to be able to do shit, and if we've got $500 to drop on a toy like the iPad, we sure as hell have $40 a month to pay for content through the iTMS.

If you buy a $150-$200 tablet so that you can rip/download content and serve it up in its native format, it means working on that house of cards to get everything operating. I know, I set up a media center PC and a usenet scraper, and have MyMedia to catalog my movies after I rip them. It's all quite snazzy, but God damned it takes too much time to keep running and if anything goes wrong my wife looks at me like she's never seen a PC or a remote control and expects me to fix it.

Tablets are about quick access to things you want to do. It's all the things you want a smartphone to do, but in the right form factor and without having to worry about making or receiving phone calls (and in return you can't put a tablet in your pocket).

Those of us who go back far enough to remember programming in BASIC to generate stats for D&D characters should be the ones to realize that these are not computers as we know them, but entertainment devices. Once you get past that hurdle, the usefulness of tablets makes a lot more sense.

Re:Tablets aren't for "working" on (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276980)

that these are not computers as we know them

Yes they are. They simply have a distinctly different form factor. This change in form factor doesn't justify deliberate crippling by the vendor for the sole purpose of forcing you through whatever store happens to be most convenient for them, or ensuring that the device becomes permanently obsolete so you buy a new one.

Re:Tablets aren't for "working" on (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277136)

This ^
Completely misses the point.

I wonder if they had the same kind of discussions when ford created cars on the assembly line.
"It cripples the ability to install custom made bolts!"
"Hobbyists can't tinker, the engine's a solid block!"

No they didn't because people that buy assembly line fords use it to do something they don't buy it to do something to it.

Define "Success" (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276756)

The N900 had very high crackability, and still failed in the big market. Its proper successor (not the N9, the N950), was just for developers, and very few were made, even where it would have been a dream for the ones wanting an even more crackable phone.

There are people that want something that just work, and the ones that want to push the limits of what their devices can do, but the last group is a small minority compared with what companies seek as a market.

Re:Define "Success" (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277036)

The N900 had very high crackability

Correction, you did not need to jailbreak/root the device at all.

still failed in the big market.

Nokia never had any intention of making it a big thing, and they had no hope of pushing it in the US unsubsidized. And everyone was already held in rapture by Google's promise of an "open" platform that ran Linux.

Its proper successor (not the N9, the N950), was just for developers, and very few were made, even where it would have been a dream for the ones wanting an even more crackable phone.

It became a developer-only phone because US carriers rejected it because of the hinge design.

These devices never even got a chance at the market. The N9 and N950 were undermined further by Microsoft shenanigans.

completely silly editorializing (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276772)

Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones.

Users have sent no such message. Actual users are perfectly happy with the vendor's app stores. Actual users don't even realize that Apple's app store is curated and the various Android app stores are not. People cracking/rooting phones to get greater control are a tiny tiny tiny minority.

no, it's tied to whether it's an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276782)

There is only one tablet that sells in significant numbers, and that's the iPad. Apple knows how to make highly polished and easy to use devices, and that's what people want: stuff that "just works". Everybody else who jumped on the tablet bandwagon after Apple created it is a poor imitation, but one you have to pay about the same price for. Given a choice between a knock off an the same price for the 'real thing', most people will chose the real thing, which gives you all the advantages of the app store and so on.

People don't care if it's hackable, outside a really, really tiny niche of geeks. The 99% of the population doesn't even know what that *means*, let alone care. They care if it's an iPad.

Different markets. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276806)

Smartphone and Tablet manufacturers are only after the mass market. The mass market doesn't give a shit about writing their own apps, or doing anything they didn't pay an extra fee for. It's not a computer to them; it's a toaster. Not only that, they also don't give a shit that it's weak hardware that barely runs a browser, as long as it browses at all.

You're not going to see tablets evolve the same way general computing did, because there is no need to humor the computer geeks as Joe Sixpack wants to check his mail, get driving directions, and buy movie tickets on his phone already....which is easier to monetize on a closed, restrictive system.

Local Maximum (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276828)

The success of a tablet in the hacker community hinges on the ability to hack it.

The success of a tablet in the community at large has nothing at all to do with packability, as the iPad 2 shows.

On a side note you can also do "well" in the tablet space by giving away $450 of hardware for $100. I am not sure how many companies can enjoy that level of "success" for long though.

Still unclear on the concept (3, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276836)

One more time for the good times...

Apples model is working just fine. The average retail consumer (read that as not geeks) could care less that they cannot SSH or recompile the linux kernel on the damn thing. It does what they want the most.

The non-average consumer of this device ( read that as - Kaiser Permanente and other large corporate consumers ) is really really happy with it. The can write and distribute their own programs for it, get programming support etc. etc. from Apple, distribute those programs from their very own little walled garden and keep the rank and file from installing god alone knows what and breaking the damn thing.

Geeks will find a way to jail break the thing so they can SSH, etc, etc, and try to re-compile the linux kernel on the damn thing because that is what geeks do.

I know ALL of the FOOS geeks out there want desperately for Apple to fail, but guess what kids, that aint gonna happen. Jail break that damn thing and have fun with it, but please stop bitching and moaning about Apples successful business model since it makes you sound like nothing more the babies.

Re:Still unclear on the concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277046)

but please stop bitching and moaning about Apples successful business model since it makes you sound like nothing more the babies.

That's effectively telling geeks to stop being geeks

It's a geek's nature to cry, scoff, doubt, and be cynical when it comes to topics regarding "geeky" stuff like technology and computing

It's kind of like how it's a jock's nature to go nuts over sports, to the point fans of opposing teams could end up in violence.

Data Security Anyone? (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276842)

If you are doing a form of business with your tablet or phone, do you really want to operate in an environment where security is deliberately compromised?

Do you want your employees carrying compromised machines and potentially have your company's data lifted?

Do you want the potential downtime when cracked devices go awry?

Do you have that much free time to play?

Re:Data Security Anyone? (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276948)

> If you are doing a form of business with your tablet or phone, do you really want to operate in an environment where security is deliberately compromised?

That's a great argument to dump your iPhone for an Android.

The whole reason I had my iPhone jailbroken was because it was painful to use for work in it's stock configuration.

Although a copy of Unix under the control of the end user is far better than what most corporations do with their computing devices.

Reality, line 2. (1)

BadPirate (1572721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276846)

Possibly not: 'hackers have embraced the Nook, "rooting" its underlying Linux software ... so it can run many more applications from Google's online app store and elsewhere.'

Please... since when has "Hackers hacked this" brought something into the mainstream? While it may make it a topic of conversation on tech blogs for a while, and increase user base slightly (niche product, adding another niche user group), hacking is not mainstream. While I have read all day long on most of these blogs that a kinect can do really cool things and are totally hackable and awesome, even living in silicon valley and surrounded by engineers I only know 1 or 2 actual people who own one, and they just use it as it was intended. Same goes for the Nook. The only person I know who owns one of them is my Grandmother (true story), and she picked it because it seemed less complicated then an iPad for reading books.

I love the hacker community and I love being a part of it, I believe that the work we do trying new things and extending functionality of existing products shapes the future. But let us be honest, the mainstream adopts the end solution, not the hack. I see a future with augmented reality, virtual presence, and computers aware of your presence and position in space are common place. But these devices won't be powered by hacked kinects, but what was inspired by them.

Is tablet success bound to their "crackability"? (2)

jamrock (863246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276856)

No. The iPad has proven that dramatically.

Next question.

In a word... (2)

Black.Shuck (704538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276866)

...no.

Enough with the wish-thinking, nerds. Hackers just aren't as populous as non-hackers and never will be, and it's the latter who are buying tablets in droves.

Erm, my tablet was hackable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37276868)

..pretty much from the get-go. Ok, it had Win7 pre-installed, but within minutes I had my favorite Linux distro running. Now I can write and use apps in basically any language available, you name it: python, java, assembler, perl, - hell, even lolcode!

Don't get any more hackable than this, but it didn't take off even though it was priced way below Apple's product; how so? Because most people are not really that geeky as TFA might want you to believe. They want their tweaks to be nicely packaged, preferrably with dozens of youtube tutorials on how to apply them, they don't really want to know what's behind or learn how stuff actually works. Sad, but that's the way it is...

"there is no such thing" (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276962)

The CEO of HP is an idiot. Their product was way overpriced for what it is. at $99.00 it flew off the shelves because $99 is a impulse buy price point.

People will pay for a OPEN and NICE tablet that is REASONABLY priced. those three keywords need to be met.

Also if you are not Apple, then you have zero chance if you price your tablet the same as an iPad. Sorry, that' just reality.

Make a android tablet that is not locked in any way. use plain Jane Android and make it fast as well built for $259-$359. If you price it OVER $359 and it's not better built than the iPad you have an automatic fail.

the iPad sells better than anything else and the competition has to offer more for a lower price. Look at car companies. BMW is the standard and Kia makes an awesome luxury car with the Optima, it really is! go drive ne you will be surprised! but they had to offer a LOT at a very low price to get people to buy them.

Summary Title (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277048)

Before I RTFS, I thought it meant tablets cracking> and people having to buy new ones. I mean how durable can they be? Then I RTFS..

its not cracability (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277056)

its price, gee we cant sell these tablets for 500$ mark them down to 99$ so we can forget we even wasted our time

holy fuck we sold out in a matter of hours it must have been that crackability that wont come for a week

stupid article

It's all about the price. (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277090)

Some of us demand crackability, but it's such a pain in the ass for most people and normal use. Even when rooting iPad was trivial I was the only one I knew personally with a rooted iPad. For most people, why bother? There are a lot of people here in my office who bought the cheap TouchPads, but only a couple of them are excited about putting Android on them - mostly it's just' Heck, for $99, it's useful enough!'

If Amazon comes out with a $300 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet that's 10 inch, quad core, decent screen, etc. etc. I'd probably snag it even if it weren't crackable (it probably be cracked after a while, but I wouldn't require it). For $200, instantly.

Would you pay $600 for a fake watch ? (2)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277132)

Here is, IMO, the most telling line in the article:

just because Apple has a runaway success on its hands, they cannot charge Apple prices for their hastily developed me-too products

And that is exactly how I feel. Don't get me wrong, I've been a PC guy since kindergarten, and while I do own a few Apple products, it is largely because I get paid to develop apps. I still hate OSX and IOS for being so restrictive and toy-like, but the one thing I can't take away from Apple is that when they put out an idea, they run with it. Everyone else sees dollar signs and rushes to copy what they see, which is like those bums on the street selling fake Rolexes. They all fail to appreciate what truly makes the iPad unique: it's idiot-proof! The other two tablets suffer from their PC ancestry: too many stupid goddamned apps and knobs and tweaks that should not be necessary on such a limited-usage device. Fire up a brand new iPad and you have about a dozen apps on the home screen. Fire up a brand new Android and that app menu is over 50 icons long. It's overwhelming, and most people will never use about 48 of those 50 apps :P

The impression I get is that the Android and Blackberry folks don't give two shits about interface design and usability. If these things have been put through user testing, they need to replace those useless users because there is no way in hell my mother would feel comfortable with one of their devices. Heck, it took me a few minutes just to figure out how to get Angry Birds on the wife's Android. But the iPad ? I just handed it to her, told her that "Safari is the internet" and off she went. Now she has every goddamned Popcap game under the sun installed, with no further interaction from me. That says a lot about how little thought went into the knockoff products.

YES!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277152)

Yes, yes, yes. 1 million times yes!

Manufacturers of (non-apple) tablets, I say to you on behalf of all of /.:
WE DO NOT WANT YOUR WALLED GARDEN. THOSE OF US THAT DO HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT AN IPAD. THE FIRST OF YOU THAT CAN DEVELOP A DECENT, OPEN-SPEC/DRIVER TABLET THAT CAN BE SUPPORTED INDEFINITELY THROUGH THE OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY WILL SELL MILLIONS.

By the way, geeks aren't the only ones who want this...even my sis-in-law of average computer-savviness figured out how to get CM7 on her smartphone.

the iPad is a fad (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277156)

Pads are a fad. Trying to type anything on a touchscreen is horrible. Thats why a laptop is and will always be a better portable computing option for doing anything practical.

By far the biggest reason the iPad sold so many is that its an Apple product. On its release it plugged right into the existing market of rabid buy-anything-Apple-makes fanbois.

I know several people that have bought an iPad. They all have one thing in common: After the novelty wears off in about 2 weeks, they don't actually touch their iPads other than to play games.

Doubt crack-ability has much to do with anything. (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277204)

After all, the iPad can also be cracked to be as open as you want.

iPad is not the winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277282)

When it comes to tablets, there are only losers.

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