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The (Mostly) Sad Fates of 32 First-Generation iPad Rivals

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the competing-with-vaporware-is-easy dept.

Android 270

harrymcc writes "Back in August of 2010, I rounded up 32 tablets — existing, announced, and rumored — that weren't the iPad. So much has happened to tablets since then that I decided to revisit my list and look at what happened to all 32 contenders. The results aren't pretty, but they do provide plenty of evidence that competing with Apple was far harder than most companies expected."

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Asus Transformer TF101 (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37572270)

One of those tablets became the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It's a gorgeous little Honeycomb tablet (currently 3.2.1) with IPS widescreen display and a docking keyboard option. It uses the dual-core nVidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB RAM, and has a selection of ports you're unlikely to find all of on most other tablets: SDHC, microSDHC, miniHDMI, dual USB. Build quality is great and the color and texture are very nice. It has Flash and Netflix now, the full Google Android experience. The speakers are just awful, but there's really nothing bad about it otherwise. On Amazon 500+ people have given it an average of 4 stars [amazon.com] . It's not been discounted much ever off its original $400, and appears to be selling quite well. I bought one and couldn't be happier about my return on investment - no fiddling with alternative flashing and rooting. It just works.

The next-gen version is likely to be one of the first quad-core "Kal-El" Tegra 3 tablets out this year, and rumor has it the one dock will work for both and battery life will be even better than the current 8-16 hours.

So not all of these were disastrous it appears. At least somebody got it right. I hear the Acer Iconia Tab is doing well too at its new $400 price point. Yes, the vast majority of the initial round of iPad challengers were quite wide of the mark. But we seem to be narrowing in on a family of choices that can move a lot of units at their various price points. Amazon's Kindle Fire looks to be interesting at $200.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37572390)

Yeah, I tried the Transformer at a trade show when it first came out and it seemed pretty good. I just couldn't think of a reason why I'd want to buy it over a netbook that cost half as much.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (1)

RanCossack (1138431) | about 3 years ago | (#37572446)

I bought one and really like it. It's a nice choice if you really want a netbook, and maybe sometimes to use a tablet -- which turns out to be precisely my preference... aside from seldom using it outside the dock.

The main advantage over a netbook that costs less would be the IPS screen and battery life. All the same, to be honest -- I think I would have been just as happy or more so with a netbook or chromebook, which would also have been thinner and lasted a bit less on battery, but not been quite as fun for PDFs and the like.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37572904)

I just couldn't think of a reason why I'd want to buy it over a netbook that cost half as much.

15-16 hours of battery life when docked is a pretty compelling argument. Also, it's convenient to use undocked while lying down comfortably.

The downside is that stock browser sucks on Slashdot (very laggy when typing comments). But, this being Android, you can just use Firefox or Opera Mobile.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573098)

I can't think of any reason I'd want to buy a netbook when a hammer costs even less. Wait, what are we talking about? Where's my

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (3, Insightful)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | about 3 years ago | (#37572400)

Seconded. I'm a huge fan of the TF-101, and it's amazing how every time one of these HURF DURF NOBODY BEATS IPAD articles comes out, somebody always mentions the Transformer. It's a shame that the earthquake screwed up their initial production run so badly and that Asus didn't market it the way they could have. I know I've sold at least two people on it by just popping the screen off and handing it to them to show them a photo or something.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (0)

mrbester (200927) | about 3 years ago | (#37572656)

This last sentence. Oh, hell yes, this last sentence. I watched the ad where the student does that and wows his mates and took it as marketing hype until I did it and got the same reaction...

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572684)

Yeah, I've got the ep121 and it is quite epic for what it is. Battery life sucks, but I don't think it was ever meant to be in the less than $1k range. I think the author of the page combined the two and is judging the price ($1200 for a windows 7 laptop with no keyboard attached). Also, it definitely beats the ipad. :P

Full streaming, full flash(very important, as I am a student!), full MS Office, everything.
People ask my why I still have an ipad in school don't I need a laptop, I say, it is a laptop.

You are lost (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37572804)

That Windows tablet has nothing in common with the thing I wrote about except the manufacturer. Quit trying to confuse people. You're talking about a $1200 tablet with three hour battery life that weighs a ton, is unresponsive on a good day, runs software completely inappropriate for a tablet. It's probably selling in the dozens, and I wouldn't take one for a gift. I'm talking about something... else. Would you Microsoft marketing trolls PLEASE go away for a little while and let the grownups talk?

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (5, Insightful)

BlueStraggler (765543) | about 3 years ago | (#37572758)

Honeycomb 3.2.1 IPS widescreen docking dual-core nVidia Tegra 2 1GB RAM SDHC miniHDMI dual USB Flash Android no rooting quad-core Kal-El Tegra 3

This post explains everything you need to know about why Slashdot simply doesn't get tablet computing, and probably never will.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (0)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37572886)

By "tablet computing" I assume you mean "the iPad". If so, I agree with you. Once Amazon does streaming to tablet, Android is going to be better than iOS in every way...

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | about 3 years ago | (#37573168)

You mean once Amazon ships the Kindle Fire, where Android is just the invisible underlayer.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37572906)

I did mention the user reviews in that post, and down below I rate it "Toddler tested, toddler approved." It runs all the Android apps from my phone - full screen and beautiful detail, and I don't have to buy them again. All my content is "just there". This is slashdot, and specs are appreciated. I know calling out specs isn't the Apple way: it's gauche. But here it matters, and this isn't an iPad.

I didn't call out that with widescreen, movies look far better than on the iPad. I didn't mention that with 1280 width on the screen, that the iPad doesn't have, you see much of the web the way it has been designed to be seen this last decade without scaling. These things are important to people here. But I don't call that stuff out when I show it to people. I just hand it over and after a few minutes they ask me how to get one.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37572930)

This post is on Slashdot, so of course it's going to be written for the Slashdot audience. What did you expect him to do, fill it with "wow I can pinch-to-zoom my emails now! what an innovation!"?

Pragmatically, for vast majority of iPad users, Transformer would do everything they do with iPad just as well or better.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (3, Insightful)

marsu_k (701360) | about 3 years ago | (#37572932)

Honeycomb 3.2.1 IPS widescreen docking dual-core nVidia Tegra 2 1GB RAM SDHC miniHDMI dual USB Flash Android no rooting quad-core Kal-El Tegra 3

This post explains everything you need to know about why Slashdot simply doesn't get tablet computing, and probably never will.

Yes, I guess we should all be satisfied with "4:3 is the best aspect ratio ever, we don't need any extra connectivity, and if the media is not available in iTunes we shall not want to watch it".

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (0)

ZenDragon (1205104) | about 3 years ago | (#37573172)

Your post explains why Apple has a brilliant marketing department! Convincing a great many clueless users that their products are "better" simply because they come from Apple. Which is all fine and dandy, and is obviously working quite well for them. And certainly they are almost singularly responsible for bringing this sort of technology to the main stream. But the fact of the matter is; the only reason Apple has been successful is because it markets to the dumb majority of the population that don't care or just don't know any better and just fork out money for technically inferior hardware.

Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#37573186)

Question: what makes this device more appealing to you than a much better priced netbook? I asked because I looked at those and the average I saw with the keyboard dock was around $550. What I got instead was this EEE netbook [amazon.com] which lets me run all my x86 software, gets 6 hours on the battery (If I use the full OS, it also has ExpressGate built in that lets me surf, listen to the tunes or watch videos off the HDD, and adds about 2 hours more to the battery) holds 8Gb of RAM, and cost me a whole $300 off of Tigerdirect. Oh and it does excellent HD and supposedly can play HL2 and Far Cry I (although I don't game on a little screen).

So what is it about the tablet FF that makes it worth the extra $250? Because I played with everything from an iPad to these cheapos and I honestly don't get it. I mean sure for specialized jobs like inventory I can see the appeal of an electronic notepad, but the 12.1 inch netbooks are both thin and light AND give me an actual keyboard and let me run x86 software. So I just don't get the appeal.

BTW if anyone is thinking of one? BUY IT. Those Brazos APUs are sweet, run ultra cool while making everything snappy, and ExpressGate rocks for when you just want to do surfing, mail, or chat. It is just 6 seconds from cold start to surfing with ExpressGate, too cool!

No mention of ViewSonic G-Tablet (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 3 years ago | (#37572306)

The G-Tablet goes for around $250 nowadays and is among the better devices supported by VEGAn-TAB [gojimi.com] and CyanogenMOD [cyanogenmod.com] .

The stock ROM bites, though, and the lack of GPS, magnometer, and limited LCD screen viewing angles might be an issue for some. But I'm pretty happy with mine.

Re:No mention of ViewSonic G-Tablet (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | about 3 years ago | (#37572410)

I too am very satisfied with my gTab which I picked up for around $280 from Woot in March. However one thing to note though is that Viewsonic is almost certainly not going to provide an official Honeycomb build. This is an issue because we need some binary drivers to get hardware acceleration working in third party HC based ROM's. Personally I've stuck with the Gingerbread based VEGAn-TAB ROM mentioned by the OP (and overall I'm happy), but if I were purchasing a new tablet today I would opt for one with an official HC build by the vendor.

Re:No mention of ViewSonic G-Tablet (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37572454)

I have this one too, and can confirm the above. The stock ROM bites, and having no experience flashing Android devices thought I had bricked it for a few weeks until I had time to read up. Now that I've fixed it I can see that it's really hard to actually make the thing unflashable, but finding the right firmware sets and drivers to get the job done is not a trivial challenge for the average person.

It seems unlikely Viewsonic turned a profit on these - they're selling through Woot now, probably bought remaindered in bulk. But if you've got the nerd skills this tablet is a heck of a good value at $260. Capacitive 10" touchscreen means no multitouch and slightly sluggish reaction time. The screen doesn't have wide angle viewing. It does have a full-sized USB port on the tablet for USB storage or mouse, and a microSD slot on the tablet. The speakers are decent and with the right software load you can get Flash and Netflix. Makes a great little dedicated browser too.

But don't let the battery run all the way out. It seems not to have a battery backed real-time clock so if you discharge it all the way you'll have to reset the time to get it back into useful condition.

Re:No mention of ViewSonic G-Tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572680)

I have this one too, and can confirm the above. The stock ROM bites, and having no experience flashing Android devices thought I had bricked it for a few weeks until I had time to read up. Now that I've fixed it I can see that it's really hard to actually make the thing unflashable, but finding the right firmware sets and drivers to get the job done is not a trivial challenge for the average person.

...and this is from a raving review!

Re:No mention of ViewSonic G-Tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572974)

ViewPad 7 FTW. Smaller screen, but a more convenient size. GPS, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, decent viewing angles, unlocked 3G. I think their thinking with the stock ROM was that whatever they produce will be outdated soon anyways, so best to make it user-upgradeable.

curious.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572348)

the vast majority of those tablets look significantly different than an iPad. Why does Samsung try to make their turdlet look exactly like an iPad?

That's why I waited (3, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | about 3 years ago | (#37572354)

I waited patiently for the Xoom WiFi before buying a tablet. I am glad I did. A lot of pre-Xoom products looked interesting, but lacked one or more of the following: solid OS, large name manufacturer, real (capacitive) touch screen, good compute power, decent amount of memory and storage.

It was too expensive... but so was and is the iPad. I didn't want an iPad, and now the Xoom is $100 less and LOTS of Tegra II, 10" honeycomb tablets are available. Perhaps too many! And Amazon's recent product intro and the success of the Touchpad firesale has FINALLY shaken up the market and prices are starting to drop rapidly.

Re:That's why I waited (2, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37572428)

And Amazon's recent product intro and the success of the Touchpad firesale has FINALLY shaken up the market and prices are starting to drop rapidly.

Prices are dropping rapidly for companies who are throwing in the towel and dumping their stock. It's not a sign of a healthy market. The only interesting thing that has happened in the tablet market so far is Amazon going after tablets (and by tablets I mean the iPad) from the low-end through the ebook reader market.

Re:That's why I waited (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 3 years ago | (#37572484)

But HTC just slashed the price of their Flyer 7". Motorola dropped the Xoom price by $100. Other strong players are following too that are not exiting the tablet market and not giving up.

My point was that the manufacturers took notice how quickly and insanely people went after tablets when the price dropped enough. They will probably shift into a smaller profit margin with a larger volume type sales model now. Consumers will win. This is generally a good thing.

Re:That's why I waited (3, Interesting)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37572620)

They are definitely getting smaller margins, but they aren't getting the volume they need to make it worthwhile (lower prices to not necessarily equate to higher volume.) Report [businessinsider.com] from back in April :

"Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry estimates that Motorola Mobility has manufactured between 500,000 and 800,000 Xooms, but has sold only 5 to 15 percent of them. Best case scenario then, according to Chowdry, is that Motorola has sold 120,000 Xooms; worse case scenario, it’s sold just 25,000."

And the Xoom is generally regarded as the best of the lot.

How long will these companies keep trying to get into a market where they aren't making any money ? Slashing prices reeks of desperation especially since components haven't gotten noticeably cheaper and they aren't making the volume to benefit from economies of scale. Like I said the best bet for real competition is probably the new Kindles. Amazon can sell these with an extremely low margin (or even a subsidized price) because unlike all the other tablet hopefuls they can make their money on media sales.

Re:That's why I waited (0)

markdavis (642305) | about 3 years ago | (#37572872)

I think you are working off old data. Motorola already indicated they have sold 400,000 Xooms in just the second quarter and estimates sales around 1.5 million units for 2011. Of course, this is much lower than they would like, but it is not dismal, afterall. Plus they are working on a Xoom 2.

They had a rocky start with disappointing sales in the first part of the year. But as the bugs were shaken out and the price dropped, sales started picking up steadily. They also lost momentum with not having the WiFi model available right at the start. Initial pricing was their biggest problem- they simply could not ask for the same price as the iPad and get stellar sales.

On the non-Xoom scene, the Asus Transformer is being sold at something like 400,000 units PER MONTH. Samsung is doing OK too. If you add up all the Android tablet sales, it is not a horrible number of sales at all. I suspect, but I am not sure, that this stuff will take off big time for Christmas and keep going up in 2012. Guess we wait and see.

http://www.androidguys.com/2011/07/29/motorola-expects-15-million-xoom-sales-2011/ [androidguys.com]

Re:That's why I waited (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37573284)

Small niggle : those are shipments you're quoting, not sales. But it'll definitely be interesting to see real sales figures after christmas. I am starting to see some non-Apple tablets around my neck of the woods, not many but they're out there.

Re:That's why I waited (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37572958)

And the Xoom is generally regarded as the best of the lot.

By whom? About the only good thing that can be said about Xoom is that it uses stock Honeycomb, and is thus the first to get updates. But others get them at most weeks later, so it's not a big deal (not as much as it is with 2.x phones). In most other respects, there are better Honeycomb tablets than Xoom on the market today. It just happened to be the first one.

Re:That's why I waited (2)

markdavis (642305) | about 3 years ago | (#37573010)

Actually, there really isn't that much difference between the various Tegra II 10" Honeycomb tablets. Mostly the same screen res, same processor, same speed, same memory, similar storage, etc.

Motorola did have slow updates at first, but that was also BECAUSE they were first (with Honeycomb). I am not trying to make excuses for them, but they did have a huge challenge trying to get Honeycomb working properly (and so did other early adopters). Things seem much more normal now- over the last few months, I have had three Xoom updates...

Re:That's why I waited (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37573078)

The difference is in the screen (Xoom one is not IPS, most others are) and available ports. Sometimes also software - e.g. some of them come with Polaris Office, which is pretty good.

For Transformer, of course, the huge differentiator is its awesome dock - not just for keyboard, but for battery life and extra USB ports and SD card slot. Another, smaller but still notable difference, is that it can read and write NTFS partitions from USB sticks and drives (they've licensed a proprietary NTFS driver for Linux from some company).

The advantage of fragmentation (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37572512)

It's a Darwinian thing. Nature floats a lot of trial balloons. Some of them work out and are improved upon. Some of them don't. But progress moves forward.

Re:The advantage of fragmentation (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37572798)

"Nature" is quickly running out of companies that haven't soured on the whole tablet thing. It's looking more like an extinction level event.

Meh (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37573052)

Acer, Asus, Samsung and Moto seem to be making a go of it on some models and are strong companies with huge economies of scale. Hundreds of companies large and small in China are running off small lots of low-end no-name tablets that are doing well in BRIC and on eBay and Amazon. Amazon just launched their own tablet and 90K units presold to end-users on day one isn't too bad a launch for a new product line sight unseen - it's not Apple numbers, but it will do. We see different things I guess.

Some companies, for one reason or another, threw their tablet under the bus. There was RIM, who wanted to go proprietary and then delivered an unsat tablet. There's Toshiba, Dell and HP and all the other Windows tablet OEMs who are just plain retarded, launching a new product into a category that's failed for fifteen consecutive years. Some like Moto and Samsung targeted for an unrealistic bottom price point and were uncompetitive but have learned.

In all it's working like it's supposed to work. The cream rises to the top.

Re:That's why I waited (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37572948)

Prices are dropping rapidly for companies who are throwing in the towel and dumping their stock ... The only interesting thing that has happened in the tablet market so far is Amazon going after tablets

Asus Transformer started selling for $400, $100 below iPad 2. It's at $370 on Amazon now, and there's no "fire sale" - they're on the third production batch by now and going.

The Apple effect (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572374)

competing with Apple was far harder than most companies expected.

That's because only an Apple fanboy is stupid enough to waste money on something as fucking stupid as a tablet. Sadly, other companies didn't realise this, and wasted money trying to convince non-Apple fanboys that tablets really aren't a stupid fucking idea, honest. Surprise!

Re:The Apple effect (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 3 years ago | (#37572442)

Tablets have their niche, and far be it from me to tell others they're wasting their money. What Apple has always had going for it was the coolness factor. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. There's nothing a non-phone tablet can do that a netbook or especially a notebook can't do better. Their only advantages are size and battery life. Apple's tight control of the platform and apps are its greatest strength, but also the reason I personally hate them the most. If I buy a device I own the frickin' thing, and the fact that you have to go through iTunes to do anything is antithetical to that.

Re:The Apple effect (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37572574)

Fine. Point me to a laptop with a keyboard that will fold around back so it's out of the way when you want to watch a video on a cramped bus, and a touch screen format for clipboard style use in my warehouse. Just because it is not a good idea for your life, doesn't mean it's not a good idea.

Re:The Apple effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572654)

Well maybe if you didn't waste money on a tablet you wouldn't need to take the bus. Furthermore, you're on the BUS. A BUS. Why do you need to watch video????

Re:The Apple effect (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#37573258)

Furthermore, you're on the BUS. A BUS. Why do you need to watch video????

You're right, he'd be much better off driving for 45 minutes and just listening to the radio. Or sitting on his couch eating processed foods watching the video. Lord knows the only thing to be done on a bus is to sit quietly and stare.

so (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#37572668)

you have the space to hold a pad vertically to watch a video on a cramped bus, but, dont have the space to let a netbook's lower implement with keyboard etc sit on your lap ? or are you watching videos while going around in the bus standing ? wouldnt both the pad or the netbook get shoved up your ass if the bus stopped suddenly nonetheless ?

Re:The Apple effect (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 3 years ago | (#37572980)

Toshiba had windows laptop/table hybrids 7 or 8 years ago (the screen rotates, then you close it). Check out the toshiba portage m400 (not sure if it's still available) or ASUS R1F [asus.com] .

iPad's success is simplicity (0, Troll)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37572414)

I HATE Apple products and could never understand why people would use such a limited device. Until I saw an 18 month old operating an iPhone. The kid could select an app, close it if she picked the wrong one, and open another app. She couldn't read but she could make sense of the pictures.

That is the only reason Apple's inferior crap has come to dominate. Simplicity of interface that is undaunting even to an infant. If you want something more capable, buy a goddamn Netbook. If you want toys for Suri Cruise or Grandma Gump, pay your iTaxes.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572460)

iPad's success is it's brand name and polish. Most other modern tablets are off-brand garbage, in most senses of the term.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572474)

Did Steve Jobs run over your wife and fuck your dog or something ?

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (2, Funny)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 3 years ago | (#37572560)

There's nothing worse than Apple fanboys. Except Apple haters.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about 3 years ago | (#37572652)

No, he ran over my FreeBSD OS and fucked my x86 architecture. And all after he promised that he wasn't at all attracted to that stuff!

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573088)

Why so mad?
Is it wrong to hate something because it is too simple? Too focused?
Is it wrong to hate a company who abuses this fact by marking their prices up like crazy and abuse the fact that in general, idiots prefer shiny stuff, even if it horribly breaks the usefulness of a certain device? (SCREENS DON'T WORK WHEN SHINY GOD DAMN IT, STOP MAKING THEM SHINY, MATTE OR GET THE HELL OUT OF THE MARKET)

Note that I am not one of those generic "apple sux" haters and prefers Windows or some crap, I hate Windows too, and Microsoft just as much as Apple. Nor do I hate them for the whole walled garden thing, it is Apples device, it isn't marketed as an open device like PCs are.
I hate them because their devices are too simple, terribly overpriced, shiny, filled with proprietary crap "just because", and is owned by a company who seriously edited pictures of competition as EVIDENCE IN COURT TO GET IT BANNED... AND SOMEHOW WON.

Some people like multi-capable devices. Some people would prefer to have multi-capable devices.
And some people like to not waste money too.

Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572486)

If you want something more capable, buy a goddamn Netbook. If you want toys for Suri Cruise or Grandma Gump, pay your iTaxes.

Translation: If you one of the vast masses who aren't as superior and haughty as I am, buy an Apple product. But I will sneer down from on high at your fanboi-ness and chuckle at how much better than you I am.

(Posting anonymously because anyone who isn't seething hate on this site at everything Apple ever thought of is automatically marked as a "Fanboi kneeling before Steve Jobs" and modded down)

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (4, Insightful)

The Good Reverend (84440) | about 3 years ago | (#37572528)

They're not really "iTaxes" as the iPad is the same price or cheaper than almost all alternatives.

I love mine. And my non-techie wife loves it. And our 5-year old daughter loves it. That's really what was important to me in my household. I have my servers and plenty of other tech toys to tinker with - the iPad was perfect for the whole household, though.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 3 years ago | (#37572588)

Same here. I have two 45U bays in my garage. a few servers in those bays. A Linux desktop. HDHomerun in the attic. Media centers all across the house. And I bought my wife an iPad. Everyone's happy, except those people that think that owning an iPad makes you a stupid moronic cretin. But I don't give a rat's ass about them, so all is well in the end.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (2)

afabbro (33948) | about 3 years ago | (#37572736)

Same here. I have two 45U bays in my garage. a few servers in those bays. A Linux desktop. HDHomerun in the attic. Media centers all across the house. And I bought my wife an iPad.

Well, see right there I know you're making this up, because no one with 90U in their garage and a linux desktop has ever kissed a girl, much less married one.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 3 years ago | (#37572850)

Um, "I do". Right here.

I've got 3 CNC machines in the garage as well, various power tools, an electronics workshop etc. I'm currently building a fishtank [reefcentral.com] , a task that I never really expected to involve writing ethernet drivers for 8-bit chips, metal-working, coding on embedded systems, plumbing, laying cement, wood-working an 8 foot long stand, etc. I get to geek out quite a bit, is what I'm saying :)

The only thing my garage lacks is any form of transportation. My wife is just fine with all the "toys" being away in the garage.

Simon

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37573008)

I bought an iPad for my mom from the same reasoning - everyone says it's good for the casual user, so she'd be able to handle it easier than any Android tablet, right?

Well, nope. She thinks that the whole UI is inconsistent from app to app (compared to her desktop PC), and she absolutely hates iTunes. Indeed, her first question when she saw it was, "Is this really needed? Why can't I just drag and drop files on an icon in Explorer, just like I already know how to do with my USB stick and my phone?".

(She doesn't have a music collection to sync, so she really just needs a way to copy the occasional picture or a document to and from the thing. However, she uses a desktop PC and a laptop, and the fact that you can only have an iPad "synced" to one of those is very inconvenient to her.)

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37572676)

I don't hate the iPad - I've got one at work and it's intuitive, easy to use, has a great software selection. It's just not my thing for buying with my own money. You're right: the littles take right to it.

But I can't be critical of you for drinking the haterade, because somebody might ask me about the horror that is Windows on a tablet.

That said, my Android tablets are all toddler tested and toddler approved. "Tablet, Gampa?" is often the first thing I hear on arriving home.

UI is one component of good engineering (3, Insightful)

Brannon (221550) | about 3 years ago | (#37572694)

iPhones and iPads are solidly engineered all the way around (hardware and software) and [yes] targeted at a non-technical audience, but still quite usable by nerds.

I don't understand the condescending attitude that many nerds have about iOS devices and their users.

Re:UI is one component of good engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573080)

I don't understand the condescending attitude that many nerds have about iOS devices and their users.

Nerds react that way when they detect idiocy. Respect is proportional to apparent brainpower.

Re:UI is one component of good engineering (3, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#37573146)

If nerds could really detect idiocy there would be no flame wars.

Re:UI is one component of good engineering (5, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#37573128)

Nerds are another form of hipster. If something is mainstream, they start hating it to make themselves appear to have more sophisticated tastes.

And yes, I am speaking from experience. I tend to be overly critical of popular movies just to look cool. I like to think I've toned that down in recent years.

Re:UI is one component of good engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573162)

yea that awesome engineering got us antennas that don't work when you hold a phone, and 800$ toys that shatter if dropped ... the word your looking for is design

Re:UI is one component of good engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573164)

I don't understand the condescending attitude that many nerds have about iOS devices and their users.

It's simply human nature to resent other people's success. It's just like inner city kids tearing down the ones that study and are well spoken; they resent others' hard-earned success because they're too lame to in this case do all the UI research and refinements that Apple does.

And it's the same thing with patents. These people have never invented anything new in their life and know patents will always be rewarding somebody else, so they want to tear down the whole system out of envy.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37572830)

If you want toys for Suri Cruise or Grandma Gump, pay your iTaxes.

I love how an obvious troll like this is modded "insightful". Stay classy Slashdot.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572848)

Thats why I bought an iPad, not a Xoom (other than the fact at the time they wernt sold in NZ)
I am very happy with my iPad, and I use it for just about everything, and have had no need to jailbreak it. It comes down to back end services. Because if you stick with standards based stuff, it doesn't really matter what the OS is.
Remoet desktop - VNC
Streaming video and music, DLNA
Mail, IMAP
Contacts, vCard
Calendar, iCal.

And when not doing all this stuff, there a millions of games for the kids. The one major thing not on the 'droids right now.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 3 years ago | (#37572912)

I disagree slightly. The simplicity is there, but it's not everything.

In my opinion, the thing the iPad had, which no other tablet until the Kindle Fire did, was an existing use case. If you buy an iPad, you are almost guaranteed to understand that you can buy and watch movies, music, and TV on it. This seems like a little thing, until you realize that for the non-techie consumer, that's the ONLY value to it at the beginning. Understanding what an app is, or how you would play a game on a touchscreen, is something you experiment with; if you don't like to experiment, you don't spend $500 on it.

Not only is the Fire not a $500 investment in experimentation, it starts with an existing use case, so you can justify buying it. I think it'll do better than most.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 3 years ago | (#37572972)

I HATE Apple products and could never understand why people would use such a limited device.

Limits don't mean much if you're not running up against them. If all you want to do is browse the Internet, read ebooks, check your email, and use some of the applications available on the iTunes App Store, then you're not running up against any of the iPads limits. For you, the iPad doesn't have any meaningful limits.

So why wouldn't you use a product that does all the things you want it to do? Simply because it doesn't do things you don't care about?

I'm not saying the iPad is for everyone. I don't think I have a use for it, but I also don't get angry at the people who like them.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572992)

Wow. You have a lot of issues, don't you? It sounds like the main source of these problems is your frustration of FOSS not owning the world like you've been made to believe it would after 20 years. Oh, well.... so sad.
 
Must suck to be a fanboi who's on the losing team.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

recrudescence (1383489) | about 3 years ago | (#37573018)

Dumben-down something so that even 'simple' users can use it, and watch the product get used almost exclusively by 'simple' users. Simple.
What it boils down to, is who you'd rather have as your target audience. (and $5 says it's not your average slashdot poster).
The downside to this "nintendo wii" approach, of course, is that apple products in general are considered much less 'mysterious' and 'awe-worthy' nowadays than they used to be, as they're starting to be more associated with your average i-go-to-a-special-school joe, as opposed to a windswept, enigmatic and creative personality. But maybe apple likes it that way. 'Simple' masses probably eventually end up paying much more than a handful of rich elitist 'artists'.
</cynicism>

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

wikthemighty (524325) | about 3 years ago | (#37573092)

Our daughter was playing with an iPod Touch at 1, able to unlock it at 1.5 and is finding shows she wanted to watch on Netflix at 2. Mostly she's into Dora, Tickle Tap apps, books and music apps like Bebot. Years ago I dreamed of introducing my future kid(s) to video gaming with my Atari 2600 (still working) as I did when I was 5, now it's more likely she'll be playing the Atari classics on her iWhatever...

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (5, Insightful)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 3 years ago | (#37573250)

Apologies for the long rant. I've seen the 'damn overpriced Apple' screed often enough that I've thought about it a bit.

Unless you're a programmer, you don't really know how much effort that simplicity takes. Your thinking that simplicity is a cheap trick is missing the point. It's not that Apple doesn't see all the good features out there, it's that they wait and spend many hours honing things before they see the light of day. Deleting features takes guts, it's telling a programmer you can't do your fun thing. It's keeping to a list of things that are integrated, even though checkbox marketers (Microsoft is the best example here) try to say you're inferior and you're getting nailed in product reviews. But, every feature that you have is actually usable.

You also seem dismissive of their tech. Apple has managed to put a hybrid microkernel/UNIX device with OpenGL graphics, 4 radios (CDMA, GSM, Bluetooth, Wifi), an inhouse designed CPU, and a capacitive touchscreen in wifes pocket. And as someone whose brain isn't wired for tech, she loves it. If you go out to a cellphone store now, you'll see many phones that copy that formula. For a desktop/laptop company to take over the direction of phone design in a few years says something about the quality of their engineers and designers. You seem to confuse simple with stupid, or rather simple on the interface with simple everywhere. It's actually a mistake Microsoft made with the Zune, and old versions of Windows CE. You also seem to make a mistake many people make where they think everyone is just like them but is missing some fact that would make them agree with you. Not everyone is just like you.

As far as the 'Apple Tax', you've evidently never taken economics. The price in the field is determined more or less by supply and demand. Every vendor would love to sell you their stuff for more. It's called profit margin. No one is ever forced to pay it. Consumers choose to. Only the vendors whose products are loved get to charge a decent margin. If they're not loved, no one will pay their prices. So, Apple charges iTaxes? Then, no one must be buying these things that are overpriced? Apple seems to be moving product fairly well. Only iPhones get to charge margin, and very similar specced android phones can not, because they're not quite the same. Even near-WIntel spec laptops with just MacOSX as a differentiator are getting sold. There must be something in that secret sauce of iOS and MacOSX that makes people want to pay more for them, even though Macs don't run Windows programs. It's all that effort you don't see, all that simplicity that makes iOS/MacOSX just work for most people. We have a macbook, and the wife's plan says to replace the aging Windows machine with some iMac once it finally kicks over. She's no fanboy (err, girl). Macs just are easier for her. And I'm a UNIX programmer, who ran FreeBSD for various jobs (besides Linux, Solaris, etc) and I'm low level enough to have done driver work (which shipped in a UNIX kernel) and I like the iMac idea. MacOS does quite well if it's simple enough for her to use, yet powerful enough for me.

As someone who has been on Macs since 89 or so, I can assure you there was no fanboyism about the Performa days or System 7.1.1. or the 'the Pepsi ex-CEO can design and move computers, right?' fiascos. Apple had their nadir, and they built up since then. There was no reality distortion field back then, they made hard choices, killed projects, (Copeland, Rhapsody, Pink, Taligent, etc) and started slowly building Apple to where it is.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 3 years ago | (#37573292)

This.

Re:iPad's success is simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573290)

I HATE people who shit on an entire brand name and could never understand why people would have such a limited way of thinking about technology.

not competing against iPad, but the users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572434)

I do not think it was a question of other devices competing against the iPad, but against the brainwashed lemming like Apple zeolots as they chat ......... 'must.....buy......Apple......must......buy.....Apple.......must.....buy......Apple......'

Amazing. (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 3 years ago | (#37572452)

Yes, my experience too. I was pretty amazed when I looked around for a tablet. It would have to be bloody good to overcome the fact that as an iPhone/iPod user, I've got a lot of stuff "locked in" to Apple via. their store and iTunes. Anyway, I still don't think there's anything out there that's actually more desirable for me than an actual iPad, and that's still too expensive for what I want it for (not to anon cowards - I want it for browsing, YouTube and generally mooching around the web when I'm sitting in the lounge watching TV - a phone is not really a very pleasant usability experience for that kind-of thing, although that's what I'm using at the moment).

But from a software/hardware point of view I've seen this all before (at the company I work for): the competition comes out with something way ahead of the game, and you rush to play catch-up just to get a toe into the market and develop the skills and expertise you need in order to produce the much better, second generation product. The money invested in developing these things is investing in future products, rather than the existing range.

Re:Amazing. (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37573142)

There are plenty of cheaper 10" tablets around now that would be perfect for the uses you mention. You wouldn't even need Android 2, let alone 3.

Apple isn't ahead in hardware at all. When it comes to software, the only lead they have is that there are no dedicated apps for renting/buying TV shows and movies here in the UK. With the iPad you'd just rent TV/movies from tunes. I haven't tried the LoveFilm flash player on Android 3.1 actually, it may be more reliable than by now. Kind of a moot point considering I can stream LoveFilm to my TV with my PS3 though. My Xoom is great for YouTube vids, browsing and Kindle.

Missed the Acer Iconia (1)

hmckee (10407) | about 3 years ago | (#37572526)

After using the G-Tablet for a few months, I gave it up in favor of the Acer Iconia. The Iconia runs Android 3.0, has GPS, supports a Bluetooth keyboard and has good viewing angles which G-Tablet had problems with.

Certainly not as small as an iPad but it's been a pleasure to use. I mainly use it for testing Flash games. I looked at a more than a few of the devices in the article and none of them could compare to the G-Tablet or Iconia.

Re:Missed the Acer Iconia (1)

hmckee (10407) | about 3 years ago | (#37572558)

Of course, the Iconia wasn't even announced until after the article was published.

Archos 70 and 101?!?! (1)

oic0 (1864384) | about 3 years ago | (#37572544)

They only mentioned the previous weaker gen of the archos tablets. The new Archos 70 and 101 are completely different animals. Much better products. I love mine and have had it for quite a while now.

Re:Archos 70 and 101?!?! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37572750)

They only mentioned the previous weaker gen of the archos tablets. The new Archos 70 and 101 are completely different animals. Much better products. I love mine and have had it for quite a while now.

We were given the weaker predecessors at work, lamentable and they batteries died (wouldn't hold charge) within a month or two. Got something else to replace them which isn't much better. Paper weights, basically.

Re:Archos 70 and 101?!?! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37573030)

They mention tablets that were released way back, alongside the original iPad.

Missing The Most Successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572548)

GalaxyTab 10 (the best android based tablet easily -- mostly because it runs a tablet version of android instead of a smartphone version!)
Nook Color (Android with a custom adobe air interface. Not very powerful and locked down -- but still successful in its intended market)
The ASUS Transformer -- I own one and use it instead of a laptop for ultra light duty tasks (attending meetings, etc.)

Of course, maybe I only think they are successful because I own and like them all =P

The "us too" business strategy doesn't work (2)

hsmith (818216) | about 3 years ago | (#37572550)

The issue is all these companies crammed shit out the door hoping to capitalize on Apples success with tablets. Yet, they didn't realize it isnt just a tablet, but more. If they would have sat back and built something smart that works well, decently priced they would have had a chance. Hopefully Amazon has taken that and realized what it takes.

Re:The "us too" business strategy doesn't work (1)

PineGreen (446635) | about 3 years ago | (#37572888)

Yet, they didn't realize it isnt just a tablet, but more.

Yes, they didn't realize that when you buy ipad, you are sexsiually pleasing Steve Jobs.
If you buy a non-Apple product, you are not sexsiually pleasing anyone.

That is the difference.

Re:The "us too" business strategy doesn't work (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | about 3 years ago | (#37573118)

I didn't realize the iPad is more than a tablet, but you have a point. If you're playing catch up, it not enough to be "like an iPad". It has to be "like an iPad, except (better/cheaper)" There aren't really many important features on a tablet. Light, thin, good LCD and capacitive multi-touch are pretty much 90% of the deal. The Chinese knockoffs are going for cheaper though and, as usual, they go all the way. [dealextreme.com]

Edge tablet (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37572594)

As an Edge owner, I can say that it is a great device for an enthusiast regardless of iffy reviews and the company going out of business. Android 2.2 is available for it and there is a strong community behind it. It's a little underpowered. It is resistive, so it supports a stylus, and the eInk screen is touch screen as well(and is capable of annotating with the stylus and has a note taking application that is stylus compatible). I got mine from Woot for ~$100 and it was a great investment.

Re:Edge tablet (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37572634)

To qualify, it's a great investment for me because I use it in class to take notes on one side and pull up the PDF on the other side. Like I said, it is a little underpowered and it's resistive, so playing Angry Birds isn't going to run optimally. I use it for purely academic uses and some web browsing and such. At the price I got it for, I'm extremely with it for what it does.

Of course it is. (0)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#37572632)

Apple is selling to a loyal audience, who buy apple products pushed with great marketing if they dont suck enough to discard. The other companies have to sell to the general masses, who prioritize a lot of other things than brand loyalty or hip factor first. That makes it hard to sell them stuff they wont seriously use.

A few weeks ago we had a hard discussion on /. under an article, in which an apple fan went as far to define "showing presentations while walking, looking at recipes in the kitchen" as 'mobile computing' to support his proposition, and in a serious manner, as if these could qualify as a good percentage of what computing can you do as mobile to justify the usability of the device.

Re:Of course it is. (4, Interesting)

HuguesT (84078) | about 3 years ago | (#37572846)

You are not being honest with yourself. Apple has well and truly moved out of the fanbois base and now sells to the masses. Non-tech people totally love it. They barely have to do any marketing about the iPad, it's been very hard to get these past few months, it's been literally flying out of the shelves.

The iPad is good, face it. Eventually the PC industry might make a few good contenders but right now they suck. Win7 is not up to the task, Android is in between states waiting for 4.0 to come out and finally merge the smartphone and tablet versions with a reasonable "market". WebOS is a goner with HP calling it quits.

I understand you not liking Apple's products. No one is forcing you to buy them, you probably don't need them anyway. But you have to admit Apple has caught the PC industry on the backfoot with this one.

Also the MacBook Air, I totally want that one.

Re:Of course it is. (4, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37573122)

You are not being honest with yourself. Apple has well and truly moved out of the fanbois base and now sells to the masses. Non-tech people totally love it.

Not only are they selling to the masses (if you don't think selling tens to hundreds of millions of devices is mass market you're seriously deluded), but they are turning them into loyal customers. The iPhone has by far the highest customer retention rate [bgr.com] around ("UBS: iPhone’s 89% retention rate crushes competition; next closest is HTC at 39%") and they continue to lead in PC customer satisfaction [tomshardware.com] figures ("Apple scored 87 points, ahead of HP with a result of 78, Dell with 77, Acer also with 77 and Compaq with 75. [...] Apple holds the highest score on record for the eighth consecutive year.") They're obviously doing something right.

Re:Of course it is. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37572918)

Apple is selling to a loyal audience, who buy apple products pushed with great marketing if they dont suck enough to discard. The other companies have to sell to the general masses, who prioritize a lot of other things than brand loyalty or hip factor first. That makes it hard to sell them stuff they wont seriously use.

A few weeks ago we had a hard discussion on /. under an article, in which an apple fan went as far to define "showing presentations while walking, looking at recipes in the kitchen" as 'mobile computing' to support his proposition, and in a serious manner, as if these could qualify as a good percentage of what computing can you do as mobile to justify the usability of the device.

The thing about a tablet platform is it opens up a usability paradigm - you wouldn't have thought of taking your desktop into the kitchen to back cookies. A laptop, maybe, if it isn't too big or clunky. But a tablet, ah, now we get closer to 'certainly' Imagine a chef working out new recipes in a **** restaurant, this makes a pretty strong argument for redefining mobile - use anywhere, for anything is the goal, now.

Re:Of course it is. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#37573260)

i noticed that you conveniently missed netbook in between laptop and tablet.

Re:Of course it is. (2)

shilly (142940) | about 3 years ago | (#37573096)

Wow, you're totally missing the point. There are millions of consumers around the world with plenty of disposable income who like to cook! For many of them, using an iPad in the kitchen is quite a big deal and forms a significant part of their use case. It may not be how *you* use it, but it's certainly how they use it. (And me, too)

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 at $199 may change things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37572828)

At about 1/3rd the price of most low-end iPad's; it's reasonable fast, and does everything most people want to do. SD slot, USB slot, SDHC slot, 2 cameras, bluetooth etc.

Because people dont want tablets. (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 3 years ago | (#37572960)

They want iPads.

Re:Because people dont want tablets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573132)

I hate this idea that people only want iPad because it has brand name attached to it. Although it may be true for some people, for vast majority of the people if you offer similar capabilities with a different product then they would at least consider it. The problem with current tablet market is no one is able to match the full capability of tablet to compete with iPad. iPad is tablet + the iTune & iOS ecosystem. Amazon has decided to focus on just part of iPad tablet functionality: mainly media consumption but it thinks that the app ecosystem is not important. The other tablet makers such as xoom and hp tried to focus on the platform aspect of it but they've ignored the need to access media contents (books, music etc.) In my mind, in order to successfully compete with iPad, the tablet has to fully compete with iPad functionality,

Re:Because people dont want tablets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573182)

Your comment is primarily why most of us hate apple. Their marketing dept has somehow convinced the population that there are 2 categories. Tablets and iPads. Yes, I hate them for that.

Why are un-released iPad rivals considered? (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 3 years ago | (#37572994)

That's the part I like best. A good third of the devices are "slated" for a release. Some total vapor-ware, others just late and without dynamically changing specifications. That's a very sad, but a completely separate fate. Hard to compete (or even be compared) with an iPad if you aren't yet released.

I had the same problem with iPod alternatives. An google-found article "Top 5 competitors to iPod touch" had 2 or 3 (yes, you read it right AT LEAST TWO) devices that were not fully spec-ed or yet released to market. But of course since I was looking for something to buy in the present, unreleased devices (that are subject to spec/price adjustment) were hardly of any interest to me. And that's why today I own an iPod touch...

Re:Why are un-released iPad rivals considered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573094)

Didn't Samsung just announce their Galaxy Player 4 and 5? Those seem to be aimed at the iTouch market.

He missed one... (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | about 3 years ago | (#37573032)

He seems to have missed the Pyramid Tablet [wired.com] .

acer w500. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37573194)

have one and i love it. bought from nyc for $500 ish. works as a tablet + laptop replacement running windows 7 ult 64 bit.
awesome.

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