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A Look At Competitors to the Surface and iPad

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the not-necessarily-also-rans dept.

Handhelds 193

"Asus and other Microsoft OEM partners have also launched their own versions of Windows RT tablets that will compete with Microsoft's Surface. It's interesting to see the different design approaches being taken, some of which are similar to Android devices currently on the market. The Asus Vivo Tab RT, for example, is based on a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 SoC with 2GB of DDR3 memory, 32GB or 64GB of on board Flash storage, and looks a lot like their Transformer Prime 10-inch slate. The internal electronics are similar to Surface, with NVIDIA's Tegra 3 claiming the lion's share of Windows RT designs at launch. Microsoft's new touch-centric OS handles smoothly on the tablet and performance looks to be impressive, especially with respect to multitasking and application switching." There's also the newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Note II (Android-based, and a so called "phablet," rather than a tablet), the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (an upcoming Windows RT tablet with a keyboard permanently attached), and the Archos 101 XS.

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SURFACE SHOOTS !! SCORES !! WINS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41754749)

And the rest of us lose !!

what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41754765)

there has to be at least one reason to buy it

iOS does Exchange ActiveSync email,
you can develop your own enterprise apps for it
lots of other corporate apps in the app store

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (4, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#41754813)

Why do we have to have the one brand that rules them all?

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41754851)

because if im going to spend $500 or more do i buy the product that has sold 100 million units and has lots of software and developer support? or do i buy the new one that doesn't seem to have a feature to make it better, has almost no developer support and may be killed off in a few months like the HP tablet

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41754909)

You didn't answer the question. He asked why there has to be one platform. You answered why you would prefer one platform over another. Good for your karma, poor for discussion.

And as it stands, there are already two popular platforms that meet those criteria. A third isn't going to hurt anything, if it even catches on.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41755073)

there doesn't have to be one, but what does RT bring to the table? Android has lots of apps. why buy RT over Android?

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755583)

Because I think Android and iOS suck?

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#41755953)

Microsoft office?

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756379)

Multi-tasking that's worth a damn?

He asked the obvious followup (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41755437)

You didn't answer the question. He asked why there has to be one platform.

There's no need to answer that because that answer is obvious. There does not need to be one platform.

Then the obvious question after that is, why is Windows RT capable of BEING another platform enterprises would want to use?

My answer to that would be; it can be an enterprise platform even just resting on Office suppot. But it will not be replacing iPads, it will be replacing laptops for some people that only need office (say secretaries or some executives).

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#41755109)

100 million units and has lots of software and developer support?

Haha. you silly. Trade in your blackberry.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41755181)

Because Windows will never have developer support. /s

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 2 years ago | (#41756373)

Because Windows will never have developer support. /s

Windows RT only allows third party developers to write "Metro" apps that access the WinRT API. WinRT is the API for Metro apps on both Windows RT and Windows 8.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41756621)

That doesn't mean the developers are going anywhere. It may cause some to leave, but Windows is, and will be for the foreseeable future, huge.

Developers may also be attracted to the write once, compile for phone, tablet and PC scheme.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756041)

because if im going to spend $500 or more do i buy the product that has sold 100 million units and has lots of software and developer support? or do i buy the new one that doesn't seem to have a feature to make it better, has almost no developer support and may be killed off in a few months like the HP tablet

Comments like this really make me wonder what the hell happened to Slashdot. I thought what we did around here was DEMAND openness, instead of sitting around hoping that it just sort of happens?

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#41756469)

The one thing RT has going for it is Microsoft Support. Think about how much Microsoft has integrated with many of the apps we use, like Office, Servers, etc. I'm sure Microsoft will have a plethora of apps specific for businesses who wish to sync with Exchange, Sharepoint, Office, Remote Access, VDI, and much more. Plus, there is the XBOX 360 integration which Microsoft will have the leverage to port many games over to the RT. Microsoft will throw everything they have into this platform to make it thrive.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756651)

Translation: This is slashdot, so fuck Microsoft!

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755035)

my precious

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (3, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41755063)

There needs to be one device that does everything I want.

Why? Because I want it that way, I don't want to buy this one device for one feature and another device for another feature, that would be idiotic.

There doesn't need to be a brand that does it all, and there doesn't have to be just one device that does everything I want. There can be many devices from many brands that do everything I want.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#41755727)

That's only true if you have a limited budget. Ideally, your office or household would have a panopoly of computers, sharing data, and you would just pick up the computer that fits your needs at the time? Do I need a keyboard?A large monitor? Something that can be used in one hand.. etc..

I mean, suppose you want to read a novel. If it's a sunny day, and glare is a problem, you pick the kindle.If you want color, you pick a tablet--eg. the retina ipad.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41756241)

Why do we have to have the one brand that rules them all?

There are already several good brands of Android tablets on the market. Competition among brands is going quite well, and isn't the problem. The question is why anyone would want a third tablet OS. If you care about openness you go with Android; if you want the most apps and smoothest UI, you go with iOS. I don't see where WinRT fits in here.

The Surface Pro is a different story – I can see that appealing to businesses who want a tablet with decent touch support combined with legacy compatibility. But Windows on ARM looks to be dead on arrival.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#41756357)

> Why do we have to have the one brand that rules them all?

Because wasting man-years to re-develop solutions is the height of stupidity, inefficiency, and waste. That is one of the biggest problems of Capitalism. Redundancy and Waste.

Microsoft and Sony spend billions on R&D just so that they can "win" ; because if they "lose" that means they won't be around. Instead of working together, and lowering their expenses they have their ego, pride, and greed so far up their ass that they would rather waste people's lives redeveloping the _same_ thing just so that the other guy is forced to "play the game."

Greed is the root cause of companies to focus on profit at the expense of advancing society.

I'm not saying consumer choice is a bad thing, BUT it needs to be balanced with pragmatic utilitarian for the general society.

Just _how_ many devices/things do we _really_ _need_ ? i.e. How _many_ printers do we need to chose from? Cars? Game Consoles? Computers? Laptops? Tablets? etc.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41754881)

Office. Good enough reason for some, I would say. And as the ecosystem build apps that can run on both your PC and your phone.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (5, Informative)

SomewhatRandom (1299167) | about 2 years ago | (#41754945)

Microsoft announced that Office will be available for iOS and Android in March 2013.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41754999)

I somehow dont expect them to have the same features or ease of use as Windows RT.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (3, Insightful)

feranick (858651) | about 2 years ago | (#41755047)

Maybe. But again: consider the current user base of iPads (and iThings in general). It would be quite idiotic to neglect those users of the benefits of Office to push their own platform, which has a 0.something market share. A full featured Office for iOS would allow MS to make millions and to keep those iThings aligned and connected with the rest of the MS infrastructure.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41755243)

See correction below. Microsoft has commented that the Microsoft Czech subsidiary information was incorrect (may be it is happening earlier than the information reported, or may be it is not happening at all). So it does seem Microsoft does not care about Office for Android & iPads. May be they are changing into a hardware company as it has been reported.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41755977)

Microsoft cares about Office for iOS and Android about as much as Apple cares about FaceTime and iMessage for other platforms, and for the same reasons.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

feranick (858651) | about 2 years ago | (#41756225)

You are comparing apples with oranges. Apple doesn't sell FaceTime or iMessage, it sells iThings or Macs. MS sells software. Now unless they are going to bet the future or their mobile presence on RT alone, neglecting 80% of the market share is certainly a possibility, but, again, not a one that makes any business sense. If you go by the same rationale, MS should have never made Office for Mac, but it does. Google, for instance has its own stake in the mobile market (and a much more significant one than MS), but it recognizes that just neglecting Apple's is simply not an option. That is why you see Chrome, Gmail, YouTube and (soon) maps for iOS. Great products that are only apparently in contradiction with Google's mobile strategy. At the end if you sell services (like Google), or software (like MS) you want the largest user base as possible. Hiding your hand under the sand may give you great confidence that your mobile product will have an edge, but that might never translate into a sizable share of the market.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41756355)

Microsoft didn't sell hardware ... now they do. If they could get away with pulling an Apple and locking everyone else out, they would. Look at the "Metro" store. Google puts out cross platform stuff because they want to sell ads on all platforms. As for their mobile OS ... if Apple did not have any serious competition in that area, do you think iOS would get more open or more closed? Would Google make more money or less? It ain't necessarily altruistic, but it's good for users.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

proslack (797189) | about 2 years ago | (#41755083)

Why not? Microsoft is a *software* company at its core.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41755115)

I somehow dont expect them to have the same features or ease of use as Windows RT.

You mean it will be missing even more features than the RT version and you won't be allowed to use it for non-commercial use as well as commercial use? Maybe people will just install it to look at.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (5, Informative)

SomewhatRandom (1299167) | about 2 years ago | (#41755011)

Correction: The press release from the Microsoft Czech subsidiary outlining the release has since been denied by Microsoft:

"The information shared by our Czech subsidiary is not accurate. We do not have anything further to share at this time."

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41756319)

Microsoft announced that Office will be available for iOS and Android in March 2013.

If this is true, then someone, somewhere in Microsoft is starting to contemplate the possibility that Windows may not be the OS of the future.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41755103)

and how much is that going to cost?

i'm sure all these corporations that are on XP will start putting in PO's to buy MS Office on RT and upgrade their regular office suites for $300 a user just to get MS Office on a mobile device

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

feranick (858651) | about 2 years ago | (#41756383)

Nobody can say how much at this time. However it must be priced competitively with iWorks. In fact if they might have a killer app if they sell it for 30$ for consumers and 50$ for businesses. You would have a way to tap in no time the existing and extensive iPad/iPhone userbase, connecting with the existing MS infrastructure. Heck, they wouldn't even need to distribute it: the App store would do it for them (although Apple would get a cut of the profit).

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41755815)

Office. Good enough reason for some, I would say. And as the ecosystem build apps that can run on both your PC and your phone.

Google will be forced to respond by throwing money at (most probably) Apache foundation to bring up OpenOffce on Android faster and eliminate that one advantage. Of course Google would be a lot smarter to throw money at LibreOffice, but Google has some Apache bigots on staff that sometimes get in the way of doing the smartest thing. But... throw enough money and OpenOffice will get there quickly enough. LibreOffice will soon follow of course, because the nice thing about the Apache license is, you can pull that code into a GPL project.

Google should obviously have taken steps to accelerate Open/LibreOffice development a long time ago, but they are fixated on that stupid ChromeOS project nobody care about, and that makes them think that client-side functionality is a bad thing, i.e., uncloudy. Larry probably better think about getting off those drugs, Burning Man is over.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41755873)

Oh, and nobody cares about building apps that run both on a PC and a Windows phone. Not even a little bit.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

feranick (858651) | about 2 years ago | (#41756441)

What's the point? Google can "translate" their online Office utils into an app, just like they did with the Gmail app (and maps, etc). It doesn't make any sense to have an application designed for PC into mobile, like Libreoffice/Openoffice. Mobile apps need to be designed as mobile apps since the beginning. Otherwise we are back to Windows CE all over again.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (4, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41755157)

Office built in for free
Side by side application multitasking
Multi-user operating system
Expandable storage
More peripheral device support
More manufacturers at a variety of price points and options
More form factors (foldable hybrid, detachable screen, pure tablet, etc.)
Open file system for managing and organizing files
Networking for connecting to other PCs, transferring files, serving media, etc.


Not sure why you're talking about Windows RT with respect to corporate though. Windows RT is aimed squarely at the consumer market. Windows 8 tablets like the Surface pro are for Enterprise. There, the list for what Windows 8 does over iPad is much much longer. (Either way, nothing stopping you from developing your own enterprise apps for Windows RT.)

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (2)

pedropolis (928836) | about 2 years ago | (#41755517)

The Surface Pro isn't competing with the iPad. At it's likely price point, you're talking Ultraportables, Notebooks, and the Mac Air.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41755709)

If a corporation is considering an iPad for certain tasks, they're doing so because of the touch interface and form factor. There is no reason to consider an iPad otherwise. Ultraportables, Notebooks, and the Macbook Air do not offer this advantage at any price. Surface Pro and other Windows 8 tablets further offer the advantage of being able to write on the screen. This is preferable for some professionals.

Corrections (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41755555)

Office built in for free

That is the biggest draw for sure.

Expandable storage

Only for media.

More peripheral device support

The iPad at this point has a greater range of peripheral support.

More form factors (foldable hybrid, detachable screen, pure tablet, etc.)

With all of the accessories I also think the iPad has the upper hand here. You can buy a ruggedized waterproof iPad case for example...

Open file system for managing and organizing files

Which non-technical users do not want.

Networking for connecting to other PCs, transferring files, serving media, etc.

Which the iPad also does.

Windows 8 tablets like the Surface pro are for Enterprise. There, the list for what Windows 8 does over iPad is much much longer.

The Surface Pro is not an iPad competitor. It is a Macbook Air competitor.

In fact I'm not sure if the same is not also true of Surface RT...

Re:Corrections (1, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41755863)

Only for media.

Which is more than can be said for iPad. Further, by media, what you really mean to correct me with is that application installs are only on the built in storage. You can put any file type on the surface, not just media, as the file system is open.

The iPad at this point has a greater range of peripheral support.

Of course excluding every mouse out there. But already with the built in USB port Windows RT has support for keyboards, mice, scanners, printers, USB memory, cameras, game controllers, external harddrives, external CD/DVD drives, etc.

Which non-technical users do not want.

The question was not "what does RT do that the ipad doesn't that only technical users care about." This is a big plus for someone like me and others similarly situated.

Which the iPad also does.

How? When I'm on my network, I can't connect directly to my iPad and pull files from my iPad, or when I'm on my iPad I can't copy files directly to my computer. I use Dropbox to transfer all my files and I'm not aware of an easier way.... any help would be most welcome.

The Surface Pro is not an iPad competitor. It is a Macbook Air competitor.

If I want a touch screen computer for a corporate environment, the Macbook Air will not be on the list due to its lack of a touch screen. The list will consist of products like the iPad and Galaxy tablets, and now the Surface Pro.

Re:Corrections (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41755997)

With all of the accessories I also think the iPad has the upper hand here. You can buy a ruggedized waterproof iPad case for example...

Sorry, forgot this one. Sure can make a franken-iPad by cobbling together different parts and accessories, but the iPad is still the iPad not matter what you really want to buy. With Windows tablets you have different form factors (hybrid-slide out keyboard, detachable keyboard, rotating screen, etc.), different size displays, different wireless options (NFC for instance, not something available for iPad), different materials, different resolutions, etc. All these come in at different price points. This choice is indeed a feature in comparison to the rather homogeneous iPad lineup.

Re-Corrections (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#41756271)

Expandable storage only for media?
Well, I'm not sure if you're counting documents and so forth in there, but if so, carry on. With that said, what are you going to need more than the Surface's built-in storage for *other* than media? However, if you decide you must have it, use the various Windows system tools (disk management, Powershell, whatever you want) to either turn "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" into a symlink* to a folder on the SD card, or make the SD card's mount point *be* the WindowsApps folder (or anywhere else you want).
* Yes, Windows supports true symlinks, and has since Vista. No, I'm not talking about junctions or kernel-object-only links. The command is "mklink" and, while its syntax is slighlty different from "ln", it can do all the same things.

The iPad has more peripheral device support than USB2? Bahahahahahahahahaha, that's a good one. There are probably thousands of iPad peripherals by now. There are over 100,000 USB2 (or lower) peripherals. I'm not talking about screen covers and bluetooth keyboards here (although it supports those... and USB or BT mice and other BT-connected PC peripherals, for good measure), but things like printers, scanners, cameras, media players, external storage, game controllers, USB speakers/headsets, GPS devices, add-on cellular radio (for a hell of a lot less than buying it integrated on an iPad), and so forth.

Ruggedized cases are a win for the iPad, but form factors are a win for Windows RT (if not specificlaly for Surface) and a loss for iPads. You can get your iPads in two sizes, and two resolutions. That's it. Via added-cost, third-party peripherals, you can make them sit up like a laptop screen or connect a keyboard, but you can't make them have a 12" screen, or a different aspect ratio, or anything like that.

First you complain about not being able to use the SD card for anything except media (even though that's not true) and then you claim that people don't want file management at all. Make up your mind, please... and also consider that "technical users" are users too, and it's nice to have a tablet OS that doesn't make us jump through hoops to get full filesystem access.

The iPad supports Windows networking and can join Homegroups? This is news to me. Actually, it looks like it can do Windows networking - at least somewhat - but doesn't support Homegroups. I expect that it can handle media servers just fine. I expect that it *can't* handle WMA/WMV codecs, although I may be mistaken about that too (Windows, including RT, handles mpeg4 MOV video files and AAC audio just fine).

If the Surface Pro is a MBA competitor, even though the MBA doesn't have a touchscreen, stylus support, the ability to remove or fold the keyboard out of the way entirely, or any of the other tablet features of Surface? Like it or not, Windows 8 tablets (as opposed to Windows RT ones) are definitely still tablets; they are just *also* PCs, and compete in both markets (although admittedly they are unlikely to beat the iPad on price).

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#41756575)

There are a few things only available to Windows Mobile, like One-Note synching for example. Consider how many businesses use Exchange or Sharepoint, or Terminal Services, and you'll see how Windows RT will dominate in those areas. Not to mention all the new features that Server 2012 will have that provide cloud capabilities on Windows RT, and don't forget the XBOX360 integration. Might even have Windows Media Center access on Windows RT, that would be cool.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41755205)

Office. 'nuff said. If you need Office, substitutes won't cut it.

If media consumption is all you care about, there's probably no big reason to choose Windows RT over an iPad (for now at least)

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755211)

USB and SD cards... nuff said

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 2 years ago | (#41755755)

Its special trick appears to be a version of Office built in.

Re:what does RT do that the ipad doesn't? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41755855)

How about:

    * Actual, physical USB ports?
    * Actual, physical SD-Card storage?
    * Actual, physical Keyboard (with Surface and Transformer-types) and ability to use any usb mouse/keyboard
    * Full Bluetooth support (tethering, file transfer, messaging, etc..)
    * non-proprietary connections to common devices like Monitors, Printers, etc..
    * Ability to join a windows domain
    * Ability to use Office
    * The vast majority of commonly used iOS and Android apps are either already available or will be available in the next 6 months.
    * Different hardware configurations (such as those that include not just capacitive touch but also high resolution graphics tablet technology with styluses)
    * Competition (ie price wars)

Nope.. can't think of one reason.... but there are certainly a lot more.

It's all about. (4, Insightful)

mk1004 (2488060) | about 2 years ago | (#41754857)

Does anyone really believe that the Surface will end up with any reasonable market share of the tablet market?

No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41754897)

Does anyone really believe that the Surface will end up with any reasonable market share of the tablet market?

The word on the street is that this is MS' next 'Zune'.

--Huggy Bear.

Re:It's all about. (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41754963)

Does anyone really believe that the Surface will end up with any reasonable market share of the tablet market?

That's not really the interesting question. The question is, will Windows 8 modern apps, Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 end up with a reasonable share of the market? Because the combination is what will determine the ecosystem size.

Windows 8 will likely, at some point, end up on 300-500 million PCs, like Windows 7. Windows 8 tablets? Who knows. RT tablets? Really who knows. And as much as I like WP, that's an even longer shot. But if a developer says "I can write my software one, against the WinRT APIs, and it'll run on 300 million PCs, 50 million tablets, and some number of phones", it doesn't really matter if Microsoft sells 5 million or 25 million Surface tablets. Especially when people realize "hey, that application I bought runs on all of these... and my settings and data is on all of my devices...".

There's more to an ecosystem than a single device.

Re:It's all about. (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about 2 years ago | (#41755119)

Absolutely true. If the Win8 on desktops gains acceptance (yes, big IF) then it opens the door for people to go looking for a tablet, see one that acts and behaves exactly like the computer they use at work and home and say "I already know how to use this, the other's not so much; so I'll buy this one" and same goes for phone though to a lesser extent. If win8 really hits like they say it will (doubtful) it does create possibilities for lots of bleed over of users.

Re:It's all about. (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41755463)

But if a developer says "I can write my software one, against the WinRT APIs, and it'll run on 300 million PCs, 50 million tablets, and some number of phones"

That is one lofty goal there, I'll believe it when it happens.

There will be fragmentation.

Re:It's all about. (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | about 2 years ago | (#41755635)

I see a lot of posts here on /. complaining about Android fragmentation, iTunes store issues and dozens of other issues both users and developers have. Everybody cries for an alternative.

And now that Microsoft makes an decent alternative available, people are crying "why another option?" "what's wrong with android / ios?"

Seriously?

Re:It's all about. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755965)

But if a developer says "I can write my software one, against the WinRT APIs, and it'll run on 300 million PCs, 50 million tablets, and some number of phones",

There is no cross compatibility between Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT apps. They share UI features, but the code is different. There is also no definite guarantee that apps will be cross compatible between Windows RT and Windows 8 either. Depending on the app, you can target either platform, or both if you choose. It isn't as simple as ticking a box when you compile either. When an app goes onto Microsoft's store, a team checks for compatibility before allowing it to say 'certified for Windows 8 and Windows RT'

It's fairly simple for a lot of stuff to make cross compatible, but you can't run RT apps on Windows 8 without doing some extra work, and vice versa.

Re:It's all about. (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about 2 years ago | (#41756313)

That's not really the interesting question. The question is, will Windows 8 modern apps, Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 end up with a reasonable share of the market? Because the combination is what will determine the ecosystem size.

Windows 8 will likely, at some point, end up on 300-500 million PCs, like Windows 7. Windows 8 tablets? Who knows. RT tablets? Really who knows. And as much as I like WP, that's an even longer shot. But if a developer says "I can write my software one, against the WinRT APIs, and it'll run on 300 million PCs, 50 million tablets, and some number of phones", it doesn't really matter if Microsoft sells 5 million or 25 million Surface tablets. Especially when people realize "hey, that application I bought runs on all of these... and my settings and data is on all of my devices...".

There's more to an ecosystem than a single device.

There are a lot of 'ifs' in there that will determine how viable of an ecosystem MS can make. The Write Once, Run Anywhere ideal, IMO, has too many limitations due to the wide ecosystem to ever be a draw for developers. But you make some good points: Seamless integration between devices can be a big selling point. Can MS get there from here?

Re:It's all about. (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41755227)

I don't think even Microsoft cares if the Surface itself ends up with a reasonable market share of tablets. What they want is Windows 8/RT to end up with a reasonable share. Its hard to remember with all the current Surface hype, but Surface isn't the only Windows tablet being released.

Wut... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41754869)

" the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (an upcoming Windows RT tablet with a keyboard permanently attached),"

Or, a laptop.

Re:Wut... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#41756335)

Kind of, except you can fold the keyboard all the way back behind the screen, making it a slightly-thicker-than-normal ARM tablet (it has all the tablet features, like touchscreen and minimal hardware buttons around the screen). The keyboard can also be folded past 180 degrees to act as an adjustable stand.

Nowhere near enough internal memory (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41754919)

FOo

RT is a LOSER (2)

kms_one (1272174) | about 2 years ago | (#41754957)

But the Wintel Surface 8 Pro looks very exciting. I can't wait to get my hands on one.

Re:RT is a LOSER (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41755125)

But the Wintel Surface 8 Pro looks very exciting. I can't wait to get my hands on one.

Why?

I mean that seriously: what does it do that a $200 netbook doesn't do at least as well?

Re:RT is a LOSER (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 2 years ago | (#41755265)

I mean that seriously: what does it do that a $200 netbook doesn't do at least as well?

Play HD video for starters. My netbook chokes on anything greater than PAL and flash video playback of nearly any resolution is choppy as hell.

I'd also throw in there boot instantly and launch the browser instantly. Last time I started my Windows 7 netbook, it took forever to start (applying patches), then I had several pop-ups for software updates and to top it off Firefox took an eternity to get to a point where I could click on something and it happen.

Part way through, I just picked up my iPad and used that instead. Far far quicker.

Re:RT is a LOSER (0)

BanHammor (2587175) | about 2 years ago | (#41755531)

You have a very crappy netbook then, because all sorts of Optimus-powered ones can do all of that with ease.

Re:RT is a LOSER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755605)

Just a FYI,

The reviews I've read indicate while the browser is good the video playback is sub-par and choppy...

Re:RT is a LOSER (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#41756475)

I'm not aware of any $200 netbooks with 1920x1080 screens (or netbooks at anything else in "netbook" price range, either).

A $200 netbook won't have an SSD, 4GB of RAM, and a Core i5 (quad-core, 64-bit, virtualization-capable, etc.) CPU. That means, among other things, no Client Hyper-V.

Netbooks don't have touchscreens or stylus input. Their keyboards can't be removed or folded out of the way for easy use when not at a desk. They're highly portable laptops, but not -on-the-go devices like tablets.

Netbooks, especially cheap ones, don't have cases strong enough to use as a skateboard (yes, you can do this with a sirface, meaning you relaly don't need to worry about the screen getting cracked in your luggage or something) or dropped onto a cement floor.

Netbooks, especially cheap ones, tend to have screens and keyboards smaller than the Surface, which makes typing a pain.

Netbooks don't have rear-facing cameras, and frequently only have one (crappy) speaker.

A $200 netbook might be able to run Win8 Pro, but it won't come with it, so you'll have to buy a copy from elsewhere and install it yourself if you want to connect it to a domain or use BitLocker.

Galaxy Tab 7,7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755009)

None of the websites mention the of the best tablets out there in the 7" range (i.e. still fits in your jeans pocket), the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. Hardware wise it runs circles around the new iPad Mini (and its competitors) even though it was released months ago: higher res screen (the iPad Mini's ppi is on par with a first gen iPhone from almost 6 years ago!), faster CPU/GPU (both dual core Cortex A9 1GHz vs 1.4 GHz), more RAM, and expandable via micro-SD and standard USB peripherals, e.g. hard drives, PC keyboards/mice...

The problem it had was that it was released ahead of its time, when the software wasn't ready (Honeycomb) and updating to silky smooth ICS took quite some time, also due to the providers (e.g. Verizon for the LTE version). Nevertheless ICS is available now, along with CM9 [youtube.com] , and if this tablet was released NOW instead of beginning this year it would crush most tabs in the reviews!

That Archos 101 XS (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#41755053)

I'm digging it. A cover that doubles as a keyboard is nice to have. Sure, it's a crappy keyboard, but for the thickness and the price, it can't be beat. Also, comes with ICS, has decent power under the hood, and the screen is OK. And comes at a very competitive price.

Re:That Archos 101 XS (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41755377)

My friend who has one was complaining about the screen... I see in the specs it's a TFT as opposed to IPS that are in most tablets these days. Haven't seen the screen myself. How is the brightness on the display?

Re:That Archos 101 XS (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#41755513)

Thanks for the warning. IPS is super-important to me, as viewing angle limits can cause headaches, to me. So only IPS for me.

I've not seen the Archos XS IRL, yet, only a couple of reviews. Your friend's account is very useful!

Re:That Archos 101 XS (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41756255)

I should note it was a review unit... so I don't know how it compares to the shipping units. It wasn't pre-production though so I'm guessing they shouldn't be the same.

It's the software, stupid. (5, Insightful)

silverhalide (584408) | about 2 years ago | (#41755067)

Nobody cares about tablet specs outside of screen size, battery life, and price. It's all about the software. Is it fast, responsive, and usable?

Is it easy to develop for? Will it be around for a while to justify developers investing in it? Does the company have a history of keeping platforms around?

Re:It's the software, stupid. (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#41755875)

Nobody cares about tablet specs outside of screen size, battery life, and price.

I hear that a lot, since yesterday, mostly from Apple fanbois. I'm not saying you're one of them, just that this "nobody cares about tablet specs" has become an awfully popular phrase as of very recently.

Re:It's the software, stupid. (1)

thoth (7907) | about 2 years ago | (#41756213)

There is a lot of truth to it... the kinds of people that would buy a tablet, are also largely uninterested in geek stuff like hardware specs.

Listen up, Manufacturers!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755093)

I am a math teacher, and all I want is a tablet that:

1. runs linux.
2. has a real, active digitizer pen.

I have a setup that does this (Wacom/laptop) and can do really clear & useful notes (with voiceover) or screencasts for students to view outside of class, but the only thing really stopping my for doing this in tablet form is the lack of availability. There are some x86 tablets that have active digitizers, but they are underpowered single core ATOM machines that are quickly losing their reign of usefullness

Unfortunately, these active digitizing tablets running proprietary android are clunky to use, and you have to beg that the right app is available in your walled garden appstore du jure, and that it is supported under the particular device. Plus, I'm not going to invest my time/money in software that can be discontinued at any point by Mysteryappwriter#78234 or hardware that can be discontinued/EOL'd at anytime by some manufacturer-and-guardian-of-the-OS overlord.

Re:Listen up, Manufacturers!!! (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41755337)

A rooted android device is going to be your best bet.

Re:Listen up, Manufacturers!!! (0)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 2 years ago | (#41755431)

And that will solve his or her discontinued software from Mysteryappwriter#78234 how?

Seriously, is every problem going to be answered by "a rooted android" by an android fanboi?

Re:Listen up, Manufacturers!!! (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41755509)

And that will solve his or her discontinued software from Mysteryappwriter#78234 how?

Because he will be in charge of what is on his device, much like if he installed linux on the device, which is what he said he wanted.

Re:Listen up, Manufacturers!!! (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | about 2 years ago | (#41755787)

And that will solve his or her discontinued software from Mysteryappwriter#78234 how?

Because he will be in charge of what is on his device, much like if he installed linux on the device, which is what he said he wanted.

I'm just as in charge with my iPhone5 as I was with my Android Optimus. Every bit of software aside from what came with the OS is there because I PUT IT THERE. I couldn't really care less about what zealots from either platform would say, save that I think the above statement is a non-issue. If I wanted something that I'd have to handroll every step, I'd build a custom desktop, and I have. If I'm buying a tablet though, I want instant gratification. I want it to work when I take it out of the box, and I expect certain features available from the getgo. because that's what tablets are about... consuming and using data, not having another device I have to software rebuild from scratch in order to just use.

Re:Listen up, Manufacturers!!! (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41756057)

I'm just as in charge with my iPhone5 as I was with my Android Optimus.

break

Plus, I'm not going to invest my time/money in software that can be discontinued at any point by Mysteryappwriter#78234 or hardware that can be discontinued/EOL'd at anytime by some manufacturer-and-guardian-of-the-OS overlord.

When I was trying to decide how to respond to the original post I thought of many ways to tell the person that their request was ridiculous, but instead figured I would give the person a place to start and I figured that a rooted android device would probably be the best place for him to start.

So yes you are just as much in control of your apps with iPhone as with Android and as with Linux.

Don't forget the chinese tablets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755105)

I bought an Ainol Novo 7 Fire a few weeks ago. It is a great tablet and compares well to the Nexus 7, only $70 cheaper and has more ports and a microSD slot. I had it on my doorstep 7 days after I ordered it. There are a lot of Chinese tablets out there from Ainol, Ramos, etc. The whole experience buying from Aliexpress was eye-opening to where things might be going in the future. We can see the online retailers are squeezing out retails stores now. In the future, there is not much stopping retailers in other countries from squeezing out American online retailers besides shipping time and cost. If everything is manufactured overseas anyway, the shipping cost has to be paid by the consumer anyway. American retailers just bury that cost in the price.

A.. what now? (1, Redundant)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 2 years ago | (#41755131)

A PHABLET? Uh, no, it's a fucking tablet. I will slap anyone I ever hear use the word "phablet". That's just fucking stupid.

Re:A.. what now? (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 years ago | (#41755269)

The word "phablet" may be stupid, but the Galaxy Note II isn't a tablet.

Re:A.. what now? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41755595)

A PHABLET? Uh, no, it's a fucking tablet.

So you're just objecting to the spelling - it needs to be FABLET?

Re:A.. what now? (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41756537)

Well, cheer up, the guy who coined "blog" wound up being homeless. Maybe whatever nitwit came up with "phablet" will suffer an even worse fate.

Tegra 3 a liability (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#41755255)

Reviews indicate that single-threaded performance is a huge bottleneck for the Surface (Microsoft Office maxes out a CPU core just when you type text), so the fact that the Tegra 3 (with its Cortex A9s) is being used everywhere (and at a low clockspeed to boot) is a big problem. Had they gone with even a dual core Krait, (which at reasonable clockspeeds can have more than double the single-threaded performance) they would have been much better off.

Re:Tegra 3 a liability (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41755539)

And this time Microsoft can't blame the low specs on the manufacturers like they did in regards to Vista.

Lest we all forget... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 2 years ago | (#41755349)

If you develop a Windows 8 Metro style app -- it will work immediately on the tablet.

The amount of apps that I expect to see will be large, because Windows already has a huge developer ecosystem.

But time will tell. I'm not in a need for any tablet as of now (have my iPad 2) so I'm fine keeping that for a while.

Re:Lest we all forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755675)

If you develop a Windows 8 Metro style app -- it will work immediately on the tablet.

So you'll be able to sell it to all three people with Windows tablets.

If you develop a Windows XP app, it will work on 95% of Windows boxes (maybe more, I'm not sure how many old NT/98/etc machines are still running), and 100% of boxes people are likely to buy software for other than ARM tablets.

Why would Windows devs want to develop new apps that restrict them to a tiny subset of Windows systems, unless Microsoft pay them to do so?

Re:Lest we all forget... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41756051)

Bingo.

Re:Lest we all forget... (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | about 2 years ago | (#41756635)

If you develop a Windows 8 Metro style app -- it will work immediately on the tablet.

So you'll be able to sell it to all three people with Windows tablets.

If you develop a Windows XP app, it will work on 95% of Windows boxes (maybe more, I'm not sure how many old NT/98/etc machines are still running), and 100% of boxes people are likely to buy software for other than ARM tablets.

Why would Windows devs want to develop new apps that restrict them to a tiny subset of Windows systems, unless Microsoft pay them to do so?

To get on the ground floor of a new platform? If the platform takes off than that's a lot of smart money to be made.

badly phrased title (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41756027)

> A Look At Competitors to the Surface and iPad

Oh, c'mon. Lumping the Surface together with the iPad is at very least premature, and more than a little presumptive. Whatever Microsoft is calling "surface" these days is only a few clever commercials so far, and the iPad and it's main competitor (Android tablets) have been out for years. The competitor to the Surface is every single tablet out there, including the few and slightly wonky Windows 7 tablets. The iPad, with its known track record (however one feels about that) isn't something you pair with a product that hasn't reached consumer's hands yet.

Re:badly phrased title (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41756381)

I also notice there isn't a submitter cited - so I'm wondering if this is some sort of weird paid contribution from a Microsoft marketing person.

Competitors to the Surface and iPad? Really? Would anyone outside of Redmond think the Surface even belongs in that phrase?

Seriously - right now, the iPad pretty owns the space; but if you want to talk about competitors, it would make sense to talk about tablets that have actually hit the market already and been purchased - like the Nexus or Kindle Fire.

Re:badly phrased title (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41756521)

Actually, the submitter is MojoKid [slashdot.org] from HotHardware.com (the website linked in the summary). I guess the editor dropped it out, as the submitter's name did not add anything to the summary.

Overlooked tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756637)

I vote for Nook HD+ --- nobody seems to want to review it, but it's an inch bigger than the iPad Mini, has more pixels (HD+) with a ppi (256 ppi) close to the full iPad retina (264 ppi), and it's $60 bucks cheaper than the mini. It's built on android ICS.

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