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Google Handhelds Technology Hardware

Google Preparing iPad Rival? 397

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the here's-hoping dept.
dazedNconfuzed noted an update in the ongoing rumor train about the Google iPad Competitor. It would be based on Android (not ChromeOS) and supposedly Eric Schmidt was telling people about it at a party in LA recently. If any Googlers want to leak me s3cr3t information, I promise anonymity, though without an actual product, price or date it's tough to get really excited. But the iPad clearly has significant limitations that someone else can capitalize on.
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Google Preparing iPad Rival?

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  • google ipad (Score:4, Informative)

    by dmesg0 (1342071) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:35AM (#31818388)
    You can already buy it [ebay.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Buelldozer (713671)

      I've put that on my watch list. I want to see if any of these actually get delivered. In theory it wouldn't be hard to for a Chinese manufacturer to build the hardware and port Android to it. Based on the ebay username (lifengsihai), and the fact that it's shipping out of Hong Kong, this looks like what is happening.

      It should be noted that this device ships, supposedly, with Android 1.6. If that's true I wonder if it's possible to upgrade it to 2.1?

      I also wonder about it's 3G support. I mean "built-in 3G HD

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Surely you mean the WePad [neofonie.de]

      So we took a seriously stylish, state-of-the art media tablet and put a whole lot of fun in it. With the WePad, you can browse the Internet, watch YouTube, check your e-mail, chat with friends on Facebook, and much, much more. You can even get some work done, if you absolutely must. Most importantly, we created an open system, so that everyone can participate.

      We built a platform based on two established, well-known technologies, Android and Linux, meaning that software developers can dream up apps for anything you may want to do with your WePad (and even some things you might never have dreamed possible yourself). It's quick and simple - and needless to say, any app that already exists for Android also runs on the WePad. Right out of the box.

      ok, you can only pre-order it, but surely those crazy Germans aren't touting vapourwar (apparently the grad unveiling is at a show in May, cost 449.

  • zenPad (Score:3, Informative)

    by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:36AM (#31818396) Homepage
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:39AM (#31818424)

    What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found. It's temping to declare that their relevance has hit a new low. Competition is good, regardless of which side you're on, but it's really, really nice to see Microsoft no longer be competitive in a market.

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:56AM (#31818688) Homepage
      What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found.

      I don't know if "Microsoft maintains its 30-year tradition of not entering the consumer PC market" really counts as "newsworthy."
      • What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found.

        I don't know if "Microsoft maintains its 30-year tradition of not entering the consumer PC market" really counts as "newsworthy."

        I think it has more to do with the wholesale rebranding of Windows Mobile as an operating system for phones, not tablets or smartbooks [wikipedia.org]. Microsoft used to have an OS for smartbooks [wikipedia.org] but abandoned it.

    • by alen (225700) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:11PM (#31818922)

      you're not looking hard enough. Apple and Google both license ActiveSync from Microsoft. Every iphone, ipod touch and ipad has a fully licensed ActiveSync client that you pay for even if you don't use Exchange email. all the iSecurity features Apple hypes are just ActiveSync features and MS code. iPhone OS 4 is going to support Exchange 2010.

      Google licenses it as well, but so far only for Google Docs. if this iGoogle pad will have document transfer then it will be MS code and patents running it. a lot of people do buy Touchdown from the marketplace which is a fully licensed ActiveSync client

    • What's really newsworthy here is that the competition is between Apple and Google, Microsoft is nowhere to be found.

      Um... Nowhere to be found? [google.com]

  • by rjamestaylor (117847) Works for Rackspace <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:40AM (#31818430) Journal

    Really hoping this rumor is true - not that I need to buy another "pad" device (yes, I stood in line for an iPad) - but I'd really like to see how the Closed vs. Open platform models play out. Best case: Apple revises its Closed stance in response to a thriving gPad ecosystem.

    I really like my iProducts, but having been a proponent of open platforms for so long I am uneasy at the tight hold Apple holds over developers and users.

    For example, why hasn't Apple approved the Opera Mini yet? I'd welcome a choice in browsers, personally.

    • by StreetStealth (980200) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:45AM (#31818530) Journal

      I don't think either will "win." They are two worlds with two different goals.

      Apple's model will always compromise developer flexibility when user experience is at stake. Google's model will always compromise user experience when developer flexibility is at stake.

      People will choose based on what is important to them.

      • by uprise78 (1256084) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:57AM (#31818692)
        Totally agree. This is totally exemplified by dmesg0's comment above: "By the way, I own nexus one, and with the right firmware (latest cyanogenmod with UV kernel), it's a great phone." Do you really think that Apple would ever let it's users deal with something that nerdy? It's a totally different target audience. The iPhone/iPad is about simplifying things so much that the actual hardare gets out of your way. Android is more about tinkering and spec sheets and more nerdy goods. If you look at the iPad's spec sheet on the Apple webpage it doesn't even show the GPU or RAM! What nerd on earth would ever stand for buying a product with no RAM numbers given? Different strokes for different folks. It is 100% obvious that the iPad was not created for Slashdotters. It was created for Slashdotters parents, grandparents and sisters or anyone else who has come to a Slashdotter wondering why "the internet doesn't work".
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Different strokes for different folks. It is 100% obvious that the iPad was not created for Slashdotters.

          The issue isn't so much that geeks weren't the target audience, but that they are specifically excluded. There's a big difference between marketing it to a user set, and locking out a user set (which is what they've done)... How else can you rationalize the inability to install apps from outside of the app store (even if it involved purchasing an "unlock" code from Apple)? There is so much that Apple

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          At face value, that's all true. But it also misses a very important part of the bigger picture. It's those "nerds", tweakers, and hackers that push the state of the art which we all end up enjoying. Sometimes there's really sudden, disruptive change. But often that disruption comes from a series of small hacks that stack up in ways central gatekeepers never foresee or approve of. And that means that even the stereotypical parents, grandparents, and sisters can benefit even if they don't even understan

          • by vijayiyer (728590)

            The problem is that the "nerds", tweakers, and hackers usually push the state of the art for other "nerds", tweakers, and hackers. Very rarely have they done so so in a way that benefits "ordinary folks". Look at the state of Linux on the desktop. It's great for us, but despite what anybody says, it doesn't have the level of usability (different from eyecandy, looks, etc) that would prevent tech support calls to me from my mom. Therefore, we have two different markets with varying degrees of overlap. Nothin

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Do you really think that Apple would ever let it's users deal with something that nerdy? It's a totally different target audience.

          So Apple targets people who aren't really interested in doing anything that Apple doesn't allow. They're not interested in the people who bought the original Apple or Macintosh computers.

          That's fine. They're a successful company that now makes a fortune from limiting peoples' options.

          But do you understand that the Internet and personal computing were made by people who reject

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by DrgnDancer (137700)

            But do you understand that the Internet and personal computing were made by people who reject that approach? The people who made Apple a success in the first place are people who probably formatted the hard drive on their new Macs within at most a day or so. The first place we looked was extensions or control panel or settings. If people like that wanted somebody to hand us a sealed black box and be grateful that it just "works" (as long as "works" means "things that Apple thinks you should be doing").

            Yes and no. I have an iPhone. I like my iPhone. I haven't even jailbroken my iPhone. Why? Because I'm really not all that interested in hacking my phone. My computers are every kind of weird hack jobs, with dual boots and virtual machines and such, but not so much my phone. It does what I need it too, and I don't really "work" on it. I don't need it to have an IDE and three different web browsers. I don't need root access to it. It's a phone. Sometimes I read a web site on it if I'm bored or need

          • by BlueStraggler (765543) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:06PM (#31820738)

            So Apple targets people who aren't really interested in doing anything that Apple doesn't allow. ... They're a successful company that now makes a fortune from limiting peoples' options.

            What's amazing to me is how persistent this meme is on Slashdot, of all places.

            I bought *my* mac because it came with gcc, perl, apache, CUPS, and X-windows pre-installed on an open source Unix kernel. As a result, I could install just about anything on it.

            You'd think that would count for something around here.

            For those of you who haven't beaten yourself with a cluestick recently, the closed platform is not Apple; it is iTunes. This is Apple's variant of Xbox Live or Playstation Network, nothing more. You want onto an online media service that is integrated with your hardware, pick one of these, buy the appropriate gadget, and quit your whining. Want an online media service that doesn't integrate with your hardware, then get a multi-purpose computer, roll up your sleeves, and roll your own.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bnenning (58349)

          Do you really think that Apple would ever let it's users deal with something that nerdy?

          Of course not. That would be as absurd as shipping a Unix shell with a consumer operating system

        • by Geof (153857) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:25PM (#31820050) Homepage

          Android is more about tinkering and spec sheets and more nerdy goods. . . . It is 100% obvious that the iPad was not created for Slashdotters. It was created for Slashdotters parents, grandparents and sisters or anyone else who has come to a Slashdotter wondering why "the internet doesn't work"

          It is utterly ironic that the debate about openness has been twisted into one of elites vs honest folk. These anti-elistist sentiments are so powerful they drive much of American politics and scientific backlash (e.g. creationism). Moreover, Apple - long seen as the maker of elitist products for snobbish users - has been recast as the ally of the common man (or grandmother). If I were a PR manager for Apple I could not hope to do better.

          There is definitely a strong strand of elitism among technical folk, from the the old idea that users are losers to the incredible resistance to ease-of-use I remember from the 1990s ("If they can't use a command line I don't want them using my software). A lot of technology really is obtusely designed; the people who get frustrated (which is to say all of us) are not stupid. Tying the open vs closed debate to this experience of disrespect and frustration, and the wider discourse of elite domination by entities from bankers to bureaucrats, is very effective for evoking (legitimate) emotional responses, passing over the need to make thorough arguments.

          Because the linkage is wrong. There is no necessary connection between something being open and it being hard to use. The iPad is easy to use and it is relatively closed. That is correlation, not causation. Apple is simply very good at designing (and marketing) the user experience. This ability seems to be rare among its competitors.

          There is a historical precedent for a more open system that turned out to be easier to use than what it (partly) replaced. You allude to it in your post. The Web was a huge step up in intuitive usability compared to the desktop software that had previously performed many of its functions. It was also a huge step up in terms of capability (compare searching Wikipedia to searching Britannica). And it is open. Too open, in fact, for the iPad and its prohibitions on running interpreted code. Fortunately for today, it is already established and was granted a special exemption. If the iPad lockdown had been the norm 20 years ago, the Web might never have been invented. If lockdown is the norm in the future, the next huge improvement in usability and functionality might not happen.

          I am fully confident that Apple has the talents to develop an easy-to-use and open system. (After all, my computers are Macs.) But the temptation for control is hard to resist. Especially when you can remake yourself as the computer of the people with that wonderful anti-elistism PR.

      • Apple's model will always compromise developer flexibility when user experience is at stake. Google's model will always compromise user experience when developer flexibility is at stake.

        People will choose based on what is important to them.

        That's the most succinct and accurate synopsis of these two companies I've ever seen. Give this man a cookie.

        • I believe he got one when he logged in

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          People will choose based on what is important to them.

          I'm not sure that's as accurate as you say.

          I think "People will buy what they're told to buy" is a better way to put it. Very little "choice" is involved. There's a reason that companies like Apple spend more on marketing than R&D. Because marketing "just works". Even if (or maybe especially if) you're someone who believes that advertising "doesn't really affect me" and that you're immune to marketing. I hear that a lot around here, and advertis

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        The problem isn't the almighty "user experience". The problem is that Apple will compromise developer flexibility on a whim.

        An actual genuine engineering rationale would be one thing. However, the faithful are just searching for any excuse they can find. If some stupid restriction was a sound engineering tradeoff yesterday, then it was also that same thing when the product was first launched. Adding new restrictions is just acting in bad faith.

        Apple built it's power and now is seeking to dispose of those th

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Calsar (1166209)

        I think that's a bit over simplified. If that were the case than 90% of people would have Macs and geeks would be the only people with PCs. The real factor is that open platforms are cheaper. That is why the Mac lost the PC in the past. Apple tried to control the hardware and software with huge markeups. The PCs came in with competition and thin margins so they advanced faster and became more efficient lowering costs even more. Monopolies breed inefficincies because there is no reason to improve. App

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014)

        Apple's model will always compromise developer flexibility when user experience is at stake. Google's model will always compromise user experience when developer flexibility is at stake.

        I wouldn't put it that way.

        Apple's model is to ensure you have the experience Apple wants you to have. Naturally they want you to have a good experience.

        Google's model is to provide an open system with maximum connectivity to data sources and services.

        Microsoft's model is to cater to decision makers higher up on the food chain than the user: IT managers, cell carriers, and developers. They get lots of criticism for their product design, but in fact it's not as incompetent as users think. Users aren't the

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Best case: Apple revises its Closed stance in response to a thriving gPad ecosystem.

      I don't think that will ever happen.

      For better or worse, Apple is married to closed systems. In fact, I'd make a significant bet that we'll be seeing future desktop and laptop products from Apple that are also locked into the app store. Apple has staked its future on the notion that people don't really want to do anything with their systems that's outside the realm of what Apple will allow.

      Those of us that like to be able

    • I think I agree with you. The main thing that bothers me about Apple's approach to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad is the restricted nature of the application distribution. It's bad enough that they force you to go through their App Store, but even worse when their approval process seems self-serving.

      Even so, I could cut Apple some slack for wanting to exhibit some control over their platform in order to ensure a good experience; having the app store lets them filter out horrible applications and malwar

  • Fantastic! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mikkelm (1000451) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:44AM (#31818496)

    Apple revives a ten year old niche that no one really liked for reasons that are still entirely relevant, and now it is speculated that Google will compete with a Google-style "open" alternative. It was interesting when their battle was over smartphones, but when it is over shoveling out pointless generic consumer electronics, it is not.

    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster.manNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:54AM (#31818660)

      One could have said similar things about consumer smart phones before the iPhone was released. I don't think anyone would have predicted before the iPhone release that we'd have 50 million iPhones sold, plus tens of millions of other devices riding off of its popularity, many powered by Google's mobile OS. Four years ago, something like the iPhone would have been called "pointless consumer electronics" too, pointing out the failure of the PDA market. I see no reason why we couldn't see a repeat in the tablet market.

      I have no doubt Google has at the very least explored a direct rival in the tablet space.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikkelm (1000451)

        That's a preposterous assertion. Four years ago, just as six years ago, and ten years ago, the emphasis was on pushing more features and more technologies into phones. The iPhone was not a revolutionary device, it was an evolutionary one. No one would have called it a pointless consumer electronics device, and no one would have pointed to a market which failed in large part to a lack of features which are integral to the smart phone. Nor is it at all pertinent to suggest that people would point to a dead ma

        • Everyone's chasing Apple's formfactor and design concept. Just like how everyone's chased Palm's formfactor back in the 90's and early 00's.

          That's a revolution. When you do something and everyone follows.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mikkelm (1000451)

            What kind of vague assertion is that? "Form factor" and "design concept"? The "form factor" is an obvious, logical concept that was carried over from.. PDAs and tablets! Apple didn't invent the concept of a touch input device. As for design concept, that's such a non-argument that I don't even know where to start.

            It's an evolution. It's not a revolution.

    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:18PM (#31819042) Homepage Journal

      Apple revives a ten year old niche that no one really liked for reasons that are still entirely relevant, and now it is speculated that Google will compete with a Google-style "open" alternative. It was interesting when their battle was over smartphones, but when it is over shoveling out pointless generic consumer electronics, it is not.

      Just because a 'niche' is old, it doesn't mean it is pointless. Sometimes old technology can be reshaped and innovated upon, providing a solution that finds a market today when it didn't in the past. There are reasons that technologies fail, including lack of maturity, market not being ready or lack of supporting technologies. The Wii Remote was laughed at for being a modern light pointer, now Microsoft and Sony are doing their best to emulate it. You can't simply right off technology as being old and thus irrelevant.

      Microsoft didn't succeed with tablet PCs, partly because like Windows CE, they were trying to shoe-horn a desktop UI into something that would benefit from an adapted UI. To use the automobile analogy: you don't design a car by starting with boat that uses an outboard motor. Computers are the same.

  • by psydeshow (154300) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:45AM (#31818522) Homepage

    I have an iPad. I liked it, until I tried to compose a blog post. Mobile Safari doesn't support content-editable fields.

    Typing HTML code into textareas in order to compose blog posts and web pages is NOT fun. Google Docs doesn't work. and rich HTML in Gmail or other webmail services doesn't work. There are HTML editor apps, but that doesn't mean what I think it means, because they are all code editors not rich text editors.

    The bottom line is that Apple supports rich text output in PDF and proprietary formats, but not HTML. Not even a little bit.

    Everyone has their own priorities, of course, but until Mobile Safari supports tinyMCE and other rich text editors, I have to consider the iPad a toy. Then again, it's perfect for posting on Slashdot! (And it even supports unicode, so why should I complain?)

    • I have an iPad. I liked it, until I tried to compose a blog post. Mobile Safari doesn't support content-editable fields.

      I'm not arguing with you, but could you clarify that statement a bit? I've made Slashdot posts using Mobile Safari on a demo iPad at an Apple Store so it is possible to use text entry fields, at least.

    • by rinoid (451982)

      Did you throw in the word "proprietary" just to sound cool? How does Apple support rich text output in proprietary text formats?

      The on screen keyboard is not the best for long posts but I do quite well with bits like this, and even longer emails. In fact
      I've gotten sort of quick at this on screen keyboard, only in landscape mode though.

      Why don't Google docs work? Something short in mobile safari?

      I did notice the particular type of editable field in Wordpress not being editable on my iPad but then just opene

    • I went out to Google "tinyMCE" because you mentioned it and I found a perfectly suitable Javascript widget that I have wanted for a long time. Thanks!
  • Did anybody really think they wouldn't? Seriously, who was not expecting everybody who made an iPhone imitator not to make an iPad imitator? MS has already revamped and trying to re-advertise their tablet offerings. Still, I don't think what they get is that what they need is really not a tablet with WinOS, but a touch screen slate with a better OS designed to do what the device is supposed to do. I expect Android to come out with a larger version of the Droid. Since Palm is up for sale, I guess they probab

  • by Sheik Yerbouti (96423) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:56AM (#31818690) Homepage

    Archos has been making an Android based tablet for some time now well before the iPad came out. Of course Microsoft has been trying to sell various tablets for years since Pen Windows plus various WinCE devices, UMPCs, Windows XP tablets etc.. Universal reaction tablets are dumb and waste of money. Steve Job's throws on his magic turtleneck and tells everyone "This is a magical device. I am really proud of the team. I really think your going to love it." And people go stand in line to get a tablet. Umm so can we all just agree there is a certain group of people that will buy whatever Steve tells them they need and hype it for him endlessly? Sorry folks but you who behave this way represent an abnormality and are not really representative you are iPeople.

    • by NekSnappa (803141) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:22PM (#31819102)

      Umm, no we can't.

      You compare devices that keep trying to make a desktop OS on tablet HW work. A method which has previously failed several times. To a device that uses an OS from a popular cell phone that was designed from the ground up to be touch enabled.

      While Android was designed for cell phone use. The interface was intentionally left wide open to make it usable on a wide range of HW. There's nothing wrong with that. I think it's great. Problem is that it allows different manufacturers to put their own UI on it which when combined with the variety of HW, makes it harder on developers to ensure that their software works as they intended on every device.

      Usability will trump capability with consumers. No matter how "superior" the capabilities are. i.e. It's the interface stupid.

    • by rinoid (451982) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:23PM (#31819134)

      This isn't about any of your anti ranting. It's not about you, me, or "people that will buy whatever Steve tells them they need and hype it for him endlessly?".

      It's about a pretty good product people want. Not your dreams or anyone elses particularly. There is no need to attempt to brand purchasers of a _thing_ a fanboy, a hero, or a sheep. It just is and this convo is a waste of energy.

      It's (the iPad) a great little device, it doesn't blow smoke up my ass and it doesn't do everything but damn it has been nice to have.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by danbert8 (1024253)

      I have an Archos 5 tablet (which is much smaller than the 7) and I am completely happy with it. Though it is locked down, it wasn't hard to unlock and have access to the whole library of Android apps. It also has GPS, which means I can use it to give directions in my car, track bicycle trips, use while hiking, etc. My only complaint is that the screen is glossy and unreadable outdoors, but an anti-glare protector fixed that. Oh and it had wifi included, connects and charges via USB, and *gasp* has a mic

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Umm so can we all just agree there is a certain group of people that will buy whatever Steve tells them they need and hype it for him endlessly?

      I think there is some truth to this, but it's more like "there is a certain group of people who have been so pleased with past/present Apple products that they'll be excited to try any new Apple products which are released."

      That doesn't mean they're morons or sheep. I'm going to buy Portal 2 as soon as it comes out, but it's not because I'm mindlessly buying whatever Valve releases because I've been brainwashed. It's because I've loved all the Half Life games and think that Portal was one of the best thi

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:57AM (#31818696) Homepage Journal

    Did you miss CES when a dozen Android tablets were announced? Did you not notice the multiple android tablets that were released this month and last month?

    How come when Apple does something people take notice. But when a hundred others go through more traditional channels such as trade shows people who think they are industry insiders don't have a clue?

  • Zekret knoliz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HoppQ (29469) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:57AM (#31818704) Homepage

    I can tell you all there is to know. It will have 4 cameras, 2 on both side, for 3D video conferencing. Obviously the display is 3D as well. It will have a number of sniffers to detect chemicals. It has more than one so that you can easily detect who it was that farted in the elevator. A 3D holographic arrow will pop up to tell you! The sniffed data is used to automatically update your twitter and facebook accounts. It will have 4g, WiMax, WiFi, and Token Ring networking support. The touchscreen display can give tactile feedback, making an onscreen display feel like real. Obviously it has uses in internet porn as well.

    Most importantly, the product is not only free, Google will pay you to use it. In return you will give Google the rights to all data the device collects or sends. In order to unlock the device though you have to brand the google logo on your buttocks.

  • If any Googlers want to leak me s3cr3t information, I promise anonymity

    Looks like a very questionable idea, would probably break NDA, for one thing

  • I believe that Google should spare no expense in SOLID build quality. Even if it's expensive, a high-resolution, magnesium-cased, tough, PADD-style device would make Android the platform with clearly the BEST tablet device. Put the best of everything into it; cameras, good speakers. Enough to mesmerize the tech journalists. Other, more reasonable, price-points would benefit from being in that market.
  • don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:13PM (#31818940) Homepage Journal

    But the iPad clearly has significant limitations that someone else can capitalize on.

    Yeah, less memory than a Nomad.

    When was the last time that a /. opinion on anything counted for something? The track record of this community on what the greatest thing ever is and what will fail is not exactly stellar.

  • I'd like to see a pad or netbook that's an explicit extension of a smartphone. You pop your Android / iPhone / etc. smartphone into the device. You're still using your smartphone but the "mothership" pad / netbook gives you a bigger touchscreen, more battery life, a real keyboard, webcam, better (if still not necessarily great) audio, etc. etc. No worries about syncing since the mothership has no RAM or SSDs (at least none intended for explicit use by the user.) Pop the smartphone out of it on the fly when
  • With MeeGo (the Moblin-Maemo offspring), surely we could have a tablet that was more open than the iPad and closer to a standard Linux to develop for than Android. You could have an OMAP or an Atom processor depending on your price / performance / power draw constraints. If Dalvik's VM etc ran on it you could even have Android applications. That'd be far more attractive to me, giving me access to more applications whilst still retaining advantages for development and openness.

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:55PM (#31819622) Journal

    Jobs: If you see a stylus or a task manager, 'they blew it'

    Google: If you see a proprietary, locked-down OS and App Store which may not support your model in three years, 'they [Apple] blew it'

    There is so much potential to blow the iPad out of the water:
    - Dual cameras for video Skyping,
    - non-Integrated obsolescence (at least not having your hardware vendor determine what updates you get)
    - Open App store
    - Google voice / Apps.

    Though I still think that the most open phone platform is still Maemo5/Meego. There are rumors to the affect that Nokia is also planning a tablet... But Nokia's execution has always left something to be desired. (In what they envision isn't want is actually delivered)

  • by steveha (103154) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:57PM (#31821552) Homepage

    I don't care whether Google prepares an iPad rival. A whole bunch of new Linux tablets are coming, likewise a whole bunch of "smartbooks" (netbook computers with non-x86 processors).

    I'm really excited about the nVidia Tegra 2 chip [anandtech.com]. Typical power dissipation of about 500 milliWatts, 8 cores: ARM7 "housekeeping" core, dual 1GHz ARM9 processing cores, audio core, graphics accelerator core, video encode core, video decode core, and "image processing" core (which will support a high-resolution camera). nVidia showed off prototype smartbooks with a Tegra 2 playing HD video, and claimed that the chip was dissipating 150 milliWatts; elsewhere I have seen 500 milliWatts as the typical number.

    I'm also excited about the Pixel Qi [pixelqi.com] screen. That's the same display technology from the OLPC. A nice-looking display that dissipates 2 Watts when the backlight is on, and about 0.2 Watts with the backlight disabled. If you want to sit outside in the bright sun, you turn the backlight off and you get a nice, readable, sharp display that's very suitable for ebooks and web surfing, but you could watch movies that way too if you wanted.

    A typical Atom system dissipates 15 to 20 Watts [wikipedia.org] while operating. That's why netbooks need cooling fans. A Tegra 2/Pixel Qi system ought to have tremendous battery life, especially with the backlight off, and won't need a cooling fan. Win/win.

    So, what I want is a tablet and a smartbook with a Tegra 2 and a Pixel Qi screen. I want Linux, but that's no problem, because Windows doesn't even run on a Tegra 2, and I don't think anybody is going to ship a Windows CE tablet. And I insist on a device with USB ports: I want to be able to plug in a keyboard, a mouse, a memory card reader, or USB storage devices.

    I imagine that Acer and Asus will both ship products I will want. But the actual announced product I know about is the Notion Ink Adam [engadget.com] tablet: Tegra 2 chip, Pixel Qi screen, capacitive multitouch touchscreen, Android OS. It also has an intriguing feature: a trackpad on the back of the device, which allows you to use Flash applications that were designed for use with a mouse (you use a finger on the back to drag the cursor around, and tap on the front with your other hand to click the mouse). It also has a camera that can be flipped around to point at you, away from you, or in between. It was originally announced for June, but recent news casts doubt [engadget.com] on that.

    By the way, one reason why tablets are the hot new form factor: people who see something that looks like a notebook computer expect it to run Windows, but people who see a tablet device have no expectations. So, there will probably be more tablets than smartbooks.

    steveha

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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