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How Google Can Make Android Truly Tablet-Worthy 168

Posted by timothy
from the is-tablet-worthy-a-high-goal-or-low? dept.
With an Android armada on the horizon (or at least expected), reader androidtablet plugs this piece on ways Android could be truly tablet-friendly. Armchair engineering may be easy to knock, but I like the ideas presented here, such as aggressively using the inactive (locked) screen state to display useful information.
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How Google Can Make Android Truly Tablet-Worthy

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  • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:02AM (#32386776) Journal

    I was thinking I would offer some features an Android tablet might need. I made a list:

    Share screen - for educational purposes

    Ebook reader.

    Internet browser

    Citrix client

    IRDA capture/replay (media remote control apps)

    Skype

    Apparently I'm not very creative. Those things and many thousands more are available in the standard package. Truly inventive stuff is offerred in the app store.

    • by zill (1690130) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:49AM (#32386938)
      Actually I would rather not have Google work on any of those things you listed. All of these features can be provided by third-party developers so there's no need to burden Google's engineers.

      What Google should be doing is improving the speed and stability of the entire Android OS, most critically the Dalvik virtual machine. For crying out loud they just enabled JIT on 2.2.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Zixaphir (845917)

        For crying out loud they just enabled JIT on 2.2.

        ...And it is MAGICAL!

      • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @04:21AM (#32387224)

        What Google should be doing is improving the speed and stability of the entire Android OS, most critically the Dalvik virtual machine. For crying out loud they just enabled JIT on 2.2.

        I wouldn't hold my breath. It's 2010, and they just now figured out that memset() is supposed to be able to write values other than zero. [android.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fnkmaster (89084)

        Have you tried running some apps on a Froyo-enabled Nexus One yet? There can be no doubt, Dalvik is now blazingly fast on a 1GHz snapdragon.

        The only performance issues left that I've seen are:

        1) For some reason, LauncherPro Beta is far smoother and snappier feeling than the stock Launcher. This was the case in 2.1 and is the case in 2.2. I use LauncherPro Beta, but really there's absolutely no excuse for the stock launcher to not be able to smoothly scroll through the home screens on such blazingly fast

      • Not that Dalvik really was that slow before, Google did some serious considerations before releasing Dalvik into the wild.

        a) First use lots of native code in the libs to deal with the fact that they do not have a JIT, so apps run more in native space than in a normal Java VM usually.

        b) Make a registere based vm instead of a stack based one, the result is smaller bytecode and less operations and probably a faster per java instruction execution on bytelevel than in an unoptimized native java vm.

        They have alw

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)

      I'd much rather have a tablet sized monitor that I can slide my phone into, then have a pad with all the exact same applications and data as my phone.

      Perhaps throw in some storage and graphics acceleration for the larger screen, and a standard slot/plug for android phones and I'd be ecstatic about it.

    • > Ebook reader.

      The big one, IMHO. Especially since Amazon is going to officially support Android Kindle readers. The fatal flaw of current dedicated ebook readers like the Kindle for things like programming books is the latency. Programming books are rarely read from start to finish like a novel, one page at a time. You flip around, and often jump between a couple of pages. e-Ink is totally unsuited for that particular use case. On the other hand, an Android tablet with 1280x720 display is big enough to

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SnapShot (171582)

      This is probably more of a hardware problem than an OS problem (Android, iPad or whatever) but what I would like to see in a tablet is Wacom-quality inputs. All the tablets appear to be platforms for consuming entertainment (music, movies, social networks, apps and books) that other people have created for you. I would like to be able to create on a tablet by painting, handwriting, or sketching directly on the screen.

      I've only used an iPad for 10 minutes and I've never had a chance to work with an android

      • by LBt1st (709520)

        That's exactly what I want. And the technology exists. Sadly, it's a niche market. Tablets themselves are sort of a niche so I doubt we'll ever see one with a quality high resolution interface that would allow for artwork to be made. We can dream though.

    • I'm a huge fan of the idea of sharing screens. As a teacher, that's the first thing I looked at for the iPad.

      Education administrators are on fire about the idea of smart boards, but that technology does little to change the classroom. I want the capacity to connect to a tablet with a touch screen, and then go sit by little Johnny, who is busy flirting with Susie, while I take notes. Disconnecting the teacher and the board changes classroom dynamics significantly. I use a slate system now, that let's me wri

  • Focus (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:18AM (#32386832) Homepage

    Wouldn't it be better for Google make Android 100% perfect as a phone OS before branching out into other areas?

    • Re:Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TouchAndGo (1799300) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:24AM (#32386848)
      I believe they're capable of working on both goals simultaneously, and it's entirely possible ideas developed in the creation of a tablet could lead to a better phone OS. Also, it's in no one's best interest for Apple to become entrenched as the only game in town for a decent tablet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by darthdavid (835069)
        Hell, I don't think it's even in Apple's interest to be the only game in town for tablets, really. Competition drives innovation, pressure keeps you sharp...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hedwards (940851)
          Apple's interest is to make the hugest profit possible. And that's definitely not something that's ever been helped by competition. Competition is what helps people on the demand side of the equation, not the supply.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't it be better for Google make Android 100% perfect as a phone OS before branching out into other areas?

      Why? Didn't stop Apple?

      *Boom* *Boom* *High Hat*

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oiron (697563)

      Why?

      Assuming that you could make anything 100% perfect, which would presumably involve making it everything to everyone, so that nobody would ever need another of its type, why should you wait till you reach 100%?

      It's a different market, but so many of the same assumptions apply. It just makes sense for them to start using an existing codebase for a new device. Apple did it!

      It doesn't need to be perfect - just good enough (on both the tablet and phone) that people will want to buy it.

      Also, look at other thi

    • There is no such thing as 100% perfect software with HCI. Nor is there completed software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579)
      a) There is no such thing as "100% perfect" in software, and b) Android phones are perfectly fine as it is. Doesn't mean there is no room for improvement but there is nothing wrong with the implementations out there already. My HTC Desire does an excellent job as a phone.
    • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @04:11AM (#32387190) Journal

      Wouldn't it be great if all those who expect 100% perfection were rounded up and locked in a Klein bottle where they could resolve their issues by the Kilkenny cats method?:

      There once were two cats of Kilkenny

      Each thought there was one cat too many

      So they fought and they fit

      And they scratched and they bit

      'Til (excepting their nails

      And the tips of their tails)

      Instead of two cats there weren't any!

    • Re:Focus (Score:5, Informative)

      by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:15AM (#32387768) Journal

      Wouldn't it be better for Google make Android 100% perfect as a phone OS before branching out into other areas?

      I suppose you think that Google should wait until Linux is 100% perfect before they use it to power Android, then wait until the hardware is 100% perfect, then test Android on the hardware until it's 100% perfect, then launch a product?

  • Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:38AM (#32386904) Homepage Journal

    Mandatory hardware buttons, and dictate their placement. Having the back button, menu button, and home button change places on different Android devices is retarded. And make it hard to accidentally hit them. Apple's "fuck whatever you're doing and quit" key is stupidest UI decision ever made. Putting it where you hold the device makes it even worse.

    Want to be real awesome? Have touch-sensitive dedicated scroll areas off the display surface.

    Support pen input, from low-end pressure screens to that fancy induction Wacom stuff. That is the real future of tablets, always has been, always will be. There is a reason only children fingerpaint.

    • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:53AM (#32386958)

      Apple's "fuck whatever you're doing and quit" key is stupidest UI decision ever made.

      If you ask most people, they wish they had that button on absolutely every device they have to use.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by yyxx (1812612)

        If you ask most people, they wish they had that button on absolutely every device they have to use.

        That button is standard on most phones, including all Android phones.

        What Apple is missing is the "go back", "search", and "show me my options" buttons. Those functions are inconsistent among many iPhone and iPad apps.

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          "Go back" is, if not implemented per application, at least overrideable per application. It usually works pretty well, but some apps (Pandora, for example) don't work intuitively IMO.

        • That button is standard on most phones, including all Android phones.

          Right, so it in fact was not a stupid idea to put it on the iPad as the original poster was claiming.

          What Apple is missing is the "go back", "search", and "show me my options" buttons. Those functions are inconsistent among many iPhone and iPad apps.

          Actually Back is pretty consistent being the upper left.

          The other things you mention (and in fact even back) I believe do not need to be consistent, they are items better off presented in ways

    • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by shikaisi (1816846) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @02:59AM (#32386976)
      I don't think David Hockney [wikipedia.org] would be classed as a child, and he seems pretty enthusiastic about the iPad as a (finger)painting medium.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by timothy (36799) * Works for Slashdot

      I am sympathetic to the idea of mandated hardware buttons and placement, buuuuuut ... I'd rather have tiered recommendations / human interface guidelines, because there might be a lot of cool applications for Android where a mandated layout wouldn't work, but a secondary recommended layout / alternative would. I'm spur-of-the-moment imagining an embedded display in a convertable's dashboard that's intended to have little chance for dust to get in. I don't have a convertable, and maybe that's a silly example

    • I would LOVE a 10-inch Android tablet with a Wacom digitizer... that would make my Thinkpad tablet obsolete, meaning I could upgrade to an X201s for the gobs of battery life.

      However, I get the feeling we'll never see hardware that expensive for Android. And if we do, it'll be, well, expensive :P

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        You think way to small. I would really appreciate a 100" tablet screen, the bigger the better. The first thing I though of when I read "How Google Can Make Android Truly Tablet-Worthy" is forget little pokey 10" screens focus on the big screen. As for the touch pad remote, that of of course needs to be smaller, hand held, pocket capable, hmm, a touch screen android smart phone should hit that sweet spot and if I want to type perhaps a smart book to up the interaction level.

        This could lead to another pote

    • by oiron (697563)

      I agree about having hardware buttons, but not about the Apple Bailout Key. It's a good feature to have, as long as it is in a decently off-limits area of the device.

      Touch sensitive dedicated scroll areas does sound interesting, though!

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Having the back button, menu button, and home button change places on different Android devices is retarded.

      This clearly doesn't matter as long as they all have the same icon. People expect small devices to have varying layouts. They're putting Android into cars now, where the typical button layout might not even make sense; the cost of Android means it's going to show up just about everywhere.

      Apple's "fuck whatever you're doing and quit" key is stupidest UI decision ever made. Putting it where you hold the device makes it even worse.

      Amen to that.

      Support pen input, from low-end pressure screens to that fancy induction Wacom stuff. That is the real future of tablets, always has been, always will be. There is a reason only children fingerpaint.

      I couldn't agree more. I want a display with both touch and fancy wacom tilt/rotation/pressure stylus "stuff". Unfortunately even the $2000 Wacom Cintiq 21UQ doesn't do this, it's stylus-only. Fail, fail.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Off screen is a bad idea. My Nexus One can change orientation based upon it's physical orientation, there isn't really anywhere on the device where you could put it where it would be both out of the way and off screen. And I don't like the idea of them limiting the directions in which I can turn it because then I have to use the hand to control it that they tell me to or face the problems above.
    • Support pen input, from low-end pressure screens to that fancy induction Wacom stuff. That is the real future of tablets, always has been, always will be. There is a reason only children fingerpaint.

      Um, haven't they tried that for like the last ten years and it turns out users didn't like it that much? The problem facing all tablet makers in the future is the problem of UI. Right now Apple has it right in that the iPad is more designed to consume media than create it. You can use it for some input but no

    • by symbolic (11752)

      For the record, Apple has made quite a few stupid UI decisions - my favorite is a copy of what Microsoft did with the Start menu: Start -> Turn Off Computer -> Restart. Huh?

      Apple stakes its claim in the world of UI mess by including podcasts as a subset of "Music". Of course, there's always the complete and total exclusion of any kind of "Delete All" function for the email app, the thought being that you should be perfectly happy to click on every single one of a hundred or more emails...stupid.

  • Status information! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by teh dave (1618221) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @03:01AM (#32386978)

    aggressively using the inactive (locked) screen state to display useful information

    I don't know exactly what that means but I like the sound of it. Mobile operating systems, especially ones from Apple, should be a lot better than they are at at displaying device and communications status. It's one of the... maybe two things Windows Mobile is good at: at a glance I can see how many emails I have in each individual account, how many appointments I have today and the two or three coming up, how many active tasks I have and the first few highest priority/earliest due, how much data I've used this month, what the weather will be like tomorrow, and of course the time, date, battery and signal et cetera. All from one button press. And of course there are lots of other Today plugins available and they are easy to develop.

    If you cringe at that, that's fine. You don't like it and most people I know don't want "clutter" on their home screen either. That's fine for them but iPhone OS doesn't give the choice to those of us who would like to use an otherwise purposeless blank screen for displaying useful information. The key word there is choice... you can have it your way and I can have it my way. At least, we could, if iPhone supported a single bit of customisation...

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      It does need to be a choice though.

      There is a reason that windows doesn't display anything at all on a locked screen but the unlock message, and why it doesn't automount media/usb/etc while locked. This is a potential security hole.

      Granted, putting sensitive data on a device that is small and lightweight is already a bigger security issue, so unless they're going to implement some kind of full-flash encryption scheme with a boot password the lock screen is the least of their worries. Forget remote wipe/et

      • by mobby_6kl (668092)

        Well the only thing a WM phone displays that could be potentially sensitive are the upcoming appointments, and you can disable those. I don't think the number of new emails can be in any way sensitive information in all but the most contrived circumstances. Unlike the iphone, which (used to, I think?) display the text of incoming messages for all to see, whether it was locked or not.

        Speaking of the iphone, I actually laughed for a few minutes straight when I played with one for the first time and realized t

    • aggressively using the inactive (locked) screen state to display useful information

      While this sounds good in theory, in practice, it's bad for battery life Having something constantly update information while locked will take more battery. Right now, the iPhone and other devices show any messages that have been pushed to the phone. That's the current compromise.

      • by joshki (152061)

        You shut off that functionality as soon as the screen timeout is reached, and the screen shuts off. Then you simply update the widgets again when the screen is activated -- that way you're not continually updating the widgets when nobody's looking at them.

    • Android phones have widgets that can be made to show any kind of information, but you can't have the widgets display when the device is locked. In some sense, this is reasonable; the point of locking your device is generally so that people can't see or get to your personal information. Still, it would make sense to allow people to display some set of information when locked, if they choose.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @03:33AM (#32387078) Homepage

    It's amusing that one of the linked articles mentions an "iPad killer" from Foxconn. Foxconn makes the iPad.

    Foxconn's 2008 revenue was $62 billion. They're the "largest exporter in Greater China" and the world's largest maker of phone handsets. They have 486,000 employees. (Apple: 35,000. General Motors: 245,000.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by TouchAndGo (1799300)
      I'll admit, somewhat shamefully, that when I saw "Foxconn" and "killer" I thought you were going in an entirely different direction...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by timothy (36799) * Works for Slashdot

      Amusing, but not crazy, as far as I can see. There are only so many large-scale makers of this kind of electronics -- and it's no weirder than different parts of Apple, or HP, or Microsoft (or GM, for that matter) trying to put the other parts out of business. Foxconn seems like one of the very most likely sources for an "iPod Killer" device, because they have in-house expertise. (Of course, maybe they have agreements with Apple that rule out certain routes to producing an iPod killer ;))

      timothy

      • Foxconn seems like one of the very most likely sources for an "iPod Killer" device, because they have in-house expertise.

        For the hardware, perhaps. But do they write their own software (apart from OS drivers)?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by am 2k (217885)

        Foxconn seems like one of the very most likely sources for an "iPod Killer" device, because they have in-house expertise.

        No they don't. The real value behind tablets is in the software, not the hardware (except that the HW shouldn't hinder the SW), and Apple produces that part themselves. The Foxconn employees just copy it to the device.

        I'm already seeing it coming that most tablet developers will miss this crucial thought and fail miserably. Just stuff some UI (aka Android) meant for 3.5" onto a 10" tablet and sell your hardware with it. This is really easy to do and will work perfectly, right?

        Just like that "iPad killer" ta

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Hm, "Foxconn ... the world's largest maker of phone handsets"? Not even close...

      Nokia 37%, Samsung 21%, LG 11%, Motorola & SE both 5%; while SE and perhaps Motorola might be using some OEM manufacturers, it's rather unlikely for LG and Samsung. And Nokia owns all their fabs (most of them not in China, 125k employees)

  • by Xacid (560407)
    Archos [archos.com] is already doing it and doing it well. First time using one was today, actually. Pretty damned swanky, imo.
  • want one now! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @04:07AM (#32387174) Homepage Journal

    All these demo unit's/available in China, I just want one now!

    2.2 minimum, tegra would be nice, standard usb socket to charge (as well as another one to drop in cradle for hdmi output I guess), bluetooth keyboard support as standard so I can use a keyboard with it if I want to, or just lug around without and use the onscreen one if I have to.
    Done.
    I've got a credit card warmed up and ready to use for something like that. Why all this 1.5/1.6 stuff?
    Seems to be true that there's alot of Android Tablets inc, heck, they were showing dozens of them off before Apple even admitted they had a tablet

    I do have some fears.
    It appears if you've got a non-Google phone, updates are looking risky. As much as the new Dell tablets ones look neat, if Google(htc) brought their own out, I'd probably go for that with a better expectation that it'll be supported for later updates.
    Whats the Chome Tablet for? Seems odd for them to fracture their own market when Android seems great and well suited for a tablet. Can the Chrome browser just be chucked on an existing Android platform to give people more choice?

    But yeah, if the Dell tablets were going on sale tomorrow at Best Buy, I'd be typing this out on my G1 camped outside.

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      Whats the Chome Tablet for?

      Anybody who is happy to work exclusively with web apps.

      Makes a lot of sense with a mobile device if where you plan to use it has good Internet connections. Until that is universal it makes sense to have a dual track approach. Anyway, developing ChromeOS must be a relatively small job c.f. A full blown OS like android, and all the related web apps could (potentially) work across multiple platforms.

      I'd see ChromeOS as more suitable for mobile use within an office/shop/warehouse than for road warriors (initi

      • by MrDoh! (71235)

        I'm still confused though, wouldn't Android + Chrome browser work just as well, if not better? And Android + browsers are out now, working.

        As is, when they do eventually bring out a Chrome tablet and it doesn't have access to all the Android marketplace apps, just web, why would someone choose that over an Android tablet + web + apps? Just seems an odd thing.

        The article referenced originally does make a fair point, we're about to be flooded with cheap (and very inferior) Android Tablets shortly, it might

        • by itsdapead (734413)

          I'm still confused though, wouldn't Android + Chrome browser work just as well, if not better?

          I think the idea is that ChromeOS can be stripped down to the bare minimum of features needed to support the browser, for fast boot, low power, low memory. Not letting apps run locally at all must also make security easier.

          You have a point though: the power/hardware requirements for chrome systems had better be vastly lower than for full featured systems or people won't see the point. I think this is what has kept thin client systems in a niche - they're no cheaper than a proper PC.

  • I'm bemused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121)
    The iPad seems to be a huge success. Tablets have never been hugely popular before. Now everyone wants to make one. Why all of a sudden?

    And what are they actually for?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by tsa (15680)

      Apple has a very dedicated herd of followers who buy everything Apple throws at them. Now they all have an iPad it's time for the next iPhone to be bought by them and crank Apple's stock up some more. After the iPhone there will be new Macs the herd will absolutely need, and after that it will be the next iPod versions. And so the game goes on.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Apple has a very dedicated herd of followers who buy everything Apple throws at them.

        Turn the hate down from 11 and think about why that is. My personal story is that after supporting a series of clunky laptops at home, Vista made me reluctantly buy the wifey a MacBook Air. Wow. Her experience with that made me replace my latest in a series of problematic Belkin routers with a Time Capsule (wireless N with automatic backups). She broke a MBA hinge and because we were no longer supported I got her a MacBook. After 11 months Apple decided to fix the MBA hinge at no charge. Wow. Then I got her

        • by tsa (15680)

          The only part of your post that I have a problem with is this: To do all this I gave up the features that are important to you but got features that turned out to be important to me. I never said anything about my needs so what do you know about them?
           
          I knew I would get modded down of course because if you say anything that looks even remotely like downgrading Apple or Apple fans you get modded down here on Slashdot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by lostsoulz (1631651)

      And what are they actually for?

      Fitness - your arms grow strong from trying to hold the damn things on the daily commute to the office and your cardio improves as you try to outrun the mugger that is interested in your oversized iPhone.

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:15AM (#32387566)

      The tablets available previously were laptop computers running lightly modified desktop operating systems and applications. Consequently, that's what people tried to use them for. They were not very good at it.

      The iPad doesn't pretend to be a laptop replacement, it's for web browsing, casual gaming and media playing with maybe a little light note taking. It's using an OS which is designed specifically for the job. Also, love it or hate it, the iPhone did revolutionise the design of touch interfaces - if you can't see how everything since has copied it then you need stronger glasses.

      People describe the iPad as "just a big iPod Touch" as if that were a criticism - I bought an iPad because that was exactly what I wanted. Most of the haters are evaluating it as if it were a small PC.

      Its also closer to the original Netbook concept, while Netbooks themselves have morphed into entry-level laptops because they could run desktop software, and there wasn't a lot of alternative net book-friendly software. The iPad arrives with a good developer base, lots of available apps and no option to stick Windows or Ubuntu on it...

      • Ditto. I needed something to replace my 6 year old 12.1" powerbook that is/was on its last legs. I had a 15" MacBook Pro at work that was purchased last year, but I was still actively involved in coding and code auditing. I now travel a lot on business and mainly I need something that I can use for communications purposes (email, skype) and making small edits to documents. Only complaint is a lack of a video camera at this point for video conferencing. But even at work I gave my MBP to a new developer

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by yyxx (1812612)

      The iPad seems to be a huge success. Tablets have never been hugely popular before. Now everyone wants to make one. Why all of a sudden?

      Because battery and screen technology has improved to the point where you can have $200 tablets weighing 2 pounds, with a big screen, and 10h battery life.

      As usual, Apple has rushed out this kind of product a little earlier at a premium price and marketed the hell out of it. But tablets were going to happen now anyway, Apple or no Apple.

      • Re:I'm bemused (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:15AM (#32387772) Homepage Journal

        Actually, Apple timed this product just right. The appeal of tablets have been clear for years, it's just that the technological infrastructure wasn't good enough and the implementations were lousy. Windows tablets anyone? I have one, and I almost never use it as a tablet.

        If you look at the iPod, iPhone and iPad, they're all cases where Apple chose the right time to capture the second mover advantage. It's a natural role for a company driven by a perfectionist like Jobs who sees the mistakes the first generation products make and does not repeat them.

        Now if things go true to form, the third generation competitors will scramble for scraps from Apple's table by copying whatever they can, repeating the mistakes made in the first generation products, and trying to come up with bullets for a side by side comparison. It'll take several iterations before a credible competitor to the iPad emerges.

        • by yyxx (1812612)

          If you look at the iPod, iPhone and iPad, they're all cases where Apple chose the right time to capture the second mover advantage.

          Apple sells premium products a little ahead of the mass market. That's neither "right" nor "wrong". Nokia or HTC couldn't have sold the same devices in their markets.

          Now if things go true to form, the third generation competitors will scramble for scraps from Apple's table by copying whatever they can, repeating the mistakes made in the first generation products,

          If things go a

          • "Apple's market niche isn't technology, it's branding."

            WTF??

            Perhaps you mean Apples niche isn't check-box marketing and they aren't meeting your check-boxes?? While I don't own anything Apple (yet) but it is clear to me that it is a lot more than just branding.

            Unless Apples Branding is shorthand for technical excellence(at least in this case). Just look at the technology aspects.

            Example: Brilliant industrial engineering and packaging.

            Example: High Quality IPS screen: Apple is using a better screen here than

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by yyxx (1812612)

              Example: Brilliant industrial engineering and packaging.

              No, just luxury components and packaging. You pay for it. Brilliant would be to deliver the iPad for $199.

              Example: High Quality IPS screen: Apple is using a better screen here than practically every product shown so far.

              Yes, they buy expensive and high end components. Your point?

              Example: Battery life. Apple engineer it to use the lowest power envelop possible

              Same thing: they use expensive components.

              Example: Capacitive multi-touch. Many competitors

              • by guidryp (702488)

                No, just luxury components and packaging.
                Same thing: they use expensive components.
                Yes, they buy expensive and high end components. Your point?

                The point is you were claiming it was just branding and not technology. Using higher end components across the board is using BETTER TECHNOLOGY.

                Do you want to save a few bucks and buy a cheap knockoff using second rate component?

                Many will, but the people choosing to get a well designed product with superior industrial engineering, better components, and better sw/hw integration aren't merely choosing branding as you claim, they are choosing a higher quality product.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by BasilBrush (643681)

                The choice between resistive and capacitive is not so clearcut. Capacitive is good for fingers, resistive is good for pens. iPad and iPhone are lousy for drawing, and handwriting input is a no-go. I hope someone will start making Android tablets with resistive input (or Wacom or hybrid input) because the Apple iPad input sucks for anything other than poking at oversized on-screen buttons.

                This is woefully mis-informed. iPhone has the most accurate touchscreen of all the touchscreen mobile phones, as demonst

          • If things go as they usually go for Apple, Apple will get stuck at a few percent market share, while the mainstream companies saturate the market with more powerful and much cheaper devices. The only time Apple ever managed to hold on to a significant lead was with iPod/iTunes.

            So what markets are you talking about? PC market and smartphone market? The latter of which we still don't know the outcome of. So by usually, did you mean one market? Or were you splitting PCs up into different models?

            Apple's market

    • And what are they actually for?

      Perhaps it only becomes apparent after you've used one for a while. Or you've heard enough stories from people that have. e.g.
      http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/05/ive-changed-my-mind-about-the-ipad.html [avc.com]

  • ..for the first time (it was just released in europe), and after seeing the linked android tablet in the description, two things come to my mind:

    1) 7'' might be a WIN. I found the ipad extremely gorgeus and fast, etc... but it was too uncomfortable to use because it was just heavy enough to use with both hands, but as soon as you need to interact with it a lot (i.e. almost anything other than scrolling) you need to switch to holding it with one hand and typing/interacting with the other hand. And it was way

  • A closed C API is not suitable for a full-size computer (or even a phone since 2007). Apps need to be ported from iPad, Mac, Windows, Linux, PlayStation, XBox, Wii, and the arcade. Google should not be the only one making C apps for Android.

    • Re:Open the C API (Score:4, Informative)

      by Fnkmaster (89084) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @08:04AM (#32387930)

      What is the NDK [android.com]? It's been available for some time now. To the best of my knowledge writing a Dalvik shell to expose the app to the O/S and then using a native NDK core *is* the way to do what you are saying.

      These guys [google.com] ported Quake 3. It uses a lightweight Dalvik launcher to control a native build of Quake 3.

      While there might be some utility to a way to write a pure native code user-facing app in C, I don't think it currently exists. Android's browser, for example, is a Dalvik wrapper around the native code. You can of course build a pure native code executable that will run on the terminal (for example, see here [aton.com]) but that's not going to be useful for you.

  • The Android widget interface uses a 4×4 grid to arrange widgets and icons. With a larger display, there needs to be better use of the screen real estate. Some of the early tablets we've seen are running a basic stock Android home launcher. This makes space feel wasted by having giant widgets and shortcuts taking up too much room.

    No, really? With a larger screen you have more screen real estate? What genius! Google has certainly not thought of that.

    I mean, call me nuts, but I suspect this is pretty far

  • Ok I've read story after story. And with out a doubt almost everyone is missing one simple thing. VIDEO.

    Slates are primarily a content consuming device as touch input tends to be slow and eats screen to do. Thus reducing the business use potential ( I does have it's place in business just not a massive one. ) We here about book readers, music libraries facebook and email.

    What I'm not hearing a lot about is good quality video. In my opinion good quality video playback is a must. A larger screen is

  • Without going into detail on why the other stuff is lame... Upgrading the home screen to be more like chromium's is an obvious step. Run a strip across the screen that shows thumbnails of running apps, scroll it off-screen sideways, show the most-used or most-recently used or show them in opening order (preference option I hope) and put a nice big glowing arrow where there's more to scroll to, with a flick/tap interface. Sort of a touch-friendly chrome home for android. Lock screen only needs HTML widgets b

  • The suggestion that the lock-screen host widgets is good. The suggestion to get rid of hardware buttons is OK, but it's really only an incremental change.

    There are at least a handful of harder problems crying out for an officially sanctioned solution:

    1. A shareable Android device. This is presumably on the project plan for an Android TV, which can't be tied to one individual's Google account. Some tablet devices also have shared use cases, e.g. a "kitchen tablet."

    2. Cleaning up non-touch UI conventions. And

  • by notthatwillsmith (1083667) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @04:52PM (#32391676)
    This linked story is copied in its entirety from my site, Tested.com. While they have posted a link to the author's profile on the story, the content is copyright Tested. The link to the original story is http://www.tested.com/news/5-ways-google-can-make-android-truly-tablet-worthy/355/ [tested.com].

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