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Acer CEO Declares a Tablets Bubble 692

Posted by timothy
from the that-seems-hard-to-believe dept.
retroworks writes "According to a story in Digitimes, Acer chairman JT Wang is predicting the end of 'tablet fever.' 'Commenting on tablet PC's impact on the notebook industry, [Acer chairman JT Wang] pointed out that tablet PC fever is already starting to cool down and consumers are also being attracted by notebooks again with Intel's Ultrabooks and Microsoft's Windows 8 the major attractions.' Back to the old model then... PC and laptop sales, driven by Windows upgrades?"
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Acer CEO Declares a Tablets Bubble

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  • Fever? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) * on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:05PM (#37213838) Homepage Journal
    That tablet PC fever is already starting to cool down because, let's face it, the tablet PC is actually a pretty dumb idea. How can we improve the friendliness of computers? I know! Let's take away the keyboard! What next? Take away the screen? That would look cool! I mean, seriously, once you have impressed all of your friends with your new trendy gadget, you have to go back to writing emails, articles, software, books, and good luck with that if you don't even have a keyboard. I have said it many times and let me say it once more: There is no "tablet fever". There never was. There is only "apple fever" and it is not going to cool down any time soon. Hardware vendors were trying to sell tablet PCs literally for decades but there never was any demand, partly because the whole idea is just a notebook without a keyboard. It looks cool but that's it. Using a phone without physical keyboard is hard enough, why anyone would want a computer that is equally hard to use? The only reason people are buying tablet PCs today is either because it's apple or it's like apple so having one somehow makes you cool and that is much more impotant than being productive. Sad but true.
  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adversus (1451933) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:10PM (#37213876)
    Just because you haven't found a personal need/use for a tablet, doesn't mean the millions who've bought them (iPads and the dozen or so Xooms and Galaxy's out there) haven't. The CEO of Acer sounds like he's trying to make noise because Acer isn't in the competitive tablet business. In fact, nobody is in the competitive tablet business at this point, except Apple. And all signs point to it not slowing down anytime soon.
  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:11PM (#37213880)

    The misunderstanding here is that people have to choose one or the other. I prefer a desktop for programming, a laptop for browsing leisurely about the apartment, and a tablet for reading in bed. Once the price bubble on tablets bursts, I am sure more people will buy them as a handy tertiary device, between a phone and a laptop.

  • Lets compare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:16PM (#37213932)

    One company just had the highest quarterly [apple.com] sales in their entire history.

    The other company just lost a few million dollars [go.com].

    Which company do you think has a better clue about what consumers want?

  • Time to Go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:17PM (#37213954)
    Were I a significant shareholder of Acer, I would be calling for the replacement of JT Wang. His comments have consistently shown a disconnect from reality and that is not the sort of person one should want directing a corporation. Closing your eyes and pretending things are the way you want them to be rather than how they are isn't a sound business strategy.

    I realize that he shouldn't be a cheerleader for the competition but he's gone beyond that and is well into the realm of ignoring facts that are clear to anyone paying even a cursory attention to the market.
  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:22PM (#37213990)

    In its most recent quarter, Acer lost $234 million [engadget.com]. Acer has no competitive tablet offering among the dozens of competing Android tablets. And of course the iPad is selling like mad with an expectation of 22 million units sold during the upcoming holiday quarter [cnet.com].

    The Acer CEO is a dimwit who's talking smack because there's nothing else he can do to stem the tide of abject failure coming out of his factories. He is basically berating the customers for buying "hot" tablets, particularly the iPad, instead of buying the tried-and-true plastic Wintel units that Acer vomits up. His company bet big on low-margin netbooks and lost, and now he's betting on Intel "ultrabooks".

    HP just bailed out of the entire PC business (echoing IBM's decision in 2004), and among the reasons was that the tablet effect is real [electronista.com].

    The Acer CEO's effort is better focused on coming up with better products, not whining.

  • by BLToday (1777712) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:30PM (#37214056)

    Before last weekend, I would say it's a fad and will eventually die out within a few years. Then I saw my grandfather using a iPad, that was eye opening. He's 90, been partial paralyzed for 15 years after a stroke so he can only use his left hand. He's never really use a computer and doesn't understand the concept of the Internet. My uncle had brought the iPad to show my cousin's white coat ceremony photos. After showing my grandfather how to open the Photo App (it's the sunflower icon), selecting which album he wanted to see (Graduation, Family Photos, etc.), moving the next picture by swiping your finger, and zooming in and out with pinching, under 5 minutes he was able to do all that and had a blast. I haven't seen him amazed by technology, ever. We've try to get him to use a computer, that didn't work.

    There's something here in tablets, not as a computing platform. It's a communication medium for the other 5 billion unconnected humans. It should be a seamless experience with the absolutely the lowest learning curve possible.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:42PM (#37214158)

    Tablets were never going to sell like they were forever. We're approaching the point where most people who want them, already have them. That doesn't mean they were a fad or a bubble. Without looking at sales figures, I would guess that all major inventions, from the Model T to the microwave oven to the MP3 player have gone through a similar cycle. They will continue to sell as people upgrade or replace aging units, but not at the rate they once did. It's a huge win for Apple that they got in at the ground floor. All the "me too!" companies now have an uphill fight on their hands. The Acer CEO likely knows this, and so is declaring the grapes to be sour.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:42PM (#37214162) Homepage

    I know a CEO like this. He had to have a Macbook Pro and a Macbook Air and now he wants all the sales people to have iPad's because nothing else is acceptable except the device with the most elit image even if it is significantly harder to manage and for the users to operate for there tasks.

    Sure, and we all have stories about Stupid CEO tricks. In fact, I believe there is a long running comic with that as it's primary gag line. But that isn't the only reason that iPads are popular. They are popular primarily because THEY ARE NOT LIKE THE COMPUTER YOU FIRST PROGRAMMED IN 6TH GRADE BY CANDLELIGHT WHILE HIKING BAREFOOT UPHILL IN THE DARK. I'm constantly amazed at the angst this device has created amongst the Slashdoterati. You all sound very threatened about a 1 pound device that, according to the hive mind here, can't process it's way out of a recycled paper bag.

    Calm down, switch to decaf or something. Take a walk. It's something different, an 'uncomputer', an appliance. It doesn't fortell the end of the universe, it isn't George Orwell's worst nightmare.

    Jesus, you'd think there was an earthquake or something recently.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:43PM (#37214174) Homepage

    Says the bitter, bitter man who has never touched a iPad....

    Stop being a grumpy old turd and go TRY ONE for a while. Honestly, I am 30X more productive than the guys at work that dont have one. I carry autocad files with me to review and show. I annotate pdf files etc...

    It's a tool, just because you cant figure out how to use a wrench does not make wrenches stupid.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wild_dog! (98536) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:46PM (#37214198)

    Exactly, no scope for the imagination.
    The medical field has needed this type of tech for eons and now it is here in a form that is quite functional.
    It is fantastic for entertainment functions.
    It is fantastic for educational functions.

    Each day I hear of people using these devices in new ways... ways a computer simply can't do.

  • Re:partially right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:56PM (#37214294)

    The thing is convertaibles have been around for a decade.

    it took apple to show the world that tablets had to have a different GUI from desktop computer. MSFT has been making tablet based OS's for a decade directly, however only a couple of dedicated touch applications where ever created for it, with Office being one of the big one.

    when apple shipped the ipad it included a stripped down(and broken depending on your view) version of their office applications. straight out of the box. The email client gui was re written to take advantage of touch interfaces, unlike outlook which is still the same(with a shiny new ribbon)

    tablets may become more powerful, but the interface requires them to have simplier UI's. Just like cars engines might get more powerful but you still control it with pedals and a wheel.

    We are entering computation age where raw power isn't needed. directed computation power is. for those like you stuck in the past you will struggle with this change.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @09:32PM (#37214540)
    Why do people think this is a good insult. It isn't. The first thing I thought when I saw the iPod touch was, "This is neat, but it would be really cool if it was way bigger."

    The iPad IS a large iPod Touch, and that is a good thing. Your complaint makes about as much sense as complaining that the 50" TV is just an over sized 13" TV.
  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @09:36PM (#37214576)

    Right, and your Xoom isn't a "tablet PC", it's a tablet.

    If your Xoom was double the thickness, double the weight, and double the price, would it compare favourably to the current Xoom? The Acer CEO's remarks are amusing because the tablet PC never had a bubble to burst. They were always a tiny niche market that never went anywhere, until real tablets like the iPad, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, etc. came along.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @09:39PM (#37214600) Journal

    I'm no fan of Apple, but to compare the very small tablet computing market that existed prior to the iPad with the market that exists now is absurd.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Thursday August 25, 2011 @09:45PM (#37214652) Homepage

    I have an iPad, and I use mine almost every day. In the past week I've been streaming Merlin episodes off Netflix, reading Sherlock Holmes off iBooks/Kindle, I use it to check my calendar/email before going to bed. I plug a noise-canceling headset in and watch movies on it on the plane (I've had to travel a dozen times this year, so >25 flights), which is nice in coach because laptops are too bulky really (especially if the guy in front leans back). Plus it's a really convenient way to check/offline read documents, which I can drop in dropbox, sync over to the ipad without a wire, and then read (on the plane, in the hotel bed, etc). (Also, Angry Birds HD, go.)

    Honestly, I called it a gimmick when it first came out. A week or two after launch, I happened to swing by an Apple store, we played with one, we decided to get it. Now we have 3 in the family (one each), and all 3 of us use it regularly.

    Granted, to me, about 50% of the utility is the video - Netflix + iTunes shows/movies (I don't pirate, but I also don't pay for cable, so I supplement netflix with an occasional itunes purchase).

  • Re:Lets compare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @09:49PM (#37214666)

    You know how I know you'll never figure out how Apple is successful? You insist on starting from an incorrect premise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2011 @10:32PM (#37214886)

    Um, it was called an "example". Of someone who has never touched a computer and would never be willing to touch a computer. With disabilities that would slow use of a traditional computer interface.

    It's an example that suggests that a broad swath of humanity that may have been unable or unwilling to use a computer might have no problem with a different class of devices, currently embodied (well enough to meet that criteria) almost exclusively by the iPad.

    Age was only mentioned once and is relevant only in that, given the particular individual's history, it suggests that the "unable and/or unwilling" was very likely to stick. The example really didn't attempt a generalization.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacTO (1161105) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @10:46PM (#37214970)

    I agree that tablets cannot replace computers. But ask yourself two questions:

    Are people expecting them to replace computers?

    How many people actually need computers?

    Computers were wonderful for a while since they enabled rapid technological innovations and people wanted access to those innovations, but I think we're eventually going to see people ditch computers for devices that are more suited to their needs.

    (Yes, I know that tablets are computers. But I would also suggest that a lot of people don't see them as computers.)

  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @10:53PM (#37215006) Homepage

    WHY are there apps for this crap? Why can't you access The Economist through a specially formatted web page? Why can't you access it through a generic eBook format? Why can't you access Netflix through HTML5?

    Do you really want to know why? It's because HTML sucks for a user interface. It always has.

    No, really. Back in the day, we had fat clients that did specific things; they did them fast, and the did them well. Then came the web as user interface ... and quite frankly, it has sucked donkey balls for most of it.

    Oh, sure, it's gotten better. But, really, the difference between a native app and a web application has always been miles. A native app is faster, cleaner, and generally does things you can't really do in a web page.

    And, yes, I'm sure HTML 5 is wonderful and likely even makes toast for me. But, it's largely a moving target: and a well designed, native application will pretty much always give you a better piece of software to interact with simply because the GUI works differently. It also has the added benefit of being something I can run when I am disconnected from the network.

    An app isn't a marketing gimmick ... back in the day, we used to call it 'software'. The world as a web page? Now there's something which has made for more crappy (and slow) software than you can think of.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @11:12PM (#37215108)

    We have been pretty close for a while now. Latest Eee PC 10 inch netbook I bought as a gift for my mother runs for slightly less then 8 hours on a single charge (battery can be replaced in ~10 seconds), while running all x86 applications (atom n550). My only qualm with it is lack of XP (it had w7 starter), but after I upgraded the RAM size to 2GB it seemed to work really well. It's about the same size as 10 inch tablets in all dimensions but thickness (thin on the user's side, but thickens toward the screen where battery is) and about twice as heavy (1.25kg).

    Of course it comes with actual x86 native compatibility, standard laptop connectivity, keyboard, touchpad, etc. It even has built in bluetooth so it can be used as a smartphone remote or to connect wireless speakers/headset.

    It also costs about half of what ipad does. I honestly have no idea who would pick a tablet over netbook if ultraportable is what they need, unless it's a public image issue (which is what most people I've seen with tablets seem to be getting them for).

  • Re:Fever? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @11:28PM (#37215216)

    I think it's silly to compare your PC with a tablet. It's a little like me saying your pickup truck will smoke my Miata. They have a lot of similarities and can do a lot of the same kinds of things, but they were built for entirely different uses in mind. Your truck is what you need and I couldn't be happier in my Miata. It turns out though, that not many people need a truck.

    I think a lot of computer people don't understand the iPad and are worried about what it is doing to the PC industry. It really is disrupting the PC business in unbelievable ways (and is a big part of what has HP looking to dump their PC business). There are a lot of people out there who got a computer to get on the internet and they really aren't all that happy with it. Those people are being attracted in droves to the iPad. For these people, the iPad isn't the accessory, the PC is. They only need it for iTunes right now and soon that won't be an issue any more.

    As a programmer, I see the iPad as a huge opportunity. For whatever reason, people who have them are purchasing software for them. Much more than they ever did with their PC. People use these things all the time online and off. It's the best thing to happen to this industry in a long time.

    I'm so impressed at how well Apple is executing lately that I've reversed my opinion on their stock price. When the stories about them becoming the most valuable company by market cap started surfacing I thought that was a great signal for people to dump Apple stock. It's ridiculous, right? Now I'm not so sure. They own the market for desktop and laptop computers that cost more than $1k. Now they are totally screwing up the low end of the computer market for everybody with the iPad. What they've done to the music and phone business, I believe they are about to repeat with other home electronics (like an Apple television). There's a very real chance that Apple is just getting started.

  • Re:Fever? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nyctopterus (717502) on Friday August 26, 2011 @05:08AM (#37216774) Homepage

    They have got the content and they can tell Apple et al to go jump and basically distribute direct.

    At which point, the cash-rich Apple will buy out huge chunks of their industry (Apple could buy Comcast, Time Warner, Disney, or the entire music industry with the cash they have now), leaving big content with disastrously incomplete catalogues.

    It any case, I think you're wrong in your assumption that tablets are or will remain content-consuption devices only. I think phones and tablets will soon be most people's main computer. They will dock them with big screens and keyboards when they want to work on something that requires it.

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