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All posts tagged "tablets"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tablets Replacing Laptops? Three Requirements

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:30 PM

"With features like LTE connectivity, ultra-high-resolution displays, and laptop-like processing power, tablets have made their way into tens of millions of homes, and they’ve done it seemingly overnight. But despite popularity that borders on ubiquity and specs that edge them ever closer to desktops, it’s a rare house where a tablet has replaced a full-fledged computer. Why is that? Why haven’t more people scrapped their PCs for the sleeker, cheaper tablets?"

Interesting opinions on what it'll take for tablets to (someday) replace laptops. Three basic requirements: more feedback from the tablet for tasks; quicker reflexes - tablet response on touch actions are about 8-10x slower than mouse and keyboard actions; split personality, or a watered-down experience - tablets need to run the processes that laptops run. An additional requirement is that tablets need to be seen as more than luxury devices. When I can pull out my iPad and truly edit an Excel spreadsheet, I'll consider that tablets have arrived.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sony Style Comes to the S1 and S2 Tablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:00 AM

"Now that Sony has spilled the carrier-exclusive beans on at least one of its tablets, the S2 clamshell, the company kindly gave us a chance to get some long-awaited hands-on time with both it and its sibling, the S1 slate. And at time when it feels like we handle a new Honeycomb Android tablet every other day, these at least usher in some pretty unusual form factors. On the one hand, you've got the S1, a 9.4-inch number whose rounded wedge profile was designed to mimic a folded magazine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the S2, which opens to reveal twin 5.5-inch displays -- all the more of a novelty since we've barely seen Android 3.0 running on devices that don't have 10-inch displays."

Sony Style is alive and well in the tablet space! The S1 is a 'standard' tablet, with rounded edges and a wedge shape, making it ergonomically efficient, as well as easy to hold. Results indoors were very good, and the 1280x768 display was great for viewing a movie, even from the side and at an angle. Results outdoors are unknown, as this was a very short hands-on.

The S2 is a clamshell form-factor, with two 5.5-inch screens. According to the review, when closed, it looks like a large case for eyeglasses. When open, there is a bezel separating the bright screens, making for a less than optimal viewing experience. No other details are available at this time.

Nothing reported on software other than to mention that Honeycomb (Android 3+) is there, and Sony has done some work at the UI layer to make the user experience "better." Speed of the S1 and S2 seemed similar to other Android tablets, described as "pretty zippy," and both devices are both PlayStation Certified (hello games!). I like this clamshell idea, so it'll be interesting to see how apps perform with two small screens available - or is it logically one screen with a chunk of plastic bezel in the middle?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Notebook Market Stagnating - Except for Apple

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 11:30 PM

"The iPad has hit the notebook PC market hard. A market that was growing 20% to 40% year-over-year per quarter just a couple of years ago is now basically flat."

These statistics show that notebook growth (or at least units shipped) has been declining since early 2010. Adding-in Apple's shipments for a few quarters shows that they are bucking the downward trend. Are tablets really causing notebook sales to crash? It would seem so. Except for Apple, even though five quarters of data is not overly significant. I would like to see a companion chart showing sales in units, not percentage, as reporting a large percentage growth, but a small number of units sold, is less significant. It would be interesting to see the comparable desktop statistics starting in 2008.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Competitors Don't Understand How to Beat the iPad

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 PM

"When unveiled in 2010, Apple didn't know why iPad would be a major hit.* After spending most of the keynote explaining some of iPad's basic features, such as email, reading books, and surfing the web, Apple left the fundamental question of why iPad would become popular to the marketplace to answer.

*I didn’t write “if iPad would be a major hit”, but instead, “why iPad would be a major hit.” Apple has a history of releasing major products only after it knows it is worthy of becoming a hit."

Why? Apple has transferred innovation to the user. Apple offers initial satisfaction, followed by continuing satisfaction and enjoyment. Competitors don't really understand why people are buying iPads. Walk into any Apple Store (or Best Buy) and look at faces as people play with iPads. Electronic crack. The bottom line is that the author feels that they are winning on emotion (winning hearts and minds), taking cost out of the equation. His feeling is that the only way that competitors can be successful is either by making a low-price commodity item (does this mean a throw-away tablet?) or by out-innovating Apple. With Apple having a stranglehold on the components market, competition on price alone will continue to be difficult, so that leaves beating Apple at introducing new features or even developing something completely different (Monty Python, anyone?). With nearly 20 million iPads sold, I wonder how many of the niche players will simply drop out of the competition.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Honeycomb Tablets Being Delayed?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 03:49 PM

"Potential iPad competitors are reportedly delaying the launch of Honeycomb-powered tablets as faltering Motorola Xoom sales fail to meet industry expectations. According to DigiTimes, Google has allegedly failed to resolve a number of issues affecting Android 3.0, including brand image, pricing, lack of apps and "unstable" OS performance."

This is definitely not good news for HTC, Asus, and the other tablet manufacturers: Google seems to have really dropped the ball on this one. The Digitimes article is light on specifics, but it seems the poor sales of the XOOM have other tablet makers spooked - and the lack of tablet applications and missing features of the XOOM at launch (the non-functional microSD card is apparently Google's fault) have made for an unstable ecosystem for Android tablets. I think it would be a shame for the other OEMs to delay their products though; the only way to work through these issues is to get the products out, establish a baseline pool of customers for developers to target, and build from there. When the iPad first launched it had virtually no native apps either, but within a few months there were hundreds (if not thousands). You've got to start somewhere!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gartner Predicts That Apple Will Dominate Tablet Market Until 2015

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:00 PM

"Gartner forecasts that Apple's lead in the media tablet market will last until 2015 - and even then it'll be 47 percent of the market."

Interesting to see that Gartner is also trying to gaze into their crystal ball and predict the future in the tablet space. They do appear to have some insight (and credibility) into the market, and they base their predictions on seeing parallels between the tablet market and the iPhone emergence from a few years ago. They say that Apple competitors are repeating the mistakes made trying to play catch-up in the smartphone space, focusing on hardware over user experience, services and applications. Being business-oriented, Gartner also predicts that the PlayBook/QNX will garner a market share of 10% by 2015. Oddly, variations of Windows are ignored.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Woz' Quote of the Week

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 09:00 AM

"“On the subject of tablets, I read today that Android tablets are expected to surpass iPads, and I hope that never happens,” Wozniak said."

You never know what Steve Wozniak is going to come out with. At a Storage Networking World conference this week he made it clear that he doesn't think much of Android tablets. He has some other quotes too so make sure you follow the link for the rest. Steve is not totally anti-Android so I was a little surprised to hear this since I know he has a Nexus One along with some iPhones. I completely expect Android tablets to overtake iPads because Android did the same thing with phones and people said it never would. In the case of tablets, it should be easier since Apple set the bar so low with the iPads. Why do I think so? Notifications are terrible, no widgets, it needs iTunes, no standard ports, and no card slot are some of the reasons. What are your thoughts? Are you with Woz' on this or not?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Figure Fudging and Fake Fans: When Will They Ever Learn

Posted by Kevin Jackson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"When I got there, I found that the 10.1″ Tabs out on tables were the older, relatively portly version announced last month at Mobile World Congress. The new 10.1-incher (and its 8.9″ sibling) were inside glass cases, and they weren't powered on. I also discovered that my friend Fritz Nelson of InformationWeek had beat me to the booth-and he told me that he was trying to get Samsung to give him a Tab he could hold and judge."

Samsung appears to have created another PR nightmare for itself. It appears that the new Galaxy Tabs which are supposed to be thinner than the new iPads are actually a bit thicker. Additionally, interviews with actual users of the Tabs turn out to be staged. Is there anything wrong with that? Not normally, but when these are touted as being real-life users with no indication that they are staged, the line gets a bit blurred in my opinion. Why not just let the technology speak for itself? By all accounts the new Galaxy Tab devices are pretty decent, but they don't need negative PR before they even hit the market.

So, Samsung, if you're listening, just get the hardware out there and let it speak for itself. It's going to succeed or fail based on its own merits and no amount of pre-release trickery is going to help sales. In fact, you could end up hurting yourselves even more if you're not careful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tablet Competition: Have the iPad Competitors Missed Their Chance?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:30 AM

"Over the next four weeks, at least three new tablets are expected from Samsung, Motorola, and Research In Motion. The good news? They're Wi-Fi only, which will keep their cost down and appeal to consumers looking to avoid high-priced tablets or lengthy carrier commitments for mobile broadband data plans. Now, the bad news: Their timing isn't great, which will likely dampen sales. Plus, WiFi-only pretty much eliminates them as contenders for desirable devices with integrated 3G."

The next few weeks should see a slew of WiFi (only) tablets released, but have the manufacturers missed their window of opportunity? Too little, too late? Research has found that the "sweet spot" for a tablet seems to be $351, while $524 was the "too expensive" spot. So the WiFi tablet prices seem spot-on. But, then there is the whole "ecosystem" ("what it can do") question again: Android 2.2 has apps, which may or may not be optimized for a tablet form factor, Android 3.0 is still short on apps, and QNX (PlayBook) is an unknown at this point. And, with estimates of iPad 2 sales being between 700K and 1000K for the first weekend, Apple is not standing still waiting for the competition to catch up. With a poll showing that 75% of potential buyers would prefer WiFi only, there seems to be a market, but the "other" manufacturers need to get in the game, and deliver quality full-function products.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

8.9 Inch Galaxy Tabs Coming This Summer

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"Not much detail here kids, but the Korean Yonhap News Agency is reporting that Samsung has an 8.9-inch Android tablet due in the first half of the year."

Just rumors for now, however this could be an interesting development for Tab lovers - the Galaxy tab, in your choice of 2 or 3 sizes. Neat!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are These the iPad Killers?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

"2010 was the year of the iPad. 2011 is the year the competition gets serious. Between a slew of new Android 3.0 slates, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the HP TouchPad, shoppers will have plenty of compelling Apple alternatives to choose from. (Yes, even after the iPad 2 debuts.) Here are the 10 tablets we’re most excited about."

Between webOS and Android, there are quite a few options out there and I'm pleased to see some variety of form factors. My personal favorite is the HTC Flyer in th more traditional tablet category, while the large, slide-out keyboard on the ASUS Eee Pad Slider looks pretty intriguing (assuming it will stand by itself in that configuration). Do you have a personal favorite?

Tags: hardware, tablets

Friday, December 3, 2010

Technology: Buy Now or Wait?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:30 AM

""Should I wait or buy now?" I get asked this question constantly, because everyone wants to know whether there's some better, faster, or cheaper gadget coming around the bend that will make the device they covet today seem dated."

Interesting dilemma. There is new technology arriving on the scene all the time, but when does one decide that the time is right for that purchase? This article notes some upcoming technologies with notebook computers, smartphones and tablets. The author's recommendations are to go for that new notebook now if you need one, since low prices currently outweigh near-term technology improvements. As for smartphones, some compelling new products are on the horizon, including some sporting dual core CPUs and/or much better resolution screens, so waiting may be a good idea. Tablets? Wait a few months. Expect prices to drop (the author guesses under $300), with more competition to the iPad. As Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" arrives, expect a glut of new tablets, as well as RIM's PlayBook, and that some of the crappy rush-to-market products will fall by the wayside.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Commentary on the Competition from Infinite Loop

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 11:00 PM

"The first 15 minutes of Apple's earnings call today were not all that surprising, although the numbers were impressive. Quarterly revenue at the end of the company's fiscal year (late September) was $20.34 billion, making this the company's biggest quarter ever. This exceeded analyst expectations and predictions, so big score for Apple. Then things got really interesting when Steve Jobs got on the call and started ripping his competitors a new one."

Let's see, biggest quarter ever, yet, there's still plenty of time to bash the competition, rather than graciously bask in the glow of spectacular financial results (Thank you consumers, you've voted with your wallets! ). I don't quite understand what benefit is derived from publicly pointing out the obvious - see! we sold more stuff than you sold. And, despite the fact that the competition in the tablet space doesn't have real products shipping in meaningful number yet (at least here in the US), we're told that they'll be inferior, and that the small size will be a disadvantage unless fingers can be made smaller. I read that, and thought, gee, I'd better get rid of my iPhone then, because I don't have sandpaper to make my fingers smaller. I love Apple products, because, as Steve J points out,"they just work," but I'm not real happy with the whole "cult of personality" that seems to be developing and causing bad feelings in the industry. All the sniping between CEOs is getting old! Just build the products and let the consumers decide.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Slate For Every Taste

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:30 AM

"Last week alone saw ViewSonic, Toshiba and Samsung all officially unveil new models of keyboard-less computer, with a mish-mash of operating systems and screen sizes hoping to somehow build themselves a market in the wake of Apple's market-leading device. So here's a summary of five of the best tablets out there and on the way this year. Or, to put it another way, the iPad +4."

Is the slate tablet market really that hot, or is this simply a whole bunch of hype intended to get everyone to open their wallets? Tablets might be the next step in casual computing and thankfully, it seems like it draws a large part of its inspiration from smartphones. The only one that stands out for me, and not in a good way, is the ViewPad 100. Dual-booting just seems like such a hassle and it is not like dual-booting slate tablets have not been tried before. Just ask HTC. Most likely, the iPad will continue to dominate the space though there will be a large amount of Android devices to pick from.

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