Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Oct 2009 20:33 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Ah, the tablet computer. For over two decades now have companies tried to get the public to buy the darn things, and yet, despite all the efforts, promises, analysts, and even personal involvement by Bill Gates, they simply never took off. Recently, the tablet has seen renewed attention - but will they succeed now?
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What's it good for?
by David on Mon 5th Oct 2009 20:38 UTC
David
Member since:
1997-10-01

Duh! Playing Peggle while on the toilet!

Reply Score: 1

RE: What's it good for?
by David on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:27 UTC in reply to "What's it good for?"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

But seriously, I think that the biggest perceived market is for an entertainment device, that is to say essentially a multimedia Kindle, good for books, videos, and interactive online content (newspapers, magazines, blogs). As long as you can keep it price-competitive with the kindle and make buying books and movies for it easy (iTunes store) then you at least have the Kindle market to plunder.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: What's it good for?
by boldingd on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:14 UTC in reply to "RE: What's it good for?"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

But seriously, I think that the biggest perceived market is for an entertainment device, that is to say essentially a multimedia Kindle, good for books, videos, and interactive online content (newspapers, magazines, blogs). As long as you can keep it price-competitive with the kindle and make buying books and movies for it easy (iTunes store) then you at least have the Kindle market to plunder.


I don't know about that. Parts of that list remind me of what the PSP is supposed to be for: it has a web browser (that even supports flash, IIRC); it has video and audio playback capability; it has pod/videocatching capability; and it has a video-disk format, and at least a few real, popular movies out for it; and it even has a 720p tv-output capability (at least the 3000 series does). And yet, out of that list of theoretical capabilities, all I ever really do with mine is play Tekken 5 and listen to podcasts. There are many reasons that I don't use the movie-playback feature; the biggest is that it doesn't work with my DVD collection, and doesn't work well with my T.V. Similarly, with it's size, it's not really a good portable music-player (not to mention that it doesn't play ogg vorbis!).

I expect that most people don't want to watch videos on small screens on portable devices when they have other options. If they're going to watch a movie, they want to lay on the couch and watch it on TV. I think people will be leery of buying a video that's hard to get onto their TV; they'll also be leery of buying a device that can't play their DVDs (which I assume would be the case, that you'd be buying videos from the Apple Store, and not ripping DVDs).

Apple already has the iPod Touch and iPhone for iTunes video, music and trivial web-browsing anyway (and as the article says, there's net-tops for everybody else).

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Zifre
by Zifre on Mon 5th Oct 2009 20:55 UTC
Zifre
Member since:
2009-10-04

I would buy a tablet PC if:

a) it cost less than $1000 USD
b) it supported multi-touch
d) it had reasonable hardware specs

Unfortunately, I don't know of any tablet PC satisfying these requirements.

Maybe there is no market because there are no good tablets?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Zifre
by reez on Mon 5th Oct 2009 20:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by Zifre"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

b) it supported multi-touch

okay besides making al these nice videos I saw about it. What is multi touch usable for?

I haven't thought about it much, so maybe you can give me a hint ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Zifre
by darknexus on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Zifre"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, it is useful for one thing I can think of off the top of my head, more gestures. One major cool application of this is accessibility to touchscreens for the visually or physically impaired, have a look at what Apple has done with the iPhone 3gs and iPod touch 3rd gen for an idea of the former case and what is possible with multi touch. Plus, more gestures can mean more games which is a selling point for many, as the games can be more intricate and challenging depending on the type of game.
Personally, if I were to buy a tablet it would have to have the ability to attach a full-size keyboard when called for if it didn't have one on it already. I think the combination of an iPod Touch or iPhone but with a larger screen and a slide-out or fixed keyboard would be awesome, as I love the interface of the iPod Touch but there's no way I'm doing extensive typing on that on-screen keyboard. Apple... Bluetooth keyboard and iPod Touch, hint hint?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Zifre
by StephenBeDoper on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Zifre"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

One major cool application of this is accessibility to touchscreens for the visually or physically impaired, have a look at what Apple has done with the iPhone 3gs and iPod touch 3rd gen for an idea of the former case and what is possible with multi touch.


I'd be interested in taking a look at that. It would seem to me that a touchscreen would be just about the worst possible interface for someone with visual disabilities, since there's very little they could do by feel alone (short of building force feedback into the device).

Edited 2009-10-05 22:12 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Zifre
by darknexus on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Zifre"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I think you'd be surprised. Have a look at either the iPhone 3gs or iPod Touch 3rd gen user guide under Voiceover for an idea of what they've done, there are also several podcasts demoing it and I might do one of my own if I get the time. Now I'm curious though, how would force feedback on a touchscreen be useful for visual disabilities? Remember, it's not enough to know there is a button, you also have to know what the button does and be able to look at the screen around it. I can see some applications of force feedback being useful for those with motor disabilities though. Speaking for myself, I absolutely love the interface of the iPod Touch and the way Apple has done the screen reader for it, and I have no vision whatsoever.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Comment by Zifre
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 8th Oct 2009 13:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Zifre"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I think you'd be surprised. Have a look at either the iPhone 3gs or iPod Touch 3rd gen user guide under Voiceover for an idea of what they've done, there are also several podcasts demoing it and I might do one of my own if I get the time.


Ah, that's interesting - I hadn't realized that the iPhone came with a screen reader.

Now I'm curious though, how would force feedback on a touchscreen be useful for visual disabilities?


I'd see it being useful only within a fairly limited context - for devices with limited functionality/no modality, or for users who only use one particular "mode" (application, in the context of something like the iPhone).

With any device offering multiple applications/modes, there would obviously need to be some additional mechanism for letting the user know 1) what mode they're in, and 2) the functions of individual UI elements (as you said).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Zifre
by Kroc on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by Zifre"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

But what about software?

The software matters _more_ than the hardware. Manufacturers have been building tablets for aeons. Because so few of these manufacturers have their own OS, they have failed to provide a compelling interface.

Even Windows 7 multi-touch is still a desktop OS with touch tacked on. The iPhone is really the first OS built with no regard for the mouse at all.

If there’s anybody who can make the tablet successful, it’ll be Apple—and that’s really annoying because so many manufacturers have greater resources than Apple, yet they just can’t seem to get their act together and produce a product that isn’t just mediocre.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Zifre
by darknexus on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Zifre"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Perhaps they have too many resources and have most of them tied down in bureaucracy and concepts from the past decade? More resources really means nothing, it's who controls those resources and whether they have the guts and the sense to explore new concepts instead of turning out the same old crap. Most big companies, it seems, do not have the drive to innovate anymore. Love Apple or hate them, but either way you have to admire their drive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Zifre
by boldingd on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Zifre"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

The software matters _more_ than the hardware. Manufacturers have been building tablets for aeons. Because so few of these manufacturers have their own OS, they have failed to provide a compelling interface.

Even Windows 7 multi-touch is still a desktop OS with touch tacked on. The iPhone is really the first OS built with no regard for the mouse at all.


Obvious, stupid comment: then maybe part of the problem is that any Microsoft tablet would (practically speaking) have to elegantly support the large mass of existing(/legacy) Windows software, on a device with a completely different interface?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Zifre
by Almafeta on Tue 6th Oct 2009 00:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by Zifre"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

I would buy a tablet PC if: a) it cost less than $1000 USD b) it supported multi-touch d) it had reasonable hardware specs Unfortunately, I don't know of any tablet PC satisfying these requirements. Maybe there is no market because there are no good tablets?


Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba all have support for A and C right now. My next computer is going to be a convertable tablet: tablet form for graphics design courses and taking notes in all courses, laptop form for computer science courses in which I have to write code (alas, C++ is made even more difficult than it has to be by writing it out longhand). I will pay $1200 for this -- or $1000 even plus the extra-long super-duper warranty. The only downside? At this cost, their screens are universally 10.4 or 12.1 inch.

B (multitouch) is gimmicky at best right now, but should be universally supported soon, so if that's a must-have, I'd wait a year or two.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Zifre
by n4cer on Tue 6th Oct 2009 01:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by Zifre"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

I would buy a tablet PC if: a) it cost less than $1000 USD b) it supported multi-touch d) it had reasonable hardware specs Unfortunately, I don't know of any tablet PC satisfying these requirements. Maybe there is no market because there are no good tablets?


The HP TX2 meets all those criteria (unless "reasonable hardware specs" includes a Wacom digitizer [pressure-sensitivity in apps like Photoshop] -- the TX2 uses N-Trig, IIRC):
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?s...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Zifre
by graigsmith on Tue 6th Oct 2009 02:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by Zifre"
graigsmith Member since:
2006-04-05

i want multi touch, AND i want pressure sensitive pen support. hey, it's nice to use your fingers, AND also be able to draw on it. and i want the screen to be like gorilla glass. and i want an oled screen. and i would prefer it to be a single device, with no foldy flipflop peices. make it look nice. make star trek jealous. and then i'll buy one.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Zifre
by TheTaz on Tue 6th Oct 2009 18:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by Zifre"
TheTaz Member since:
2008-05-30

I would buy a tablet PC if:

a) it cost less than $1000 USD
b) it supported multi-touch
d) it had reasonable hardware specs

Unfortunately, I don't know of any tablet PC satisfying these requirements. Maybe there is no market because there are no good tablets?


I'd add ot that (On the Apple Front) a 7 inch screen "iPhone-like device" that leaned more towards OSX than the iPhone OS. And, at least one USB port... two would be better.

10 inch screen is ok... but I'd prefer 7 inch travel portability reasons. Also, you are getting into Netbook size / bulk.

A Windows equivelent would also be welcome, but they'd need to get their touch-gesturing perfected.

Reply Score: 1

Moulinneuf
Member since:
2005-07-06

Cost was prohibitive ... Technology was not yet ready.

- Computer used to sale for 50k each and the OS seperately for 100k ...
- Basic Calculator where 5k each ...
- Cellphone where 3k wihout carrier plans.
- Web browser where 500$
- LCD and Plasma TV where 15k for 24"

As the technolgy get cheaper, better, faster, smaller, freer. Things that once where the domain of rich people trickle down into more places ,new and exiting markets.

Everything is really a niche market when you think about it, not everyone use the same model, brand and same device or some device in one category at all ...

- Augmented reality, ( http://layar.com/ ).
- Mobile web ( wifi, cell , 3g )
- Longer battery life.
- Internet on planes.
- Social network.
- System FSB and internal speed.
- ETC ...

Reply Score: 2

kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Well, for the 100th time:

Tablets need a ePaper-like LCD screen (google Pixel Qi)
and those are not yet ready


Mark my words:
Once they are tablets will rise. Reading is still popular..

Reply Score: 2

Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILiad

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e-book_readers

Don''t be too stuck on one technology ...

e-Reader are still too pricy, they suffer from the ultimate capitalist greed problem, where they remove volume at lower price for more profit per device unit at higher price, keeping them out of reach of people who don't have 150$ for starter unit, costing money to publisher by removing direct store contact with user/reader/client.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Kindle

Reply Score: 2

kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

I wasn't talking about epaper.

http://www.pixelqi.com/products

Reply Score: 2

midoriconcept
Member since:
2006-12-01

Two weeks ago I was going to buy a netbook with touch screen.

So I was in front of the eeepc T91, 9 inches, horrible keyboard and 16 giga of storage (!) for 449 euros.

And just near a eeepc 1008HA, 10 inches screen, big keyboard, 10 inches screen and 160 gigs of HD for 399.

I went for the 1008HA (Also because I am not aware how much I can use a touchscreen on linux).

Still touch screen on laptop have this 'aurea' of being a bleeding edge technology, while they should be common.

I mean, the T91 has as ONLY selling point the touch screen, for the rest is worse than any netbook around the 300Euros range.
The touch/tablet is not enough. Is a nice addition, I would like to have it sometimes, but is not a major selling point.

Honestly I think that touch screen will come on notebook, but it will be more like bluetooth or a technology that would be nice to have, and that may only slightly influence the process of buying a laptop.

For once I agree with Thom, there is no real usage for a table pc or a big iPhone (or iTablet for what matters).

But marketing is also about finding those kind of benefit, or sometime 'Inventing' them. Or can be about finding the Killer application that will basically blew everything away.

So let's wait and see, can be fun!

Reply Score: 1

a keyboard is optional
by evert on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:03 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe I will buy a tabled PC. It's a perfect e-book reader, picure viewer, portable movie player, etc. And it should be easy to plug in a USB keyboard and a mouse.

I would require a tablet that has a button to switch between horizontal and vertical view mode. And I would like a standard/foot to use the tablet as a monitor like the iMac.

For reading, it would really be excellent.

Reply Score: 4

maybe not a tablet... but touch screen yes
by Yamin on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:10 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

Working on a keyboard is just a very good way to communicate.

I don't want voice recognition. I don't want to disturb people all the time, nor is it as precise as a keyboard.

touch screens are okay, but I still need a keyboard. If you're going to put a virtual keyboard on there... might as well put the real deal on there ;)

My hunch is netbooks will adopt touchscreen to take that low-cost portable option.

Reply Score: 2

they *sorta* already have one
by echo.ranger on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:15 UTC
echo.ranger
Member since:
2007-01-17

My browsing habits have largely changed due to the already-available Apple tablet, the iPod Touch. I keep it in the living room most of the time, where I can quickly look something up on Wikipedia as I'm watching television or reading a book, or looking-up an online hint while playing a video game or something. If I find something that garners more research I'll email it to myself to look at later when I'm sitting at my PC.

I think if the right kind of device is made available, at the right price, people will find new niches for it that they didn't know existed before. I know the Touch changed my habits a bit in that regard.

In my experience it is MUCH less obtrusive to quickly look something up on a small tablet than it is to power-on a laptop or netbook for the same purpose, particularly if the tablet is ARM-based and powers-on in a second or two. Only because that's what I used prior to getting a Touch. Friends with the Archos tablet use it similarly from what I understand, so the market is there, its just a question of being able to tap into it the right way.

Reply Score: 1

RE: they *sorta* already have one
by darknexus on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:30 UTC in reply to "they *sorta* already have one"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Not sure I'd call the iPod Touch a tablet, it's more of a PDA but with almost all the facilities of a netbook behind it. It's more like a PDA on steroids, and that is far from a bad thing. I love my 3rd gen Touch, it's nice to have a little computer you can keep in a pocket. I never understood Apple's stance that the Touch and iPhone were basically a netbook equivalent until I got one.

Reply Score: 2

Tablet PCs
by pepo on Mon 5th Oct 2009 21:18 UTC
pepo
Member since:
2009-06-19

I am not sure wether your articles refers to the "real" tablet PCs (slate form factor), or any pen enabled laptop (convertible, such as the ClassMate).

Slate tablets never really sold, that's true. Maybe some 100 thousand have been produced in the last 20 years. But the convertible tablets sell quite well (about 20 million within a year).

The slate would be the ideal computer for school and university. And for couch (or bathroom ;) surfing, they are very nice, too.

And you can get used tablets for less than 400 euros, complete with Windows license and all stuff...

Pepo (a happy slate tablet user)

Reply Score: 1

Planet Claire
by sbergman27 on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:06 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

On a planet where they developed touch screens first... I wonder if real keyboards would have languished for 20 years with people saying, all the while, that they were the future of computing? I doubt it. "The Keyboard" would have been the runaway innovation of the decade, until people stopped talking about them because they were so totally ubiquitous. (Depending upon local anatomies, of course.)

Edited 2009-10-05 22:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Artists
by Kalessin on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:08 UTC
Kalessin
Member since:
2007-01-18

As I understand it, there are plenty of artists who like them because it's easier to use the pen to draw than a mouse. In those kind of circumstances where what you really need is a pen, it makes sense. In pretty much any other situation, I don't think that it does.

Computers are designed with keyboards in mind. Unless applications are specifically designed in a manner that a pen is an advantage, then a computer with a pen is not going to be an advantage. And just because a particular type of interface might seem like it would be cool or useful doesn't mean that it actually would be.

I mean, for instance, take voice controlled computers. They sound cool and all, but for most things it would be a lot faster to type what you want and manipulate your mouse where you need it than it would be to tell the computer what to do unless it has some serious AI behind it and you can tell it something pretty vague and still have it do exactly what you want.

Tablet PCs are useful for specific tasks - like art - but I don't see them being all that useful in general. Personally, I have no interest in them whatsoever.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Artists
by gtada on Tue 6th Oct 2009 18:42 UTC in reply to "Artists"
gtada Member since:
2005-10-12

I agree. Tablets have niche appeal.

Voice sucks in most applications because it forces the user to be very conspicuous. All I know is that my office is unfortunately library quiet, and it would be very distracting to have someone talking to their computer. Plus I don't write how I talk.

Tablets seem to appeal to artists/designers, the medical field, and a few other applications. Who knows though, I see a lot of people using their iPhones like mini-tablets. Maybe the killer app has yet to be discovered.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Artists
by Eddyspeeder on Tue 6th Oct 2009 19:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Artists"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Same thing pretty much holds for hand writing recognition. What a pain.

Can Apple revolutionarize the tablet market the way they did the MP3 player market? I think the approach the article takes ("no one wants it, so why bother?") is a fair one. The way I look at it now, I don't want one. Apple sure must surprise me and have surmounted all the things that are currently known about tables. Not trying to be trolling, but the word "tablet" makes me want to heave, the way the word "vomit" does, because of past experiences with them. So like I said, Apple will need a real sharp angle to pull me over!

Indeed, I have a Pro that I love and it handles the media I want to use just fine.

Reply Score: 1

Cost & onscreen keyboards
by StephenBeDoper on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:21 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

IMO, one of the big factors holding tablets back is the price difference between tablet PCs and comparable laptops. I know many (myself included) who contemplated buying the "tablet edition" of our current laptops, but ditched that idea after seeing the price difference.

As for onscreen keyboards, I can't imagine them being tolerable on anything larger than a handheld device (and they're barely-tolerable on handhelds to begin with).

Reply Score: 2

Atari had it all good
by mmu_man on Mon 5th Oct 2009 22:27 UTC
mmu_man
Member since:
2006-09-30
Only if Apple releases a tablet
by WorknMan on Mon 5th Oct 2009 23:31 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

The technology will succeed, but probably only if Apple releases a tablet. It'll have half the features of the competition and will be twice the price, but it'll be pretty enough that you can jerk off to it and so idiot-proof that even grandma can use it, so the iTards will line up around the block to get their hands on one.

Reply Score: 1

I want one.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 5th Oct 2009 23:39 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I've always wanted one. I came close to buying a windows based tablet close to 2003. What stopped me? Price. It was twice as expensive and half as powerful as a notebook. My coworker had one. It was awesome. From the first time I used the paint application on a mac, I wanted to do it myself with a stylus or my finger instead. I thought microsoft had a pretty good suite of applications for it as well. The handwriting recognition was pretty good, and the free form note taking app was awesome for meeting notes.

Reply Score: 2

Barriers to tablets
by bnolsen on Tue 6th Oct 2009 03:17 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

I think people are VERY used to having a separate keyboard and pointing device as their interface.

My past experience with touch devices:
- lots of finger prints
- scratched up
- bad image quality due to image protector
add kids to the mix and the device gets hidden away.

Add the high price to the above and that's what makes the tablets not attractive. I'm afraid tablet computers will have to be sub $200 for them to really take off.

I really believe this market is currently being passed up just as the netbook market is. If anything this would be the perfect market for arm based devices with a completely new interface (based on open source kernel) which should be able to easily hit the $200 mark. Making killer applications is probably the hard part.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by AaronD
by AaronD on Tue 6th Oct 2009 05:51 UTC
AaronD
Member since:
2009-08-19

Hasn't handwriting recognition progressed far enough that OS could be built around it?

The way I see it the best "analog" model for a tablet computer from an user interface standpoint would be a clipboard with a piece of paper attached. You should be able to interact with the tablet by point and writing alone. No keyboard needed.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by AaronD
by bnolsen on Tue 6th Oct 2009 16:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by AaronD"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Hehe...problem is no one can write anymore. Everyone is so used to typing no one has proper penmanship. This is especially a problem with the younger generation.

I find over the years my hand writing has degenerated quite a bit.

And what frustrates me even more is that handwriting is so dramatically slower than typing. I frankly don't have the patience to write anything.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by AaronD
by agnosticnixie on Wed 7th Oct 2009 02:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by AaronD"
agnosticnixie Member since:
2009-08-20

Congrats, you're a stereotype - people know how to write, they just drop that stupid ugly and fake pathetic calligraphy imitation that people call cursive, which is perfect since anyway handwriting recognition works best with printing.

Reply Score: 1

Books book books
by siraf72 on Tue 6th Oct 2009 06:28 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

The Apple tablet will be to ebooks what the ipod is to mp3/4 .

Reply Score: 1

Could be perfect for Asians and artists
by bousozoku on Tue 6th Oct 2009 06:56 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

One of the things I hate about the computer is entering text that doesn't use a Roman alphabet.

Even Japanese has two transliterations, that which most people use and that which the government uses. Korean doesn't have an official transliteration and Chinese seems to have one for each dialect.

For these languages, I could much more easily write (or draw, if you prefer to think of it that way) the character and let the computer do the conversion.

If a computer was based on this, it would be a whole lot easier than picking from 12 or so input methods on the keyboard. With a reasonable price, I'd be there at the front of the queue to buy one.

Also, a few lucky artists have become familiar with the Wacom Cintiq graphics tablets, which are part display and part input device. The whole computer is the logical next step.

Reply Score: 2

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

I tease my wife about this time to time.

Isn't it about time these asian countries join the modern world and use some phonetic alphabet? Picture based languages are so 2000BC.

Reply Score: 3

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

I tease my wife about this time to time.

Isn't it about time these asian countries join the modern world and use some phonetic alphabet? Picture based languages are so 2000BC.


When you find a way to get rid of the homonyms in a phonetic alphabet, that might work. It's bad enough watching people confuse their and there and they're already.

Besides, Korean is phonetic and has been for hundreds of years.

Reply Score: 4

gtada Member since:
2005-10-12

Fantastic point. But I'm waiting for better/faster kanji recognition. Or maybe it's simply that my handwriting sucks LOL. Either way, I can see tablets taking off in Asia.

Off-topic: I wonder if there are there any non-Roman character based programming languages out there?

Reply Score: 1

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

Fantastic point. But I'm waiting for better/faster kanji recognition. Or maybe it's simply that my handwriting sucks LOL. Either way, I can see tablets taking off in Asia.

Off-topic: I wonder if there are there any non-Roman character based programming languages out there?


APL was about as close to that as possible because it used symbols, rather than words.

It's interesting to me that the iPhone OS allows character drawing for Chinese but not for Japanese or Korean.

Reply Score: 2

tablets useless as ebooks
by ozonehole on Tue 6th Oct 2009 07:46 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

A number of people have suggested that tablets would work well as ebooks. I only wish it was so. One of the things you need to make an ebook useful is long battery life. The way to do that is use "electronic ink."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_Ink

Unfortunately, E-Ink doesn't cut it as a touchscreen, or even as a laptop screen. It doesn't refresh quickly. It's designed to use very little power. When reading an ebook, you don't need fast performance - it's not meant for watching videos, it's meant for reading.

The only way a tablet could work as an ebook is if you have it plugged into a charger all the time.

Reply Score: 1

RE: tablets useless as ebooks
by werpu on Tue 6th Oct 2009 08:22 UTC in reply to "tablets useless as ebooks"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

Problem with the existing tablets is mainly the pc infrastructure behind it, face it most tablets are just notebooks with a touchscreen. Which means low battery life and heavy and fans.
Add to that that the entire input metaphor is windows like which means mouse centrics
If the tablets all went the ARM route and had an interface more along the lines of an iphone then things would look different, imagine a tablet fast enough to run hd video if needed (thanks to graphics processors) and 10 hours+ battery life + instant on and only half a kilogram in weight. I assume that is the path apple wants to follow and Microsoft is working on.

Reply Score: 3

RE: tablets useless as ebooks
by Cymro on Tue 6th Oct 2009 13:11 UTC in reply to "tablets useless as ebooks"
Cymro Member since:
2005-07-07

Cost-wise, the Fujitsu Flepia went on sale back in April I think for about $1000. If they could halve that cost with Apple's bulk purchasing power by mid-2010, then Apple can slap their usual premium on top.

Those other technical issues need to be fixed, but it would explain the ongoing delays, Jobs' insistence on it being more than just another tablet, and the new rumours about Apple moving into the e-book world.

If we were talking 2011 or 2012 then it all sounds pretty plausible, but 2010 might be too soon. Oh well, I can dream...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: tablets useless as ebooks
by Cymro on Tue 6th Oct 2009 13:41 UTC in reply to "RE: tablets useless as ebooks"
Cymro Member since:
2005-07-07

Here's a YouTube clip showing the glacial refresh of the Flepia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYlIcYIYkSs

Ok, it really was just a pipe-dream, even for 2012. What it doesn't show is the beauty of the screen though, which based on the Sony grey-scale display I saw, must be incredible.

Reply Score: 1

Tablet Nirvana
by MissinBeOS on Tue 6th Oct 2009 08:02 UTC
MissinBeOS
Member since:
2006-10-20

I'm not quite sure what's brought the sheer amount of negativity and pessissism to this dialogue. The Apple tablet hasn't been released yet; neither has the Microsoft Courier. The Courier has had some slick animations leaked; the Apple tablet has had some nice-looking mockups.

Until & unless either of these devices gets released, there's not much point in naysaying or whatever -- wait for the darn things to actually exist first! ;)

Personally, if I could get something along the purported form-factors of the Apple tablet, with the same kind of pressure-sensitivity & responsiveness of a Wacom graphics tablet, I'd be in heaven. I'd try and load up Corel Painter so fast, I'd probably melt the interface.

Same for the Microsoft Courier. For work, I'd be ecstatic ... I'd dump my paper notebooks in a heartbeat. Imagine being able to search through (and find!) all notes relating to a specific topic or project, in something the same size as a Franklin Covey organizer? I don't care if the Courier videos are merely mockups or whatever -- they're exactly what I would be able to successfully use on a day-in, day-out basis.

Bring them both on, I say, and let the market decide if they're a success, and not just the vociferous outcries of an admitted minority (including me ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE: Tablet Nirvana
by bnolsen on Tue 6th Oct 2009 16:20 UTC in reply to "Tablet Nirvana"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

I think the point is that the market so far has seen tablet computers as a failure.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Tablet Nirvana
by MissinBeOS on Wed 7th Oct 2009 07:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Tablet Nirvana"
MissinBeOS Member since:
2006-10-20

I think the point should be that there's no point complaining about possibly non-existent or unreleased products until they actually exist or are released.

Tablet computers in the past haven't lived up to the hype of the time for various reasons, usually for trying to cram whatever OS/interface flavor of the moment was either in vogue, or to meet unrealistic goals (PenWindows, I'm looking at you! ;) ) All very real, very valid reasons, for previous failure. However ... *IF* (and it's a really huge if, I admit) either one of these mythical creatures is released and it performs as some of the rumors suggest, it could be a very interesting scenario, indeed.

If the screen display is decent, the refresh rate good, battery life reasonable and most importantly, the interface is easy & useful, with pretty much transparent apps ... I don't see why something along the lines of either the Apple tablet or the Microsoft Courier couldn't be a hit.

Reply Score: 1

It's all about form-factor
by joshv on Tue 6th Oct 2009 11:59 UTC
joshv
Member since:
2006-03-18

It really comes down to form factor. I was thinking that I'd LOVE a simple tablet for web surfing, about the same size as my laptop's screen.

But then I wondered, how the hell would I hold the damned thing? I mean that's pretty big, and when you add in the battery the thing is going to be at least 2-3 lbs. You aren't going to hold this in the air for any significant amount of time. And if you set it on your lap, it's at a bad angle for viewing.

The wonderful thing about the current laptop form factor is that it comes with a built in base that fits nicely on your lap, and allows the screen to be adjusted for your line of site. The laptop is pretty much perfectly designed for living room surfing.

Now, if they manage to get things a bit smaller, say Kindle sized - then we are talking. I can comfortably hold the Kindle for hours, and can actually do thumb typing pretty well on its keyboard. Problem is that nobody's shoe-horned a fully functional computer with an active display into a device that size - yet.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by LighthouseJ
by LighthouseJ on Tue 6th Oct 2009 12:03 UTC
LighthouseJ
Member since:
2009-06-18

I've been looking for a good tablet for about five years now. A friend of mine had an older Toshiba at the time that was convertible (looked like a regular laptop but the screen rotated and latched down, showing the screen).

I was never motivated to draw in art class with pencils, etc... but I couldn't put that thing down. I found MS OneNote very useful (as probably any useful note-taking app might be) and drew on this demo art drawing app he had on it. I spent the whole time using the thing and not getting any work done.

Why haven't I gotten one yet? Costs too much.
I trade half of the power and capability of a PC just to draw on the thing? Sounds like a scam to me. I am glad that netbooks are popular now, and tablets (thanks to Apple) are getting popular now too. Hopefully competition for my five-year-old dollars will spur some innovation so I don't have to make unnecessary compromises.

I'm interested to see what Apple puts on their tablet. I've never owned an Apple product ever (used others' MB, iPod, iPhone, etc...) and don't mind jumping in, but the price has to be right. I heard it might be a big iPod, if so, I'm definitely not interested. If it's the normal Mac OS, then that's what I'm looking for. I'm on the fence about the Touchbook too but there's not enough info out there about it.

Let's hope Apple does their homework this time so these devices won't explode and catch on fire. Think of all of the backlash if MS's mice (we've all got one) caught on fire.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by LighthouseJ
by werpu on Wed 7th Oct 2009 11:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by LighthouseJ"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18


Let's hope Apple does their homework this time so these devices won't explode and catch on fire. Think of all of the backlash if MS's mice (we've all got one) caught on fire.

Thats an inherent problem of Lithium ION batteries, there is no explosion proof li ion battery on the market, sorry to say that but the media is rather shallow in reporting so that they do not address the core issue, that the energy density of those things is so high that any form of short circuit can make them explode (which usually happens at minor damages to the anodes due to heavy mechanical usage)

Reply Score: 2

iPod Touch merged with Kindle
by brown_rm on Tue 6th Oct 2009 15:48 UTC
brown_rm
Member since:
2006-02-23

I would love to see a tablet that is basically a scaled up iPod Touch about the size of a Kindle. It would be better for web browsing than any pocketable device because of increased screen size (and hopefully increased processing power). It would also need to be good for long reading sessions.

eInk won't work due to slow refresh. OLEDs are problematic because they don't work well outdoors. Also any backlight only display is problematic because they are harder on the eyes for reading. Transflective LCDs, like Pixel Qi's 3Qi, look promising, but we'll have to see how they work out.

The interface would be primarily touch based devices (possibly optional stylus), so I see these as scaled up smartphones rather than scaled down laptops. Apple's iPhone OS, Android, and Palm's WebOS would all work well here (probably Windows Mobile 7 also). I am skeptical that evolving from a keyboard/mouse interface will work. Previous attempts have been hackish at best.

For me, WiFi would be sufficient, but I imagine 3/4G would be a requirement for many. This may be a significant barrier as carriers may price the service into a premium niche. Hopefully, they'll see this as a growth opportunity rather than a threat.

Finally, on price, I don't see it working at over $400 and I see them getting very popular in the $300 range. I'm not sure how attainable this is right now. Most of the upcoming devices I've seen are $500+ which, to me, is prohibitively expensive.

So, to summarize, I think an eventual device is possible (even likely) within the next few years, but I don't know if we have all of the right pieces yet.

Reply Score: 1

Waiting
by Novan_Leon on Tue 6th Oct 2009 15:55 UTC
Novan_Leon
Member since:
2005-12-07

I'm still waiting for someone to answer the question, why get rid of the mouse and keyboard? What advantage does replacing these interface options give?

Until someone can provide a compelling reason to move away from keyboard and mouse to a touchscreen, the touchscreen interface and tablet PC will never take off outside a niche market.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Sabon
by Sabon on Tue 6th Oct 2009 17:09 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

I work in an organization with over 10,000 people. We've got about 700 tablet pcs. We have an in house app for inspections where they click on boxes to put a check in them and some scroll wheels. That part works good.

The handwriting part is not that great. Sure you can say it is great but when you put inspectors (which usually are not geeks) out in the field and they have to try to write on these things and have it figure out what they are writing, it is about 80% accurate.

That might sound good but after all this time and all the updates it is not that good. The inspectors spend more time correcting errors than they would spend if they recorded what they wanted to say on paper and then typing it in using the keyboard later.

What do the inspectors think about the tablet pcs after FOUR years of using them? I've yet to hear one inspector say they like them.

As for us that support them? Some of us (not me) think the are cool but agree they don't use any of the "special" features because they are more hassle than they are worth. Supporting them is a hassle compared to regular laptops. And Yes, we do know what we are doing.

Reply Score: 3

Look at Dynamism...
by jello on Tue 6th Oct 2009 18:22 UTC
jello
Member since:
2006-08-08

If you look at:

http://www.dynamism.com

you can actually see the state of tablet PC's and the price.
Some sell for under $600.

Now, if I had the money I would buy a Viliv S5...

Reply Score: 1

ridiculous
by po134 on Wed 7th Oct 2009 14:43 UTC
po134
Member since:
2009-05-15

In the bus (you know the 45min bus ride you take to get to your university and workplace ?), during class/conferences to take notes, in the bed to read, outside to read, ... everywhere you wanna read or take notes !

I've been asking for a Courrier-like device for years now ! I'm tired of books and notebooks ... all my portable computer does is allow me do anything else than take notes in class :/

Reply Score: 1