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Here Come the Linux iPad Clones 584

Posted by Soulskill
from the send-in-the-clones dept.
CWmike writes "You can now pre-order an Apple iPad; but do you really want to, asks Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. 'I mean, I get why you'd want an iPad. I'd like one too,' he writes. 'But,' he says, 'when I consider that there are soon going to be literally dozens of cheaper, Linux-powered iPad devices on the market, I find it a lot easier to resist putting $499 on my credit card. On top of that, Apple will be including DRM on some eBooks and other iPad content. I really, really hate DRM. All that said, I agree the iPad is really cool. I predict with absolute faith that the iPad and its clones are going to kill off single purpose devices like dedicated eReaders such as Amazon's Kindle and GPS devices within the next three years. How can it not work out this way? For the same price as a high-end dedicated device you can get a tablet that will do everything they can do and far more. But, and this is the important bit, you don't have to buy an Apple iPad to get all of the iPad's goodies. ARM, a mobile microprocessor power, is predicting that we'll see no less than 50 ARM-processor-powered iPad clones by year's end. And, what will they be running? These ARM-powered entertainment tablets will all be running Linux.'"
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Here Come the Linux iPad Clones

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  • No iPad for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:14PM (#31456638) Homepage

    What with all the other tablets coming out that let me install whatever the hell I want on them, I see no reason to be stuck with the programs Apple deems "appropriate" for me.

    Obviously, this is just my opinion and only applies to myself.

    • Tivoization (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027)

      What with all the other tablets coming out that let me install whatever the hell I want on them

      Not necessarily. The mention of "ARM-powered entertainment tablets" makes me think some of these tablets will be locked up like a TiVo DVR [wikipedia.org]: running a GPLv2 Linux kernel digitally signed by the manufacturer and GPLv2 apps digitally signed by the manufacturer. The compliance and robustness [wikipedia.org] requirements of the digital restrictions management systems used by the publishers of non-free works on "entertainment tablets" might prohibit any environment that isn't suitably Tivoized so that someone can't just tee(1) [wikipedia.org] t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        You forget though, there are plenty of tablets coming out that will have Windows 7 on them (and, in theory, be modifiable), and I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or two once companies get the logistics of tablet design and construction down we will see the cheap knockoffs that you can do whatever you want to appearing on the market.

        I'm sure there are other open (as in "do what you want", not "open source") linux-based devices coming as well.

      • Re:Tivoization (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zen Hash (1619759) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:23PM (#31457668)

        What with all the other tablets coming out that let me install whatever the hell I want on them

        Not necessarily. The mention of "ARM-powered entertainment tablets" makes me think some of these tablets will be locked up like a TiVo DVR [wikipedia.org]: running a GPLv2 Linux kernel digitally signed by the manufacturer and GPLv2 apps digitally signed by the manufacturer. The compliance and robustness [wikipedia.org] requirements of the digital restrictions management systems used by the publishers of non-free works on "entertainment tablets" might prohibit any environment that isn't suitably Tivoized so that someone can't just tee(1) [wikipedia.org] the cleartext of a non-free work to a file.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDe1gd-pBRo [youtube.com] -- There have been ARM-powered tablets on the market for quite awhile now, and they don't have the limitations you mention... Unlike the iPad, this one not only supports tethering to cell phones, it even steps you through BT pairing and configuring the DUN connection during the out-of-box setup wizard. You can also dual-boot different operating systems (Android, Ubuntu, Mer, etc.) stored internally or on removable SD cards. Not bad for something that costs less than half the price of the iPad. There are surely better ones available if one were to look around.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      FTFA

      ARM, a mobile microprocessor power, is predicting that we'll see no less than 50 ARM processor-powered iPad clones by year's end — and these ARM-powered entertainment tablets will all be running Linux.

      50? Really, 50? That can't be good for anyone of them. Market fragmentation leads to incompatible devices, applications, etc.

      Surely the Linux world learned its lesson from the desktop wars, hasn't it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rsborg (111459)

        Surely the Linux world learned its lesson from the desktop wars, hasn't it?

        What a completely stupid question. Guess what? It's not like Linus can actually command some tablet maker to not use Linux, unless that manufacturer violates GPL. Other than that, you can Tivo-ize Linux, hide it safely inside a cluster of google compute-nodes, hell you could even put it in a missle and fire it off. Not much that Linus, Redhat or anyone from the "desktop wars" could anything about. "50 different tablets" is just anot

        • by Bob-o-Matic! (620698) <<robert.peters> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:16PM (#31457596) Homepage

          That raises a good point: If I launch a missile at my enemy or an unfortunate neighbor, and the missile's internal computer uses GPL software, then do I have to include a copy of the GPL source code (or make an offer to provide the code by mail) somewhere in the payload?

          "If you can compile this then you are one lucky SOB"

          Just hypothetical; I don't design, build, or launch missiles professionally or otherwise :\

          • by tool462 (677306) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:33PM (#31458570)

            I'd just print the source code on the outer casing of the missile. It would also give the target a fighting chance at survival. Assuming they had a really high-res camera and a couple good coders, they'd have the total flight time to try and find a bug that they can exploit to change its trajectory. Feels more sporting somehow.

      • Re:No iPad for me (Score:5, Insightful)

        by natehoy (1608657) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:06PM (#31457460) Journal

        How many netbook models are out there today? 100? 200? That can't be good for any one of them. Yet it is. Competition means multiple companies all trying to make the best device for each user, at the best price. It worked with desktops, it worked with laptops, it worked with netbooks, and guess what? It'll work with tablets.

        When netbooks became "the hot thing" as a format for casual computing, companies crawled out of the woodwork to make 'em, but they all used the same basic components, just configured a little differently. Asus has at least 6 current models of the eee, Dell has a generous handful of netbooks, and plenty of other companies make them. Yet most of them can run your choice of Windows or Linux (you just have to install Linux yourself on a lot of them). Most can even support MacOS with no problems at all. Sure, you run into a few minor hardware incompatibilities (Linux Mint loves EVERYTHING about my wife's Asus eeePC except the microphone, but it's a brand new one and I expect the driver fix will be out soon, plus she's OK with the 2-step workaround when she wants to video-conference with her mother, who runs a Windows 7 laptop).

        The same thing will happen with TabletPCs. If the form factor takes off, most of the netbook manufacturers will rebuild their devices without a keyboard. Same processors, same base components, same hard drives, same screens (just add touch sensitivity). This will be a VERY easy conversion. I expect most will run Intel's N450 Pinewood, feature about a GB of ram, and use a small factor hard drive. Because, guess what? Those components exist, they're cheap, and they work darned well in small form factor machines.

        It'll be thicker and heavier than an iPad, but not by much, and the reduction in moving parts will probably make up for the cost of the touch-sensitive screen, so you could probably make and sell them profitably for about $250-300 (given that $300 is about the going rate for a decent netbook right now) and that would include a battery that could last 10 hours, a webcam, a 250GB hard drive, and all the standard connectors along the edge (VGA, USB, Ethernet, etc). In other words, a thinner, lighter, "keyboardless netbook". And the ability to run everything your desktop does, connect to its network shares, etc etc.

        In fact, really, the only "oddball" tablet out there is going to be the iPad. I'm not hating on Apple here, I'm sure it will be a great device. Apple makes great stuff. But it's the only device that is unlikely to run anything but the iPhone/iPodTouch/iPad OS. It's the only thing you won't be able to use your tether-capable cell phone on. It's the only thing that won't allow you to run any app you can download. Everything else out there will be capable of running the same OS your desktop does - or at least a minimized variant of it (Windows Seven Starter, for example). And all the same applications.

        • Re:No iPad for me (Score:5, Interesting)

          by indiechild (541156) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:38PM (#31460098)

          I generally agree with your assessment on Tablet PCs becoming more popular and so on, but I have to say the iPad doesn't fall into that category at all. It's not a "computer" in the normal sense -- you can't run a desktop operating system on it. It really is a new category of device.

          Personally, I have an Eee PC 901 and I hardly ever use it now. I think netbooks and the upcoming nettablets are an unacceptable compromise, with too many shortcomings. We don't just need smaller, lighter, slower and more unergonomic computers. What average consumers really want is something that can perform everyday lifestyle computing tasks, designed from the ground up to be an intuitive and easy-to-use handheld device. Steve Jobs recognised that, and that is what the iPad addresses. But hey, that's just my opinion.

        • "The same thing will happen with TabletPCs. If the form factor takes off, most of the netbook manufacturers will rebuild their devices without a keyboard. "

          You talk as if the tablet PC is a new emerging category. It's not. It's a failed category that's been around forever, relegated to niche markets like hospitals because it's too clumsy for anything else.

          If the iPad succeeds (and I think it will), it will because it's a new device that shares little in common with the moribund tablet PC.

      • Re:No iPad for me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Draek (916851) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:38PM (#31459506)

        Just like Microsoft is going bankrupt trying to fight Apple on the desktop front, right? ohh, wait.

        Different hardware doesn't imply incompatible software. Chances are all 50 of those will be running Android, and therefore not only will they be compatible among themselves, but with the myriad of phones (by myriad of different manufacturers) too.

      • by MikeFM (12491) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:44PM (#31459592) Homepage Journal
        I just spent $1000 on an iPad whereas I can't see spending more than $250 for an Android tablet (and probably nothing for any other tablet) because they haven't learned the Linux desktop lesson. They are often incompatible, have poorly designed interface, and allow any random rubbish to clutter things up. Call it flexibility if you want but I call it a crappy user experience. Pay $100 for a developer license or jailbreak your iPhone OS and you can install damn near anything you want. How many people do it? Not many because that isn't what most people want. The only selling point the competition has is cheaper price tags. A smart competitor would mod Android to be as well designed as iPhone including the restrictions and sell a cheaper device.
    • Re:No iPad for me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:35PM (#31456964)

      What with all the other tablets coming out that let me install whatever the hell I want on them, I see no reason to be stuck with the programs Apple deems "appropriate" for me.

      Obviously, this is just my opinion and only applies to myself.

      You grasp something that a lot of people in these arguments fail to understand - that there are opinions that differ from yours (gasp!). The worst "offenders" seem to be some of the folks who basically wanted an OS X-based clone of the typical Windows Tablet PC. The only pre-release poll I knew about the "rumored Apple device" fell pretty decidedly in favor of an iPhone-like interface instead of a OS X-like interface - it was something like 2/3 to 1/3.

      For me, as an iPod Touch owner, the Apple restrictions have not been a perceived problem - and the larger screen an iPad offers may very well eventually lead me to purchase an iPad (AFTER the first generation!). But obviously there are people like you that want the absolute freedom they perceive in a Linux-based tablet device, and who chafe at the restrictions they see in the Apple offering. Having options is always better, no matter which camp you fall into; and the market will eventually settle all these questions we seem to love endlessly debating on Slashdot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        You grasp something that a lot of people in these arguments fail to understand - that there are opinions that differ from yours (gasp!). The worst "offenders" seem to be some of the folks who basically wanted an OS X-based clone of the typical Windows Tablet PC. The only pre-release poll I knew about the "rumored Apple device" fell pretty decidedly in favor of an iPhone-like interface instead of a OS X-like interface - it was something like 2/3 to 1/3.

        I made very sure to include the "it only applies to me, this is my opinion" boilerplate to that post, ESPECIALLY in a discussion about the iPad :-)

        For me, as an iPod Touch owner, the Apple restrictions have not been a perceived problem - and the larger screen an iPad offers may very well eventually lead me to purchase an iPad (AFTER the first generation!). But obviously there are people like you that want the absolute freedom they perceive in a Linux-based tablet device, and who chafe at the restrictions they see in the Apple offering. Having options is always better, no matter which camp you fall into; and the market will eventually settle all these questions we seem to love endlessly debating on Slashdot.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the iPad shouldn't exist...I know it's going to sell well, and for the type of device it is, it looks like it does its job well...I just think Apple is going a little overboard with the Apple Tax this time. If each model was reduced by $100-$150 (which I'm sure won't take long, if history is any indication) then I think it woul

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
      It really depends on what you want from such a device. At first I wondered why on earth I'd want an iPad... but then it struck me that I would really like a good device for on the coffee table in the living room, for light browsing and such. Something that:
      - is small, lightweight, and looks good
      - instantly switches on (no booting, no taking bloody ages to come out of hybernation)
      - has a usable touch screen... I do not give a toss about multitouch, but I love the iPhone touch screen because it works ve
  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:15PM (#31456648) Homepage

    And here come the pundits declaring every tablet computer to be an iPad clone. Because as we all know, the CrunchPad/JooJoo is such a ripoff of the iPad.

    Aren't we so lucky to have Apple around to invent everything for us?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, yet he is often credited for it.

      This is because his improvements in the automobile "ecosystem" (fabrication, costs, etc) took the car from a one-off product to the mass market.

      iPad = Model T
      Every other pad (CrunchPad, DellPad, MS Pad, 50 no-name linux pads) = one-off market

      • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:34PM (#31456956)

        I think that remains to be seen.

        If you said iPod = Model T, then yeah, that'd be hard to refute.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well if you're going to give credit for mass production, then I nominate one of these machines: Atari 800, Amiga 500, or Commodore 64. They provided a cheap product (like the Model T), that was loved by the masses (like the Model T), and became the number 3,2, and 1 best-selling computers of all time (like the Model T). They also innovated the very concept of "multimedia" with music, graphics, and video while other machines were displaying boring green or black text and simply went "beep".

        I don't see Appl

  • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:17PM (#31456660) Homepage
    How are these clones? The iPad was announced what, 2.5 months ago? Doesn't it take significantly longer than that to engineer, design and develop a device to market? So if these were in the works long before the iPad was announced, how can then POSSIBLY be clones? Or is this just successful Apple marketing to instill the idea that if a "Major Player" is first to press (Which the iPad wasn't by the way), all others become imitators? That's like saying that Apple invented the smart phone, or that MS invented the home computer, or that Google invented online document editing and storage...
    • How are these clones? The iPad was announced what, 2.5 months ago? Doesn't it take significantly longer than that to engineer, design and develop a device to market?

      Not if you can skip the design step.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      apple isn't exactly a company with inventive, complicated or unique features. How hard is it to make a computer run if all you're changing is some hardware and a few features?

      touchscreen, epub, wifi, did I miss anything? none of those are exceptionally hard to program into any device really.

      Oh right, actual clones will probably be able to use bluetooth/make calls/tether/be tethered to, as well. whoops.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NatasRevol (731260)

        No, none of those things are hard to program. Yet no one did, until Apple showed them how to do it right.

        But those things are hard to program well. And that's what Apple excels at.

        Three years after the original iPhone, the competitors are just now catching up to the complete package because Apple designed it - not just programmed it - so much better than anything else out at the time.

  • Software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:18PM (#31456686)

    Unless the software on the Linux devices has been rewritten for a touch interface I don't see why they're worth bothering with.

    That's the genius of the iPad, loads of software apps designed for a touch screen interface. Hence why Apple based it on the iPhone not the Mac.

    Tablets with desktop OS software suck and have been around for years, failing to catch on due to poor usability.

    • For at least a few of these tablets, they are equating Linux with Android... So yes, it is designed for a touch screen interface (And multi-touch at that)...

      But I do agree that taking something that was designed exclusively for use with a mouse and keyboard and slapping it on something with a touch screen is a recipe for disaster...
    • Unless the software on the Linux devices has been rewritten for a touch interface I don't see why they're worth bothering with.

      Adapting a mouse app for touch control has two major steps: 1. eliminate anything requiring a hover, and 2. make the controls big so that they're easier to hit. Or what am I missing?

      • by ultrabot (200914)

        Adapting a mouse app for touch control has two major steps: 1. eliminate anything requiring a hover, and 2. make the controls big so that they're easier to hit. Or what am I missing?

        You'll have to enable flicking (in order to not suck).

      • by peragrin (659227) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:43PM (#31457096)

        adjusting the overall interface for touch screen , not just big controls but proper controls. you can have sliding buttons, etc. You need an on screen keyboard that works the same across all applications, with built in spell check that picks up words as they are entered. Applications themselves need to be able to rotate to deal with changes in resolutions. You need to setup a method of switching to various applications without keyboard combos or other hardware buttons. You need to add gesture support into the ENTIRE interface and every app to allow more input methods.

        Oh and you need to make all of that work the same across every app and every interface element that needs or could make sensible use of it.

        That is the point Android and current windows mobile fail so badly at. They are still designing interfaces for desktops. Not for multi touch based tablets. People like you who think there is only two steps to make s touch based app to consider when designing the interface, is why apple is kicking android's ass.

      • by Phleg (523632) <stephen@touset. o r g> on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:58PM (#31457334)
        This mentality is precisely why Windows Mobile has been a complete and utter failure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DdJ (10790)

        An example of what you're missing is, well, consider menu (or button) bar placement. On a mouse-based UI, there's no downside to putting that at the top of the screen. On a touch-based UI, putting that at the top of the screen means your hand covers up the screen when you use it.

        A really good touch UI isn't going to have a whole lot in common with a really good mouse-based UI. Awful ones can share a lot, but good ones won't.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I'd agree with that. If you're not going to use the command line, there's not much point in using Linux anyway.

    • by repetty (260322)

      > That's the genius of the iPad, loads of software apps designed for
      > a touch screen interface. Hence why Apple based it on the iPhone
      > not the Mac.

      None of that matters on Slashdot. It's all about hardware, here.

  • Forget Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:18PM (#31456690) Homepage Journal
    All I want is a low-cost (100$ max), E-ink (reflective, extremely low-power) PDF reader with an SD memory card slot.

    No Web browser
    No MP3 player
    No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
    No keyboard (touch screen would be nice but at that price I would settle for a gamepad-style interface)
  • But what books? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OFnow (1098151) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:19PM (#31456700)

    The key is going to be how easy it is to buy and download books.
    Kindle gets this right.

    And of course how many books are available.
    Kindle has a ways to go, though Amazon tries.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:19PM (#31456704)

    I was reading on Macrumors today about the data plan pricing structure. $15/mo for 250MB or $30/mo for unlimited. With NO CONTRACT .. all month to month and you can stop and start on a monthly basis at will, and upgrade/downgrade as you choose.

    So I can see the hardware clones coming out of the woodwork, but it is going to take some serious corporate muscle to iron out similar data plans deals like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)

      The unlimited is going to be a tough sell on open devices, but there are plans close enough to the $15/250MB available right now:

      http://www.virginmobileusa.com/mobile-broadband [virginmobileusa.com]

      (Virgin Mobile is owned and operated by Sprint, they bought Virgin out last year and licensed the name)

  • I have an eeepc 701. Yeah I know the screen is small, but I run ubuntu on it and I get a lot of coding done on the tram with it. I want a keyboard but I could do without the track pad if I had a touch screen instead.

    BTW has anybody else in Australia noticed the little linux based netbook in JB? I saw it last week. Screen size seems about the same as the 701. Its ~250 bucks or so.

  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:19PM (#31456710)

    On top of that, Apple will be including DRM on some eBooks and other iPad content.

    Wait what? You won't buy devices that companies can sell DRM'd content on? I can see not buying devices where the only content is DRM'd, but devices that support both free and DRM'd formats give me more choices, not fewer. I'm not buying an iPad because I don't fit the target market and it would be pretty useless for me, but your DRM reasoning baffles me.

  • 2010 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:19PM (#31456714)
    2010: Year of the Linux Deskt- er... Lapt- wait... no.. er... palmt-... no no... hmm.

    'Tabletop'?
  • Check List (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:20PM (#31456722)
    * Can it multi-task?
    * Does it have a camera?
    * Is it free of the Apple Empire?

    I guess not everything is about the technology. The content is important, too. And Apple has a head start on everyone else in that department. Remember, it's not always the best technology that survives the marketplace.

    Perhaps Linux can get a better foothold in the tablet market than it has in the desktop arena. That would eventually translate to better desktop penetration.
    • by Duradin (1261418) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:27PM (#31456848)

      "Perhaps Linux can get a better foothold in the tablet market than it has in the desktop arena."

      Not very likely. Given the restrictions of the tablet form factor UI is even more important than it is on desktops or laptops. Sure linux is free and all that but you tend to have to have a gun to a linux developer's head to get him to spend time on polishing the UI.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:22PM (#31456760) Journal

    Except run for more than a day without charging. Oh, and be read in full sunlight.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you want the NotionInk Adam - http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/16/notion-ink-adam-hands-on-with-video-at-mwc-2010/

  • ergh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:23PM (#31456776) Homepage
    For the same price as a high-end dedicated device you can get a tablet that will do everything they can do and far more.

    No you don't; why are there people that just can't understand that to some of us an e-ink screen provides a superior reading experience to a glowing one?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ma8thew (861741)
      So you're reading Slashdot on one right now?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      I have a kindle and I sometimes use the kindle reader on an iPod Touch. There are situations where the Amazon reader on the iTouch blows away the kindle 2.

      It's not a simple matter. The user experience is a mixture of many different elements. The clearest, biggest win for the hardware Kindle is the trade-off it achieves between screen size, battery life, and size/weight.

      There are other situations where having a pocketable reader that works in low light is a huge win.

      Then there are things that specific im

  • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:24PM (#31456786)

    I can read off my Kindle's e-ink screen with considerably less eye strain than reading off a backlit LCD. Backlights are hard on your eyes.

    Some tips: sit ~3 feet away from your monitor, turn the backlight down as low as you can without it becoming counterproductive (wanting to lean forward to view the dim screen is bad), look away every once in a while so your eyes aren't fixed on the same close distance for long periods. For more serious problems you may need vision therapy like I did. I thought I had ADD until I figured that out. Oh, that's why I had so much trouble with reading and why my vision got blurry after marathon gaming sessions...

    • See the Adam [gizmodo.com] device from Notion Ink. It will ship with a Pixel Qi [pixelqi.com] screen that works in reflective mode (like the e-ink screen on a Kindle) in sunlight. However, unlike e-ink, it can also run in full color with normal video-friendly refresh rates, just by turning on the backlight. You get the best of both worlds, including very low power usage when running in reflective mode. On most Pixel Qi devices this switching on and off of the backlight can be done manually or automatically with an ambient light se
  • Are any of those Linux based tablets compatible with the Apple App Store? It's apps that sell hardware, not operating system awesomeness. For geeks that want to micromanage everything their tablet does, a Linux tablet is a better choice. For everyone else, "theirs an app for that" is a better choice. Plus, if you're a geek that wants versatility, wouldn't you be better off with a netbook running Linux? Touchscreen keyboards just slow computer geeks down.
  • Sorry, but I reject the notion that things like iPads, iPhones, etc. will replace GPS devices. A dedicated GPS from a company like Garmin is much better at what it does than a smartphone. Try using your iPhone's GPS to map your location when you're in an area with no cell coverage. It won't be able to download the map data, so you're screwed. Smartphones also try to speed up GPS triangulation by downloading ephemeris data over the cell network, but again it depends on your having a data connection.

    If yo

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RapmasterT (787426)
      multipurpose devices will undoubtedly replace single purpose GPS units for anything except very special cases, but for the reasons you say it's not going to happen any time soon. True GPS has to be incorporated into the phones, not the hybrid stuff used now.

      try using your iphone Google Maps feature in a dead cell zone. you get el zilcho, nothing, not a thing. Plain old GPS loves wide open spaces, cell phones...not so much.
  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:25PM (#31456822)
    "when I consider that there are soon going to be literally dozens of cheaper, Linux-powered iPad devices on the market"

    Ok, find I'm sold. can I order one today? Tomorrow? 6 months?

    No, well FU then. I've been waiting for a slate computing device like this for YEARS and someone is shipping one next month, that someone happens to be Apple. If something better comes along, fine I'll take one of those too, then ReBay the iPad. If the market floods with them and nothing is any better, I'll keep it.

    I can't sit down on the couch with Vaporware, so how long are we supposed to wait? And frankly I'm not poor enough to worry about waiting to save a couple $$ to buy the exact best thing at the exact best time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I've been waiting for a slate media-consumption device like this for YEARS and someone is shipping one next month, that someone happens to be Apple.

      Fixed that for you - unless you have some secret evidence that you will be able to perform any desktop-level/laptop-level computing activities on this that you can't perform on any smartphone, or any of the currently available Archos tablets. Also, were you never aware of the Compaq TC1100 [wikipedia.org]?

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:26PM (#31456830) Journal

    Those are the secret weapons of Apple. When I buy an iPod I can get any number of gadgets for it, not so with other MP3 players that themselves might be more capable and cheaper but don't have this critical mass that makes it worthwhile for others to produce products for it.

    We have yet to see if the Android app market matches up the iPhone one. Probably not. Oh, I get it myself that having a truly open product allows you to install all the real applications you want and that 99% of the apps are toys, but I am a geek, the majority is not.

    There will be a docking station for the iPad for your car so you can hook it to the seat as an entertainment hub for the kids in the back. Not so with any of the competitors. And that will sell the iPad (assuming this won't be one of Apples turds, they have had them you know).

    A linux pad/tablet/whatever will need to be a whole lot more then an iPad to be considered equal.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:27PM (#31456842) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how much of it will be wrong in the end? 90% 95% 99%?

    I'm personally not sold on the iPad yet, but then it rarely pays to buy the first generation product of anything. Who can forget the initial reaction to the iPod? What was the phrase? "Too expensive? No WiFi? Lame?" You know what? That was right on the money. It would take Apple a couple of generations to really make the iPod a household name.

    How well it clobbers the Kindle and Nook depend entirely on how easy Apple makes it to buy and read books on the thing. Obviously Amazon and B&N have a pretty good setup already and Apple is going to have to play catchup. It's certainly a possibility that the iPad completely fizzles as an eBook reader, potentially because too many publishers decide not to play ball and make it difficult to find books you actually want to read.

    The "Linux clone" argument misses the point entirely as well. Apple isn't selling a device, they're selling an ecology; a lifestyle. It's the same way they don't sell a music player, it sells an integrated portable storefront with a highly polished and easy to use interface. It's completely different, and it's the reason all of those clones are going to sit in tiny niches while the iPad outsells them all.
  • Android (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Massacrifice (249974) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:27PM (#31456844)

    And of all these Linux tablets, more than half will run an Android based distro of some form.

    Which is why I've stopped learning Objective-C to concentrate on my embedded Java skills.

  • All the freedom of choice and options that we the geeks find fun interesting only confuse the average user and cripple the usability for them. That is why devices like this only fill a niche market and the iPad/iPhone/iTouch make millions. I'm not trying to start a holy war just contrast the difference and why one is currently more successful than the other.
  • Backlit LCD displays don't work very well in direct sunlight. Reflective eInk displays do just fine. Take your iPad to the beach for reading this summer and tell me how it works out for you. Now, if they put both an eInk display and a backlit LCD in the same device, then that would rock both for reading and for watching videos (isn't there already one device that does that?), and that might signal the death of the dedicated eBook reader.
  • IPS Pannel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by failedlogic (627314) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:35PM (#31456968)

    This seems like its another attempt at a convergence device, which is really what Apple has become. Apple was touting their iPad as the screen has an IPS pannel. I could see this improving video and graphics quality - for images, games and video. I don't know if this will make it better as an e-book reader.

    I don't see this device being a tremendously great e-book reader. I'm waiting for some e-ink ones to come down in price. Nice flashy backlit-LCD screen does not work for me as an ebook reader.

  • What about the UI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeMo (521697) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:40PM (#31457062)
    This post totally ignores the value of the software and user interface on the iPad. It distills the value of all devices down the hardware, and whether or not the applications will have DRM-d data files. Thereby, it devalues the work of all user interfaces and programmers everywhere.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:42PM (#31457084) Journal

    > I predict with absolute faith that the iPad and its clones are going to kill off single purpose devices like dedicated eReaders such as Amazon's Kindle and GPS devices within the next three years. How can it not work out this way?

    Well, one way it wouldn't work out that way is if the general purpose devices really suck at things like ereaders and GPS and so forth. It's not enough to have the device, the applications have to be there, and they have to work well, and in some cases they have to work well together. And both the hardware and applications have to be reasonably priced. These things are not assured.

  • by fredmosby (545378) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:44PM (#31457110)
    From the Article:
    I tell a lie though. The Apple iPad isn't really $499. Just adding a power cord to the iPad will cost you $29.00. No, I'm not making that up. Really, Apple, you couldn't throw in a power cord? Shame on you.

    This guy doesn't know what he is talking about. According to the tech specs [apple.com] 10 watt USB power adapter is included in the box.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:17PM (#31457608) Homepage Journal

    Not unless they have color e-ink. There is still something to be said about the readability of e-ink compared to LCD.

    But, it might bring the price down on kindles..

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc . r r . c om> on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:26PM (#31457716) Homepage

    I wanted an iPad, and was reading up on tablets in general when I remembered a 6 year old HP tablet I had stashed away because it was simply dreadful under XP. For fun I dug it out, charged it up and started looking around to see if there were any hacks for it. Decided to upgrade the ram and drives with parts I had on hand then installed Windows 7 (the only windows device in my house) and after playing with it in its renewed form, im kind of over the iPad. I still may pick one up in a few generations but what I had and had nearly forgotten lets me do what I want to do with it, has plenty of "apps" available and seems speedy enough, the only thing missing is the 3g card which I can add via either the cardbus slot or usb ports. My biggest question is why did it take 6 years for something that at least in its current form appears to be step backwards? Perhaps the a4 will prove much faster than the 1.2 centrino in the tc1100 and the battery life will certainly be better but the lack of features just makes at least the first generation a skippable device.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:46PM (#31458770) Homepage
    He said "For the same price as a high-end dedicated device you can get a tablet that will do everything they can do and far more."

    1. Apple is and has NEVER been the low price provider. They will never undercut anyone.

    2. Apple clones tend to be cheaper, but they never become killer products. If you want an apple like idea you pay up for the original See the itune.

    3. His major belief, that tablet computers will continue to get cheaper is true, BUT SO WILL THE EREADERS. This guy is comparing the newest tablet to a year old technology. Already there is talk of a new chip that will bring the costs of ereaders down to $100 with 12 months. The apple product will continue to be around $500, while their clones may hit $300.

    At heart an ereader is a MUCH simpler device than a tablet. They need minimal screens, minimal internet connection speeds, minimal everything. Right now it LOOKS like the ereader is close in price to a netbook becaue you are ignoring the ereader's major benefit - long battery life.

    In conclusion, no, Apple will definitely NOT undercut the ereaders. Neither will the apple clones. Ereaders is a product that is here to stay and their price will continue to drop quicker than tablet PCS do.

  • by wfolta (603698) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:35PM (#31459468)

    Not only is it touting vaporware "iPad killers", but it's touting Linux-based coming-to-a-store-near-you iPad killers. Actually, retrofitted Linux-based, no-keyboard iPad killers which will have desktop GUIs.

    But wait, there's more: people will buy them rather than the iPad because they want to do the kinds of things you'd do on desktops or laptops with keyboards.

    I'll probably lose Karma over this one... I'm usually not this sarcastic, but this thread is so laughable... it's like some kind of super-hero movie where you see 100 kamikaze's on bicycles riding towards Godzilla with shouts of victory on their lips.

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