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Portables Linux

WePad Tablet Will Use Linux To Rival the iPad 536

Posted by kdawson
from the open-period dept.
cypherdtraitor writes with news of an iPad rival being prepped in Germany for a June launch. "A German company, Neofonie GmbH, has set out to provide an alternative to the iPad, according to Neofonie's founder, Helmut Hoffer von Ankershoffen. The WePad will boast a Linux-based OS, USB ports, webcam, and Wi-Fi, as well as other features. The 16GB edition will cost €449 ($610), and the 32GB €569 ($773). A more expensive model will include a 3G modem. This PDF compares WePad specs with the iPad. There are also hints of cheap, available software. For example, OpenOffice.org will be the primary office suite, and you may use 'any application that pleases you' to play music and video, a clear edge over Apple's limitation to iTunes." The WePad will also run Flash.
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WePad Tablet Will Use Linux To Rival the iPad

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  • by viridari (1138635) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @01:48PM (#31836592)
    The Apple II did not run CP/M out of the box. You needed a Z80 card to do that.
  • iTunes Confusion (Score:3, Informative)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @01:53PM (#31836686) Homepage Journal

    you may use 'any application that pleases you' to play music and video, a clear edge over Apple's limitation to iTunes.

    This is a very confusing -- and probably confused -- statement.

    iPad can play back content with its iPod functionality. Which isn't "iTunes" in any meaningful sense. (It also includes an iTunes store interface.)

    Content can be loaded onto the device only with the iTunes Mac or PC application, but there are many ways to add content to your local iTunes app other than the iTunes store. For example, ripped CDs, Amazon MP3s, "Digital Copies" included with many Blu-ray discs, anything you encode yourself with compatible codecs and parameters (e.g. DVDs ripped and encoded to M4V with Handbrake).

    -Peter

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @01:54PM (#31836698)

    It doesn't sound good in German. "Helm Anker" means "Helmet Anchor". It's nonsensical.

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @01:54PM (#31836708)
    Specs aren't what will make a device sell well with non-geeks (of which there are more of than geeks).
  • by s0litaire (1205168) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @01:58PM (#31836796)

    ..on the back....

    (phew hope no one noticed i didn't RTFA!)

  • Re:iTunes Confusion (Score:3, Informative)

    by JonJ (907502) <jon.jahren@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:09PM (#31836980)
    'Play' not 'aquire'.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:11PM (#31837000)

    That's not necessarily true. Sharp's Netwalker [sharp.co.jp] is based on the Freescale i.MX51 which is ARM Cortex-A8 and Ubuntu.

    It even has Flash(Lite).

    Linux isn't tied to x86.

  • Re:WeeWeePad (Score:3, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:13PM (#31837060) Journal

    No wired connection.

    You can use USB. You can't with iPad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:13PM (#31837068)

    And yet the iPhone was the best 'internet experience' mobile phone on the planet when it came out. In spite of the fact that it didn't have flash.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:23PM (#31837250) Homepage

    > If you're running Linux, you're sticking with legacy x86 architecture.

    How can you even be on Slashdot and post something that ignorant?

  • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:40PM (#31837572)

    There were a ton of tablet prototypes shown at CES this year, months before the iPad was announced. Everyone and their mother independently came to the conclusion that tablets were going to be the next big thing after the success of netbooks.

  • by slart42 (694765) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:43PM (#31837636)

    Obviously competitors have realized that it's worth it to come out with clone or me-too products much faster than they did in the past with the iPhone. This suggests to me that they'll be at least somewhat more successful than before in taking market share from apple.

    Just that the makers of the WePad don't actually seem to be as far as they claim to be. I know someone who was at the press conference were they showed the product yesterday. He said that current versions run windows, not Linux, the touch screen didn't work on the "show" device, and it had a fan which was running all the time. In it's current state it would not have a chance to compete well with the iPad (and I personally doubt it ever will).

  • That's not why. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:49PM (#31837734)

    everyone puts up with it because of it's ubiquity

    No, everyone puts up with it because:

    1. Unlike everything else on the web, It Works.
    2. Define works? Sure, no problem. It handles:
      • Vector animation
      • MP3 support
      • MP4 support
      • TrueType fonts

      ...all out-of-the box.

    3. Define works, in developer terms? Sure!
      • You don't have to fix cross-browser issues. It is truly write-once, play-anywhere
      • If you know JavaScript, you know ActionScript

    As of 2010, these bullet points have all been true for nearly fifteen years. Meanwhile, HTML5 will still be playing second-fiddle even when the language is completely formalized (no fonts, MP4 is questionable, MP3 is questionable, and you'll still have to test twenty different versions and have plenty of hacks up your sleeve to get everything to look correct across all platforms & browsers).

  • by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:06PM (#31838048)

    The WePad thinks it can compete with the iPad with hardware features but will run Linux... which is a server or desktop OS. Apple didn't use their desktop version of Mac OS X on the iPhone, the iPod touch and the iPad for a good reason: portable, touch devices need customized interfaces otherwise it just sucks.

    The WePad will use a "Linux-based" OS, namely Android [devicemag.com], which has an interface perfect for a tablet.

    W

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:20PM (#31838286) Journal

    The tablet is the same form-factor as a clipboard. You can hold it with one hand while standing and use the other hand to do things on it (similar to writing on a clipboard while standing). You can sit up in bed, fold your legs up to about 45 degrees, and use it that way. You can also sit on the couch and hold it in place. Placing it on a desk and trying to input data into it is going to be a nightmare for most people. They'll enter their data on a real computer and send it to a tablet for final editing or just to present it.

    You are thinking of a tablet as a "content production" device (lots of typing and data input). In general, it's not good at that. A tablet is a content consumption device. Surf to YouTube, maybe type in a short search, then click on what you want and sit back and watch. It's for passive consumption, not active participation.

    It's more akin to a really cool interactive television set than it is a computer.

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:3, Informative)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyth ... minus physicist> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:04PM (#31838960) Homepage Journal

        I second that one.

        Well, not the strip club part. I don't do those. (I worked in the adult industry, and see the money guys waste on not getting laid and laugh).

        Ya, the prettier, skinner girls end up costing us a fortune. What's worse is the ones who want to date, and want you to go out with them every night, but it never goes anywhere. I was seeing this totally hot girl who dropped every hint that she wanted me, except for actually doing it. She insisted on splitting the cost of going out when applicable, so we were on a "just friends and then more" level. Then the equality of us going out went away when she "didn't have any money" and I was to pay. So one very pointed statement was made, and a few hours of fighting ensued. Well, one sided fighting, but hey. I woke up to a bunch of voicemails and emails. There was an apology in the middle, but it was wiped out by the absolute hatred in the ones that followed. I like fights that I don't even have to be involved in. :)

          I had a roommate the same way. I spotted her insanity a mile away. She was a friend of a friend, who needed a place to stay and I had a spare room. I let her stay with me. She made very suggestive moves on me, which were stopped at the most inopportune times by "I think we should stay friends." Ok, whatever. Then she met a guy, and went to stay with him. Just over a month later, after living with him and his dad giving her a job at the family business, she showed back up at my door. "Do you believe he wanted to sleep with me? He wanted sex!" Well, no shit. You moved in with him, were sleeping in bed with him (without having sex). Dad gave you a job and anything else you wanted. You were his girlfriend. She never did learn that she was dropping hints saying that's what she wanted, and was completely stunned when anyone broke the news to her. So, she stayed at my place for two more nights and was gone.

        And if my sampling of women of the world has anything to say, all women are completely nuts. We'll suffice it to say, the sample set is large enough to make almost any statistician happy. :)

          And now that I've been woman-free for months, I'm almost happier. No crazy-chick headaches. More money in my pocket. And, I have time to mess around with things I want to do. There's no "but sweetie, I wanted you to go shopping for shoes with me." or "can you help me do this." Bah. For what dating costs, it's cheaper to hire a good escort. $1000/hr and you're with a beautiful woman who'll do anything you want, and when you're done she leaves and never bothers you. She won't even come over again until you call her. :)

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:18PM (#31839126)

    Flash is indeed everywhere.

    But I've found the number of places where something I WANT to see is not in Flash, is in practice very small. I installed Click-To-Flash about a year ago because I could no longer handle the omnipresence of flash ads.

    Now I like ads on sites, because I like to see sites with content I enjoy stick around. But flash ads were everywhere, distracting and sucking up CPU. Finally I said, ENOUGH!, and flash was blocked except when I needed to see content.

    You know what? I can still browse, read news, etc. just fine. There are a few things I have to turn on flash for but I think over the past few months it has been a handful. Flash is simply not needed in the general case to use mot of the internet, despite as you say the fact it is "everywhere".

  • Re:WeeWeePad (Score:3, Informative)

    by babyrat (314371) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:20PM (#31839150)

    do THAT many people actually let kids, friends or random people even touch their computers

    Yes...well maybe not random people, but kids and friends absolutely. I have since learned to set 'Airplane Mode' before I give my iPhone to my 3 year old.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:18PM (#31839698)

    big deal, the Archos 5 Android internet tablet http://www.archos.com/products/imt/archos_5it/internet.html,

    from archos website: "Possibilities beyond Android with the ‘Dual OS’

    Just like a PC, the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet can be freely programmed in alternative ways in addition to the applications that can be created for the Android platform. To have total control of your Internet Tablet, ARCHOS has opened up this device, thus allowing creative minds to program their own tablet, or create what could be the tablet of the future.

    Skilled developers and programmers can now choose to switch over to a true standard Linux environment as offered by the Ångström Linux distribution. Developers can put this on their ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet devices and join other enthusiasts who are experimenting with various ideas and interfaces based on the Linux operating system. "

    Specs:
    Display characteristics High resolution touch screen, 800x480 pixels, 4.8'' TFT LCD, 16 million colors
    User interface Touch screen, ON/OFF, vol+ and vol- buttons, retractable virtual keyboard
    Processor(s) Central Unit:

    * Main processor: ARM CortexTM-A8, 32 bit, In-order, dual-issue, superscalar core @ 800 MHz
    * Additional processor: 32 bit DSP @ 430 MHz

    RAM memory 256 MB* (Low-Power Double Data Rate SDRAM)
    Mass storage memory Flash Memory: 8 to 32 GB* + Micro SD Slot (SDHC compatible)
    Hard Drive: 160 to 500 GB*
    Operating system Android v1.6 Donut - enabling application installation or development

    In its normal use mode, the ARCHOS 5 being a miniaturized Personal Computer:

    Program language C - requires special developer-edition firmware15
    Connectivity On board WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), USB 2.0 host with optional accessories
    PC accessories Possible attachment of numerous standard USB PC accessories (keyboard, mouse, memory key, memory cards reader, camera and other future computer accessories)
    Others applications Webbrowser, Email, Contacts, DroidIn, EbuddyIM, Twidroid, Deezer, Dailymotion, Quickpedia, ThinkFree Mobile, Moov, Craigsphone, Pages jaunes (only for France), High Paying Jobs (only for US & Canada), Alarm clock, Calculator...
    Interfaces USB 2.0: Media Transport Protocol (MTP)
    USB 2.0 Host: Mass Storage Class (MSC) and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) with optional Mini Dock, Battery Dock and DVR station
    Micro SD (SDHC compatible) on ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet 8 to 32 GB
    Add-on connectors to connect to the DVR Station and other ARCHOS add-ons
    Communication protocols WiFi (802.11 b/g/n)
    Bluetooth 2.0 A2DP, EDR, ARCP, HID, Dial Networking
    FM transmitter (requires the Car-mount that features the antenna)
    FM receiver (RDS)
    Video Codecs 7 MPEG-4 HD (up to 720p)
    MPEG-48 (ASP@L5 AVI, up to DVD resolution)
    H.264 HD (up to 720p)
    WMV (MP@ML, up to DVD resolution) including WMV protected files
    MKV (up to 720p, 2500kbs, 23fps
    M-JPEG (Motion JPEG Video) in QVGA resolution

    With optional plug-in (downloadable from your tablet or on www.archos.com):
    Cinema: MPEG-2, WMV HD (720p), VOB
    Audio codecs 7 Stereo MP3 decoding @ 30-320 Kbits/s CBR & VBR,
    WMA, Protected WMA, WAV (PCM/ADPCM), AAC9(except protected content),
    AAC+ stereo audio files
    OGG Vorbis
    FLAC
    With optional software plug-ins (downloadable from your tablet or on www.archos.com):
    AC3 stereo audio and 5.1 sound files (via SPDIF output of DVR Station )
    Photo viewer 10 JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF
    Subtitles Support subtitles files with .srt, .ssa, .smi, .sub extensions
    Video recording 11 Via the optional DVR Station or DVR Snap-on. Records NTSC/PAL/SECAM in MPEG-4 AVI format with stereo sound, VG

  • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:45PM (#31839934) Journal

    Tablet computing has been around for a long time.

    And the exact form factor, and almost its exact name, were being discussed long ago:

    "PAD" Computer
    redfoxtx 06-10-2002, 01:56 PM
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/all/windows/t-1793-PAD-Computer.html [techspot.com]

    Steve Jobs seems to think he invented it, and the idea of calling a tablet a "pad".

    Steve Jobs: 'Pad? That's my word'
    New frontiers in control freakiness
    Rik Myslewski in San Francisco
    Posted in Mobile, 13th April 2010 20:11 GMT
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/13/jobs_claims_pad_trademark/ [theregister.co.uk]

    At some point, someone needs to stand up to this lunatic.

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