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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 RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki.cox@net> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:46PM (#31836540)

    Why am I suddenly reminded of the days in the 70's and 80's when everything ran CP/M and everything *had* to run CP/M? I know that Apple II *DID* run CP/M of some flavor, but CP/M *sucked*, and Apple showed nearly no support for it.

    Now we're stuck with Flash, which everyone tolerates and does a lot, but again, it *sucks*. Adobe hasn't put together a decent Flash interpreter for ANY OS(well, the Windows version is debatable), and everyone puts up with it because of it's ubiquity.

    Folks. Ubiquity is never a reason to keep a shitty idea around. Particularly when it comes to the mobile space.

  • by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:48PM (#31836582) Homepage

    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.

  • Yeah! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:50PM (#31836614) Homepage Journal

    The free/open source OS will run the proprietary multimedia software. Openness triumphs again!

  • by Serenissima (1210562) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:51PM (#31836638)
    You're right, but it's going to take time to move on to new ideas. HTML5 is awesome, but certainly not ubiquitous. ANY internet enabled device that does not provide users with the ability to view content that is EVERYWHERE on the internet is going to give the customer who purchases that device a limited internet experience. Sure Flash sucks, but it's out there, and it's all over the place. It's just plain stupid to not give customers the ability to view that content.
  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector@@@marcansoft...com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:56PM (#31836748) Homepage

    I'm tired of people shoehorning the power-hungry x86 architecture into small devices. If there's one thing that Apple did right it's not using the Atom. The WePad runs Linux: there's no reason to stick with the legacy x86 architecture. Even Adobe Flash works on ARM (just not Flash 10 yet).

    If the WePad used an ARM chip, it could probably retain its feature set and bump up the battery duration to the iPad level, which seems to be the only feature where it loses to it.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:58PM (#31836806) Homepage
    Copernicus risked personal safety by advocating a heliocentric theory of the universe

    From who? Powerful churchmen like....Copernicus?
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zelos (1050172) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:01PM (#31836860)
    More expensive, heavier and a shorter battery life? If you ship after your competitor aren't you supposed to ship something better? And shipping with OpenOffice is meant to be a good thing?
  • Re:Just stop it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fahrvergnuugen (700293) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:02PM (#31836874) Homepage

    The ipad will fade into obscurity and during that time your efforts could be better invested else where

    I hope you didn't bet money on that...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:02PM (#31836876)

    That must be it.

    It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that people have been working on the tablet PC since the 90's

    If the iPad had all the features of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadem_Clio [wikipedia.org] bad boy I might give it a look.

  • Need ARM not Atom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:05PM (#31836924) Homepage

    Agreed. Atom is not appropriate for mobile devices like WePad. This really calls for ARM.

  • Re:Just stop it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:06PM (#31836940) Journal

    Except that the iPad won't fade away. Other then that, spot on - they absolutely are wasting their time with this ludicrous attempt at a competitor. OpenOffice? You've got to be kidding me. That just screams finger-based-input-small-tablet software right there. People are going to love fighting with that. I mean the ones who hate themselves.

  • Re:WeeWeePad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:06PM (#31836944) Journal

    WePad makes sense anyway. It's both pun of iPad and illustrates the product - it's more for us and since it uses Linux it allows multiple user accounts, good privacy and better security. iPad only has a single user and not even a guest account, do you really want to let your kids, friends or random people to use it access all your browser history, photos, emails and such?

    It also looks awesome and you can use applications or develop them yourself. You can run scripts and most ssh in to the tablet. It shows Flash. At this point I would either get this or Courier [engadget.com], as the iPad seems really limited and you have to hack it for it to be any use. Oh and it supports multitasking too.

  • Re:Just stop it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Graff (532189) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:12PM (#31837034)

    The ipad will fade into obscurity and during that time your efforts could be better invested else where.

    Yes, selling 300,000 units on the first day is a sure sign that the iPad will fade into obscurity any time soon.

    Like it or not, the iPad is relevant. It obviously has a following and there will be devices that can imitate it and ride its coattails a bit. Perhaps these other devices can even improve on the design and become relevant in and of themselves. One thing is for certain, you completely ignore a popular device/platform at your own peril.

  • laptop? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:14PM (#31837074)

    At that price, why not just get a laptop?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:14PM (#31837092)

    I normally tolerate a lot of the Apple fanboyism since, although often exaggerated, there is a small kernel of truth to many of their claims. However, this is one that needs to end: THE IPAD'S LACK OF SUPPORT WILL NOT BRING THE END OF FLASH. Even if I could be convinced that the iPad is going to be a smashing success, it will never be a big enough player to curb the usage of flash on the web.

  • Re:Just stop it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:18PM (#31837156)

    "Less Space than a Nomad. No wireless. Lame."

    "No they didn't, the big difference between iPhone and OpenMoko is that OpenMoko is completely open, so anyone can extend it, while iPhone is closed and only licensed parties can write extensions. This is what uniqe about OpenMoko. Apple added glitter to iPhone, but there are other smart phones (maybe not as good, but I can't judge, it's a long wait till iPhone will be available in Europe) so nothing revolutionary about it. OpenMoko has philosophical feature - openess. So as a geek I know which one is the winner here :)"

    How's that OpenMoko doing today?
    How about those iPod killers?

  • by e2d2 (115622) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:20PM (#31837188)

    Okay. What about money. Is money a good idea to keep something around? Businesses tend to think yes. "Throw away all your flash formatted content" is not really something you want to hear as a decision maker who's heavily invested in the format. And considering the iPad device is geared towards things like video, it's a no brainer to support what is now become a standard. Okay so you support HTML5, but what about the meantime as everyone converts?

    But let's skip the bullshit. This is a corporate game and the end user suffers for it. You can pretend Apple has your best interest in mind if you like, but the facts speak for themselves. They have limited functionality to poke a competitor in the eye. A competitor that basically kept their Mac platform alive with their creative tools. It's pretty messed up IMHO.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:21PM (#31837218)

    What? The IPad is hardly novel. Tablet computers have existed for a decade or more. Hell, my 5 year old laptop (and it wasn't even top of the line when I bought it) with a nearly dead battery had a flip around touch screen that worked in tablet mode.

  • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:30PM (#31837402)

    They didn't sell 300,000 units in one day. They sold 300,000 units over 4 months of hype and advertisment articles on gadget blogs. Care to speculate what the second day sales were?

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slash d o t . f i renzee.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:33PM (#31837448) Homepage

    The "marketplace" is nothing new, linux has had something similar for years it's just that apple dressed it up to look pretty and marketed it well..

    The wepad is bigger and heavier than the ipad while having inferior battery life, and seems to have vents at the top suggesting it gets quite hot. I would rather have an open arm based tablet, ipad like hardware and open software...

    On the subject of software, for anything like this to succeed it needs to have a slick interface, all the previous tablets i've used had really lousy interfaces, typically just desktop interfaces that don't work well on a tablet.

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:2, Insightful)

    by justinb26 (1783508) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:40PM (#31837582)
    "Half the functionality" isn't opinion, it's fact? I'm quite interested in learning more about the methodology you used to quantify this. Remember to show your work.

    While we're at it, could you point me at the "fully functional" devices that cost the same as the ipad. No vaporware please!
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:44PM (#31837652) Homepage Journal

    People still don't get it, however. 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. I tried using a Blackberry and was shocked to see the tiny cursor that I had to control with a tiny trackball.... Seriously, WTF?

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:46PM (#31837676)

    That being said, I never thought I would see people ardently defending paying more for less

    Ever been to a strip club? The skinnier the girls, the more you pay!

    Come to think of it, dating isn't much different ....

  • Re:Just stop it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:51PM (#31837776) Journal

    This notion that people are simply being fooled into buying Apples devices is interesting, but doesn't quite jibe with the customer satisfaction level of the iPhone, for example. The iPad we don't have the data for yet, but when it comes to the iPhone, the idea that people buying them have just been fooled by good marketing... that is the only reality distortion field in effect here. Meanwhile, all those iPhone users, you know the ones that have been fooled by marketing, they are all thinking... iPhone's great, entirely touch-based interface but with a bigger screen that doesn't require so much zooming in and out? Who let the dogs out?

  • Re:WeeWeePad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kreigaffe (765218) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:53PM (#31837808)

    You obviously are not part of the Apple Collective or you would see the wisdom in only allowing 1 user and no guest account.

    If someone else wants to use your iPad, good! But don't let them, because it's only YOURS. Flame their jealousy. Soon, they will cave under the pressure and buy their own iPad.

    It's a single user product, you understand. Sharing is verboten.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:53PM (#31837812)

    If the iPad had all the features of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadem_Clio [wikipedia.org] bad boy I might give it a look.

    And yet the iPad outsold the entire lifetime sales of that "bad boy" on it's very first day.

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:54PM (#31837822)
    I'm not the OP and I can't show my work. I can show my questions though. How does Open Office do with multi touch? How does it do with just touch - not stylus / mouse, but fingers? Do browsers on Linux do well with touch? Does GIMP do well with fingers? Mostly I doubt it - not because any of them are defective; they just have not been designed with that in mind.
  • by Phizzle (1109923) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:13PM (#31838180) Homepage
    It can be better, faster, hotter, smaller, sexier, but it will not be accepted by the consumer world outside of the Slashdot audience and not "rival" Apple in measurable financial way. Not trolling here, just the honest truth - general public doesn't care if something is "better" - anything associated with Apple has immediate press and street cred, and anything containing the word Linux has immediate press and street stigma. Sad really.
  • Re:Slashvert (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:34PM (#31838534)

    "Zero user servicable parts inside"

    User serviceable parts add bulk to an item. If part of the item's functionality is due to its form factor having user serviceable parts can impair the overall functionality of the device.

    If you want something small and sleek you don't want all sorts of bulges and ports and doors on the device just to support getting at a component 99.999% of the users will never want or need to access.

    This is a bit extreme but compare D-cell batteries to a form fitted Li-po battery for use in a tablet. Sure the end user can easily replace the D-cell but now you've added a lot of size and weight and probably lost a fair bit battery life.

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:2, Insightful)

    by justinb26 (1783508) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:35PM (#31838538)
    Definitely agree. If they've been working on touch-enabled OpenOffice or Gimp I'd love to see it. Hell, I'd probably toss them on my iPad once it's JB'ed. (Yes, you can compile/install java on iPhoneOS)

    However, it seems to me that everybody who's been whining for the last 2-3 months about how the iPad isn't a "real" computer, are going to get exactly what they asked for: A desktop pc crammed into a slate formfactor, running mostly desktop apps.

    Sounds a lot less useful than either a desktop OR an iPad to me.
  • Re:Just stop it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:39PM (#31838582)

    "No they didn't, the big difference between iPhone and OpenMoko is that OpenMoko is completely open, so anyone can extend it, while iPhone is closed and only licensed parties can write extensions. This is what uniqe about OpenMoko. Apple added glitter to iPhone, but there are other smart phones (maybe not as good, but I can't judge, it's a long wait till iPhone will be available in Europe) so nothing revolutionary about it. OpenMoko has philosophical feature - openess. So as a geek I know which one is the winner here :)"

    How's that OpenMoko doing today? How about those iPod killers?

    Well they forgot to mention other difference between the iPhone and the (OpenMoko) Neo. The iPhone worked out of the box while the Neo shipped with hardware bugs and even a year later the best OS for it made the Apple ][ look stable.

    In order to be an Apple killer it must work BETTER than the Apple. You have to be able to show your WORKING gadget to a potential Apple customer and make them want yours more.

    Disclaimer I actually used a Neo as my phone for six months. Very cool geek toy, worst cellphone ever.

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:41PM (#31838632) Homepage

    Based on [shacknews.com] a number of [computerworld.com] different sources [arstechnica.com], the thing is hard to hold on to for any decent length of time. Nearly every review I have read makes mention of this, regardless of whether it heralds the iPad as the second coming of christ or as a piece of junk.

    Just like supermodels with eating disorders, being too skinny can be a bad thing.

  • Re:Slashvert (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Antiocheian (859870) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:02PM (#31838936) Journal

    You are wasting your time with a fanboy.

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:05PM (#31838982)

    "Apple thinks it's better not to include features that aren't yet ready for prime time..."

    As Dr. Phil would say "that dog won't hunt". Apple has been doing copy/paste and multitasking for years, they could do it with their eyes closed.

    No, the real reason is the Steve thinks he knows best so the first version is a full reflection of his "vision". Later, if customers demand features that aren't part of his vision, he'll have the opportunity to present them with great fanfare as if that was the plan all along.

  • Re:WeeWeePad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:17PM (#31839114) Journal

    iPad only has a single user and not even a guest account, do you really want to let your kids, friends or random people to use it access all your browser history, photos, emails and such?

    Of course I don't. I expect them to use their own mobile computing device. The days of one computer per family are long since gone. Multiple accounts aren't worth the extra complexity for consumer mobile devices.

    Uh, a lot of families have a single computer with multiple user accounts for each family member. It's usually enough, especially if you have a single kid still living at home and don't use the computer so much. It only makes sense when the parents or kids are more geeky or spend more time on computer. We slashdotters do, but not most people.

    Also, when my friends or sister or someone else is over and wants to use my computer, I hate it when they do so using my own user account. Not only they can see what tabs I have open in my browser, read my emails and IM windows or any files/photos, they mess up the browser and other apps from the state I left it at.

    Extra complexity isn't an excuse. Have it default to one user account (like all Windows, Linux and Mac do), but have the possibility of creating other ones too. Your reasoning is the same as when most people say that not allowing multitasking saves battery time and there won't be programs in the background eating up cpu, but you can just have a setting to enable it and the default to the Apple way. One setting that makes your device a lot nicer for the people who want multitasking.

  • Re:Just stop it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prockcore (543967) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:18PM (#31839118)

    Yes, selling 300,000 units on the first day is a sure sign that the iPad will fade into obscurity any time soon.

    With Apple products, that's not really indicative of success.

    Within the first week of presales in January 2007, Apple TV was the top selling item at the Apple Store.

    3 years later, AppleTV is a niche market that Apple has all but abandoned.

  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:19PM (#31839142)

    Is it going to be multi-touch capable and actually responsive, rather than barely touch aware and laggy?

    I have yet to see a piece of hardware running android that doesn't feel slow to the point of non-response or that is just as comfortable to use as the UI on my iPhone. Anyone recommend a device running android that doesn't feel like a sluggish piece of poop?

  • by dfghjk (711126) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:01PM (#31840038)

    "And if you compare iPhone browsing experience to that on the desktop (or netbook), it still sucks big time."

    And that is a substantially bigger issue with the iPad since it's essentially the same sucky iPhone browsing experience with a larger, less portable screen.

  • by blincoln (592401) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:26PM (#31841006) Homepage Journal

    The point of Mini is just to have a simple, fast browser that renders text quickly. For reading articles on my BlackBerry I haven't found a better option.

    I think that says more about the sad state of RIM's platform than anything in Opera's favour. I mean, it's great that RIM finally figured out how to make tables render more or less correctly (at least in one viewing mode), but they're still light years behind almost every other smartphone vendor.

    In turn, the existence of Opera Mini to me is the equivalent of developers throwing up their hands and saying "OK, RIM, we've finally figured out you're never going to provide a usable dev platform for your phones, so we'll write our own browser for someone else's server platform and limit your phones to being used as a remote display and keyboard/trackball for them."

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