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Here Come the Linux iPad Clones 584

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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  • 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...

  • Re:Cost effective? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:25PM (#31456818)

    I agree, the story seems to complain that the cost of eReaders is comparable to the iPad which is blatantly incorrect, the vast majority of readers come in at half the price of the base iPad. I do hope this results in downward pressure on Amazon and Sony to hit the $99 mark, really 3G, wifi, etc. aren't truly necessary in a reader.

    Having said all that, I think ebooks have probably been set back significantly with the recent increase in prices.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:27PM (#31456846)

    ...except the one that counts--a user interface designed from scratch to be used by fingers. Apple designs their products around users. Everybody else designs their products around bullet-points.

  • Re:GPS devices (Score:3, Informative)

    by RapmasterT ( 787426 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:34PM (#31456950)
    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 Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:34PM (#31456954)

    you want the NotionInk Adam -

  • 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 [] 10 watt USB power adapter is included in the box.
  • Re:Forget Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by ajiva ( 156759 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:49PM (#31457210)

    Is $160 close enough?

    The SONY eBook Pocket Reader is exactly what you want, but its $160 at Fry's.

  • by plalonde2 ( 527372 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:59PM (#31457358)
    Yes. Unless you also count "easy data entry tablet" through the numbers app.

    But yes. Mobile media display, iTunes remote control, web browsing. In a stable platform that I don't have to screw with.

    That's a lot of "That's it".

  • Re:ergh (Score:2, Informative)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (dlrowcidamon)> on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:00PM (#31457370) Homepage
    Only I never said that people will NEVER read from an LCD all day long. I said e-ink provides a superior reading experience. Do you really not see a difference between those two arguments?
  • Re:Forget Linux (Score:4, Informative)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:07PM (#31457476)
    Then you should love the iPad, because it will force down prices for dedicated e-readers.

    But without a daylight-visible screen, the iPad has no chance of being a good e-reader in itself.

  • 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..

  • 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 []: running a GPLv2 Linux kernel digitally signed by the manufacturer and GPLv2 apps digitally signed by the manufacturer. The compliance and robustness [] 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) [] the cleartext of a non-free work to a file. [] -- 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.

  • by Arthur Grumbine ( 1086397 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:56PM (#31458082) Journal

    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 []?

  • Re:Forget Linux (Score:2, Informative)

    by imfeldma ( 267468 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:09PM (#31458230)

    You may want to try an XO ( The screen is made to be readable under extreme lighting conditions, it's fairly cheap and flips into pretty much what you want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:04PM (#31459016)

    Archos has several right now:

    The JooJoo is taking pre-orders and claims shipping in 8-10 weeks:

    There are others, but those were off the top of my head.

  • Re:But what books? (Score:3, Informative)

    by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:20PM (#31459248) Journal

    Does this answer your question? []

  • Re:Tivoization (Score:3, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:08PM (#31459860) Homepage

    My ARM tablet cost me about as much as an iPad did but I bought it 2 years ago.

    Although it has a smaller screen, it has a lot more storage and no BS iTunes requirement and better format support.

    You need to adapt yourself to it less.

    The browser could be better though. Although it's really not much worse than mobile Safari.

    Without web-balkanizing-apps, the iPhone/iPad is a really sorry thing.

  • Re:No iPad for me (Score:2, Informative)

    by wannabgeek ( 323414 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:47PM (#31460688) Journal

    You're confusing median with mean... :-)

  • Re:No iPad for me (Score:3, Informative)

    by biglig2 ( 89374 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:59PM (#31460788) Homepage Journal

    You do realise that installing a game or astrology app on an iPhone, and hence one supposes on an iPad, is about, oh, two zillion times easier than doing it on a PC?

    I just did it now. Took me 30 seconds.

    Turn on, App Store, search, star sign. List of dozens, with screen shots and reviews; pick one; confirm password, bought, downloads in the background, done. Apparently I am loyal, romantic, direct and stubborn. Good to know.

    I'd say try that on a PC, but I'm worried you might not be running Linux, and I'd feel very guilty if you downloaded a random Windows app you found off Google and it mailed your credit card details to the Mafia.

  • Re:Forget Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by sessamoid ( 165542 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @02:55AM (#31462174)

    Don't understand the joke. Care to explain?

    The post is parodying the now-famous (here, at least) Slashdot article commentary posted by none other than CmdrTaco about the introduction of Apple's iPod: "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

  • Re:Tivoization (Score:4, Informative)

    by IICV ( 652597 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @03:47AM (#31462362)

    It fits in your pocket, and has a physical keyboard.

    Seriously, I recently bought an N900, and this thing seems like where the iPad hopes to be in a decade. It does everything I expect out of the box, and everything I want with a bit of effort (I mean shit, I've been playing mobile Chrono Trigger and Freeciv on this thing for the last couple of days without any problems). Not only that, but it comes with 32 GB of internal storage, supports up to 16 GB of removable storage, has 3G built-in, and costs ~$530 (about the price of the base iPad). And it comes with a X-Terminal app. By default. This thing was made for me, I think.

    Yeah, it's only got a 600 MHz CPU - but it's also got a 430 MHz DSP, so it can handle a surprising number of things very smoothly. It also doesn't have multi-touch, but that's not really something I need. It doesn't have 802.11n, but I'm okay with that for the next five or ten years - at that point I'll upgrade to something else.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.