A article from Win7News...
"Alternatives to the iPad
If you keep up with the tech news world, you undoubtedly already know that late last month, Apple introduced their "magical, incredible, awesome, extraordinary" slate-style computer to much fanfare. At least, those were the words that Steve Jobs used to describe the device in his keynote at the January 27th Apple event in San Francisco.http://www.win7news....96/100211-iPad-Pitch
Come on, dude - we know it's your job to hype it up, but it's just a tablet. Tablet PCs have been around for a decade. Microsoft brought out Windows XP Tablet Edition in 2001. A Linux-based tablet device called the ProGear WebPad was around even before that.http://www.win7news....00211-ProGear-WebPad
There was a plethora of Windows based Tablet PCs shown at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January. At that show, Steve Ballmer unveiled HP's slate device, which runs Windows 7 and is expected to be available sometime this year.http://www.win7news..../100211-Slate-Device
The JooJoo (formerly known as the Crunchpad) is a tablet device that runs a proprietary OS and the Archos 7 is an Android-based tablet, whereas the Archos 9 is a Windows 7 tablet that's already available now. Dell's Mini 5 and Notion Ink's Adam are also Android-based tablets. In fact, you can see a chart detailing the features of some of the new and upcoming tablets here:http://www.win7news....FY96/100211-Showdown
If you take a moment to look over those comparison specs, you might be wondering exactly what's supposed to be so special about the iPad. Many of its competitors run full fledged Windows or Linux operating systems with which you can do anything you would do on a Windows or Linux notebook computer, whereas the iPad runs the iPhone OS - a very stripped down version of OS X. In fact, you might say the iPad isn't really a tablet computer at all; it's a very large iPod Touch. And I'm not the other one who thinks so:http://www.win7news....00211-Big-iPod-Touch
The Windows, Linux and Android tablets support multi-tasking (something that anyone who wants to use a computer seriously needs to be able to do). The iPad and JooJoo don't. All of the other tablets have a built-in camera. The iPad doesn't. Several of the competing tablets have SD slots so you can expand the storage capacity. The iPad requires that you use an awkward dongle to get that capability.
Based on my own first impressions of the iPad, I wrote a blog post called iPad? iDon'tThinkSo and then TechRepublic published my article 10 Reasons I'll Be Passing on the iPad, which you can read at hhttp://www.win7news....211-Pass-on-the-iPad
I know some will accuse me of always being an Apple nay-sayer, but I actually wanted to like this device because I've been wishing for the "perfect" tablet ever since I bought my first one back in the early 2000s. It was a convertible model from Toshiba and I really liked it for taking notes and drawing. But it was heavy and thick, and its specs were very low compared to regular notebooks that cost the same.
Ever since I bought my first little Sony T series notebook, I've longed for the same thing in convertible tablet format. So I was excited when I read, a few days ago, that Sony representatives have said the company is "very interested" in entering the tablet market.http://www.win7news....6/100211-Sony-Tablet
Sony's laptops have the same sort of "cool" factor as Apple's products. My new Sony X, which I wrote about in last week's editorial, would make a wonderful tablet device. Of course, Sony hasn't yet revealed much about their tablet plans. For one thing, they don't say whether it would run Windows 7, as their notebook computers do, or a proprietary operating system, like their Dash - a touchscreen device they introduced at CES that accesses web content and proprietary apps over wi-fi:http://www.win7news....0211-Dash-App-Device
Apparently Google is interested in the tablet market, too. They recently unveiled photos and video of what they envision a Chrome-based tablet would look like. In fact, they got a jump on Apple by showing their "concept tablet" two days before the Big Reveal by Jobs. Since the Chrome OS is a cloud-based operating system centered on the web, such a tablet would probably suffer from the same lack of full computing functionality as the iPad - but it might very well be less costly and more "open" (in terms of availability of apps from different sources) than Apple's tablet.http://www.win7news....t/VJFY96/100211-GPad
Meanwhile, there's a brand new controversy brewing over who was responsible for the relatively lack of success Microsoft had with its tablet PCs. Dick Brass, a former Microsoft Vice President, pointed fingers in many directions (both internal and external) in a recent opinion piece for the New York Times:http://www.win7news....Creative-Destruction
On the other hand, when it comes to the tablet, maybe there just aren't enough people out there who love the idea as much as I (and a few other hardcore fans) do. After all, even Apple's magic touch wasn't able to generate "a whole lotta love" for a slate, no matter how sleek and sexy it is. In fact, the reaction from both the tech press and consumer polls was less than encouraging. Despite all the hype that had tech types drooling prior to the launch event, once people had a chance to see what it was (and wasn't), interest flagged almost immediately. According to a Retrevo poll, the percentage of survey respondents who said they were not interested in buying one rose from 26% before the event to 52% afterward. Ouch. That had to hurt.http://www.win7news....Y96/100211-iPad-Love
And here's more bad news for Apple: a Chinese company called Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial is threatening to sue over the iPad's design, which strongly resembles that of a tablet they've been selling since last year. And Fujitsu claims they own the name "iPad," which they marketed as a Windows CE- powered handheld computer in 2002, and yet another company, Mag-Tek, also made a device by that name in 2003.http://www.win7news....Y96/100211-iPad-Name
If the device hasn't gone into mass production yet, Apple might not fight too hard to hang onto the name. It has been the butt of hundreds of jokes since the unveiling (prior to which most tech pundits were speculating that it would be called the iSlate). It seems the first thing many people think of when they hear the name is, well, a feminine hygiene product.http://www.win7news....100211-The-iPad-Name
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the perfect tablet computer. Will Sony make my dream come true? Will HP or Dell finally get it right? Will it be some little company we haven't even heard of yet? I don't know, but I think I'll know it when I see it.
What about you? Are you interested in the tablet concept at all, or will you stick with a regular notebook or netbook for your portable computing needs? Does the iPad look to fill a gap in the market that doesn't really exist (between the smart phone and the notebook computer)? Which tablet form factor do you prefer: the slate or the convertible? What's the right price point for a tablet device? Is the iPad (at $499 to $849) too expensive? Which of the iPad's missing features (if any) are deal breakers for you - SD slot, removable battery, HDMI output, camera, USB ports? What about the size? Is it too big, too small or just right? What company do you think will finally make the "perfect tablet?" We invite you to discuss this topic in our forum athttp://www.win7news....211-Forum-Discussion