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Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet 243

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the 3-2-1-*pop* dept.
retroworks writes "In August 2011, Acer Chairman JT Wang declared that the consumer affection for tablets had already begun to cool, basically labeling it a fad. What a difference a year (and a half) makes. Acer now plans to introduce a 'category killer' $99 tablet. 'In the past few months, we've made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market,' according to a source at the Wall Street Journal. 'The launch of the Nexus 10 has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing.' Acer is aiming the new tablet at emerging markets, competing with Chinese 'white box' tablets (already available in Shenzhen at $45 each)."
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Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet

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  • by guises (2423402) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @06:35AM (#42386353)
    I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time. Acer may now be willing to get on the bandwagon for the sake of some short-term profits, but that doesn't make Mr. Wang's declaration any less correct.
    • by chithanh (1921670) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:05AM (#42386411)
      I would rather claim the reverse. Tablet sales are displacing sales of "more capable machines" at an astonishing rate. A $45 tablet already fulfills the computing needs of a whole lot of people, why should they spend more on a PC? Those high-priced PCs will be relegated to the niche of users who require functions that a tablet or smartphone cannot provide.
      • by houghi (78078) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:21AM (#42386443)

        They are not trowing away their PC, they are just buying a second or third or fourth one.
        Typing a letter? Big PC. Browsing in front of the TV? Tablet. When on the road? Their phone. On a holiday? Portable.
        Or mom and dad on the PC and the kids on the portable for homework and tablet for entertainment.

        We do not live in an OR/OR world. Always think AND/AND. So these people have the cake AND eat it too AND the cake is a lie.

        • Ya no kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:26AM (#42386619)

          I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy. Now that's fine, nothing wrong with toys, but everyone I know who has gotten a tablet already has a laptop and smartphone, and they've kept the laptop and smartphone after getting it, and kept using them.

          Those would be what tablets would replace. The argument seems to be that you don't need a laptop, a tablet will do fine, so you get one instead of your laptop. Another argument could be that a laptop isn't portable enough but a tablet is, so you can take it with you and thus don't need a smart phone, just a regular one.

          However in actual practice, nobody seems to do that. They have a laptop and a tablet, and a smartphone.

          I'm still not convinced tablets are here to stay. They seem to be fancy toys and status symbols right now (really there's an iPad market, not a tablet market) and little in the way of actual use. I could well see them dying off and people continuing to use laptops and smartphones.

          That's why I don't have one: I asked myself where I would use a tablet that I wouldn't rather use my laptop or smartphone and I can't come up with an answer. I don't want it enough just as a toy.

          • Re:Ya no kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

            by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:53AM (#42386695)

            I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy. Now that's fine, nothing wrong with toys, but everyone I know who has gotten a tablet already has a laptop and smartphone, and they've kept the laptop and smartphone after getting it, and kept using them.

            Those would be what tablets would replace. The argument seems to be that you don't need a laptop, a tablet will do fine, so you get one instead of your laptop. Another argument could be that a laptop isn't portable enough but a tablet is, so you can take it with you and thus don't need a smart phone, just a regular one.

            However in actual practice, nobody seems to do that. They have a laptop and a tablet, and a smartphone.

            I'm still not convinced tablets are here to stay. They seem to be fancy toys and status symbols right now (really there's an iPad market, not a tablet market) and little in the way of actual use. I could well see them dying off and people continuing to use laptops and smartphones.

            That's why I don't have one: I asked myself where I would use a tablet that I wouldn't rather use my laptop or smartphone and I can't come up with an answer. I don't want it enough just as a toy.

            Well, if it's a toy, it has to be just about my favorite toy. I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself - for "real" mouse/typing work I want a desktop with a keyboard that isn't little mushed things that I have to reach over a fat "sand bar" to get at while broadcasting false mouse events as my hands pass over the touchpad.

            The advantage of the tablet is that it can wander around with me easily (I have a 7-inch unit). It's what I use when I want computer resources without the rituals. I don't have to wander into the computer room, wake up a machine, sit down and assume the position. I can just pick up the tablet, unlock it and go. Literally go, since you can wander around with it in one hand - a bit of a challenge with a laptop.

            I primarily use the tablet to access data, not to input it. So I use it as an e-reader (much easier on the eyes than a desk/laptop display), email reader, RSS reader, Wikipedia/google/recipe database lookup-and-display, stuff like that where I can tap in at a whim. I CAN do short email replies and so forth, but like I said, the operative word here is "reader". It does do streaming multi-media pretty well in take-along form also.

            There's still a place in my life for the desktop (heavy-duty input) and my phone (fits-in-the-pocket), but an awful lot of what I do is a good match for the tablet. Add the current low prices and the ability to store it in a small convenient space like shelving a book, and it's hard to resist.

            • Butthead: Hey Beavis!
              Beavis: What?
              Butthead: He said '7-inch unit! Huh huh ...

            • Well, if it's a toy, it has to be just about my favorite toy. I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself - for "real" mouse/typing work I want a desktop with a keyboard that isn't little mushed things that I have to reach over a fat "sand bar" to get at while broadcasting false mouse events as my hands pass over the touchpad.

              I hate touchpads/trackpads with a passion. It's why for me only laptops with trackpoints ("nipple") will do. And exactly for the reason you cite: it's hard to type while trying to hover the thumbs over the trackpad. If you do touch it, the cursor will jump somewhere random, and your text will continue to be typed there :( Fuck that.

            • I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself - for "real" mouse/typing work I want a desktop with a keyboard that isn't little mushed things

              Let me guess: you don't do any "real" typing work while riding public transit. My habits appear to differ from yours, and I would be disappointed if small laptops went away even more than they already have.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I'm still not convinced tablets are here to stay. They seem to be fancy toys and status symbols right now (really there's an iPad market, not a tablet market) and little in the way of actual use. I could well see them dying off and people continuing to use laptops and smartphones.

            Tablets are here to stay. People have wanted this form factor as long as there have been computers, and then some. That's why we make both books of paper and tablets of paper. Tablets aren't going away, laptops are. They're turning into tablets. You can already buy a tablet PC.

          • You don't get out much then, do you? I'll see your anecdote with my own. I know many people who use tablets for productive work when a portable device makes sense. That doesn't mean PC's are going to go away. It means that tablets can be more than mere toys. I am sure quite a few people here use them for email, looking (work related) things up on the Web, and other tasks that fall into the 'other than toy' category. That is without going into all the real productivity apps that exist for iOS and Androi

          • Re:Ya no kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

            by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:55AM (#42386705) Homepage

            I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy.

            Thereby demonstrating the fallacy of generalizing from your experience to the rest of the world. You can't possibly know more than an invisibly small fraction (one in millions or tens of millions) of all tablet owners well enough to know for absolute certainty they don't use them as anything but toys.
             

            However in actual practice, nobody seems to do that. They have a laptop and a tablet, and a smartphone.

            That's the grandparent's point - rather than one big desktop computer, people now own a range of computing devices the same way they own a range of screwdrivers or a range of kitchen/chef's knifes. Different tools for different uses.

          • by Jaysyn (203771)

            I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy.

            My girlfriend is an occupational therapy assistant & uses her iPad during fine motor therapy sessions. The kids & most seniors she works with love it. She bought her iPad after getting to evaluate all the OTA apps available for it at a convention (they weren't on Android at the time, but are now). She keeps her notes & schedules on it as well.

          • by Pastis (145655)
            I am part of the team that developers a multiplatform algebra teaching game for kids (DragonBox [dragonboxapp.com]). The touch interface is very intuitive and practical for this type of applications. It allows very rapid & natural interaction, harder to emulate using keyboard&mouse for young users.
          • by nurb432 (527695)

            I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy.

            You need to get out more.

            Also the arguement has never been ' you dont need a laptop '. Its not a replacement, its an addition.

            Just beacause YOU dont see a point and its a toy to YOU, doesnt mean others cant want one and use it for other reasons. The same can be said about laptops, or a desktop too. Its all a toy to someone.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Exactly. It is like buying clothing. Some people can get by without a jacket, but most people will own a shirt and a jacket. Many will own multiples of both in various styles.
        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Not everybody in the world is rich.
      • I would rather claim the reverse. Tablet sales are displacing sales of "more capable machines" at an astonishing rate. A $45 tablet already fulfills the computing needs of a whole lot of people, why should they spend more on a PC?

        Those high-priced PCs will be relegated to the niche of users who require functions that a tablet or smartphone cannot provide.

        I am sure that a $5 keyboard is not an expensive addition to a $45 device. Hell we have seen mainstream devices like the pi that use a TV for a monitor, that are in every way as functional as a hi-priced pc, and cheaper than $45. The form factor for tablets is different, and the interface is designed for fat fingers...but price is not so different don't kid yourself. As for Capable, seriously one simply sacrifices [trades] input for portability.

        • Mainstream devices like the Pi? You talking about the Raspberry Pi? Mainstream?

          Good advice for general people is to watch more then Fox, lest their brains rot away. In the same vein, read something else but Slashdot. If you think the Pi is a mainstream device you got three options:

          • Your insane.
          • You are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word "mainstream"
          • Your reality consists of your mothers basement and a guy you met on IRC and thought was a girl.

          In extreme cases, all three might apply.

          The Raspberry Pi

          • Raspberry Pi, 5 dollar keyboard and a TV and THAT IS IT! Wanna bet he won't take that deal? Wanna bet NOBODY on Slashdot will?

            LOL I have been hooking my 2nd PC upto my TV, for the past 10 years. Actually I currently using a Fujitsu siemens Scaleo E running Ubuntu which uses a Celeron CPU and an i915 graphics, and replaced its earlier incantation that was a pentium PC that only really ran Windows 98.

            Would you like photos :)

          • by umghhh (965931)
            You mean some of the girls I meet on internet are guys?
    • by narcc (412956) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:07AM (#42386417) Journal

      I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks.

      Netbooks, at least with a proper OS, were actually useful. Like an inexpensive and somewhat tiny version of the computer you had a couple years ago. They were great until they started to dramatically increase in both price and size.

      Tablets are toys. Okay for playing games and light web browsing, but useless for doing much else.

      Cue the guy who thinks his tablet has greatly improved his life/productivity/etc. and actually thinks you can use a tablet efficiently for meaningful work.

      • Netbooks, at least with a proper OS, were actually useful

        No Netbooks were intentionally crippled by intel and microsoft ladened with a starter edition OS [expensive], no touchscreen, no HDMI out, and expensive. for the sake of its more expensive laptop market, and to kill Linux. Then the iPad happened...and the strategy looks kind of stupid. I bought a Nexus 7...I never bought a netbook, and desperately wanted one.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          While Intel and Microsoft may have crippled what is a great portable form factor, I personally loved my netbook. Granted, I doubled the RAM and installed LinuxMint (thus making the unit useable.) My little cheap gateway lived under the seat of my truck, used to access the interwebs from the road, and as a tool, typing up invoices, ordering parts, and as a high quality vehicle diagnostic tool. I personally liked that setup better than a more capable and higher speced 14 inch lenovo laptop. The netbook had a

          • one hell of a steal

            I'm not arguing against netbooks. I personally would prefer an "evolved" netbook over tablet...but it never happened, because of Microsoft. Early netbooks were cheaper, came with linux, and haven't evolved from its second generation of crippled starter edition/atom 32-bit [Microsoft insisted on single processer]/Low res screens/analogue/increased. Tablets are simply better value devices that do more for less.

            Limits for XP:

            Display: Max of 12.1 inch screen
            Storage: 160GB HDD or 32GB SSD
            Graphics: Up to DirectX 9 Graphics
            CPU: Single core processors like the Atom N or Z series and VIA Nano.

            Windows 7 (Starter):

            Display: Max of 10.1 inch screen
            Storage: 250GB or 64GB SSD
            Graphics: No Graphic limit and for the CPU
            CPU: Single core processors up to 2GHz

            • by tepples (727027)

              Tablets are simply better value devices that do more for less.

              Until you need to use an application that exists for PC but does not exist for tablet-specific operating systems. Then what do you do?

              • by tuppe666 (904118)

                Until you need to use an application that exists for PC but does not exist for tablet-specific operating systems. Then what do you do?

                Android/iOS are hitting 700,000 applications and that trend is set to continue. All the main applications were covered years ago. The reality is the latest must have applications are hitting tablets before it will ever hit the PC [if they are ported at all]...but that has nothing to so with my point. The fact that tablets have longer battery life; more portable; HDMI out; High resolution screens...at very little cost than their net-book equivalent, the software advantages are simply icing on the cake.

                • Android/iOS are hitting 700,000 applications and that trend is set to continue. All the main applications were covered years ago.

                  "All" is a strong word. Xcode, for example, is not ported to iPad. And do you expect Visual Studio to come to Windows RT any time soon? Even if you consider programming an edge case that a statistically insignificant fraction of users will run into, what pixel art editor do you recommend? I tried spc-m's pixel art editor [google.com], and it didn't even appear to let me select pixels and move or copy them. Therefore, it can't replace GIMP for my pixeling needs.

                  more portable

                  Even once you start carrying an external keyboard?

                  HDMI out

                  Which does

                • by symbolset (646467) *
                  Yes. Also, a lot of "apps" used in business have been converted to standards-based web apps now that work with any browser to get out of the "IE" trap.
      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Cue the guy who thinks his tablet has greatly improved his life/productivity/etc. and actually thinks you can use a tablet efficiently for meaningful work.

        Most people don't do "meaningful" work on their computers therefore a tablet suits them much better than a machine which is ten times more complex to use and needs constant care/updates/reformatting.

        • Most people don't do "meaningful" work on their computers

          If someone buys only a tablet now and uses it exclusively, he's just making it more expensive for himself later when he starts to do "meaningful" work. And if a critical mass buy only a tablet now, the economies of scale are likely to fall out of the PC market to the point where only a business will be able to afford PCs.

      • I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks.

        The 10" laptop computers commonly called "netbooks" run the same operating system as a desktop PC. This means they can run a different set of applications, including applications can be used for light-duty creation of works of authorship. In some of my spare time, I'm working on a retro-styled puzzle platformer. I routinely run IDLE, a Python IDE, and GIMP, an image editor that I use to create pixel art, on the 10" Dell laptop that I take on the bus with me to pass the time during my commute. What are the c

    • by bazorg (911295) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:36AM (#42386479) Homepage

      I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks.

      I see tablets as sufficiently different from PCs to be worthwhile for people who dislike and/or are not interested in having a PC. Netbooks were an attempt to have the usual applications available in a small and cheap machine with the usual x86 standards components.

      Since tablets and smartphones are seen as sufficiently separate and different from PCs, different sales strategies and products were tried and have been very successful. By uncovering a brand new market space, made up of people who accept subscription pricing and pay as you go for "apps" and related services, many companies are selling stuff that just was not practical to sell to PC users.

    • by Kergan (780543) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:37AM (#42386491)

      I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time.

      I think you don't get it. I'm admittedly no typical user, but I've the honest impression that I wouldn't need my laptop at all if I weren't programming. For the past two years, I've been doing everything else from a tablet, with the added bonus of being able to do so from a comfortable couch, a hammock, a beach club, wherever -- and without the need for a surface to sit the device on.

      Do I periodically wish there were massive games like Civ 5? Sure, but they'll get there eventually. In the meanwhile, I can no longer be bothered to sit at a desk (and develop carpal tunnel) to play a video game.

      In light of how tablets are selling, I trust I'm not alone with this impression. Only future will tell, obviously, but methinks the hey days of laptops and desktops in households are behind us.

    • I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time. Acer may now be willing to get on the bandwagon for the sake of some short-term profits, but that doesn't make Mr. Wang's declaration any less correct.

      It really depends on how you plan to use the device. As a laptop replacement tablets have many limitations that make then a less then viable alternative, for example despite the availability of word processors and presentation software they really don't work well for creating anything beyond basic content. However, if you view them as a viewing device they make a very compelling adjunct to a PC. It's easy to keep a significant amount of searchable documents on one, as well as video content for viewing while

    • Netbooks are usable as computers for doing actual work on. I lived on my netbook for a couple of years, including for work from home. Trouble is that the whole point is to build them with the cheapest possible parts, so it basically fell apart. (Now using overpriced oversized company laptop. Faster, though.)

    • It depends on what you plan on using the tablet for. I bought a cheap chinese knockoff tablet a few months ago, because I was going into hospital for an operation, and I wanted something I could watch Netflix on while recovering. The only deciding factors in my decision to buy that particular tablet were the screen size and the price. I literally bought the cheapest 10" tablet I could lay my hands on. That it runs ICS was a bonus, but not required. It's actually not *that* bad a tablet, in that it does have

    • But... but tablets! If Netbooks were so great then Apple would have invented them.

      Besides, tablets are way more expensive than Netbooks, in the enterprise. I haven't used a Windows tablet that doesn't suck; when the executives eventually get their toys and decide they want to do some useful work on them, IT has to buy 100 licenses of VMware View (the minimum purchase) and four back-end servers for the ten users who use it.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      I was with my extended family this Christmas.
      I am a software developer, and as always, family asks me about tech or how to do things.

      This year in particular I could feel how much of a different world of computers my aunts and uncles lived in. Explaining to them why something doesn't work, what options they can look into, that they need to find software that does this or that and where to find information is useless. They just want to press a button and have it do what they need. Since I haven't used Microso

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Tablets are not the same as a netbook, nor are they targeted at the same market.

      With the netbook, i agree it was a rather odd device, stuck in a rather niche market. This is in drastic contrast to the tablet market, which is growing by leaps year after year.

      semi-useful, to whom? That is a self-centered comment. "Useful" varies from person to person.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      Tablets are not here to replace PCs, they are here to replace the book and books aren't exactly known for being tools for productive work, they are things to consume and that is exactly what tablets excel at as well. As for Netbooks, they were essentially the precursor to tablets, so it's not so much that the Netbook fad is over, but that it has evolved into devices that are much better suited for the intended use. Tablets won't go away anytime soon. The PC won't either, but it's not the device of choice wh

    • by firewood (41230)

      I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time..

      Didn't someone at DEC say the same thing about PCs? Those desktop toys must have been just an outclassed passing fad, and real businesses still buy far more capable minicomputers from DEC, Data General, Prime, Tandem, and ...

      Oh wait.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @06:44AM (#42386363) Journal

    would be those that run Linux instead of Android. Archos tablets support Angstrom Linux, but it would be better if one of the bigger OEMs such as Acer were o offer Linux tablets. Many more use cases and usage senarios would be possible then.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ewertz (1191025)
      I too welcome the next eight years being heralded as "the Year of the Linux Tablet", after all of the success of Linux on the desktop.
      • I too welcome the next eight years being heralded as "the Year of the Linux Tablet", after all of the success of Linux on the desktop.

        Linux is already becoming the dominant platform on the tablet, as it did on the smart-phone. The truth is Andorid is becoming the next dominant platform. Your post dates back to a time when computing was about Microsoft and its monopoly due to inertia. Those days are gone...we now talk about the "pack of four", and well Microsoft is not in it. That is not to say I don't want more GNU on my tablet, but we are seeing signs of that everywhere from Tizen; KDE; Ubuntu etc etc.

        Your out of date.

        • by devent (1627873)

          Interesting, care to elaborate why you don't want more GNU on your tablet?
          Is it a bias against the GNU GPL or something concrete?
          GNU brought me only joy in my life, more freedom, less costs, more joy. I don't know why anybody don't want to have more GNU on his or her tablet.

    • by allo (1728082)

      you can now have KDE Plasma Active on the Nexus 7. Next thing would be more touch-apps for KDE, or even some widget-concept, which can switch between desktop/touch widgets.

      The big thing missing from android-device is the freedom of choice. yeah, you can have ROMs ... its like saying "okay, you can have vista business instead of home", its just a remix of the same distribution. Android, Android with cyanogen, android with foo, android with bar ... but nothing else. And most devices even support android up to

      • Almost every android-ROM is used with google market, which is a "why should i offer it for free, when i can get 1,50 Eur per download" ecosystem

        How would you prefer that application developers put a roof over their children's heads?

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:02AM (#42386559)

      would be those that run Linux instead of Android. Archos tablets support Angstrom Linux, but it would be better if one of the bigger OEMs such as Acer were o offer Linux tablets. Many more use cases and usage senarios would be possible then.

      Microsoft successfully derailed Linux on the netbooks, and killed meego by killing Nokia; costing them Billions. Microsoft have been incredibly successful in not letting GNU/Linux win. Its kind of sad as all that has happened is they have been made irrelevant by the "pack of four".

      The reality is GNU/Linux [if I can call that today], will survive, due to its open nature. I'm personally looking forward to running Android applications on my new touchscreen Chromebook running Debian [one of its derivatives].

    • The problem with Linux on a tablet is not installing Linux but making it usable with a touchscreen. A mouse orientated ui is not so usable when the pointer device is a finger, keyboard input is not so easy either pop up your touchscreen keyboard and you are losing a good part of your display and typically the entry point for the text you are attempting to enter.

      The Desktop mouse keyboard interface just doesn't work well, on the positive side KDE plasma touch interface is coming along, and touch aware apps

      • The problem with Linux on a tablet is not installing Linux but making it usable with a touchscreen.

        Gnome/KDE/Unity are moving towards a more touch-screen friendly approach [whatever you think of that], as well as Linux Os's designed for it https://www.tizen.org/ [tizen.org] and my personal favourite sailfish http://jolla.com/ [jolla.com] you need to keep your eyes open.

  • Cool. Will it blend [youtube.com] too?

  • Nice! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:34AM (#42386469)

    These could actually make food testing devices for developers who want to ensure decent performance on cheaper devices (e.g., the no-name stuff that's sold at supermarkets).

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:41AM (#42386505)
    Is this the Acer Iconia based on the Atom running Windows 8, or is it an Android/ARM based tablet?
  • by iampiti (1059688) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:49AM (#42386525)
    Tablets and smartphones are getting good enough. It's the same process the PC underwent but much faster: Hardware progresses to a point that 90% of applications run plenty fast so the average person doesn't need to change them very often unless it breaks. Together with the maturity of the OS these devices use I think the exponential growth phase is gonna end soon.
    Moreover, it seems the cheap tablets are getting good enough too so it looks that making expensive tablets it's not gonna be a great business plan.
    Anyway, it looks that it'll affect expensive android tablet manufacturers more since Apple looks comfortable in the different and pricier-but-better market niche. This also mirrors the PC history.
  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @07:57AM (#42386551)
    I find it funny that people - then again the inmates are still running the asylum in tech land - still make fad claims or make the comparisons with netbooks.

    I found netbooks clumsy devices because of the small (lower res) screens and the small ficky keyboards. Even today I still don't see any good use for them.

    Tablets on the other hand are mostly content consuming* devices and regarding their usefulness in that regards, they are miles away from more PC. Hell they are not even on the same planet. For surfing/reading/... from my coach, on the train,.. I would pick a tablet over a laptop on any day. Hell if I'm in the same room as my PC and I have the tablet at hand, I mostly will pick up the second one.

    * I'm gonna let you into a little secret most of the population don't use computers to create content... .
    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      I found netbooks clumsy devices because of the small (lower res) screens and the small ficky keyboards. Even today I still don't see any good use for them.

      ...and there is no reason they couldn't include higher resolution screens...or better keyboards. You could use them exactly like you would a tablet or a keyboard

      *I'm gonna let you into a secret people create content *all* the time from tweets to email to photos MORE than they ever have. What has lost importance is Office.

      • ...and there is no reason they couldn't include higher resolution screens...or better keyboards. You could use them exactly like you would a tablet or a keyboard

        Then you still have the clumsiness of the form. A tablet is a thousand time easier to pick up and to handle in different situations.

        I'm gonna let you into a secret people create content *all* the time from tweets to email to photos MORE than they ever have.What has lost importance is Office.

        And for that kind of content (pictures, tweets) w
    • There can be a need for portable computing in your life. This is NOT the same as on the move computing but rather where you wish to have the same enviroment at several static locations. The trick is here to remember that no sane person works on a laptop. Your screen got to be higher up to be comfortable and your keyboard lower, flatter and bigger. So... you instead plug it into your laptop stand, link it via say Synergy and use it as an extra screen with your own environment.

      For others, a netbook is a very

  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:21AM (#42386613) Homepage Journal

    I can't deny their popularity but I really don't understand it.

    I've got a Nexus 7 sitting a few inches away. I play my tower defence game on it occasionally but it's not really any better than playing it on my phone. I don't read books on it - it's so much heavier and tougher on the eyes than my kindle. The one hope I had was comics - but I'm still working on that. The one that I've downloaded from Amazon is impossible to read in the kindle app. (When it 'zooms' panels it's not nearly enough to make the text legible.)

    If I am going to be going on a long trip I can see where it would be handy there. It will be better for watching shows than my phone, a little more convenient than my laptop. Though the lack of storage space limits how much media I'll be able to put on it.

    The reason I have it is for testing some software we'll be using down the road. People will basically 'sign up' for stuff in person, using the tablet to enter their data rather than filling out cards. When we've used cards - it's labor intensive and their are lots of errors getting the information entered into other systems.

    But around the house, on the couch, in the kitchen - I just grab a laptop. Easier to hold, easier to surf, all that stuff.

    • I recently got a Nexus 7. My kids fight over it. A new one will be found under the tree this morning to alleviate some of that.

      While I agree with you -- I'm typing this from a pc running Ubuntu -- here is one example where the Nexus 7 beats my pc. On this pc I have Kindle for PC (installed on a virtual XP). I think I have used it once. On the Nexus 7, I have the Kindle app on it. I read an entire book on it.

      Still, I agree with you. If you have to input data, a PC is far superior. If you just consume informa

      • I think the PC is superior for consuming content as well, except for books. But I think the Kindle crushes tablets for book reading unless color is needed. I read comics on my pc (Fedora here).

        My girls have 5 inch tablets and use them a lot for personal entertainment - games, music - but when they want to chat or do email they get on one of the family computers. They have read books on them while we waited to replace broken Kindles. My son is saving for a Nexus 7. His trouble is restraining from spending mo

    • by TheSunborn (68004)

      I think part of it is the same as the success of game consoles. They are single purpose* devices which are simple to use and which just work. Looking up a website on a computer is in some way a complex task, requiring that you wait for the computer to boot, hoping windows don't fuck up things or show popup messages users don't understand. With a tablet they just click on the icon and access the internet.

      *The purpose being consumption of content from the net, and simple games.

    • Half a billion people have iPhones now. And another half-billion Android phones. It takes under an hour with one of these before you say "Man, this rocks but you know what would be totally killer? If it was bigger."
  • by dnaumov (453672) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:40AM (#42386659)

    I can say with certainty that the tablet revolution is just beginning. The simple truth is that a huge amount of home users don't REALLY want a PC. They think they want a PC, but they really don't. They want a machine that is cheap, gets them on Facebook, has a video/audio player, a web browser, email and Skype and is as low maintainance as possible. It's true that tablets are spectacularly bad productivity devices, they are mostly consumption devices. The thing is, the vast majority of home users are pure consumers and couldn't give 2 shits about productivity applications.

    • I can say with certainty that the tablet revolution is just beginning. The simple truth is that a huge amount of home users don't REALLY want a PC. They think they want a PC, but they really don't. They want a machine that is cheap, gets them on Facebook, has a video/audio player, a web browser, email and Skype and is as low maintainance as possible. It's true that tablets are spectacularly bad productivity devices, they are mostly consumption devices. The thing is, the vast majority of home users are pure consumers and couldn't give 2 shits about productivity applications.

      Exactly. Before my Windows7 laptop died, when I'd want to check my email on it. I'd turn it on, wait a couple minutes for it to fully boot up, connect to the router and Windows informs me an imperative, 'end of the world' update is needed. Sure, I click ok, windows is downloading..., download interrupted! Okay, this needs to be done, so I re-download..., maybe it intalls correctly, maybe it doesn't. Windows needs to reboot (sigh)... Now by this time, I've wasted 10 or 20 minutes, still haven't been able t

      • by Alomex (148003)

        I'd turn it on, wait a couple minutes for it to fully boot up, connect to the router and Windows informs me an imperative, 'end of the world' update is needed.

        Lessee, open laptop (also running Windows 7) press "Get Mail" in Thunderbird and start reading my email.

        Time: 10 seconds from the moment I pressed the latch til the new email arrived (I just timed it).

        For starters, why are turning your laptop/tablet off? haven't you heard of sleep mode?

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Right, and this is the market that actually makes things happen. They have the money and the volume. "Techies" dont.

      The sooner people around here figure this out, the better.

  • A small tablet with touch navigation and enough storage for my music sounds like a perfect car audio device to me.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:32PM (#42388461) Homepage

    There are plenty of tablets under $99 on Alibaba, and even on Amazon. Finally, a major brand gets into it.

    The main problem is that Acer is also a PC manufacturer, and thus vulnerable to pressure from Microsoft. That pressure is why both Asus and Dell introduced, then withdrew, Linux machines, and why the major brands went along with Microsoft's upper limit on XP-based netbook hardware. Many of the smaller tablet manufacturers have no Microsoft involvement, and are thus in a good position to ignore Microsoft's desire to keep a higher price point.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @02:54PM (#42389161) Journal

    Acer understands.

    Tablets are an accessory. They are an extension of a desktop. They are not desktop computers, they are not laptops. They are NOT here to replace those. And you don't want to spend $500+ on an accessory for your computer.

    Acer also understands that people don't need/want a cell phone data plan for their tablet. We got wifi, it's more then good enough.

    Provided the FCC allows Acer to sell these in the USA (this article didn't say it, but another article i read about it did say the FCC hadn't approved those yet, here's the article: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/12/24/acer-plans-to-launch-99-tablet/ [wsj.com])

    But of course, it's about the consumers, isn't it? Is cheap good enough, or will cries of "it's not an iPad" ruin it's run?

    I'd rather have a 10" to 12" screen myself, so hoping this plays out well.

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