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Handhelds Portables Hardware

Hands-on With the iPad Alternatives On Display At IFA 156

Barence writes "This week's IFA show has seen a flurry of Android-based alternatives to the iPad emerge from leading manufacturers. The Samsung Galaxy Tab made a strong first impression on PC Pro's reviewer. The 7-inch tablet's TFT screen 'beams forth with rich, saturated colors and wide, wide viewing angles,' the device is capable of Full HD playback and the TouchWiz UI is 'clearly intended to draw customers away from the iFamily.' Elsewhere, ViewSonic has launched a pair of 7-inch and 10-inch tablets, the larger of which dual boots into either Android or Windows 7. 'Our first moments with Windows 7 were surprisingly painless, too: we expected the Atom processor and 1GB of memory to be horrendously sluggish, but it wasn't the case,' PC Pro reports. Finally, Toshiba's 10.1-in. Folio 100 marries Android 2.2 with Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform to deliver 'mighty graphics crunching power.' The build quality left a little to desire, though. 'The 14mm thick chassis feels lightweight, and even relatively gentle twisting motions left the Folio's plastic body creaking under the stress.'"
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Hands-on With the iPad Alternatives On Display At IFA

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  • Display (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:42AM (#33488114)

    Am I the only one who doesn't like OLED and AMOLED displays? Sure they have vibrant colors but they are too saturated and not "real". Kinda like TVs at the hardware stores are setup to compete over color, without any regard for looking real.

  • by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:45AM (#33488134)

    I care about being able to install, without having to ask permission, in the future any or other possible OSs. Windows 7 starter is a non starter.

  • Looks nice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by webheaded ( 997188 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:48AM (#33488156) Homepage
    I'd be more interested in that 10" Viewsonic...the only really annoying thing I got while reading about it was the fact that you can't run Android 2.2 on it yet. That's kind of disappointing. This is definitely something I could pick up and play with though.

    On the other hand, I think I'm interested more in color e-ink over this flurry of tablet PCs. Every time I see one, all I really think of is reading stuff. Like say...a comic book or even a normal book. I'm sure they're fine little PCs but I already have a netbook with an actual keyboard. The allure of a tablet is so-so.
  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:54AM (#33488192)
    not only a non-starter, but I hate having windows forced down my throat as being "free"... it's NOT, you're paying for it... and I, for one, refuse to pay for something I do not want on the device... I want to be able to buy it without an OS... not even Android... I just want driver disks made available or available for download
  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:55AM (#33488204)

    I find it interesting that these after-the-fact products use Apple's offerings (iPhone and now the iPad) as the benchmark product. This tells me that other manufacturers see that Apple got it right, whether it's due to marketing or technology,
    By comparing themselves to Apple's products, other manufacturers have made them the gold standard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:02AM (#33488242)

    Wait for the Rockchip 2818 Clones running Android 2.2 at a lot less.
    They also have 8 inch models with sharp and japan display.
    they will be sub $100 after an initial release price of say $140, although obsolete VIA ones are less than that now.
    ARM+DSP at low power beats anything MS on battery - so I wonder what MS is thinking.

  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:03AM (#33488248)
    They definitely got some things right. Personally, I think the forced "walled garden" is wrong, but obviously I'm not their target market. I don't think the price is right for what it is either. The devices shown here also seem a bit expensive but are a bit closer to general purpose computers.
  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:10AM (#33488288)

    I agree.

    Not so long ago in a /. discussion I got the complaint "how could you have missed the article about smartphone xyz?!". The replier even gave a link to said article. The headline was " releases iPhone competitor". No "new Android-based smartphone", no, an "iPhone competitor".

    It's been like that since the iPhone resp. iPad were released. Not just on /., but all over the media. Also in my local daily.

    Since the iPad was released I have been receiving spam from Chinese manufacturers offering '7" iPad' tablets - usually running Andriod, offered at prices of US$50-80 each. Called iPad in the subject of the e-mail, for the rest they are no-brand as usual.

    I've seen the iPhone, and it looks great. I've played a bit with it, it's really easy. I've talked to people who own an iPad, all positive. I have seen a link claiming some 90% satisfaction ratio with the iPhone - very high. So yes Apple is doing something right, because with just marketing they can't do this. Microsoft can't outmarket them in this respect, and MS's marketing team is very good at their job, yet MS's products are not a golden standard.

    Still it's getting irritating. iPad competitor. iPhone alternative. iPod killer. The actual brand or manufacturer the story is about is not mentioned; Apple's product however IS mentioned, giving it free marketing, effectively promoting it. After all who wants to buy an "alternative" that has not yet been released, when you can get the "real thing" now?

  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:13AM (#33488300)

    Since Apple sold more iPad's in 80 days than all other manufacturers combined probably sold in a year, yeah, they're the gold standard.

    I say probably because I couldn't find many tablet sales number past 2005. There were a total of 1 million tablets sold that year, Apple sold 3 million iPad in the first 80 days. I don't think the market got better for tablets after 2005.

    I could be wrong, but I've wasted more time researching this than I wanted to.

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:59AM (#33488568) Homepage Journal
    There is an article in the nyt on the AppleTV [nytimes.com]. It is interesting that they do a bit of revisionist history, claiming that the iPod was a superior device. In fact it had many of the limitation people complain of the iPad. I did not allow wireless connection for data. It did not have a memory slot. It was firewire only.

    It was not superior, but it was effective for a Mac owner. There was enough memory to hold many songs. The firewire interface was necessary because mostly computers still ran USB 1.1. The problem with my nomad, for instance, was that transferring songs was dead slow. It was also rugged, unlike the nomad.

    What we will likely see on other devices is feature bloat. They will be able to do some whiz bang thing, but the overall machine will have never been thought out from the user point of view. It is like the android commercials. In the commercials, the human become a slave to the machine, the body turning into the machine to serve it. This to me is unacceptable industrial design.

  • Went for the iPad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:37AM (#33488822)

    To sum things up, I tried to avoid it, but so far I am not going for an Android Tablet. To sum things up
    Archos: Cheap but Archos sucks
    Toshiba: Nice Tablet comes close to what I want but the build quality sucks
    Samsung: Too small for my needs, and costs a whopping 700 Euros for half the screen estate of the ipad, they outpriced it for me, but the screen size also is too small.

    Only the Samsung one allows access to the Android market directly, the others need hacks to open the access.

    In other words I finally gave in and ordered an ipad... Sorry Android but this year you only have made it to my mobile phone!

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:48AM (#33488912)

    $900 for their tablet? Are you flipping serious?

    This surprised me as well, because I thought Samsung would be aiming for an equal price point, trimming features as needed to make it happen.

    The thing is, Apple has a tremendous advantage now in terms of volume. They know they can sell millions of iPads so they buy all parts in huge quantities. Who else can go into that market assuming the same? All other competitors have to either cost more, or be of much shoddier quality for the same price - except for large companies like Samsung that could take a gamble on entry pricing to get a foot in the market.

  • Re:7" screen? Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kumanopuusan ( 698669 ) <goughnourc.gmail@com> on Monday September 06, 2010 @12:04PM (#33489078)

    It was while trying to read your informative, insightful (and on-topic!) post that I stumbled over your minor typo.
    I apologize for lowering the S/N ratio. I'll try to keep my humorless musings to myself (starting right after this post, evidently).

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:03PM (#33489546) Homepage Journal

    You can sell a car kit, or indeed any portion thereof. Licensing is up to the purchaser if they want to drive it on the street, but even in litigation- and regulation-happy California you are permitted one (curses!) fully custom automobile that is not subject to many restrictions normally placed on road-going vehicles. IIRC they invent a VIN and it's attached to the body so it's in your best interest to have something infinitely repairable and more to the point, that will make you happy forever. If I were shorter I would have considered a GT40, but 6'2" is about the maximum driver height for an unmodified vehicle (i.e. factory spec body.) Now I fantasize about a tube-frame version of the lancer evo with a 4motion TDI setup :)

  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:34PM (#33489844)

    I say probably because I couldn't find many tablet sales number past 2005. There were a total of 1 million tablets sold that year, Apple sold 3 million iPad in the first 80 days. I don't think the market got better for tablets after 2005.

    If there was a market, none of the product offerings met the needs of that market. I looked at tablets back in the early 2000s. The tablets at the time weren't much more than half-assed attempts using a laptop form factor with a touch-sensitive pivoting screen that looked like it would snap right off if you looked at it wrong. They were big, bulky, and expensive.

    Maybe Apple just happened to hit the target first once the technology evolved that would allow development of the proper form factor.

  • by oblivionboy ( 181090 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:47PM (#33489948)

    Dude! Have you TRIED an iPad? Its really the thing.

    Listen, I'm not an Apple fanboy by anymeans, however I'll tell you what I was a fanboy of for years: tablets. I bought lots from ebay, from the venerable IBM Thinkpad730T, various Fujitsu tablets, and even pretty much every MessagePad that came out. The MessagePads were the coolest, and there's alot from there that is missing from the iPad. That said though, all the "PC" style tablets were horrible, and they have become oddities in my closet. Why? The user experience.

    The user experience was terrible, because they were tied to Windows. And Windows has never been a tablet OS, no matter what "Edition" you get it in. Its a desktop OS, at least in its consumer form, and so was "adapted" rather than designed from the beginning to work well with a tablet. Don't mention Linux, its got the same problem. Unless of course you redesigned Linux's interface from scratch for a tablet interface, you won't get anywhere with it. Oh wait, gee Google did that with Android. And I hear its pretty successful.

    But Apple kick started the whole thing off with the iPhone, at least in the popular mind set, and its a pretty neat device as things go. But, looking at the iPad, you start to think that maybe this is where they wanted to go all along. In fact I can't actually imagine anyone designing the iOS interface for the small size of the iPhone. Im sure what happened was that they had this tablet program, and they realized that for reason x, y and z (processing power, memory, battery life, whatever), what they wanted to offer wasn't feasable, but was a few years off. So they scaled it down screen wise and put it on the iPhone. But make no mistake, as soon as you play with the iPad more than casually (ie: daily use, integrated into your life), the iPhone seems kind of like a toy by comparison. And the iPad has done what no other tablet has done that I'm aware of (except maybe the original MessagePads, and the new Android based ones coming up), which is start from the ground up with an OS designed for tablets, and create a great tablet experience.

    So right now iPad competitor is a pretty good term. It might not be three years out, but today, everyone that has tried in the past has more or less failed. The recent announcement was that they sold 3.5 million iPads? I think Fujitsu would cream there pants to have that much success in their portable computing division.

    Anyways try it before you judge. You might be surprised. I would give the same advice to the Android tablets, or any new kind of tablet OS that is designed properly for the format.

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.