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BlackBerry PlayBook hands-on – Update: Now with video!

BlackBerry PlayBookI just scored some hands-on time with RIM’s answer to the iPad: the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.  Unlike the larger iPad, the PlayBook sports a 7″ screen but a faster dual core processor.  The tablet’s construction feels good, as we would expect from RIM, and the touchscreen’s responsiveness is great.  The bezel is also active, although it will be interesting to see whether or not this is a good idea after sustained use.  I know I hold my iPad along the bezel all the time, and I wouldn’t want it to respond to my hand movements.  For example, to BlackBerry PlayBook 3bring up the open applications view, you swipe a finger upwards on the PlayBook’s bottom screen bezel.

What I saw was a pre-production unit, but the PlayBook’s performance was impressive.  Multiple applications were open and simultaneously active, even in the task viewer.  I would expect that kind of thing would be a battery destroyer, but it sure looked amazing.  The PlayBook seems to be aimed at either being a home multimedia tablet, or an add-on for a BlackBerry.  There didn’t seem to be a mail client actually on the PlayBook itself, and the BlackBerry rep said that the idea is to go to a browser to view email, or view it through a connected BlackBerry smartphone.

The PlayBook will share the BlackBerry App World, so I guess we might see dedicated email and other messaging apps coming out for the tablet.  However I’d really like to see some dedicated messaging apps, as well as a promise of thousands of apps coming soon for the PlayBook.  It’s launching in March, and if it’s just going to be positioned as an internet tablet with a BlackBerry hook-up, I fear it may get crushed in the consumer space by the iPad, and the wealth of apps that will likely start coming out for Android Honeycomb tablets like the Motorola Xoom.

Here’s the video of what went down…

Neil Berman

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Jan 6, 2011 Posted by | CES, Hardware, Mobile, Video Features | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2010: The year that changed computers and TV?

Halo TV iPadHappy New Year to all of our readers!! If you’re already in 2011, what’s it like on the other side? On behalf of those of us still in 2010, we’re jealous of the cool fireworks that have been going on.

2010 turned out to be a pretty surprising year. Coming out of a recession it looked like the year would be a damp squib, but in fact consumer electronics spending held strong as we became ever-more obsessed with gadgets.

There were some technologies failed to make an impression, like 3DTV. I’m sure that next week I’ll see a whole new round of excitement around this technology even though consumers don’t seem all that interested in owning it at home. Even some of this year’s 3D hollywood blockbusters disappointed; Tron Legacy springs to mind, which asked moviegoers to pay 3D prices even though much of the movie was presented in 2D. The 2D parts of the movie were too dark with glasses on and more enjoyable with them off…but what’s the point in swapping them in and out for 2D and 3D footage?

The BlackBerry platform surprised us for an unexpected reason. While RIM’s smartphone strategy failed to impress with the disappointing Torch, the company surprised everyone with its PlayBook QNX announcement. I’m not sure if that’s enough to save the company long term though. I still believe that once corporates move away from the BlackBerry platform in larger numbers, the consumer market will choose to sustain the Apple, Google and Microsoft mobile offerings at the expense of RIM’s.

For me the most surprising aspect of 2010 was that the iPad really did turn out to be revolutionary after all. It completely changed the way we look at tablet computers and introduced new people to the computing world, both young and old. For kids aged 6-12 years, their most wanted gadget this holiday season was an iPad. Not a Nintendo DS, or a PSP, or a cellphone. They wanted a tablet computer; that’s how profoundly the iPad impacted the market.

Competitors weren’t ready for this. Microsoft thought they could pre-empt it by showing off the HP slate at CES 2010, and that product didn’t get very far in the consumer realm. Samsung got snubbed by Google for releasing the Galaxy Tab with Android 2.2. Even so, the Tab did put in a decent showing in sales volumes, although I’ve only ever seen one unit in someone’s hands outside of a store, review or trade show.

Netbooks also fell prey to the iPad’s assault. As iPad sales continued to increase throughout 2010, netbook sales suffered. Now nobody really seems interested in the sector at all, but that’s also because low priced ultraportables with decent processors are now hitting the market at under $500.

2010 also turned out to be the year that the mass market got excited about streaming content to their living room TV. With easy to use, high quality services like Netflix gaining huge popularity, Roku and Apple sold good numbers of their tiny set top boxes. Google had a different experience with Google TV, releasing a product that clearly hadn’t gone through a full round of consultation with TV networks, who promptly blocked the devices from streaming their online shows. But the overriding theme is that consumers definitely want to pull content directly into their living room from the internet.

The iPad changed the way we perceive computers and family-friendly content streamers changed the way mainstream consumers want to watch TV. Not bad for a year that was setup to be a “Meh” year in consumer electronics. Bring on 2011!

Neil Berman

Dec 31, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Computing, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile, Rants | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mini-review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung Galaxy Tab

I scored some playtime with the Samsung Galaxy Tab earlier this week.  For newbies out there, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is the foremost Android-based tablet competitor to the iPad both in price and intended usage.  That’s where the similarities end however.

The Galaxy Tab has a seven inch LCD screen (not AMOLED) that provides approximately half of the screen real estate of the iPad’s 9.7 inch IPS panel.  The Galaxy Tab is correspondingly around 50% lighter as well, weighing in at 0.84 lbs compared to 1.5lbs for the iPad.  The operating systems are obviously different too, with the iPad running an iPad-optimized version of iOS, whereas the Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 with some Samsung app enhancements to make the experience more tablet-

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab keyboard

The Samsung Galaxy Tab docked with its optional keyboard

 

friendly.  The Galaxy Tab is likely to be available on various carriers contract-free for around $599-$649 and on a two year contract for around $399.

I’ll keep this short.  The Galaxy Tab is a disappointment for the large amount of money being asked.  As a contract-free proposition it costs around the same as an iPad 3G.  I won’t even go into the pros and cons of locking yourself into a 2 year contract by buying a Galaxy Tab at the lower price.  I can’t see why anyone would want to do that when Google has said that the version of Android running on the Tab shouldn’t be used on tablets.  It’s pretty clear that since future versions of Android are rolling out (imminently) and the CEA said this week that eighty Android tablets are coming in the next 6-9 months, I can’t imagine who would want to be locked into a 2.2 device for two years with no guarantee of a software upgrade to a possible future tablet-blessed version of Android.

Using the Galaxy Tab was pretty near identical to using a large screened Android smartphone, except that the Galaxy Tab is unable to make regular voice calls.  Most apps looked the same as their smartphone equivalents but were just larger, which seemed to defeat the benefit of having more screen real estate.  Unlike the Samsung Epic 4G, loading web pages was a little slow on the Galaxy Tab but I’ll put that down to the WiFi connection where I was using it since a lot of people were pulling data at the same time.  What I can’t excuse the Galaxy Tab for however is that once pages were loaded, scrolling and zooming was laggy compared to the Samsung Epic 4G which is buttery smooth in this regard.  The physical look and feel of the Galaxy Tab is okay, but there is no real premium feel to the device.  It does look nice and feels solid, but it’s an all plastic affair rather than a more upmarket metal design.

I’m in two minds about the merits of the seven inch screen.  Like the iPad, the Galaxy Tab is too large to put in a regular trouser or coat pocket, so it is unlikely to go everywhere with you.  Given that limitation I’m not sure if the seven inch screen conceptually works.  Let’s say you carry a four inch smartphone daily and your use-case for the Galaxy Tab is to carry it occasionally or use it at home for larger screen browsing and media consumption.  I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just choose the iPad instead, since Samsung Galaxy Tab web browserwith a screen that’s around 100% bigger you really can do a lot more; it’s not as if the iPad is materially less portable.  By comparison, even though the Galaxy Tab’s screen is much larger than a four inch smartphone screen, it’s still not really big enough to fully enjoy desktop versions of websites unlike the iPad.

My biggest concern about the Galaxy Tab however is the one I previously wrote about; I think this device is heading for a soft fail.  There just isn’t enough software that takes advantage of the Tab’s seven inch screen to make it compelling just yet.  The Wall Street Journal Android tablet app is probably the first high profile release, but the Tab-optimized app selection is tiny compared to the tens of thousands of iPad-optimized apps.

Would I buy a Galaxy Tab right now?  Dedicated Android followers will undoubtedly enjoy the Tab, but based upon what I’ve seen so far I’d have to say that the iPad is a better proposition for typical Main Street users.  I really want there to be good Android tablets out there to push the overall market to a higher level, and Samsung has done a solid job with the hardware, but the software is just not in place yet to turn the Tab into the market leader.  If a good selection of optimized apps gets released then I’d be willing to give the Galaxy Tab a second look, but for now I can’t see a compelling mass-market case for buying one over the similarly priced iPad.

Neil Berman

Nov 12, 2010 Posted by | Hardware, Mobile | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Did we just live through “Crazy Pricing Week”?

First was the Logitech Revue Google TV at $299, then the Cisco Umi home videocon came along at $599 and yesterday we saw rumors tha the Samsung Galaxy Tab might launch at $399 on a 2 year contract with T-Mobile.

If that last one turns out to be accurate, it could end up as a disaster for the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it looks like the Samsung Galaxy Tab will not have the software and app ecosystem to compete effectively with the iPad.  Heck even Google said Android 2.2 is not designed to run tablets.

These issues might be surmountable if the Galaxy Tab were to be priced competitively – and I mean something like $199 on contract and say $399 contract free.  The rumored $399 with a contract make it seem irrelevant, since anecdotal evidence suggests that only a small percentage of iPad owners have subscribed to the ontract free AT&T  data plan, which starts at just $15 per month.  The rumors also suggest that the unsubsidized Galaxy Tab might cost $649, which is slightly higher than the 16GB iPad 3G.

Samsung does have a history of expensive tablet pricing.  The company’s Q1 7-inch Windows XP tablet and Q1 Ultra follow-up device were too expensive to win significant consumer attention.  If the Galaxy Tab pricing rumors are true, expect to see limited numbers out and about.

Sheesh, that really was the week of crazy pricing.  Sure sales might have been down recently due to the weak economy but the way to win back sales is surely to price appropriately and look for volume buildup rather than having to endure price cuts that anger early adopters.  Apple already went through that with the original iPhone launch and hwere wise to avoid a similar pitfall with the iPad.

Neil Berman

Oct 11, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Home Theater, Photo & Video, Mobile | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab heading for a soft fail?

Samsung Galaxy TabAs we await final pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, one constraint is known: The iPad costs $499.  Regardless of the fantastic energy around the Android platform at present, any tablet launched at or above this price point must present a winning combination of software  and hardware in that order.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab, while endowed with promising hardware looks set to disappoint on the software front and but most importantly may simply self-destruct if current pricing rumors are true.

Samsung does have a history of expensively priced tablets, with the Q1 and Q1 Ultra (which I lusted after for months) being examples of good hardware that failed to achieve significant adoption due to high retail prices.  I have a feeling

Samsung Q1 Ultra

Samsung's Q1 Ultra failed to achieve significant adoption due to its high price and lack of tablet-optimized software

that the rumored prices we are seeing for the Galaxy Tab might be total costs of ownership based upon a cell carrier monthly contract plus a low initial purchase price.  This model does mean however that a standalone device would be very expensive and I suspect that few people want a tablet tied to a two year carrier contract.  So on a like-for-like basis the Galaxy Tab might end up being cheaper than an iPad 3G, but this is a probably a far smaller market than the regular WiFi model.

The bigger issue aside from pricing is the software.  While Android is clearly now an excellent smartphone OS, there’s no current indication that it ready to be a good tablet platform competitor to the iPad and here’s why:  The iPad has 25,000 apps that take advantage of its large screen to optimize content delivery and presentation compared to their iPhone versions.  At present pretty much all Android apps are optimized for 3-5 inch screens, and while they will probably scale up to fit the Galaxy Tab’s screen most of them will not be able to take advantage of the extra screen real estate.

While there were initial concerns that the iPad would not sell enough units to generate enough revenue for developers to built dedicated apps, the opposite has happened. iPad apps typically sell at a significant premium to iPhone versions.  Plants vs Zombies is a perfect example; it’s $2.99 on the iPhone and $9.99 on the iPad.  Herein lies the real issue for the Android tablet software developer.  The Android Marketplace has a larger percentage of free apps than any other mobile platform.  So before developers can even think about drawing higher margins from an Android tablet there’s work to be done on the smartphone platform first.  Plus, we don’t yet know if the majority of Android tablets will be 7 inch 1024×600 devices, 10 inch 1280×720 or some other resolution and these variables will create developer challenges to optimizing apps.

For the last decade it’s been clear that tablets are only as useful as their software.  While Android is clearly a good starting point for tablets we’re going to need to see a solid growth of dedicated apps to make the platform successful on the bigger screen.

Neil Berman

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Sep 3, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Hardware, Mobile, Software | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Steve Ballmer talks up Windows 7 tablets, devices still lacking

Steve Ballmer Windows 7 tabletIt feels like a long time ago that I was sitting in Microsoft’s CES keynote in January where Steve Ballmer showed off HP’s elusive Windows 7 tablet. That device is yet to come to market, while the iPad has walked off with over 3 million sales. It also seems that Android tablets are set to make a splash with companies such as Archos already at market, Samsung coming and plenty of others due to follow.  HP has intimated that it is concentrating on the Enterprise sector with its Windows 7 tablet and refocusing on Web OS for consumers.

So it was bizarre that Steve Ballmer’s press conference produced less certainty around Windows 7 tablet delivery than his CES keynote. At least in Las Vegas he was actually holding a tangible prototype device that seemed like to come to market. The message this week was that Windows 7 tablets are coming but we don’t know when.

To my mind this there are two things wrong with this message. Firstly, the lack of timeframe is severely problematic since the iPad holds the consumer mindshare in this sector. Android is poised to bite a chunk out of that near-monopoly as demonstrated by recent demand for the cheap (but unfortunately not cheerful) Augen GenTouch 78. Augen GenTouch 78So as consumers in this small market buy an iPad or Android tablet, Microsoft’s first generation sales become smaller by the day in this sector without a meaningful product. I mean when people need convincing to buy one first gen tablet, who needs two?

Secondly, as I’ve said before, Windows 7 feels like the wrong platform for a tablet and Windows Phone 7 feels like the right one. Just as Apple successfully ported iOS from the iPhone to the iPad, Microsoft should do likewise with Windows Phone 7. The OS is already touch optimized and is designed to run on low power touchscreen devices delivering sustained battery life and fun interactions.

Every Windows 7 tablet device I’ve used suffers from slow start-up times, poor battery life and has been challenging to use without a stylus. They’re essentially netbook-speed devices with a touchscreen and no keyboard; the Archos 9 is a case in point. The market has clearly demonstrated that this is not what it wants, as we can see from the success of the iPad.

Microsoft has admitted to missing a cycle in the smartphone market. It should review its tablet strategy to avoid missing another one.

Neil Berman

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Jul 31, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Slate of the Tablet

Apple NewtonThe tablet market is moving fast this year and it’s hard to keep up. So here’s the State Slate of the Tablet.

Apple iPad running iPhone OS

Since the death of the Newton a long time ago there have been rumors that Apple was developing a new tablet. Steve Jobs finally announced the iPad earlier this year which, in case you’ve been on an extended remote vacation, is Apple iPad theONbutton landscapeavailable now running iPhone OS. It is available in WiFi only or WiFi+3G, the latter being a smart choice to get the most out of the iPad (pictured). The iPad uses the same App Store as the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPad can run iPhone apps but dedicated iPad apps look best.

We now either own one, want one or don’t know what it’s for. Personally I didn’t know what it was for, then wanted one and lined up on launch day to own one. I now know exactly what it’s for, which is around 75% of all my Internet and media consumption. The chances are that if a website doesn’t work on the iPad, I’ll find another website or better still, an app.

Limitations include the iPad’s lack of Flash support, no easily accessible file explorer and a beautiful screen which is difficult to read outdoors. Strengths include ten hour battery life, loads of great apps and the ability to enjoy good Internet content without having to trawl the whole Internet to find it.

PC tablets running Windows

Windows tablets have existed ever since the release of Windows XP Tablet Edition years ago. These early tablets were typically ultraportable laptops with touchscreens that swiveled to convert the device into a tablet. They used resistiveArchos 9touchscreens and required a stylus for input, or a very precise fingernail.

The current crop of Windows 7 tablets, spearheaded by the likes of the Archos 9 (pictured), are certainly far lighter than their ancestors but the weaknesses remain. Notably the resistive screens and stylus or trackpad input method. Unfortunately there are just too many aspects of Windows 7 usage that require precise interaction to allow tablets to really exploit the OS.

Multitouch gestures have been built into Windows 7 but as soon as you try using an application like Microsoft Office on a Windows tablet, it is beaten in usability by iWork for iPad which was created from the ground up for tablet usage. Battery life is also an issue on Windows tablets which mainly now use the Intel Atom processor. This is a very power efficient CPU but real life battery usage on these tablets tends to top out at 2-3 hours.

Android

The Google and Open Handset Alliance backed Android OS is making a big play for tablet market share. Or perhaps I should say lots of little plays, because like the Windows tablet market the Android one is made up of a gazillion of Dell Streakemerging models. Unlike the Windows market however, the Android devices we’ve seen so far are all running slightly different versions of Android.

Personally I feel that while Android will overcome the obstacle of fragmentation in the smartphone market, I believe it will greatly hinder the platform in the tablet market. Most users ultimately don’t care if they can’t run this or that app on their phone as long as the device runs a core set of important apps. With tablets it’s different because they are perceived as far more capable devices than phones due to their screen size. If a user tries to download an app which only works on Android 2.1 onto a 2.0 device she purchase that day, frustration will mount. The fragmentation of Android builds on tablets may hold back the rise of the platform if left unchecked.

In terms of actual Android tablet devices in the marketplace, we have seen the JooJoo come and be poorly received. That was the most high profile launch until the recent Dell Streak (pictured above), which is a small tablet and large smartphone wrapped up in a heavy, less than pocket friendly chassis. There was a ton of Android tablets announced at Computex last week running various builds of the OS, which seemed to reinforce the idea that fragmentation is the biggest issue facing this platform.

Palm Pre PlusWeb OS by Palm

HP recently acquired Palm and the jury is out on whether the HP Slate, which was due to be launched imminently running Windows 7, will be shelved in favor of a HP Web OS tablet. Those who have used a Palm Pre (pictured) or Pixi may feel that Web OS could be the foundation of a very useful tablet interface. We’ll just have to wait to see what HP has in store for us on this front.

Neil Berman

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Jun 6, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Computing, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t hands-on: It’s no iPad killer

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t 3With the iPad inspired tablet season well underway, Lenovo has released its new IdeaPad S10-3t in the hope of snatching some early sales before Apple’s magical tablet hits the stores.

The IdeaPad S10-3t is definitely a different beast to the Apple iPad, with Lenovo throwing the guts of a netbook into a convertible tablet chassis.  There’s an Intel Atom N450, a 250GB hard drive and the usual webcam and assortment of ports.  This makes the IdeaPad S10-3t more akin to a traditional Windows convertible tablet than a dedicated iPad style tablet device with a honed OS.  At the risk of reaching the end of this review in advance …continue reading

Mar 18, 2010 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Apple iPad: A well-priced compromise, but should you buy one?

Today I found myself following a now familiar pattern for Apple press events.  Full of anticipation at the start, perhaps even fear of how I might feel if the event ends up being a letdown.  Anticipation building further during the introduction and megadownloadfiguresfinancialshyperbole etc.  Product announcement YAY!  Features look great, I’m pretty sure I want one.  Price way better than expected, definitely want one NOW.  Presentation ends. The dust settles and reality starts to kick in; my 100% enthusiasm starts to get tempered.  Seriously if the iPad had been live in the online store immediately after the announcement I would now be waiting for UPS.  After a few hours of thinking it over here’s how I feel about the iPad…

Most importantly the price feels right, given that this is a limited functionality computer.  The iPad is not a fully-featured tablet computer, we are going to see devices from PC manufacturers this year which can do more.  What kind of more?  Multitasking for one thing (pun intended).  Desktop-class application choice for another (no Photoshop right now on the iPad or any other native OSX apps) and better connectivity options (no SD card slot or webcam on the iPad).  Given these limitations the entry price of $499 seems fair.

Although it has a thick screen surround, it looks great and is as super thin as we would expect.  The promised battery life of ten hours is extremely encouraging and suggests an efficient processor design, I wonder how that will be affected by full-on 3G usage…The downside of the energy efficiency is that the graphics did not look particularly impressive, but we need to give developers time over the coming months to learn and exploit the new hardware.

iBooks was nice but I can’t get too excited about ebook software.  While it will definitely grow in popularity it’s not going to take the world by storm in the same way as digital music.  We don’t hear about industry problems of people trying to illegally download books unlike the environment which preceded mass digital music adoption.  With digital music there was a mass market ready and waiting to be tapped by a legal download service, which is what iTunes did so effectively.  With ebooks the mass market needs to be educated and developed further for it to become a cash cow. Also the iPad’s glossy backlit screen may not be so comfortable to focus upon for extended periods compared to the Kindle’s e-ink screen, especially outdoors.  I expect however that most people will overlook this limitation, if they are even aware of it, and be drawn to the wider appeal of the iPad.

The old fashioned 4:3 screen aspect is a peculiar choice given that one of today’s demos was a movie which is best viewed in 16:9 or 16:10 widescreen.  While a clear use-case of the iPad is as a media device, watching modern releases will almost always result in black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

The lack of Flash support is simply stunning.  While Apple describes the iPad as the best way to experience the web, I’m not convinced.  The lack of Flash support on small screens is forgiveable, but on a media-centric large screen device it just seems like a glaring omission.  This means no Hulu on the iPad and many popular sites will have elements which will not work.

Wide on-screen keyboards are pretty difficult to type on because the middle keys are a stretch, so the keyboard dock with screen support makes sense.  I think I was the only person out there who CALLED THIS ONE! I like the idea of iWork on the iPad, but only with an external keyboard.  I do feel that once you get a hardware keyboard going you want a mouse as well so you don’t have to raise your arm every two seconds to manipulate the screen.  Unfortunately the iPad does not support mice, so get ready for some arm exercise if you’re sitting with the iPad mounted on a stand in front of you.

Bottom line, will the iPad be a popular device?  Probably yes, because I expect people in the market for a high end $300-400 ebook reader like a Kindle DX could be tempted to stretch to $499 for something offering useful internet, media and email functionality.  The price point will also win over some netbook shoppers.  However I think that Apple’s description of the iPad as being “magical and revolutionary” over-compensates hype in place of some of the device’s deficiencies.  Evolutionary sure, insofar as this device is upscaled from the existing iPhone software and hardware paradigm.  At a lower price point netbooks are able to do basic tasks that the iPad can’t; like making video calls, accepting memory cards and handling Flash.  Fortunately for the sales figures most people probably believe the hype and will be happy with a $499 device which can only run one application at once.  It’s in a way ironic that the media criticized PC manufacturers and Microsoft for shipping Windows 7 Starter on some low end netbooks, which is limited to only run three applications simultaneously, yet I’ve seen minimal comment on the iPad’s limitation of only being able to run one app.

The wider question is whether Main Street needs a secondary or tertiary internet device, when many people have already invested in a netbook or iPhone to supplement their everyday computer.  And while I said earlier I believe the entry price of $499 is fair, it’s certainly not an impulse buy.  The range extends to $829 for a 64GB model with 3G capability; AT&T unlimited data connectivity adds another $30 per month on top of that.  This takes the first year cost of an $829 iPad with unlimited data to around $1,189.  Fundamentally though, if you already have an iPhone, how likely are you really to buy an iPad?  I’d say it would be a tough sell because the iPhone already has the core away-from-home functionality in a more convenient size and weight.  Perhaps the basic $499 version might make sense to use at home if you love the iPhone OS, since you can bring your iPhone apps onto the iPad.

Am I going to buy one?  I’ve gone from 100% yes to 60% yes 50% over the course of the five nine hours since the announcement and I’m stabilizing, so I think it’s probable possible.  I wouldn’t need a lot of storage in a device like this so personally I’d go for the 16GB model with 3G and just pray for AT&T to improve its network.  Still three months to go until the 3G model is available though and I have a feeling a lot of tablets will be announced between now and then…

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 27, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Hardware, News, Software | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

theONbutton@CES: enTourage eDGe eBook & internet dual screen tablet

Of the many, many eBook readers at CES the enTourage eDGe is a genuinely innovative design.  Employing a two screen design like several OEM concepts, the eDGe is a production device powered by a Marvel CPU running Android.  The left screen is an e-ink eBook reader and the right screen is an internet browser and Android application interface.  There’s USB connectivity, onboard sound and memory card support.  The current version of the eDGe does not support flash video, which would surely make it a killer media platform, however this is in the works for future releases.  Enjoy the hands-on video demo above and gallery below.

Neil Berman

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Jan 9, 2010 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile, News, Video Features | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES: Viliv N5 ultra-mini mobile PC

It seems that Viliv thought the existing UMPC acronym wasn’t descriptive enough for the N5, so they’ve added the word ‘mini’ to make, I guess,  UMMPC.  Curious names aside, the Viliv N5 is an amazing looking device and packs a fully featured PC into a clamshell design weighing under one pound.  The Viliv N5 features an Atom Z520 processor, Windows 7 and a 4.8″ screen.  It’s headed our way this year and I want one!

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 7, 2010 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile, Video Features | , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES: Archos 9 tablet is smooooooth

I got some hands-on time with the Archos 9 tablet today and it is a seriously cool device.  Running Windows 7, the Archos 9 feels great in the hand, looks amazing and is sure to win many fans.  On the downside it was a little heavier than I would ideally have liked and would probably be tiring to hold after some time.  Additionally the 9″ touch screen, while responsive, cries out for a large finger-friendly interface rather than the standard Windows 7 front end.  Although it does have a usefully large on-screen keyboard.

Video above, gallery below…

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 7, 2010 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile, Video Features | , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES: Lenovo U1 multitouch slate-notebook separates itself from the pack

Day One of CES produced an amazing product in the Lenovo U1 at CES Unveiled.  I was blown away by this device, which initially looked like a small notebook until the Lenovo rep pulled the screen out to reveal its dual function as a slate.  There’s a video below, and the details known at this stage are that the slate is powered by a Snapdragon CPU with its own storage while the main notebook body has an Intel CULV doing the driving.  When docked to the main body the whole shebang runs Windows 7.  The Snapdragon-powered slate when on its own runs a multitouch non-Windows OS.

Enjoy the video and the gallery photos, I sure enjoyed taking them :-)

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 5, 2010 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile, News, Video Features | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Apple build the tablet I want?

As rumors of an Apple tablet build into a frenzy, it’s hard to believe the grapevine story that a 10 inch device would be at its best running iPhone OS. Yet in Apple terms it makes perfect sense.

You see from my perspective, the iPhone OS is crippled by its lack of multitasking. We can see from the sales figures that most consumers probably don’t care.

From my perspective, the lack of a physical keyboard on the iPhone limits its use. The lack of a physical keyboard on a ten inch tablet could severely cripple it. Most consumers again probably don’t care, because they might primarily use it for media, fun apps and short messaging with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and occasional email.

From my perspective having a closed system where someone else decides which applications you can or cannot use is horrific. Most consumers probably don’t care and enjoy the feeling of pseudo quality control in the ecosystem.

So is Apple going to make the tablet that I want? No, it will make the one regular consumers want…and that’s why iPhone sales are so strong.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Aug 14, 2009 Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Computing, Hardware, Mobile, Rants | , , | Leave a comment

   

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