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One more thing . . .
June 1, 2011 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Not everyone can be Steve Jobs and not everyone should try.

Jonney Shih, Chairman of Asus, reveals the Padfone.
posted by Betelgeuse (134 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
You guys are more important. Steve has to wait.
*turns around*
Hahahahahha..

posted by vidur at 9:30 PM on June 1, 2011


Asus have done some really smart things over the last few years.

I am not entirely convinced this is one of them, but I give 'em credit for just throwing it at the wall and seeing what sticks...
posted by brennen at 9:35 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jobs... or GOB?
posted by arto at 9:38 PM on June 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Apparently today is awkward youtube videos day.
posted by nzero at 9:42 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, I deeply love his Evil Overlord style of presentation. He brings a little of the Bond villain and a little of a cheesy Frankenstein movie.

I will grant you he needs either a cat to stroke or lighting to strike shortly after he laughs.
posted by jaduncan at 9:43 PM on June 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The commercial for this thing is equally weird.
posted by dobbs at 9:43 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought that was pretty cool, the way he reached into the screen.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:44 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


This seems like a good idea if it's done right. I don't really care if the CEO of a company is slick as long as their company delivers cheap well engineered products.
posted by rdr at 9:44 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


aka: "It is Steve! *ignores call* You are more important, Mr Bond. Let me tell you this is a combination of the pad or phone. The Padphone! But I do not expect you to know if it is a phone or a pad, Mr Bond. I expect you to die!"
posted by jaduncan at 9:46 PM on June 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


Can I play Boggle on the new Padfone? That's really all I care about.
posted by localhuman at 9:46 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who's that other guy, Igor?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:46 PM on June 1, 2011


The commercial for this thing is equally weird.

Wait...so this is real? I thought the product was part of the joke...
posted by jcreigh at 9:49 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I thought that was pretty cool, the way he reached into the screen.

Magic! Or just a transparent wallpaper effect that's been around for awhile now.

That commercial is really creepy. That guy had his attention locked on his Padfone almost nonstop. Even when he was with two hot chicks he could only give them sideways glances. The second he put the thing away they became homely? As if to say if you stop looking at the shiny device then life loses its luster.

Anyway, the thing isn't great, but it's fun to see variet.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:49 PM on June 1, 2011


Variety with a y.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:49 PM on June 1, 2011


Asus should make a laptop that contains a pad that contains a phone that contains a MicroSD card that contains a Matryoshka doll that contains their corporate hopes for the tablet business.
posted by gsteff at 9:50 PM on June 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


I am not entirely convinced this is one of them, but I give 'em credit for just throwing it at the wall and seeing what sticks...

When you're the CEO of a big tech company, I don't think you should get credit for such strategies.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 10:04 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I give 'em credit for just throwing it at the wall and seeing what sticks...

It doesn't matter how much raw spaghetti you throw at the wall, none of it is going to stick.
posted by aubilenon at 10:07 PM on June 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


ASUS has a history of trying a billion things and seeing what works. There were how many versions of the Eee? They're an interesting company to watch.

I don't know about this thing, but I really like their Transformer tablet. Early experience with it so far is pretty sweet. This will completely change how I read books and comics, I can tell already.
posted by bonehead at 10:11 PM on June 1, 2011


Asus should make a laptop that contains a pad that contains a phone that contains a MicroSD card that contains a Matryoshka doll that contains their corporate hopes for the tablet business.

All stuffed inside the corpse of roasted turkey.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:12 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


It doesn't matter how much raw spaghetti you throw at the wall, none of it is going to stick.

This one may be raw spaghetti. On the other hand, they basically created an entire market category of device with their decent cheapo netbooks (I seriously have two in this room), and they own a massive chunk of the motherboard space, where they seem to be doing some interesting experimenting. From the amount of Asus stuff that crosses the peripheries of my nerd vision, I feel like the approach is working pretty well for them.
posted by brennen at 10:13 PM on June 1, 2011


gsteff: That laptop should then slot into the back of a large display, which has a built-in hub.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 10:15 PM on June 1, 2011


I'm pretty sure he's trying to intentionally lampoon Jobs, not earnestly emulate him or be that self-inflated.

Which is still pretty awkward. It might have translated better if he wore a black turtleneck.
posted by loquacious at 10:16 PM on June 1, 2011


loquacious: "I'm pretty sure he's trying to intentionally lampoon Jobs, not earnestly emulate him or be that self-inflated.

Which is still pretty awkward. It might have translated better if he wore a black turtleneck.
"

And a beret.
posted by bwg at 10:17 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


PADPHONE?
posted by jaduncan at 10:18 PM on June 1, 2011


I scare away HTC Desire spruikers by saying 'iPhone' repeatedly.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:19 PM on June 1, 2011


I love my Asus. My husband has two (netbook and laptop) and both are great. I'm not in the market for a tablet or a smartphone (don't need either), but when I am, Asus will be on the list.
posted by jb at 10:25 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Asus should make a laptop that contains a pad that contains a phone that contains a MicroSD card that contains a Matryoshka doll that contains their corporate hopes for the tablet business.

They could call it the Turdsuckin.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:29 PM on June 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


The Padfone ad even uses Apple's favorite font Myriad (or some very similar one) for the "Padfone" name. On a white background. And then it cuts again to the very 80's movie-like ASUS logo in distressed metal CGI lettering. On a black background.
posted by kandinski at 10:29 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The commercial for this thing is equally weird.

So this is how imagine the world being for every person in, say, their twenties. Now that I'm middle-aged.
posted by treepour at 10:34 PM on June 1, 2011


Jesus. Even their CEO is laughing at this as he's presenting it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 PM on June 1, 2011


This is actually a pretty cool idea.
posted by Defenestrator at 10:39 PM on June 1, 2011


Jesus. Even their CEO is laughing at this as he's presenting it.

I know! It's almost like the overblown dramatic presentation was tongue-in-cheek instead of dreadfully sincere.
posted by kafziel at 10:41 PM on June 1, 2011 [16 favorites]



So this is how imagine the world being for every person in, say, their twenties. Now that I'm middle-aged.


That pretty much is my life. Except replace 'being productive in the morning' with 'checking Facebook, Twitter and the weather'. I still carry around a book out of habit, but I'm more likely to read MeFi or TV Tropes. The only odd thing is that he doesn't have headphones in to listen to music. The 'reading while walking' thing seems weird, but if my headphones are crap or I don't have them I do do that.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:42 PM on June 1, 2011


Asus should make a laptop that contains a pad that contains a phone that contains a MicroSD card that contains a Matryoshka doll that contains their corporate hopes for the tablet business.

Heh. The Eeepad Transformer is only one component away...and it's awesome.
posted by jaduncan at 10:42 PM on June 1, 2011


I think Asus' general approach to product ideas is something like: "Someone should try this! Hey, Chun, you busy?" then they sell it and see if it makes money. It's interesting to see a genetic algorithm approach to marketing, especially with such a high mutation rate.
posted by bonehead at 10:44 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Eeepad Transformer

That thing is tempting. Seemed to be permenantly out of stock last time I looked though, which is a bit of a running theme with Asus.
posted by Artw at 10:52 PM on June 1, 2011


The transformer is seriously good, and compares well with the Apple offering. I'd put it well ahead of the Xoom.

Supplies seems to have been worked out in the past week; stores in Canada have them now. They've already been patched to 3.1.
posted by bonehead at 11:05 PM on June 1, 2011


Looks like it. The price seems to have crept up a little though, or possibly the $399 was for a harder to get low spec version.
posted by Artw at 11:08 PM on June 1, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "spruikers"

wow, new word to me. wiki-etc sez: "tout." Linked etymology weak, but "spruik" implies Dutch roots, which then implies... Afrikaans? What's the route for Dutch into Australian?

Anyhoo, neat word.
posted by mwhybark at 11:22 PM on June 1, 2011


wow, new word to me. wiki-etc sez: "tout." Linked etymology weak, but "spruik" implies Dutch roots, which then implies... Afrikaans? What's the route for Dutch into Australian?

There are a bunch of South Africans in Australia, so it might have come straight from Afrikaans.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about linguistics or Australia.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:26 PM on June 1, 2011


Asus makes cool stuff. These guys were mainly known as motherboard manufacturers up until a few years ago. And they were the main innovators in the netbook area (After the OLPC project)

So, they rely on actually having cool, and reasonably priced products instead of overpriced crap sold on hype
posted by delmoi at 11:30 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know! It's almost like the overblown dramatic presentation was tongue-in-cheek instead of dreadfully sincere.

So, he's like an ironic CEO. Well, good luck in the marketplace!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:16 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a phone and you can stick it in your pad. Because, you got yer phone, and then you got yer pad, but where are you gonna stick yer phone? Where are you gonna put yer pad? See, what you do, is you take this here phone, and you just stone cold stick it all up in this pad like such. Now, where's yer phone? It's up in yer pad. Where's yer pad? It's on yer phone. Problem fuckin' solved.
posted by jefbla at 12:19 AM on June 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


I don't want to be, you know, racialist, but did the guy that bought out the pad bow after he set it down?

This guy reminds me of that youtube video with the japanese man that crushes the business card.
posted by oxford blue at 12:29 AM on June 2, 2011


His hand gestures were the best.
posted by oxford blue at 12:29 AM on June 2, 2011


So, he's like an ironic CEO. Well, good luck in the marketplace!
Uh, they're doing pretty well. Like I said, they were the main innovators in the netbook area.
posted by delmoi at 1:16 AM on June 2, 2011


The eee Pad Transformer blows the iPad out of the water, so yeah, I think their strategy of throwing things at the wall is working out pretty well.
posted by cmonkey at 1:30 AM on June 2, 2011


The eee Pad Transformer blows the iPad out of the water

Except for the creaky cheap case and an incredibly expensive dock, it's an interesting rival to the iPad 2, and I'd agree with you that it leaves the first-gen iPad behind. It's a shame there aren't many apps for Android tablets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 AM on June 2, 2011


Know what bugs me?
Philanthropy:
Gates vs. Jobs
I know one has more but you don't see much of the other..
posted by hypersloth at 1:50 AM on June 2, 2011


Main innovators in the netbook area? Perhaps that might mean something if netbooks weren't simply small laptops and were actually doing well in the market place.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 1:51 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Woah, where did that come from hypersloth?
posted by panaceanot at 2:08 AM on June 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, any discussion about any mobile device or phone decays to a conversation about Apple vs Android, so it makes a crazy kind of sense that any discussion about Jonney Shih would decay to a conversation about Jobs vs Gates.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:30 AM on June 2, 2011


Actually, I was the Steve who was calling him.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:43 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm more interested, personally, in the EeePC X101. Meego out of the box. The dream survives.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:49 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are a bunch of South Africans in Australia, so it might have come straight from Afrikaans.

Also not insignificant numbers of Dutch migrants.
posted by acb at 3:12 AM on June 2, 2011


Look, the fact is no one knows where words come from. We just don't know.
posted by oxford blue at 3:14 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Except for the creaky cheap case and an incredibly expensive dock, it's an interesting rival to the iPad 2, and I'd agree with you that it leaves the first-gen iPad behind. It's a shame there aren't many apps for Android tablets.

The case is actually quite sturdy (I've battered mine around quite a bit), and the keyboard is all of €50 more, which isn't that bad, although I have no clue what the quality is like since I opted for the model without a keyboard.
posted by cmonkey at 3:15 AM on June 2, 2011


This is a combination of pad... and fone!

*cue dramatic chipmunk*

Padfone!
posted by unigolyn at 3:34 AM on June 2, 2011


This product may or not be successful, but every single item I have owned made by Asus was the best item in its class that I ever owned or handled. They are the one single company I recommend.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:09 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I had a super-shitty Asus laptop about 7-8 years ago, and swore I would never go back. It sounds like they've changed since then, should I give them one more chance?
posted by Meatbomb at 4:18 AM on June 2, 2011


I think a lot of people with iPhones might like the larger reading area of an iPad, but don't want to deal with lugging around two very similar devices. At the same time almost everyone I know with a pad device, whether an iPad or Kindle or whatever, have old school cell phones rather than smart phones. Just saying, the padFone, if it's real, fills a pretty obvious market gap.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:32 AM on June 2, 2011


No. Asus laptops have an excellent 24 month warranty but it is only valid on the temporal plane. The super-shitty range was designed to work in a business environment. Perhaps you weren't wearing a suit? From personal experience I can tell you that even loosening one's tie can lead to detrimental performance with those earlier models.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:33 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There aren't many tech hardware companies that aren't just playing follow-the-leader right now, and Apple and Asus are right up at the top of the leaderboard. Their methodologies are completely different: Apple invests years and billions in a single new launch; Asus will do something new and then iterate it three times before you've walked to the store to check it out. I'm a big fan of what Apple does and how it does it, but Asus builds the hardware I work and play on.
posted by Hogshead at 4:35 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I think a lot of people with iPhones might like the larger reading area of an iPad, but don't want to deal with lugging around two very similar devices."

But you still have to lug around two similar devices. In fact, if you want to use the tablet, you must also have your phone with you. The case, screen, and battery are the heaviest parts, so you're not saving much there. The device is also thicker than an iPad, even when it's empty. Cost isn't necessarily an advantage either, because if you want to upgrade your phone, or change brands, you may very well need to upgrade your tablet (certainly in the case of the later).

Then there's one critical aspect where many companies fail: the software. How are the apps going to work? Will there be universal apps that work in both modes, like how iOS has apps that work both on iPhone and iPad? Is it based on Android? If not, then how are they going to get people to develop apps for it?

So, exactly what is the advantage?

I'm all for innovation and have no problem with Asus. But I don't get the admiration for what seems to be a poorly designed product. I'd love to be proven wrong, though.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 5:27 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The AsROK products I've bought have been pretty good, and IIRC, they're comprised of ex-Asus engineers. The translation in the manuals could be much better, but I've not had a single mobo related problem on the PC I built my mom using their motherboard.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:38 AM on June 2, 2011


I like this guy's cheesy attempt at hucksterism much more than Apple's ultra-polished fawnfests. And I love that a post that seems to have been made to laugh at someone for being geeky has turned into a thread about how great that guy's products tend to be.
posted by mediareport at 5:53 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


But you still have to lug around two similar devices. In fact, if you want to use the tablet, you must also have your phone with you.

The only place I really use my iPad is at home. So if I could plug my iPhone into something that replicated the iPad features but used the iPhone guts for $200 or so, that would have saved me quite a lot of money.

Will there be universal apps that work in both modes, like how iOS has apps that work both on iPhone and iPad? Is it based on Android?

Yes, it's Android. And it's a fundamental thing in Android that apps will scale to various screen sizes. It's not like iOS where they just give you a pixelated mess unless they are rewritten to work with the iPad. You can debate which approach is better, but it is handled on this new thing.
posted by smackfu at 5:56 AM on June 2, 2011


How are the apps going to work? Will there be universal apps that work in both modes, like how iOS has apps that work both on iPhone and iPad?
Android apps have to be resolution independent to begin with, since they run on lots of different phones.
But you still have to lug around two similar devices. In fact, if you want to use the tablet, you must also have your phone with you.
Not really, it's technically 'two devices' but it feels like one device, you don't have to worry about keeping track of them separately.
posted by delmoi at 6:15 AM on June 2, 2011


The AsROK products I've bought have been pretty good, and IIRC, they're comprised of ex-Asus engineers.
ASUS spun them off so they could keep selling motherboards to their competitors as they moved into the consumer space.
posted by delmoi at 6:17 AM on June 2, 2011


ASUS has a history of trying a billion things and seeing what works. There were how many versions of the Eee? They're an interesting company to watch.

What's their environmental record? I'm picturing a landfill packed with tens of millions of items that didn't work out. Not that the computer biz is all that environmental to begin with (Didn't the last CES show have over 200 new tablets, 198 destined for the landfill?) but I hope they at least do a little thinking before shoving things into production "to see what sticks".
posted by fungible at 6:18 AM on June 2, 2011


What I like about ASUS products is that their users don't pop up everywhere telling me that a product is shit because it isn't like an ASUS product or that it is trying to be like an ASUS product. Apple fanboys are becoming the meatspace incarnation of Clippy except there doesn't seem to be any way at all to get rid of them.
posted by srboisvert at 6:23 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


but I give 'em credit for just throwing it at the wall and seeing what sticks

I think the prodect is a d.o.a, but that is certainly different than Apple. In fact, polar opposite. Most companies are in the middle. I'm not a fan of the 'throw everything at the wall and see what sticks' method, but perhaps if you're lacking anyone that can make those type decisions reliably at the top this is how you do business.

So, they rely on actually having cool, and reasonably priced products instead of overpriced crap sold on hype
posted by delmoi


You watched the video and missed the hype? And cool is very subjective. If I was 15, this is cool.

Like I said, they were the main innovators in the netbook area.

Ahh, when the netbook ruled the market place. I remember that... month. And there was nothing innovative about netbooks other than size. If there had been, they wouldn't have vanished so quickly regardless of the iPad.

I like this guy's cheesy attempt at hucksterism much more than Apple's ultra-polished fawnfests.

I promise you, if Jobs found himself introducing the padfone, it wouldn't be so polished.

At the same time almost everyone I know with a pad device, whether an iPad or Kindle or whatever, have old school cell phones rather than smart phones. Just saying, the padFone, if it's real, fills a pretty obvious market gap.

I don't find that to be the case at all. The iPad is a relatively new entry into the market (I don't count the years microsoft fucked around with it). I don't picture people that are still using dumb phones running out to buy iPads. Nothing to back this up, but I'm betting if someone ran a poll you'd find that iPad buyers overwhelmingly already had iPhones or something similar.

And I think a year from now you'll find that there was no market for this device (at least in the states).
posted by justgary at 6:24 AM on June 2, 2011


"And it's a fundamental thing in Android that apps will scale to various screen sizes. It's not like iOS where they just give you a pixelated mess unless they are rewritten to work with the iPad."

And that's the advantage of the iPad: the UI is designed for it. It's not just something that's scaled up. Scaling up is no replacement for a UI tailored to a specific screen size. This is obvious to anyone who has used both devices.

Not really, it's technically 'two devices' but it feels like one device, you don't have to worry about keeping track of them separately.

How can you not need to keep track of them separately? If you plan to keep the phone in all the time, then why not get a tablet instead? Or are you referring to the data on them? Cloud services take care of that.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 6:27 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this a pad?
Or a phone in a pad?
Who's calling me?

Where am I... who are you people and why are you staring at me?
posted by phirleh at 6:28 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everytime I see "ASUS" I see "anus". Sorry, I just do.

And love how his ear piece has a string wrapped around his head and tied in a nice bow.
posted by stormpooper at 6:36 AM on June 2, 2011


And that's the advantage of the iPad: the UI is designed for it.

Which is great right up until a dev decides it isn't worth it to design for the iPad. Or figures the iPad version of their app or game is worth $5 instead of the $1 it would be on the iPhone. And games usually are just scaled up in my experience.
posted by smackfu at 6:37 AM on June 2, 2011


fungible: Asus' environmental record is at least superficiladecent, although obviously it would be a lot greener not to produce consumer electronics. The Asus CSR pages are here. If it helps, I don't think ASUS is creating huge numbers of products for which there is no demand - rather, they have so much sunk into production anyway that they can use the sales of their first run as post factum market research.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:50 AM on June 2, 2011


Which is great right up until a dev decides it isn't worth it to design for the iPad.

Yeah, because developer interest is iOS's biggest problem. Besides, any developer who decides it's not worth it is leaving a gap open for another developer.

Or figures the iPad version of their app or game is worth $5 instead of the $1 it would be on the iPhone. And games usually are just scaled up in my experience.

Even assuming that's true, it's still a lot cheaper than what software it used to be. Many devs are simply developing one app that works for both. I don't care that much about games, not that games aren't a huge success on iOS, anyway.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 6:50 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


They really should have had Xzibit introduce this.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:51 AM on June 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


And that's the advantage of the iPad: the UI is designed for it. It's not just something that's scaled up. Scaling up is no replacement for a UI tailored to a specific screen size. This is obvious to anyone who has used both devices.

Do you have any examples? I've run a lot of apps that are pretty clearly designed for a mobile Android screen on my Android tablet, and they all work and look perfectly fine.
posted by cmonkey at 6:56 AM on June 2, 2011


I was going to apologise about "superficiladecent" - keyboard freeze - but it looks like we're talking about iPads now, so never mind.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:00 AM on June 2, 2011


As I've said before, I'll almost surely buy any credible attempt at producing a fully open source main stream linux phone. Imagine an N900 that runs Android apps for all the stuff the N900 lacked, like a decent maps application, but still used native linux apps phone, messaging, email, music, etc.

I dislike Java as a language however, not the byte code idea itself, although the LLVM has obviously whipped the JVMs ass, but Java ain't that impressive as a language. Of course, C++ is an elegant experiment in building a mid-level object oriented language. It seems foolish designing your high level object oriented language around C++'s syntax however.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:04 AM on June 2, 2011


It's like if an Asian Gob Bluth was doing a phone rollout. The only thing missing was "The Final Countdown".
posted by inturnaround at 7:14 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


@jeffburdges: It is possible to use Scala on Android. You have to end up using Proguard to trim unused class libraries, but having a functional language available is much better than traditional Java or Objective-C.
posted by DetriusXii at 7:15 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you have any examples? I've run a lot of apps that are pretty clearly designed for a mobile Android screen on my Android tablet, and they all work and look perfectly fine.

What do you mean exactly? That it's scaled up, or that Android does have different modes?

One example is the Mail app for the iPad. In portrait, it displays only the selected e-mail with a button that overlays a menu to show the inbox. In landscape, that overlay becomes the left part of a split view. The same layout and mode switching doesn't scale down very well to a phone sized screen.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 7:17 AM on June 2, 2011


The problem with the iOS approach is that if it is a only-iPhone or only-iPad app (aka not unified), there is no way to seamlessly transition from phone to tablet mode. This doesn't matter for iOS since they don't make anything that transitions, but it would be a serious problem with these new Android devices.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on June 2, 2011


His hand gestures were the best.

The little "Ta-daah!" hop-step he does when he points to the thing is fabulous.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:25 AM on June 2, 2011


As I've said before, I'll almost surely buy any credible attempt at producing a fully open source main stream linux phone. Imagine an N900 that runs Android apps for all the stuff the N900 lacked, like a decent maps application, but still used native linux apps phone, messaging, email, music, etc.

Better yet, imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!
posted by entropicamericana at 7:39 AM on June 2, 2011


Makes sense to me: Sirius Black's, that is Padfoot's, that is The Godfather's cell phone...

(I like those self-booster chuckles. Yeah and his movie-aroundy compulsion. There's someone who would benefit of some acting lessons).

Anyway, does anyone know whether that padthing is any good in the real world?
posted by Namlit at 7:49 AM on June 2, 2011


Anyway, does anyone know whether that padthing is any good in the real world?

I'm going to make a wild guess and say "No."
posted by entropicamericana at 8:05 AM on June 2, 2011


What do you mean exactly? That it's scaled up, or that Android does have different modes?

A little from column A, a little from column B. Some of the apps are tablet-aware, some not so much. I've got a scientific calulator app that does cool things with the UI when you rotate the screen. Some phone apps look a little basic on a tablet, but are perfectly functional (Google Reader). I've not seen any pixel scaling in Android yet, but I've not tried any games either.
posted by bonehead at 8:12 AM on June 2, 2011


Meatbomb: It sounds like they've changed since then, should I give them one more chance?

Well, I've had a few online friends who've bought ASUS laptops, and their opinions have been somewhat mixed. They're definitely not crap, but it doesn't sound like they're up to 'gem' level yet, either.

Their motherboards are pretty good, although the new Sandy Bridge stuff seems to be having some reliability or manufacturing issues. My personal board is good, but it didn't cold boot reliably at first. The little display showed me it was failing during PCI enumeration, and since I had only one card, I reseated the video card, and that fixed it. But I had to really, REALLY jam that sucker in there to get it to fully seat. I think the clearances are just a scoche too tight on their PCIe slots.

My overall impression is that their intentions are good and their electrical engineering is solid, but that their physical engineering (like with heat dissipation and slot clearances and that sort of thing) is spottier.
posted by Malor at 8:28 AM on June 2, 2011


Not really, it's technically 'two devices' but it feels like one device, you don't have to worry about keeping track of them separately.

What? No. It's actually two devices, even if they are designed to work together. I can't walk around with my phone plugged into the back of the pad and stowed in my bag if I ever want to make a call or send a text. Or even answer my damn phone, for that matter.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:39 AM on June 2, 2011


Anyway, does anyone know whether that padthing is any good in the real world?

No. Spend the extra couple of hundred and get a tablet that works by itself.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 8:45 AM on June 2, 2011


Anyway, does anyone know whether that padthing is any good in the real world?

It doesn't exist in the real world - but when it does, it will be an Android phone with the option to increase its screen size by putting it into what is in effect a media sleeve. The case they are making is that it avoids paying in effect for two largely identical sets of innards, one of which is nominally a phone and one of which is nominally a tablet. Although that presupposes a number of things, one of which is that you will want to upgrade your phone and your tablet at the same time. A lot probably depends on the quality of the phone and the cost of the package - the Motorola Atrix is doing a similar thing with a screen+keyboard, but the innardless laptop add-on is prohibitively expensive. Also, any deep-seated feelings you may have about Android will affect your experience.

There's a glossy dev diary ad, with more Jonney Shih awesome, here.

I can't walk around with my phone plugged into the back of the pad and stowed in my bag if I ever want to make a call or send a text. Or even answer my damn phone, for that matter.

The idea is presumably that if you are walking around, you have the phone in your pocket and the "pad" sleeve in your bag (or left at home, if you don't think you'll need it), and that when you are stationary you can plug it in. I'd go further and guess that phone calls when it is docked can be answered Facetime-style or by using a headset, but there's a degree of speculation there. Pretty safe speculation, though.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:55 AM on June 2, 2011


Anyway, does anyone know whether that padthing is any good in the real world?

Do you worship at an altar or not? It will affect the answer.
posted by Big_B at 8:56 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've not seen any pixel scaling in Android yet, but I've not tried any games either.

Depends on how competent the dev is. I've seen games get boxed at phone res, games that upscale their graphics, games built for tablets, and games that fall apart. See this in regular apps too on occasion, but games are better at showing "I don't know how to deal with multiple resolutions".

FWIW, you can run into the same issues on different-res'd phones as well, but the drastic change in size on a tablet makes things more obvious.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2011


I want to like this, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I can see the advantages of "saving state" on your phone and then immediately having access to it on your tablet, but not enough to own two devices, one of which won't work without the other. And casual file syncing really isn't a huge issue these days, even with two totally different devices. So the only possible reason I could see to own this would be if the tablet add-on was ridiculously cheap, and I don't see that happening. I thought the reveal was hillarious, though. But then again, I'm a fan of schmaltz.

Truthfully, I want a tablet more than ever, but I don't think the one I end up with is going to be an Android tablet. As hardcore an Android fan as I am, Honeycomb shook me up. Setting aside the (considerable) number of bugs and absent features that plagued the first handful of Honeycomb tablets, I just really don't like the UI. It looks sleek and futuristic, but in a very forced way. I'm sure it'll improve, but so far I've been disappointed. Not what I expected.

The iPad by comparison is a revelation. I borrowed my buddy's iPad for a few days (first time I've had a chance to really sit down and try one for more than a few minutes) and I was floored at just how snappy and polished everything is. It's cliche, but magic really is the word for it. My problem with the iPad (and iOS in general) is that I've been using an Android phone every day for the past 2 years, and I just enjoy getting around the OS more. iOS is almost too slick. Every screen seems like a candy bar. A beautiful, functional candy bar. It's just a matter of personal preference; I admire what Apple's done, but I'll (probably) never own an iOS device.

That said, I've just about convinced myself to jump ship on Android entirely and pick up an HP Pre 3 and Touchpad when they (finally) come out. I'm very much looking forward to trying both. The fact that Google wants to unify their tablet and phone interfaces with Ice Cream Sandwich scares the hell out of me. No thanks.
posted by kryptondog at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2011


The iPad by comparison is a revelation. I borrowed my buddy's iPad for a few days (first time I've had a chance to really sit down and try one for more than a few minutes) and I was floored at just how snappy and polished everything is. It's cliche, but magic really is the word for it. My problem with the iPad (and iOS in general) is that I've been using an Android phone every day for the past 2 years, and I just enjoy getting around the OS more. iOS is almost too slick. Every screen seems like a candy bar. A beautiful, functional candy bar. It's just a matter of personal preference; I admire what Apple's done, but I'll (probably) never own an iOS device.

*boggles* I do not understand this. at. all.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:12 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, surely no discussion of ASUS marketing can be complete without mention of the almost Warholian "More than meets the Eye" campaign. These web ads were apparently based on an explanation of The Big Bang Theory delivered by a mute, dying man using an Etch-a-Sketch in a language neither he nor his audience could read.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:15 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


it avoids paying in effect for two largely identical sets of innards
A-hA. I see that...I am paying myself blue and green for heaps of sets of potentially similar innards that have the uncanny ability to go south a week after their respective warranties have expired. Nice to be given the chance to get a grip on this effect. Yay Padwhatever
posted by Namlit at 9:23 AM on June 2, 2011


Sure, eating food is wonderful and easy, but I prefer just to stick with absorbing nutrients from the air.
posted by oxford blue at 9:27 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


*boggles* I do not understand this. at. all.

Think of it as like World of Warcraft. If everyone liked magic, there would be no tanks, and the wizards would all be killed by ogres.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:29 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You cannot explain any concept by reference to World of Warcraft (or Quantum Physics)
posted by oxford blue at 9:30 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, it's OK. You can play World of Warcraft on a Mac. It's kosher.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:32 AM on June 2, 2011



I've been using Asus boards since the venerable P55T2P4. I have one with an overclocked K6/200 @233 that still works - it's at my dad's hunting cabin and he runs his windows 98 and plays solitaire.

My last video card came, and on embossed on the card was the new marketing logo -
"ASUS - ROCK SOLID - HEART TOUCHING"

The transformer looks pretty neat, and I'm sure my wife will want one. Personally, however, I want a tablet with a decent stylus on it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:32 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I fancy one of these.
posted by Summer at 9:38 AM on June 2, 2011


*boggles* I do not understand this. at. all.

I think it's similar to how some mechanics love to drive old, unreliable cars.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2011


My wife loves her Acer TimelineX. 1~ Cm thick, < 2 Kg, low-watt i3 that helps run it for around 8-10 hours. Hardware virts, cost $450 with Bluetooth 3 and a literal boatload of profiles. Multitouch trackpad with gestures, silent and sleek, It Just Works well with either Win 7 or Puppy. 13.3, 1366x768, the only thing it lacks is a nice swivel screen and capacitive touch to transform into a slate like my HP and then it would be perfect (but I think Acer's covered that with its convertible netbooks). Anyway, Acer's multiple-multiple-multiple model approach appeals to people who like want to buy exactly what they want in a ready-to-ship order, without worrying about tweaking it themselves. So what if the CEO's comes across as a dork?
posted by meehawl at 9:43 AM on June 2, 2011


Aaaagj, ASUS not Acer. My apologies. Still, TimelineX is nice.

I too have working Asus MBs from the past decade or so. Nice and tweakable.
posted by meehawl at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2011


Summer: That looks like a decent piece of hardware. I stopped at the Sony Store the other day to see if there was anything interesting. All of their laptops were plastic. At some chain store, it seemed like the only non-plastic laptops there were MacBooks.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 9:47 AM on June 2, 2011


Meatbomb: I have exactly one Asus laptop, and I've had problems with it almost from Day 1. Anecdata....
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:18 AM on June 2, 2011


iOS is almost too slick. Every screen seems like a candy bar. A beautiful, functional candy bar.

Ha, iOS is the old looking one now, compared to the other slick ones that are coming out. Windows Phone 7 is way more gee whiz than iOS, which is just boring.
posted by smackfu at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2011


Windows 7 looks good, but I've yet to be convinced that its GUI is as usable as what Apple has done. It's not obvious what is a button and what is static text. They can make it work for the home screen and the apps that MS has shipped with it, but what will the 3rd party apps look like?

Besides, "slick" is also about what it's like to use, not just about aesthetics.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 10:53 AM on June 2, 2011


I remember my granddad telling me about Windows once...
posted by i_cola at 11:11 AM on June 2, 2011


Aaaagj, ASUS not Acer.

Oi, shit, this just made me realize that I have been badmouthing the wrong company all this time. My ACER laptop sucked, sorry, carry on...
posted by Meatbomb at 11:35 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think there's some category confusion here.

Steve Jobs gives presentations intended for a direct consumer audience.

The CEO of Asus gives presentations at VAR/OEM tradeshows geared towards an inside audience of technologists and marketers.

It's great that he has a sense of humor, but deriding him for a lack of polish is like scolding a submarine for not knowing how to swim.
posted by felix at 11:37 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh please, that was a terrible presentation by any metric, even being overly generous for ESL. The only thing missing was a single 3500 word PowerPoint slide written entirely in Comic Sans. Oh, BTW, Steve Jobs will giving a presentation at the DEVELOPERS' CONFERENCE Monday.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:45 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why did you put "Developers' Conference" in all caps?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:15 PM on June 2, 2011


*boggles* I do not understand this. at. all.

Hah, I probably sound masochistic. I've just gotten used to how Android works. I went from an LG Chocolate dumbphone to a Droid, then a Droid 2. I can't allot much of my budget to gadgets, so getting these phones was a very big deal for me. I just fell in love with it. From the start I really appreciated how utilitarian and workmanlike the Android interface is. It "feels" more like an actual OS to me. I realize that to some people that's a strong deterrent. I like it though.

I'm the youngest/geekiest person in my workplace, so naturally I've had three different coworkers ask me to help them set up their work email and show them how to use it (I'm far from an iOS expert but I can wing it enough to help them). Maybe I'd feel differently if I used an iPhone for a week, but every time I sit down with one I feel like, snappiness and polish aside, I don't think I'd enjoy using this device all the time. At the risk of sounding condescending (and I really don't mean to, this is just my impressions), iOS feels more like a toy while Android feels more like a tool, and it's a tool that I want. And I fully understand how powerful iOS is and how insane that probably sounds, I just can't shake that notion.

Again, it's just a matter of personal preference for me. I use Macs every day for work and I religiously keep up with the latest Apple news; I don't think my perspective is overly-biased. There are many beautiful things in this world that I don't want to look at and use dozens of times a day. iPhones and iPads just happen to fall into this category.
posted by kryptondog at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Erm... and in case it's not obvious, the three coworkers I referred to were new iPhone owners who asked for my help. Though I've had a fair number who have bought Android phones and have asked me for help as well.
posted by kryptondog at 12:43 PM on June 2, 2011


Horselover Phattie: ""

That's a textual expression of the excitement of a triumphant rhetorical riposte, in response to the bit about Steve Jobs just giving presentations to direct consumers. But, a ha! he also gives presentations to developers so HAVE AT YOU, SIRRAH! Inside the typist's mind, he dramatically flourished his cape and fluidly used his sword to carve the sign of the apple on his vanquished opponent.

While I'm amused by matryoska electronics, I think this particular product misses the mark. It should really work by having multiple phones with borderless screens, that can snap together at any side to form arbitrarily-shaped aggregate displays. Eventual consumer marketing could show happy twentysomethings physically connecting their phones in a very long display stretching from coast to coast.
posted by Drastic at 1:07 PM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


jeffburdges: "I'll almost surely buy any credible attempt at producing a fully open source main stream linux phone. Imagine an N900 that runs Android apps for all the stuff the N900 lacked, like a decent maps application, but still used native linux apps phone, messaging, email, music, etc."

I love my n900 as a pocket sized Linux box with a full standard Gnu/Linux userspace (yay synthesis and algorithmic composition software in my pocket), but I gave up on using it as a phone or map at all within the first week.
posted by idiopath at 1:26 PM on June 2, 2011


> I love my n900 as a pocket sized Linux box with a full standard Gnu/Linux userspace (yay synthesis and algorithmic composition software in my pocket), but I gave up on using it as a phone or map at all within the first week.

You can get Ubuntu to run natively on an HTC phone, and still use it as a phone.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:34 PM on June 2, 2011


That's cool. It worked kind OK as a phone, but I really ended up liking the $30 piece of crap to text and make calls with / $400 gizmo for web surfing and portable computing dichotomy better than rolling it all up into one.

Also getting Debian to work on my n900 was as simple as clicking on an app to stall (from the standard n900 repositories it came preconfigured with when I bought it), downloading it, and then clicking on the icon (it uses chroot, no flashing of the firmware or anything needed).

Finally sound / usb / firefox / etc. all worked instantly without configuration needed. The setup with the HTC looks much more tenuous and hackish.
posted by idiopath at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2011


idiopath: "getting Debian to work on my n900 was as simple as clicking on an app to stall"

Clearly a Freudian slip based on the sluggishness of the CPU when you try to run Firefox and the Gimp at the same time.
posted by idiopath at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2011


It doesn't matter how much raw spaghetti you throw at the wall, none of it is going to stick.

A three-world summary of every business/management book ever written follows this sentence.

Throw it harder.
posted by rokusan at 1:51 PM on June 2, 2011


(Word, even.)
posted by rokusan at 1:51 PM on June 2, 2011


I can't walk around with my phone plugged into the back of the pad and stowed in my bag if I ever want to make a call or send a text. Or even answer my damn phone, for that matter.
Why not? You might look like a dork talking into a pad, but you could also use bluetooth (and look like a douchebag)

Also, Android is technically an open source Linux Distro. It runs the Linux Kernel, it just doesn't have a lot of the stuff that normally goes with a distro, and replaces it with a bunch of other stuff, that's also Open Source. You can get up to Gingerbread while Honeycomb is being kept private. You can pull from. There are also modified forks like Cyanogen. So you can buy a phone, pull from source and install a completely OSS version of android if you want.
posted by delmoi at 10:36 PM on June 2, 2011


Why did you put "Developers' Conference" in all caps?

I think entropicamericana is paying tribute to Steve Ballmer, famous for putting "developers" in all caps. I guess he's a big fan of Ballmer, and of Microsoft.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:30 AM on June 3, 2011


I like turtles.
posted by panaceanot at 4:21 AM on June 3, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: I share your love of the stylus. Right now there's the HTC Flyer, which apparently integrates the stylus nicely, but is really surprisingly expensive, especially given the 7-inch screen. Definitely a try before you buy...

Alternatively, Qualcomm are doing some interesting things with ultrasonic pens - but that's a while away from release.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:14 AM on June 3, 2011


idiopath, I initially bought an N900 for the tight SIP & Skype integration. I've been happily using it as my primary phone for over one year now. In fact, I'd now find any other phone a step backwards usability wise because SIP & Skype are separate apps on Android, iPhone, Blackberry, etc. That said, I'm using busybox, ssh, sshd, rsync, and maybe perl and git vastly more than any other traditional linux applications.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:43 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's an engadget article about the Padfone. Kind of a dumb name, though.
posted by delmoi at 10:25 AM on June 5, 2011


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