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September 28, 2010 10:56 AM   Subscribe

With the unveiling of the BlackBerry Playbook, a 7" iPad competitor solidly aimed at business, are the tablet wars heating up?
posted by Artw (253 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's really interesting about this is the switch to QNX, one of the most stable and flexible operating systems on the planet. QNX runs everything:

http://www.qnx.com/news/pr_1329_3.html
posted by antihostile at 11:00 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"solidly aimed at business" = "awkward to use, expensive, vague concept of being 'more secure'"
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:02 AM on September 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


So if it's aimed at business why is it named 'Playbook?'
posted by uraniumwilly at 11:04 AM on September 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


If the tablet wars are heating up, then good. Apple needs good competition.

But if the Playbook is anywhere near as disappointing as the BlackBerry Storm with its horrible OS, then I'm not sure it will really be a good competitor. I wish it luck, though, as the iPad is not very well geared toward business.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:05 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love how these companies compare their product that is coming out next year to the iPad that came out 6 months ago. Do they really not realize that they will have to compete against an iPad that is better than the one now?

And sorry, while that video on gizmodo looks cool and all, it doesn't so much demonstrate the power and slickness the Blackberry Playbook as much as it does Adobe After Effects.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:07 AM on September 28, 2010


Ah, QNX, operating system of the beloved mid-80's Ontario school staple the ICON. On, Ontario, you just can quit QNX can you? Perhaps the Playbook has a huge trackball and runs on a 80186 as well.
posted by GuyZero at 11:07 AM on September 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


So if it's aimed at business why is it named 'Playbook?'
posted by uraniumwilly at 2:04 PM on September 28


Because it's a sports metaphor, much like the thousands of other sports and military cliches that substitute for thought in conference rooms across corporate America.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:08 AM on September 28, 2010 [28 favorites]


I have tablet-buzz fatigue. I can't be arsed to pay attention to anything unreleased and unpriced no matter what the claims are.
posted by Zed at 11:09 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is more like Blackberry making a move into a market segment the iPad isn't aimed at. Business has always been RIM's focus, so there's no reason for them not to aim there again with the Playbook. Market to your core audience.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:09 AM on September 28, 2010


Not tablet wars. More like tablet "me too's". This is a market these manufacturers tried and failed to enter years ago. They made shitty, keyboardless laptops.

RIM is in real trouble. If this thing is good it could help them. But sadly it needs to be a home run to keep them alive and viable. I can tell you now it won't be.

What all these companies need to do--the ones who are desperately chasing Apple--is create a market. Not arrive at one late, or mostly clone one and give it a happy robot icon. I mean really create their own thing. And no, creating plastic computers for accountants twenty years ago doesn't count.
posted by littlerobothead at 11:09 AM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


why is it named 'Playbook?'

Because managing is like coaching football, and you need a playbook to have huddles and produce action items and execute etc.
posted by anthill at 11:10 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"much like the thousands of other sports and military cliches that substitute for thought in conference rooms across corporate America."

Other names thrown around in their brainstorming sessions:

Low-hanging fruit
Easy Peasy
It is what it is
Synergy
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:11 AM on September 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


GuyZero, I can confirm that ICON survived into the early 90s in at least one Ontario school.
posted by Gin and Comics at 11:12 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do they really not realize that they will have to compete against an iPad that is better than the one now?

I don't know, it seems like they are aiming at where the iPad will be. For instance, this thing and the Galaxy Tab both have dual cameras, which will probably be on the next iPad (which currently has no cameras). They are also putting sufficient RAM in them, compared to the iPad's anemic 256 MB which makes switching tabs and such in the browser pretty bad. And built-in SD readers. What else will the next iPad really add?
posted by smackfu at 11:13 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know, it seems like they are aiming at where the iPad will be. For instance

Your examples are all nothing but feature bloat checklist items. The lack of those things cause people to throw their arms up and declare them DOA when the i-gizmos were announced which then went on to sell millions and have weeks-long waiting lists to get one.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:15 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What else will the next iPad really add?

The answer to this question is the reason you're nobody and Steve Jobs is a bajillionaire.

no offence, I'm not anybody either
posted by GuyZero at 11:16 AM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


What else will the next iPad really add?

Another couple million sold tallies to Apple's list? Also, it will brush your teeth.
posted by defenestration at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2010


The iPhone 4 already has the dual cameras and more RAM, so I don't know why you think they would be feature bloat if added to the iPad.
posted by smackfu at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


are the tablet wars heating up?

This and other prototypes of iPad clones won't be out for another year. The iPad will be a second-generation device, by then, running a refined fourth- or fifth-generation operating system. It's not even a "battle" yet, let alone a war.

The QNX aspect is interesting. This would be the first time an everyday consumer would be face-to-face with some form of QNX, I think. It's also interesting that the interface is WebOS-like, which will help RIM differentiate its device from the other clones running Android.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2010


I can see that RIM is trying to monetize its synergies buy assembling cross-functional teams to penetrate a market segment that is outside of their core competencies. Too bad there isn't much use for tablets in enterprises outside of the healthcare sector.
posted by MikeMc at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


The iPad isn't really a traditional computer; it's a media consumption device. It's pretty much useless for production. Why would you want a tablet for businesses? What would it do well that a netbook doesn't do? I can name all sorts of reasons to prefer an iPad to a netbook, but they're not business-oriented. No one tried to follow up the Wii with a Wii-clone designed for business, and this strikes me as that sort of move.
posted by painquale at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, if it's as stable, well-designed and reliable as the rest of RIM's product line, they're...

...


They're 100% fucked, is what they are.
posted by mhoye at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


What else will the next iPad really add?

Looking at the comparative specs I'm guessing "a decent amount of memory", the lack of which is beginning to look a little conspicuous.

Though if I were to put money down on it I'd say "Flash", just on the offchance.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2010


If anything, the iPad would be (an attempt at) a Touch Book killer.
posted by DU at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2010


Because it's a sports metaphor, much like the thousands of other sports and military cliches that substitute for thought in conference rooms across corporate America.

playboy, playgirl, playbook?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:21 AM on September 28, 2010


No one tried to follow up the Wii with a Wii-clone designed for business, and this strikes me as that sort of move.

I just had an awesome idea.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on September 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


If anything, the iPad would be (an attempt at) a Touch Book killer.

Errr....not because TB is so awesome. Far from it, I think all portable computers are pretty terrible and making it huge and fragile isn't going to fix that.

Because TB came out before the iPad.
posted by DU at 11:23 AM on September 28, 2010


Your examples are all nothing but feature bloat checklist items.

An SD card slot is feature bloat? I wonder how many camera kits Apple has sold. Call it bloat and then sell a $30.00 dongle to ruin the form factor and give people the bloated feature they didn't want in the first place. Brilliant marketing I must say.
posted by MikeMc at 11:24 AM on September 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


This and other prototypes of iPad clones won't be out for another year. The iPad will be a second-generation device, by then, running a refined fourth- or fifth-generation operating system. It's not even a "battle" yet, let alone a war.

The iPad will indeed be improved but at the same time, the iPhone only managed to just catch up to Android on the OS side with iOS 4. The bundled software is a mix - FaceTime wins, Android has GPS navigation. The latest iPhone hardware definitely leads the pack but that gap should close over time.

At any rate the tablets that eventually enter the 'war' will be about as good as the current iPad but whether they enter via a different market channel or have minor feature set differences or are just cheaper they'll appeal to whomever the iPad isn't selling to currently.

IMO RIM's Playbook is really a horrible me-too device regardless of the good physical design, decent specs and seemingly solid underpinnings of QNX. I just don't see anything new in it at all. It's just there as a sop to people who are locked into the BB ecosystem for whatever reason.
posted by GuyZero at 11:24 AM on September 28, 2010


The iPad isn't really a traditional computer; it's a media consumption device.

If that was true, Google probably wouldn't be bothering to port Docs over to it. Everyday folks wouldn't be able to now make videos or music with it, either. The iPad is perhaps just a bit too young to issue that blanket sentence upon it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]



Believe it or not, this is HUGE for the corporate world.

Reason being, most of our IT departments bought BlackBerry Enterprise Server and designed our mobile e-mail security around it. Our employees saw the iPad and went "ooh, I want that" like a stupid kid on the playground when another has a wad of bubble gum.

We said, "No, you don't. Besides, you already have a laptop and a BlackBerry you don't know how to use. Why the hell would we reconfigure our Exchange Server and Active Sync so you can have a pretty new toy that will not give you any functionality you don't already have?"

Now, we got something that will go on our BES and keep the heathens happy.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:26 AM on September 28, 2010 [12 favorites]




The hardware is nice (save the strange omission of expandible memory cards), but we all know that if the software isn't up to scratch, this doesn't have a hope.

RIM seems to know this and know also that their own bb/os wasn't up to the task.

The underpinnings of QNX are very good. ATMs, cars and medical devices are typical existing uses for QNX. It's very secure and very hard-core real-time. It can run in the tiniest of memory footprints and is highly modular. Should be great for security and have good multi-media performance. It's sort-of unixy in terms of an API, and RIM is shipping with Java and webkit/javascript stacks. QNX was also based in Ottawa, RIM's second major engineering centre after Waterloo. If this is RIM's next-gen os, it's a great choice, on par with Apple's purchase of Next.

But the big question is the interface. RIM has some good ui people (I used to play soccer with a bunch of them), but they kind-of blew it on the Storm devices. Intersting times.
posted by bonehead at 11:27 AM on September 28, 2010


It's pretty much useless for production. Why would you want a tablet for businesses?

Well that's the thing. If all you think about for business is "MS Word" and "MS Excel" then you're right, these things, tablets I mean, don't fit in at all.

The iPhone 4 already has the dual cameras and more RAM


Right, and that's great. The iPhone 4 came out after the iPad, one would expect its specs to be upgraded. These little things aren't the things that make the device what it is, though. Give the latest Nokia phone 4 GB of RAM and 8 cameras and it will still be a piece of shit (to me).

But clearly, if lacking these things mattered, then why would Apple be making an estimated $1.6 billion off of those things in one quarter?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2010


What else will the next iPad really add?

Big brutha ain't shit without Minority Report bidness. Proximity-sensor beeyotch!
posted by jeremias at 11:29 AM on September 28, 2010


What all these companies need to do--the ones who are desperately chasing Apple--is create a market. Not arrive at one late, or mostly clone one and give it a happy robot icon. I mean really create their own thing.

There's a market already waiting: academia and wonks. There's a huge need for a tablet that:

1. Uses eInk display
2. Is touch sensitive
3. Has an open-source OS
4 Allows 3rd party software without restriction
5. (wait wait, I'm getting to the good bit)
6. Comes with a suite of software that:
6a. Reads all major document formats
6b. Allows on-the-fly text and drawing annotation to any open document
6c. Saves all annotation in database so that it appears when the document is reopened, thus not altering the original documents
6d. Allows easy export of notations from the database for entry into
6e. A tailored office suite that lets you draft, proof, export, and print academic and technical papers on it
7. Wireless B,G,N , a browser, etc.
8. CF, SD, etc memory expansion slots

The upshot is a device that lets you do your research and writing from anywhere. This market is here, now, and has been disappointed by every eBook reader since the Sony Libre.
posted by clarknova at 11:29 AM on September 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


It strikes me that the market they're trying to create is a much more ambitious one than Apple's. Executives who want tablets will always buy the coolest, sexiest thing. RIM seems to be looking to convince companies that these things need to be standard issue for every Joe Shmo in sales, marketing, and HR. If they can manage to do that, then invest in RIM.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:31 AM on September 28, 2010


Though if I were to put money down on it I'd say "Flash", just on the offchance.

No....just, no. Apple has designed thier entire appstore business model around not allowing competition from flash on thier devices. Jobs would close down the entire company before you'll see flash on a portable Apple device,
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:31 AM on September 28, 2010


The iPad is perhaps just a bit too young to issue that blanket sentence upon it.

Well, the current iPad is really bad for producing things. Google Docs will be useful for quick-and-dirty edits, but (keyboard issues aside) the awfulness of the copy-paste function really makes document production a bad experience. Even commenting on Metafilter threads is annoying for this reason.

It's awesome for reading and watching though. (And the New Yorker app finally came out! Whoo!)
posted by painquale at 11:31 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


SynergisticsMatrixCoreCompetenciesShootMeAnEmailSportoBook.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:32 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Uses eInk display
2. Is touch sensitive


Once we can get a color, multi-touch e-ink display... I'll be all over that.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:33 AM on September 28, 2010


What I find interesting is that the competitors aren't imitating the iPad screen size. The iPad is pretty chunky and heavy, so maybe they think they can win there.
posted by smackfu at 11:33 AM on September 28, 2010


clarknova, have you been following Notion Ink? What they're working on seems to hit all of your wishes perfectly. I'd love to see a tiny, new startup blow everyone away.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:33 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


clarknova, that seems like pretty much the market iRex was aiming for, especially with the DR-800.
posted by enn at 11:34 AM on September 28, 2010


"Low-hanging fruit
Easy Peasy
It is what it is
Synergy"


Don't forget how "impactful" it's going to be.

dear jebus how i hate that word
posted by zoogleplex at 11:35 AM on September 28, 2010


Though if I were to put money down on it I'd say "Flash", just on the offchance.

No....just, no. Apple has designed thier entire appstore business model around not allowing competition from flash on thier devices. Jobs would close down the entire company before you'll see flash on a portable Apple device,


Which is why I'd put 10 bucks on it. If Jobs gets hit by a meteor or gets so upset by one of his latenight email ragefests that he jumps out of a window then someone without his obsession with flash might take over, and I'd make a mint!
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on September 28, 2010


Why would you want a tablet for businesses?

It does what 99% of suits want, while phones only do about 50%.

You can't do presentation prep on an airplane on an iPhone-like device, not with 50-year-old eyes.
You can't see 20 columns in a spreadsheet on a phone.
You can't read a letter or a technical manual very well---a full page has text too small to read on a small display so you have to zoom into little chunks at a time.
It's much easier to show a movie or a photo to someone on a larger screen.

A smarphone is a constant companion, but is too small to work on for long periods. This is small enough to travel easily (it's less than 1/4 the weight of my "ultraportable" X61), but capable of doing enough that I'd be comfortable taking on a multi-day business trip. BIG WIN.
posted by bonehead at 11:38 AM on September 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


What will happen is that the iPad competitors will support Flash as a feature. And they will have more powerful near-desktop processors, much better than what was on the first iPhone for instance. So they will work pretty well, and will only get better over time. And Flash apps will be optimized for touch interfaces, and they will become better.

And then suddenly it seems pretty silly that the iPad doesn't have Flash.

Oh wait, Flash is just "evil" and HTML5 is the future. Sorry.
posted by smackfu at 11:38 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd second Roll Truck Roll's recommendation to check out what Notion Ink is up to with the Adam. It looks very exciting indeed.
posted by radioedit at 11:39 AM on September 28, 2010


I've been rendered completely unable to take anything BB puts out seriously after seeing this.
posted by mkultra at 11:40 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


1. Uses eInk display

Amazon says they are a few years away from a color eInk display. They probably have the most incentive to push a color eInk device to the market as quickly as possible. Without color, eInk will be relegated to electronic books.

2. Is touch sensitive

Tablets have been out for a while but never really caught on in academia. Too expensive, the battery life is too short, and fragile. Mostly it was the expense that was what stopped us from deploying them over regular, reliable, cheap iBooks.

3. Has an open-source OS

Most users don't think about whether the operating system is open source as a buying point. This is why almost every computer that Best Buy sells still runs Windows.

4 Allows 3rd party software without restriction

Interestingly, this hasn't gotten much press, but Google is being sued by Skyhook Wireless for basically strong-arming vendors into running Google services on Android phones. It looks like the word "open" in open source has different meanings, depending on which company's marketing firm uses it.

5. (wait wait, I'm getting to the good bit)

A lot of that stuff may come to a lot of different devices as cloud storage (Amazon S3, Dropbox, etc.) becomes cheaper, more ubiquitous and more deeply integrated with device apps.

7. Wireless B,G,N , a browser, etc.

Most of this is a given on mobile devices. I can't think of any these days that do not support wi-fi and do not include a web browser of some sort.

8. CF, SD, etc memory expansion slots

Do people really use these as expansion? These slots are useful for sneakernet-ing but I'm curious if these actually get used for storage, except on devices that don't come with any internal storage. I'll bet USB sticks will go the way of floppies and Zip disks, as wireless networking gets sufficiently cheap and widespread for people to use cloud services as a kind of global file system.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can see that RIM is trying to monetize its synergies buy assembling cross-functional teams to penetrate a market segment that is outside of their core competencies.


This doesn't make any sense. Perhaps you could resubmit it in Cornflower Blue?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:43 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, QNX, operating system of the beloved mid-80's

Yes, their DOS compatibility layer ran faster with more memory free than the Microsoft version of DOS.

And that was after the name change from QNIX.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:45 AM on September 28, 2010


And Flash apps will be optimized for touch interfaces, and they will become better.

In keeping with Flash developers' longstanding tradition of taking OS integration and compatibility across platforms and input paradigms seriously, right? The way they all let you cut and paste to the system clipboard(s) and support standard system keybindings? Mm-hmm.
posted by enn at 11:46 AM on September 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


8. CF, SD, etc memory expansion slots
Do people really use these as expansion?


Yes. Its what's made my cyanogen'ed Android more useable, the SD slot is how I swap in/out music from the sansa, and the SO wants to get a Nook over the Kindle because of the microSD slot.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:47 AM on September 28, 2010


From the last link:

Tablets are not about hardware as much as they are about software. For a device in this space to succeed one needs an optimized software experience form both a platform and application perspective.

I'll take RIM's word for it that they can deliver this thing by Q1 2011. I'll even overlook the suspicious omission of battery life.

But if they're going to compete with Apple in delivering "an optimized software experience", I'll just wish them good luck.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:48 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


the SD slot is how I swap in/out music from the sansa

Well, like I said, that's sneakernet-ing, moving files from A to B, not storage expansion. That's basically a glorified floppy disk.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:49 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What will happen is that the iPad competitors will support Flash as a feature.

That is to say, when and if said competitors ever get to market.
posted by immlass at 11:49 AM on September 28, 2010


As a Apple fanboy, I hope it's competitive to the iPad. And not just head-to-head as a me too product, but as an alternative for those who have different needs, be it security, cost, openness, etc. At this early stage of tablet computing, competition will lift all boats, including Apple's.

Plus, that way I can go back to being the only one in my family who has Apple stuff and can stop being Apple tech support all the time.
posted by acheekymonkey at 11:49 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"What will happen is that the iPad competitors will support Flash as a feature."

Yes indeed. Hopefully they'll be able to cope with the crashing and security problems that come along with it.

"And they will have more powerful near-desktop processors, much better than what was on the first iPhone for instance."

Errrm, I'd say that's not as likely. One of the biggest plus features of the iPad is that the battery really does last at least 10 hours before needing a recharge. I've gotten even more than that out of mine - though only very rarely any less - depending on use. (on preview, I see others have mentioned battery life - trust me, it's a big, big deal.) This is IMO the main reason why Apple has spent a crapton of money developing their own processors.

"Near desktop" processors use a whole lotta power. You're not going to sell anyone on a tablet that doesn't offer 8+ hours of battery, and so far nobody's got a "near desktop" processor that isn't a power hog, to my (admittedly not expert) knowledge.

The screen size is a huge plus for something that has business work applications, especially for, as mentioned above, people over age 45.

I dunno, RIM seems to sell a ton of Blackberries even if the users hate them, so this will probably sell okay for them, especially given the above example of how corporate IT has built a lot of their infrastructure around the system.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:50 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to argue that adding features to a tablet is feature-bloat, or unnecessary. I have an iPad, and I enjoy it greatly, but I do wish I could use it for more business-oriented tasks. It is, primarily, a media-consumption device as far as my experience goes. Any time I try to use the iPad to do business-oriented tasks, I feel like I'm jury-rigging it.

One of the reasons I insist on using my iPad is its form factor. If you travel, then you know what a pain in the ass it is to travel with a laptop. And, if it's not a pain in the ass, then you've probably travelled with your laptop enough so that you're kind of just used to travelling with it. I can testify that the form factor of a tablet becomes a noticeable benefit over laptops when it comes to travel.

The biggest problem that I foresee with tablets is the quality of "apps." Not "apps" per se, but software that is actually designed well for use on a tablet. I hear people talking up the forthcoming Windows 7 tablets because they can use any software you can use on Windows 7. But, can you really use Microsoft Word or navigate a series of folders on a tablet? You can, but it's not even close to optimal. The software needs to be modified for use in the tablet touch-screen format.

Apple competitors have in the past cheaped out on processing speed, RAM and hard drive space (relying on removable media, like SD cards, to supplement the lack of memory). They also have relatively crappy battery life. Competitors seem to think the ability for additional limited customization and Flash support is enough to squash Apple. I want to see competitors, and I want them to do well, because I am not beholden to Apple. But I'm not going to go out of my way by purchasing a less-than-optimal device just because I dislike Apple's foothold on the medium.

So, for now, I'm happy with my media-consumption device. On a recent flight, as I watched Moon on my iPad, the guy next to me lugged out his lunky 17-inch Acer laptop and watched Smallville reruns, reminding me of my inconvenient laptop days.

I'm looking forward to the future of tablet devices.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:51 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, if we're comparing RIM to Apple here, Apple has spent the last decade arguing that they don't need to kill Microsoft/Intel in the PC market as long as they keep showing double-digit growth and solid earnings.

I don't really think anyone is expecting to replace the current Apple hegemony when it comes to tablet-like devices. The goal with these competing tablets is to find a market sweet spot where they can be profitable.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:52 AM on September 28, 2010


Do people really use these as expansion?

Yes. I bought a 4 gig Creative Zen PMP a few years back and slapped a cheap 4 gig SDHC card in it and pocketed the difference between the 4 and 8 gig models (minus the cost of the card). Of course the SD card isn't fully integrated into the file system, Creative isn't stupid, but it's close enough. Why do you think iPods and Pads don't have an SD slot? So you'll buy the more expensive model with more storage. Which reminds me, I need to pick-up a microSD card for my phone...
posted by MikeMc at 11:53 AM on September 28, 2010


especially given the above example of how corporate IT has built a lot of their infrastructure around the system.

Nobody ever got fired for buying RIM...
posted by MikeMc at 11:54 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Still waiting for a real tablet sized touch screen computer running a full OS... I don't need another iPhone/Blackberry/etc., especially one that is too big to fit in my pocket.
posted by jardinier at 11:55 AM on September 28, 2010


This BlackBerry tablet is already a hell of a lot more interesting than the flood of hastily-designed Android tables running inadequate Android 2.2.

The ability to pair with a BlackBerry device is actually a very killer feature for BB users like me. And it won't require a second cell contract from your carrier (unlike the Android tablets, which are literally just plain-old Android phones that are too large to fit in your pocket)

On the other hand, Apple just updated their Remote app for iPad and iPhone and it too is killer. This is my new interface to iTunes.

If the BB tablet is affordable I will certainly check it out, and I may end up keeping both my iPad and BB tablet.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:55 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, like I said, that's sneakernet-ing, moving files from A to B, not storage expansion. That's basically a glorified floppy disk.

Lets see. Sansa e250. (e250's are 2 gig internal)
8 gig microSD card
RockBox to get past the 2 gig SD card limit.

Yea, nothing more than 'sneakernet'. Best move along.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:56 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Near desktop" processors use a whole lotta power.

True, I really just meant able to run Flash just fine. That doesn't take that much. A low-power Atom processor like you find in netbooks is certainly sufficient and that's no powerhouse. The "Flash runs like crap" argument just won't last too long when competitors are putting dual core 1 GHz chips in tablets, like Blackberry are.
posted by smackfu at 11:57 AM on September 28, 2010


I'll bet USB sticks will go the way of floppies and Zip disks, as wireless networking gets sufficiently cheap and widespread for people to use cloud services as a kind of global file system.

Cloud services work for small files like spreadsheets or text files, but until there's cheap and fast upstream bandwidth, cloud services aren't replacing physical storage anytime soon.
posted by kmz at 11:57 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you travel, then you know what a pain in the ass it is to travel with a laptop.

I like my iPad for travel and no longer take a laptop. But I am on my second iPad because I left my first iPad on the plane seat. If it had been small (an iPhone) I would have put it in my pocket, if it had been big (a laptop) I would have seen it when I scanned as I was leaving. But instead it was thin and black and hid quite nicely.
posted by acheekymonkey at 11:58 AM on September 28, 2010


This BlackBerry tablet is already a hell of a lot more interesting than the flood of hastily-designed Android tables running inadequate Android 2.2.

This is the structural problem with Google's model. I expect it will improve once the tablet-optimized version of Android arrives.
posted by GuyZero at 11:59 AM on September 28, 2010


The Playbook announce seems to be more along the lines of an E3 concept demo than an actual product that's waiting to ship. Hiding the unit behind glass instead of having a working beta unit is pretty sketchy. That, coupled with no ship date and no pricing, leads me to believe there is a ton of work to go before this becomes an actual shipping device. I wouldn't be surprised to have the thing push the ship date a couple of times before it actually appears.

Setting aside the cheapy android me-too's showing up at Kmart and such, as of this writing the only shipping pad/tablet that I know of is the Dell Streak. And the Streak is more akin to the iPhone/iPod touch than the iPad. So, as it stands, this "war" currently has only one participant -- Apple with the iPad. There have been months of blog articles talking about this war, but since no one else has shown up, it's been a pretty boring one-sided battle.

Google themselves have stated that the current iteration of Android isn't ready for the tablet use, so unless Samsung and the other tablet manufacturers currently developing devices are doing some serious R&D with some heavy customization of the OS, I don't see this new crop of tablets having anywhere near the user experience the iPad has.

The one platform I'm really hoping turns out to be some real competition for the iPad is HP's Palm/WebOS based units. With HP's resources and the WebOS software, I think it could have the best chance of becoming the "other" tablet on the scene. Then maybe would could have a real war.
posted by bionic.junkie at 12:01 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "Flash runs like crap" argument just won't last too long when competitors are putting dual core 1 GHz chips in tablets, like Blackberry are.

What will the battery life be like in this device, once it is made?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do people really use these as expansion?

We sure do. A device which can't access local storage in some way is a non-starter.

I can carry my reference library on an SD card now, currently about 30 GB. I can't tell you how many times this has saved my butt when there's limited or no connectivity. I can also carry a second card with full set of my working files (~20 GB) that I'd otherwise need to have on a local disk or wired local network to have useful access to. Remote logins via class B wireless (any airport in NA) stinks like a 15-day old walrus carcass.

Cameras and printers are a big deal too but just about every piece of equipment from bar-code readers to GPS units to thermometers to particle velocimiters use SD cards for local storage. There isn't a lot of commonanlity but many industries use some wonky, weird piece of instrumentation. Many of these have SD cards in them.

A USB-to-SD adapter would be ok. this means the device needs to be a USB host, not just a client. It;'s not at all clear yet if the playbook can do that.
posted by bonehead at 12:03 PM on September 28, 2010


One point that's only been lightly touched on is why the iPad is a 10" display and all these new entrants are mostly 7" tablets.

One issue is the complaint about the weight of the iPad which is a legit concern I guess.

I think the real reason is that no one other than Apple has enough supply chain leverage to get 10" LCD displays in sufficient volume and at a sufficiently low price. I think people tend to overlook Apple's huge leverage over their suppliers and how like Wal-Mart suppliers are fighting each other to give their products to Apple at low margins.

My guess is that the Playbook would be 10" if RIM was able to secure any significant inventory at a reasonable price and that they simply can't do it.
posted by GuyZero at 12:04 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can carry my reference library on an SD card now, currently about 30 GB. I can't tell you how many times this has saved my butt when there's limited or no connectivity. I can also carry a second card with full set of my working files (~20 GB) that I'd otherwise need to have on a local disk or wired local network to have useful access to. Remote logins via class B wireless (any airport in NA) stinks like a 15-day old walrus carcass.

I suspect yours is not the average use case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remote logins via class B wireless (any airport in NA) stinks like a 15-day old walrus carcass.

RIM's sole sales channel is carrier partners so I expect they'll design this device around having constant 3G (or better) data connectivity. Your offline use case is of no interest to RIM.
posted by GuyZero at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2010


8. CF, SD, etc memory expansion slots

Do people really use these as expansion? These slots are useful for sneakernet-ing but I'm curious if these actually get used for storage, except on devices that don't come with any internal storage. I'll bet USB sticks will go the way of floppies and Zip disks, as wireless networking gets sufficiently cheap and widespread for people to use cloud services as a kind of global file system.


Just this past weekend, my wife took some photos of an event she was attending, put them on the netbook using the CF port, connected to the internet and uploaded them.

Which is ultimately why she chose the netbook over the iPad.

Well, that and she doesn't have to get Steve Job's blessing to run what she wants on it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:07 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What will the battery life be like in this device, once it is made?

I'd guess 3-4 hours.

It's half the weight of the iPad. The iPad is mostly battery. With a hotter processor, the Playbook will probably have less than half the battery-life of the iPad.
posted by bonehead at 12:08 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"My guess is that the Playbook would be 10" if RIM was able to secure any significant inventory at a reasonable price and that they simply can't do it."

At the rate Apple's selling iPads, I'd guess the fabbers are booked for the next 5 years on such displays.

"What will the battery life be like in this device, once it is made?

I'd guess 3-4 hours."


Not gonna cut it, sorry. I get 4 hours out of my 17" MacBookPro, and that's not even remotely enough, so it's always plugged into the wall-wart. That life on a tablet is a crucial fail.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:12 PM on September 28, 2010


8. CF, SD, etc memory expansion slots Do people really use these as expansion

And when use cases are shown:

I suspect yours is not the average use case.

Perhaps that is because your 'use case' is what you are parroting? Or a moving of the goal posts?

When the firms who make the devices they advertise 'to expand your device memory - an SD card slot' not your proposed language.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:12 PM on September 28, 2010


[Carrying all my files with me]

I suspect yours is not the average use case.


Really? Assume you're on the road for business for a week with a few hours here and there down-time. Or that you're working at home on Sunday night to get something ready for the next week. How big is the set of files/data that you would need to carry with you in order to do useful work? What's the size of your personal directory at work plus those shares that you commonly work on? I'll bet it's several gigs at least.
posted by bonehead at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2010


It's a great time to be alive! This particular tablet may or may not succeed, but there is too huge a market (not yet existent) for the iPad to stand on its own for long. In 5 years, we're all going to have tablets of some kind.
posted by callmejay at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just this past weekend, my wife took some photos of an event she was attending, put them on the netbook using the CF port, connected to the internet and uploaded them.

You can do that with an iPad. But again, to be clear on terminology, I am talking about expansion storage, not sneakernet-ing, where you are moving data between point A (camera, MP3 player, etc.) and point B (uploading device, MP3 library, etc.), which the iPad can already do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2010


The BlackBerry PlayBook will have a seven-inch screen and dual facing cameras. It has WiFi and Bluetooth but needs to link with a BlackBerry smartphone to access the cellular network.

What? Well there's a killer for you. It'd be like the iPad was only good if you already owned an iPhone.
posted by Gungho at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interesting how the same folks who moan about Apple hate are the first to shit on anything non-Apple that might be competition.
posted by maxwelton at 12:14 PM on September 28, 2010


It's a little bigger and heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, on the other hand.

The what now? I hadn't heard of this before and to be honest, it has me a lot more excited that the BlackBerry offering.

And I loved my BB. But my Galaxy phone has been pretty spectacular. A pad version would be very well received and welcomed into my house (even if it does seem a bit too small).
posted by quin at 12:16 PM on September 28, 2010


I kind of relish Apple hate. It seems to make them keep doing extraordinary things and marketing in interesting ways. I've saved a lot of time and money buying Apple stuff, compared to my non-Apple-using friends, so keep it coming, gang.

Anyone got the Galaxy tablet yet (as opposed to the phone), to give us some real-world on it?
posted by zoogleplex at 12:18 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


iPad works great for work, depending on what your work is. I work in software support (the software only runs on Windows), and can administer the software with my iPad using the remote desktop app I bought. It's snappy, and I can even access work stuff via our VPN.
posted by grubi at 12:20 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The iPad isn't really a traditional computer; it's a media consumption device. It's pretty much useless for production.

Painting: Brushes

Music creation: miniSynth Pro

Photo Editing: PixelMagic

Video Editing: Reel Director

Word Processing: Pages

CAD: CARTOMAP CAD
posted by Scoo at 12:20 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eh, I love my iPad, but even writing a long forum comment prompts me to walk over to my "real" computer.
posted by smackfu at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the real reason is that no one other than Apple has enough supply chain leverage to get 10" LCD displays in sufficient volume and at a sufficiently low price.

Considering that Samsung basically owns the worldwide market for displays I don't think that the reason their tablet is 7" instead of 10" is because they couldn't source them. Also, they plan to release a 10" version next year as well.
posted by euphorb at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2010


RIM's sole sales channel is carrier partners so I expect they'll design this device around having constant 3G (or better) data connectivity.

What? No, this thing has wireless. I and especially my employer prefer not to pay the ruinous fees charges of Canada's 3G providers most of the time. The smartphones themselves are bad enough. A laptop with a 3G modem can chew through hundreds of dollars in data charges in a single day. Hence the desire for local storage and wireless networking. 3G is often sucky for speed anyway.
posted by bonehead at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2010


The Galaxy Tab looks fun. The interfaces for the mail and calendar apps are very familiar to those who use iOS, the rotation and some other UI stuff isn't as polished as iOS, and the screen is smaller, but it will be interesting to see what kind of battery life it gets, and whether it can be priced competitively with an iPad. Might be something fun to develop for.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2010


There's some definitely interesting android tablets coming very shortly.

There's the Samsung Galaxy Tab; a 7" version of the Samsung Galaxy S (and it's captivate,vibrant, epic and Fascinate variants). Froyo, i.e. flash 10.1, super-amoled screen that works nicely in sunlight, AGPS, 3G, microsd etc. Expensive though. I own the galaxy S, and would *love* it in tablet form factor if the price was at all sane!

My galaxy lasts for 3 days between charges no trouble (use it for several hours a day), and the beta-froyo I have now uses 1% in idle overnight off-charger. Despite certain apple defenders claims otherwise, android is not the battery sucking hog it's accused of being.

The notion ink adam is really clever; a combination very low power mono e-ink screen that can also switch to standard backlit LCD. Indian startup, that if it launches successfully in november could really carve out a niche for itself.

Lastly, there's the Archos 70 and 101 due in early october; 7" or 10.1" amoled screen, 8 or 16GB, with multitouch capacitive screen, microhdmi, host USB slot (so can use use storage, normal keyboards etc) plus microusb for PC transfer, microsd slot, froyo etc. No 3G, only wifi, so very cheap - £229-£299, so 2/3 the price of the ipad with a better processor and GPU, bigger battery, more RAM and less weight. Plus Archos have been in the portable media player business for years, so the thing plays every format under the sun. Ok, it's a plastic shell rather than the glass and metal ipad; and since it doesn't meet google's spec, there's no official google market. If you don't mind the archos store, or can sideload via usb your own apps, then it's all the pluses of android, for well cheap, with a proper screen.

I have to give kudos to apple for the idea of using a touch-based phone OS for tablets, rather than the nasty attempts to retrofit windows for touch, something it really isn't suited for.

I'm close to pre-ordering an archos 101 myself, so I can use the same apps and touch-interface I use constantly on my phone, but in my living room and kitchen without having to sit up and use the desktop, or try and scrunch over a netbook. Or rather, I'm buying it for the missus, and I may sometime get a look in...
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:24 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've done some quick sketches and speed paints in SketchBookPro for iPad, but I can't use it for the super-tight design drawings and digital paintings that I do for a living. It's not bad for doing rapid stuff while sitting with a client, though.

Also, there's a Logic-like multitrack audio recorder called Multitrack DAW that's pretty darn awesome. Up to 24 tracks, if you buy the full upgrades! Amazing.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2010



Tablets have been out for a while but never really caught on in academia. Too expensive, the battery life is too short, and fragile.


The project at a school in Scotland that replaced a computer lab with iPads has been showing promise.


The work of Inkling, a company that develops interactive textbooks for the iPad has some pretty fresh ideas and demonstrates (to me at least) how tablets have come of age.
posted by jeremias at 12:26 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So if it's aimed at business why is it named 'Playbook?'
posted by uraniumwilly at 2:04 PM on September 28

Because it's a sports metaphor, much like the thousands of other sports and military cliches that substitute for thought in conference rooms across corporate America.


It's incomprehensibly stupid to me that they would pick this as a name unless they're going to market it differently in different regions. Outside of North America, "Playbook" is going to sound like a children's toy (like "PlayDough") or an entertainment device (like "PlayStation"). If your market is tablet for serious business, this is a colossally dumb move.
posted by modernnomad at 12:32 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can do that with an iPad. But again, to be clear on terminology, I am talking about expansion storage, not sneakernet-ing, where you are moving data between point A (camera, MP3 player, etc.) and point B (uploading device, MP3 library, etc.), which the iPad can already do.

Actually, unless you pay extra for a separate dongle, and ruin your form factor in the process, the iPad can't. That's kind of the point people are trying to make - having the slot built in is better than excluding it and selling an adapter.
posted by kafziel at 12:32 PM on September 28, 2010


Kno Offers a Second, Lighter Tablet --"A startup backed by Marc Andreessen unveils a second tablet for the college market before its first model has shipped."
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on September 28, 2010


"Because it's a sports metaphor, much like the thousands of other sports and military cliches that substitute for thought in conference rooms across corporate America."

It is fairly impressive how many high-school and college jocks wind up in management and executive, isn't it?

"A startup backed by Marc Andreessen unveils a second tablet for the college market before its first model has shipped."

Respect to Andreessen, but IIRC that kind of ahead-marketing is pretty standard for him.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:37 PM on September 28, 2010


I and especially my employer prefer not to pay the ruinous fees charges of Canada's 3G providers most of the time.

a) that you don't want to pay is of no interest to RIM. Why would they design a product for a consumer who has no interest in generating revenue for them? RIM gets a cut of subscriber fees from most carriers.

b) The bulk of RIM's user base is not in Canada even though that's where they're headquartered.

Again, I think your reasons are good - I just think that RIM has it's own reasons to not build the device around an offline use case.
posted by GuyZero at 12:37 PM on September 28, 2010


Painting: Brushes
Music creation: miniSynth Pro
Photo Editing: PixelMagic
Video Editing: Reel Director
Word Processing: Pages
CAD: CARTOMAP CAD


We're seeing more of these apps as time passes. I don't have the link in front of me, but some graphic designers took some time just to figure out how to optimally "consume content" on the iPad when they worked on an app for a certain magazine, whose name escapes me. Good design takes time.

We're seeing the same attention paid as more content creation apps like these come out. Developers are learning the spacial aspects of the iPad, what touch events are best for certain types of "content creation" apps, how the UI widgets should be placed, and how interaction with widgets should be implemented and refined.

These refinements will likely trickle down to RIM-QNX, WebOS and tablet-Android app designs, too (some of which are shown in the Galaxy Tab video) so that will definitely benefit users of iPad clones. Because Apple and iOS developers will have already done a fair amount of work here, the catch-up time will be shortened for competitors, which will benefit all users, regardless of what they choose to use.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:38 PM on September 28, 2010


The notion ink adam is really clever; a combination very low power mono e-ink screen that can also switch to standard backlit LCD

It's a Pixel Qi screen, so it's not really a combination with e-ink, but a different kind of LCD that reportedly offers e-ink-like quality with the backlight off.

I'd like to see it in action, but the Notion Ink Adam's release has been right around the corner for a long time (last December: out in June 2010), contributing to my tablet-buzz fatigue, and I've given up following news on it till it's out.

But it looks promising. (Now, if only it had a resistive touchscreen. sigh.)
posted by Zed at 12:38 PM on September 28, 2010


I can see that RIM is trying to monetize its synergies buy assembling cross-functional teams to penetrate a market segment that is outside of their core competencies.

I thought they were trying to synergize cross-channel backwards overflow.
posted by modernnomad at 12:40 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


We said, "No, you don't. Besides, you already have a laptop and a BlackBerry you don't know how to use. Why the hell would we reconfigure our Exchange Server and Active Sync so you can have a pretty new toy that will not give you any functionality you don't already have?

I have a BlackBerry Tour that my work forced upon me a few months ago, and an Android phone that I keep for personal use. Anybody who would make the comparison that the Blackberry and Android Phone have equivalent functionality has clearly never used an Android phone.

And, believe it or not, aesthetics and user interfaces play a huge role in how people interact with technology. BlackBerry falls flat on its face in both of these areas. If they "don't know how to use their Blackberries," it's probably because the OS is confusing, slow, and buggy.

The Web Browser is *BARELY* usable on about 75% of sites, completely unusable on about 20%, and tolerable on the remaining 5%. None of my company's internal web applications work on the Blackberry -- I've done some work to attempt to build a secondary BB-friendly interface, and have had very little success, given Blackberry's horrendously poor support for JavaScript, DOM, and CSS (their standards documents were based upon IE6, and don't even manage to implement that correctly).

Native app development isn't much better, and is a mess of low-level Java libraries. High-level UI stuff has to be re-coded for every new application, and there isn't really a standardized set of widgets a la Cocoa.

RIM do appear to have seen the error in their ways, and have thankfully based their new OS on QNX, and implemented a WebKit-based browser. Unfortunately, "older" devices such as my 5-month-old Tour won't be getting an upgrade.

So, yeah. RIM's days will be numbered as soon as somebody else produces an equivalent product to BES. The only nice thing to say about Blackberry is that the keyboards are quite nice. (And those will probably be phased out in a year or two)
posted by schmod at 12:46 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kind of relish Apple hate. It seems to make them keep doing extraordinary things and marketing in interesting ways.

Like supporting the 16 bit 6502 - 65c816S or The Newton? You remeber the unique Netwon Marketing. Announcing it was canceled at the end of Feb and 3 days later at the March educators expo talking about how The Newton is an important part of the Apple product line.

How about the announcement of RedBox?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:47 PM on September 28, 2010


What all these companies need to do--the ones who are desperately chasing Apple--is create a market. Not arrive at one late, or mostly clone one and give it a happy robot icon. I mean really create their own thing. And no, creating plastic computers for accountants twenty years ago doesn't count.

Android has been around since 2005. And that happy robot is quickly gaining on Apple.
posted by jessssse at 12:48 PM on September 28, 2010


It's a great time to be alive! This particular tablet may or may not succeed, but there is too huge a market (not yet existent) for the iPad to stand on its own for long.
How's that iPod killer coming along? Of *course* one company can put a headlock on a market. They do it all the time. Sometimes it's because of empty marketing and FUD, but other times it's deserved. I think the iPad is the success it is for very good reasons, and simply building an iPad clone that has "basically the same features" plus "some extra stuff" will not create a new market or defeat the current leader.

And for the record, I could not possibly give less of a shit about how many little card readers you stuff into a device. They try this with the Android phones, and someone is always saying "it's got a card reader ZOMG!!!1" Evidently there's one guy who's really happy about that, surrounded by a billion other people (in the primary demographic for said device) looking at marked down MiniSD cards on a Target end-cap going "huh?" For 90% of users the device will be used as it was when it came out of the box.
posted by littlerobothead at 12:49 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've played with the Zune HD and the UI is really cool, it's too bad it didn't catch on.
posted by smackfu at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2010


It's a great time to be alive! This particular tablet may or may not succeed, but there is too huge a market (not yet existent) for the iPad to stand on its own for long. In 5 years, we're all going to have tablets of some kind.

As I recall, before the iPad came out, the question was whether anyone would want something like that. Now everyone is discussing who, if anyone, can challenge Apple for leadership of this market segment.

War? I'd say Apple has already won it.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:56 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh now, come on rough ashlar. Certainly Apple has stumbled many times, and quite publicly in most cases. Newton, sigh. The original AppleTV, oog. Maybe even this AppleTV, though it's better. Many excellent companies stumble here and there.

But it's pretty plain their wins offset their stumbles. Their willingness to take a big risk sometimes backfires, but it's been paying off recently, hasn't it.

"I've played with the Zune HD and the UI is really cool, it's too bad it didn't catch on."

This is exactly what I mean. Microsoft didn't take the risk that Apple did with the iPod, they just followed with an okay also-ran, and it didn't pay off.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:59 PM on September 28, 2010


Like supporting the 16 bit 6502 - 65c816S or The Newton? You remeber the unique Netwon Marketing. Announcing it was canceled at the end of Feb and 3 days later at the March educators expo talking about how The Newton is an important part of the Apple product line.

How about the announcement of RedBox?


You're still bitter about events from more than 15 years ago? Jeeeesus.
posted by grubi at 1:03 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Playbook is far more interesting than the me-too android tablets, for several reasons, none of which are exclusive to it but in combination seem to hit a hot spot:

1) size and weight - "suit" pocketable
2) cpu and memory - capable
3) high def cameras - video conf
4) security aspects of BES - corporate acceptance
5) tethering to current phone - no recurring expense
6) SDK options - IT depts will find at least one that meshes

The problems are going to be

1) component cost - the screen is cheaper than the pad, but that silicon is going to cost.
2) assembly cost - RIM builds in Canada, not China.
3) battery life - especially when running GL &/o those hidef cameras
4) UI hinkiness - RIM is not known for smooth UI experiences.

Nevertheless, at even $800 (my guess): as a one-time cost (no recurring because pairing with phone) this is a no-brainer for corporate types. As I said yesterday on Twitter, RIM deserves congratulations for making something as exciting as the 85x/95x were back in their day.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:04 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're still bitter about events from more than 15 years ago?

If that was the case I could have mentioned the Apple ///.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:05 PM on September 28, 2010


As far as not being able to do pro-level content creation on the iPad, it was 6 years between the 128K Mac and Photoshop 1.0.

Anyone care to speculate on what the 2016 version of iPad will be able to do?
posted by Joe Beese at 1:09 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If that was the case I could have mentioned the Apple ///.

That would be more than 25 years ago. I think your calendar is broken.
posted by grubi at 1:10 PM on September 28, 2010


I'm waiting for a tablet that has handwriting recognition. I want to go to a meeting with the tablet, take notes, throw them into task/project lists, etc. But the vitual keyboard just doesn't work for me.

I may be alone in this, but if you could write on a nice lightweight tablet (just like on a paper tablet), and if it could do pretty good at converting that handwriting into word processor text, I'd be a happy user.
posted by jasper411 at 1:13 PM on September 28, 2010


That would be more than 25 years ago. I think your calendar is broken.

As you stated:

events from more than 15 years ago?

25 years is more than 15.

Nothing broken on my end.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:14 PM on September 28, 2010


5) tethering to current phone - no recurring expense

Depending on the carrier, tethering may be an additional monthly cost although adding it to the corporate phone plan for the execs is a pretty small extra expense. 2GB of tethering monty on Verizon is $20 monthly on top of the existing data package for example.
posted by GuyZero at 1:15 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "Flash runs like crap" argument just won't last too long when competitors are putting dual core 1 GHz chips in tablets...

Hell, Flash runs like crap on a dual 1.4 GHz Atom under any OS but Windows. It will be worse on a dual core 1 GHz ARM chip (you know, like the iPad has).

It's not an argument, it's a fact.
posted by Sukiari at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm waiting for a tablet that has handwriting recognition.

You can still buy 'em. The Newton 2100. 57 mA at 6 volts. All day use on one charge.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:18 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


[3-4 hours]... life on a tablet is a crucial fail.

The current iPad is double or even triple the weight of some of these announced devices. Since they all use the same battery technology, and more or less the same processor technology, I assume device lifetime is basically a function of weight. Which leaves Apple with an interesting design compromise for the iPad 2: be the market fatty and go for lifetime, or follow their competition and cut device lifetime. Apple typically chooses box number 2, but we'll have to see what they come up with.

Note that as BBs all have removable batteries, there's a very lively aftermarket for high capacity batteries with extra-big back plates for RIM devices.
posted by bonehead at 1:18 PM on September 28, 2010


Flash runs like crap on a dual 1.4 GHz Atom under any OS but Windows

For video and the lightweight games I've tried, I can say it's fine on my 1.6 GHz Atom Linux box.
posted by Zed at 1:23 PM on September 28, 2010


The current iPad is double or even triple the weight of some of these announced devices.

And if you look at the teardowns, the iPad is about 90% battery (maybe 80%, whatever, it's a lot).

There's an argument to be made that the big iPad screen is a diversion to cover up the enormous battery because Apple though battery life was a key feature.
posted by GuyZero at 1:26 PM on September 28, 2010


You know what I really, really, REALLY love about Apple? When they announce something, they tell you what it can do, how much it'll cost and when it'll ship, usually in few months from the announcement. In short, real artists ship.

That fact has become particularly noticeable watching the various tablet clones announce themselves, yet often don't have a firm date or price . This really bugs me as potential consumer, if feels like they're not taking me or my money seriously. Show me greatness, then tell how it much costs and when and where I can buy it.
posted by nomadicink at 1:30 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fine, OK, the damn iPad battery is only 148g but by volume it takes up the vast majority of the ipad internals compared to the system board. The display is the other big component.
posted by GuyZero at 1:30 PM on September 28, 2010


Depending on the carrier, tethering may be an additional monthly cost

That's quite true. Google promised free tethering with Android 2.2, but ultimately it was the telecom companies (Verizon, etc.) and phone makers that made that call. Motorola locked down their phone's bootloader, so that Droid users no longer have the freedom to install alternative builds that get around this revenue stream.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on September 28, 2010


Setting aside the cheapy android me-too's showing up at Kmart and such, as of this writing the only shipping pad/tablet that I know of is the Dell Streak. And the Streak is more akin to the iPhone/iPod touch than the iPad. So, as it stands, this "war" currently has only one participant -- Apple with the iPad. There have been months of blog articles talking about this war, but since no one else has shown up, it's been a pretty boring one-sided battle.

A one sided war, where nobody else shows up to fight, is called an empire. Just sayin'.
posted by Sukiari at 1:32 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The display is the other big component.

The metal back is also really heavy, almost as much as the battery. I really dislike it too, unless you keep it in a case it tends to scratch if you put it down on a hard or rough surface.

There may also be additional weight gains beyond the simple area change in going to a 7" screens since you need less structural strength in the glass.

(BTW You want something light, pick up a Kindle 3 immediately after the iPad. It weighs nothing.)
posted by smackfu at 1:35 PM on September 28, 2010


Apple also provided a live stream of the last iPod event. And what's LIVE spelled backwards? HMMM?!?
posted by mazola at 1:37 PM on September 28, 2010


Setting aside the cheapy android me-too's showing up at Kmart

I dropped by kmart the other day to check that thing they have out. Talk about a painful experience. I'm not sure who was more uncomfortable, me trying to get anything to work, or the poor schlub working electronics that stood at the counter to make sure I didn't run off with his piece of crap. When I was done, he joked "so, how many can I put you down for?" I suspect if I had said even "one", he might have died of heart attack on the spot.


It's pretty much useless for production.

Playing the farmville clone, Farm Story, I quickly came to realize that I'd never want to try and write anything too long on my pad, no matter how good the software might be, because my fingertips started to feel uncomfortable, I think due to the lack of give inherent in typing on a solid surface instead of keys with give.

That said, I have dozens of apps for music production, with my eyes on yet another one that acts as a real-time sampler/looper.

Even if the ipad camera connector had turned out to be more useful than it actually is, I still wouldn't use my 3G connection to upload pics to the internet. I can fill up a 16gb card full of pics way faster than any wireless connection can upload them.
posted by nomisxid at 1:40 PM on September 28, 2010


I dropped by kmart the other day to check that thing they have out. Talk about a painful experience.

How's this for a painful experience? I got as far as asking someone in the electronics section about it, and then remembered that it was Kmart that had them. And I was in a Target.
posted by Zed at 1:52 PM on September 28, 2010


Battery life is definitely a key feature. Also, I don't get the "iPad is really heavy" thing. It's heavy compared to a phone or a paperback book, but it's really light compared to everything that's out so far and the battery lasts all day.

And pretty much everything that runs on it runs elegantly and functionally. As a computing experience it's unparalleled, so far.

I'm totally serious when I say that battery life <8 hours will kill anything that positions itself against the iPad in any arena.

Bonehead, you forgot option 3: Apple has enough money to continue to invest heavily in battery and processor R&D. The next iPad's battery may be half the size and give equal or better life. Apple may be the only company well positioned to do this.

Oh and about typing: jeez people the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard is really nice.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:52 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The next iPad's battery may be half the size and give equal or better life. Apple may be the only company well positioned to do this.

Apple is far, far, FAR from the only company that cares about making better batteries. If they can crack that nut more power to them but so far physics is beating the chemists on this one.
posted by GuyZero at 1:55 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I really dislike it too, unless you keep it in a case it tends to scratch if you put it down on a hard or rough surface.

So? Who cares!

All my cameras are scratched to hell on the outside. My Canon DSLR is showing bare magnesium on all corners, and the top plate is dented. My wife and I are down to one car, and it's a dented up original model RAV4. I have scars. All my nice All-Clad cookwear is scratched up. My pocket knife looks like it survived both world wars. My "user" guns are all pretty well worn.

Stuff you use gets a bit worn. Maybe I am on the outside here, but when I buy stuff it's generally to use it. Most people I know are the same. I don't know anybody who buys something like a computer or another functional device, so they can array them on a quilt under glass and keep everything pristine.

Of all the downsides I have heard mentioned about it iPad, this is one of the more frequent and unbelievable.

Aside from that, after using an iPad for a few days, anybody whose arms are puny and withered will build up the bulk needed to lift slightly over a pound of weight. Which, by the way, is quite a bit less than many hardbound books.

Playing the farmville clone, Farm Story, I quickly came to realize that I'd never want to try and write anything too long on my pad, no matter how good the software might be, because my fingertips started to feel uncomfortable, I think due to the lack of give inherent in typing on a solid surface instead of keys with give.

So get a bluetooth keyboard. The Apple one together with the iPad is a pretty good combination, and I use just such a combo quite often. My GPU died and it was a week or two before I got up to speed on what was out, what would be a good value, etc, and in the meanwhile I just used the iPad.

With a bluetooth keyboard it's quite a bit nicer than all the netbooks I have seen, because all the netbook keyboards I have tried (basically every netbook at Fry's, they have about 25 there) are for shit.

The only thing I would like to see is pressure sensitivity for the iPad. That will be a killer app for anybody involved in visual arts.
posted by Sukiari at 1:58 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Oh and about typing: jeez people the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard is really nice."

Once you've bought and iPad, a cover and/or stand, bluetooth keyboard and card reader dongle you might add it all up and realize you could have bought a decent notebook running a full OS for the same amount of money (or less). If you're going to do all of that just skip the iPad and get the Plastic Mac.
posted by MikeMc at 2:00 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Apple is far, far, FAR from the only company that cares about making better batteries."

Well, true, but caring doesn't help if you don't have the cash to put into it.

I was thinking more about the processors and the backlighting in terms of power use.

MikeMc: I don't need the stand or dongle, and I use the keyboard for more than one device. So no, not more cost effective inn my particular case.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:03 PM on September 28, 2010


You forgot option 3: Apple has enough money to continue to invest heavily in battery and processor R&D. The next iPad's battery may be half the size and give equal or better life. Apple may be the only company well positioned to do this.

There are already thousands of people working on this full-time. Battery (and the related fuel-cell) research is huge right now, like Scrooge McDuck, burning-stacks-of-Benjamins-to-keep-warm big. It's not impossible, I guess, but I don't think Apple even currently funds basic research in battery technology. More likely, they'll continue to use the state-of-the-art commercial batteries, as every other electronics manufacturer does.
posted by bonehead at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sarium krellide power cells.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on September 28, 2010


What, dilithium crystals not fancy enough for you? What about the clancium oxides?
posted by bonehead at 2:10 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Super capacitors more likely. Followed by super-duper capacitors. And then flywheels. The flywheel iPad will get 24 hours of life to a single charge - just don't try to turn it to landscape mode.
posted by GuyZero at 2:12 PM on September 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Dude, that's an explosive.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on September 28, 2010


Gyroscope iPad TURNS YOU to landscape mode.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on September 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


In worlds where the sky is mostly bluish, I suspect that graphenes (buckytubes or sheets) are going to be the Next Big Thing in batteries. Growing graphite is hard though.
posted by bonehead at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2010


Whatever happened to mobile fuel cells?
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2010


Explosive is just another word for high-density power source.
posted by bonehead at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Of course, now that RIMM has shot its PR wad, Apple can take this little checklist back to engineering and nod sagely at 4 of the 6 things I mentioned (small screen, dual cameras, tethering, the newly-opened platform permissibility) , the 5th (dual cores) being pretty much not needed in this gen, and the last one -- BES compatibility -- pretty much irrelevant except for the corporate sector, and execute on a 7" iPad that's at least $200 cheaper than what RIM could ever produce due to the China factor, and wipe up the dregs of the market.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awright awright geez forget I said anything about the damn batteries
posted by zoogleplex at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2010


Say, does anyone think that maybe RIM would do better if they wrote an App that put all the functionality of their system on the iPad? Probably cost less, eh?

I think the smartest thing Amazon.com's done recently is the iPad Kindle App (and all the other device versions). I'm personally buying way more books via Kindle App than iBooks; they've gotta be raking it in. I'd have to guess the profits from the App-related sales are going to save their asses in terms of what they spent making and marketing the physical Kindle.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:18 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Megadont wound kink spring battery.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have me there. Just don't off-shore them to Thailand please.
posted by bonehead at 2:22 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


the 5th (dual cores) being pretty much not needed in this gen

The iPad already is a dual-core machine. I would guess if they made a smaller iPad they'd just shrink the screen.
posted by Sukiari at 2:22 PM on September 28, 2010


How's that iPod killer coming along?

I loved iPods and bought a bunch of them, including the first gumstick mini. I have 4 of the five in this picture. (I was given a red mini as a gift; I received a clip-on Nano as corporate swag etc.)

I used them too, liking iTunes but griping over this and that, in particular battery life. When I got a new car I discovered it had an audio-in port, so I connected the mini. A day worth of music, enough for the commute etc. But the battery rarely lasted a whole day, even though it was resting for all but 90 minutes.

Someone gave me (more corporate swag) a little Philips MP3 player. It boots like a disc drive, just plop mp3 files on it, good to go. Battery lasts for WEEKS.

Guess what? iPod, killed.
posted by chavenet at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2010


"I think the smartest thing Amazon.com's done recently is the iPad Kindle App (and all the other device versions)."

I agree, I own a Sony e-ink reader but I also have the Kindle app on my laptop and iPod Touch. Everyone was saying the iPad was a "Kindle killer" but the Kindle soldiers on and Amazon has brought "Pad People", many of whom never would have purchased the Kindle hardware, into Amazon's e-reading ecosystem. Methinks the folks at Amazon are a lot smarter than some people give them credit for.
posted by MikeMc at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


most of our IT departments bought BlackBerry Enterprise Server and designed our mobile e-mail security around it. Our employees saw the iPad and went "ooh, I want that" like a stupid kid on the playground when another has a wad of bubble gum.

And IT departments wonder why everyone loathes them. You're in a service department, Capn Patronising, so service your internal customers, you know, the staff that make the money.

Otherwise, if they're the inept childish fools swayed by new toys that you paint them to be, your company is doomed and it's time for you to leave. And since you have such extensive knowledge of their jobs and how to perform them that you need to dismiss their requests so offhandedly and imperiously you'll have no problem setting up shop yourself and crushing your old company into the dust.

(What will most probably happen, though, is your current company will become more productive without you goons holding it back, and you will go bust. Win all round.)
posted by bonaldi at 2:37 PM on September 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


if they're the inept childish fools swayed by new toys that you paint them to be, your company is doomed and it's time for you to leave.

Because nobody was swept up in the hype around the iPad amirite?
posted by MikeMc at 2:43 PM on September 28, 2010


Because nobody was swept up in the hype around the iPad amirite?
And "there was hype around the iPad" is justification enough for "we're going to refuse to enable ActiveSync because we think you're morons who just like toys and we know better"?

Speaking as someone whose IT dept got it turned around in days, who now lives from his iPad Exchange calendar and is watching the iPad usefully spread out throughout the company, god damn I'm thankful for the sane IT that's out there.
posted by bonaldi at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Guess what? iPod, killed.

It's so true, the iPod was such a failure!
posted by nomadicink at 2:48 PM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Someone gave me (more corporate swag) a little Philips MP3 player. It boots like a disc drive, just plop mp3 files on it, good to go. Battery lasts for WEEKS.

Guess what? iPod, killed."


I'm sure it's a great little device. That almost nobody knows about. Note how it came into your hands; you didn't know about it either, until someone gave it to you for free. You did say you paid for most of your iPods?

It doesn't suck to be both first to market and the best-recognized brand. This is clearly important in ways other companies don't grok.

"Everyone was saying the iPad was a "Kindle killer" but the Kindle soldiers on and Amazon has brought "Pad People", many of whom never would have purchased the Kindle hardware, into Amazon's e-reading ecosystem."

Exactly. Now, imagine if RIM could write a good solid secure BlackBerry App and sell it for $20 plus the usual monthly fees that they charge. Every current BlackBerry business user who also owns an iPad would probably buy it and use it even if they kept the BlackBerry hardware. This would also give help our friend here in IT, who could deploy it to iPads right away and make his suits happy.

If RIM makes all its profit from selling devices, they may not have the best business model right now - but I can't imagine that's true. Why should they limit their service to their proprietary devices when they could make money from their competitors via software?

Amazon grokked this and is going to do well. Others may not, and their experience will be different.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:53 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone care to speculate on what the 2016 version of iPad will be able to do?

It'll run infinite loops in 2 microseconds. Find non-critical line, non-trivial zeros of the zeta function. Solve the halting problem. Cure cancer. Tell you how A Song of Ice and Fire ends.

Still won't run Flash though.
posted by kmz at 2:54 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"we're going to refuse to enable ActiveSync because we think you're morons who just like toys and we know better"?

Ha! We used to have an IT manager who refused to support handheld devices, like my old Pocket PC, it turns out the only reason was because she was lazy and thought she might actually have to support the device if I was allowed to sync it to my desktop PC. Eventually the company wised up and let her go. OTOH some people do just get caught up in gadget lust, we have some company iPads in our art dept., never actually seen one in daily use.
posted by MikeMc at 2:57 PM on September 28, 2010


Sorry if this was mentioned already, haven't read all 153 replies. But OpenGL and a 1 GHz dual core processor? 1 gig RAM? Gamers heaven under a pound.
posted by Splunge at 2:57 PM on September 28, 2010


Still won't run Flash though.

Thank God!
posted by nomadicink at 3:00 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


And IT departments wonder why everyone loathes them. You're in a service department, Capn Patronising, so service your internal customers, you know, the staff that make the money.

Faving this so fucking hard.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:07 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


So get a bluetooth keyboard.

That kind of kills the whole single-thing-to-carry model though. And it does nothing for games like Farm Story where you have to push on the GUI again and again. Realistically, the ipad isn't meant to replace every computer in your life, and I'm fine with taking short notes on the pad, and doing any serious writing on a full size keyboard and screen. Then again, I have 8 computers at home, after giving away 12, so I'm hardly the average use case.

I keep meaning to make a serious test of the dragon dictate app, but I'm usually in loud places when I'm trying to write. Or quiet places where a backlit display is problematic. Watching a play in a theater, I could never take notes on the ipad, unless I could do so with the screen turned off.

We are well past y2k, where's my fully implanted, direct-to-retina-display computer?
posted by nomisxid at 3:09 PM on September 28, 2010


But clearly, if lacking these things mattered, then why would Apple be making an estimated $1.6 billion off of those things in one quarter?

How much money has Microsoft made off of Windows 7? Lacking things clearly doesn't matter. What matters is what you like. If someone else likes something else, that matters to them and means nothing more or nothing less. Britney Spears I hear, sells well too...
posted by juiceCake at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2010


I'm sure it's a great little device. That almost nobody knows about.

Not really.
posted by chavenet at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2010


I dunno about you, but my iPad has almost completely replaced all the computers in my life except when I need to do my illustration and production art (for which I use a 17" MBP and a Cintiq or an Intuos4).

It's slowly replacing 3 bookcases worth of my books, mostly SF and fantasy paperbacks, and freeing up space in my apartment.

It's going to replace a lot of my TV watching, too, come November with the iPad iOS4 update.

For everyone I know who isn't a power user or digital/VFX/game artist (I am the latter and would call myself the former), the iPad can replace 95% of their computer use, which consists almost entirely of email, web browsing and media consumption. I shouldn't restrict that to just the iPad, they could do this on any similar device... when such things exist.

chavenet, maybe it's better known in Europe? I've never seen anything promoting this device in the US, while there are still iPod ads all over TV. Again, I'll give you it's probably a great device, but is its market share 50% or better?
posted by zoogleplex at 3:24 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The release of this, when it happens, and other tablets is great news. At one time, when the first cars were released, other companies went and released cars too. Really, it happened, and continues to. Over years and years and years, things have changed in the car industry, and though engines are very much traditional though managed with electronics, performance and safety and handling have improved dramatically across the board and we have all benefited, unless you despise the things of course.

Renault engineered the DOHC and it's nice to see that unlike the computer industry, that is rife with platformism, I hardly ever see someone put someone else down because their Honda has a DOHC when, sheesh, Renault made that first, and therefore Honda is "me to". I guess the Playbook brings out the playground in others.

The mixture of desktops, servers, blades, netbooks, laptops, tablets is fantastic and gives the literally millions of people out there something that they will like and will fit their needs. I love the iOS interface but I went for a netbook at less than 1/3 of the price because it's more useful to me. That's all it means. This device may well be very useful to many people so good for them. Perhaps it part of some sort of "war", but in the long term, and this means the next 50 years, this is great progress and groundwork that differs from no other industry, including what came before in this industry. Look how far we've come from the first computers. Nothing is created in a vacuum.

It's an interesting time. We've moved from performance focus to interface focus (and this is often highly subjective) and with tablets and phones it seems we're in a solid combination of interface and hardware as a focus. People pissed on netbooks for being underpowered but they sold like wild fire regardless. Same is happening for tablets/phones. I don't think any of them will be underpowered in a couple of years.
posted by juiceCake at 3:32 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Android has been around since 2005. And that happy robot is quickly gaining on Apple.

In related news: Survey: Developers Favor Android over Apple Long-Term -- "Apple's iOS tops in other categories, but more developers see Android as better positioned to power a variety of devices in the future, IDC and Appcelerator find."
posted by ericb at 3:35 PM on September 28, 2010


Amazon grokked this and is going to do well.

Amazon Launches Beta of Kindle for the Web -- "Amazon's e-book strategy seems to consist of two parts: buy once and read anywhere (thanks to the company's legion of Kindle apps) and push the Kindle--and Kindle editions of books--as much as humanly possible."
posted by ericb at 3:38 PM on September 28, 2010


is its market share 50% or better?

I'm certain it isn't. It's probably not even double digits. But there are zillions of brands and variations &c and these Liliputs certainly eat into Gulliver's lunch.

Then again, I think Apple cottoned on to this, because the iPad will eat into iPod sales by design. And the tablet mimics will rush in with (mostly inferior) challengers, and the cycle of iLife will continue.
posted by chavenet at 3:41 PM on September 28, 2010


That kind of kills the whole single-thing-to-carry model though.

Well, there's this kind of thing - so far I remain unconvinced.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on September 28, 2010


"more developers see Android as better positioned to power a variety of devices in the future, IDC and Appcelerator find."

Uh... I'd say that's a pretty easy call, since Apple doesn't license its OSes on non-Apple hardware, and Google isn't much of a hardware company.

"Renault engineered the DOHC and it's nice to see that unlike the computer industry, that is rife with platformism, I hardly ever see someone put someone else down because their Honda has a DOHC when, sheesh, Renault made that first, and therefore Honda is "me too"."

There's a lot more Hondas than Renaults on the road, I believe (YMMV in France). I have two of them (Civic and bike); the engines are fantastic and last forever. Honda did the DOHC (and one would probably say, the whole car) better, and thus are very successful.

Someone has to do the whole tablet - hardware, software, experience, utility, price, everything - better than Apple, and also out-market them. It will be interesting to see if anyone can.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:46 PM on September 28, 2010


So? Who cares! ... Stuff you use gets a bit worn. Maybe I am on the outside here, but when I buy stuff it's generally to use it.

I'm guessing a significant portion of people care, otherwise second hand stuff would be a lot more popular.

And IT departments wonder why everyone loathes them.

No we don't, we realize everyone's just jealous of our l33t tech skills :P

You're in a service department, Capn Patronising, so service your internal customers, you know, the staff that make the money.

Unless you want to waste money on a service department at the rate of at least one tech support person for each person 'that make[s] the money' then you have to accept some compromises.
posted by robertc at 3:51 PM on September 28, 2010


Renault engineered the DOHC and it's nice to see that unlike the computer industry, that is rife with platformism, I hardly ever see someone put someone else down because their Honda has a DOHC when, sheesh, Renault made that first, and therefore Honda is "me to".

Do you speak to a lot of gearheads/car mechanics? I used to work with a guy who (more or less) rebuilt his car once a month and he was exactly this derisive about automotive innovations.
posted by robertc at 3:54 PM on September 28, 2010


Unless you want to waste money on a service department at the rate of at least one tech support person for each person 'that make[s] the money' then you have to accept some compromises.

Naturally. I'm not expecting them to support some Nokia tablet. (Although if the setup is minimal and the organisation is the type where making a service "available but unsupported" is feasible, then, yes, even them.)

But it's not such a compromise he was talking about. It was "we won't even bother to present an argument against this, because you're simply children with toys. We will reject this request and continue to do nothing.

"Oh, what, RIM will enable us to keep doing nowt? Sweet. We'll buy these, then, even if they're shit in the flesh, and don't do what the users wanted the iPads for in the first place. Better the status quo than we should reconfigure something."
posted by bonaldi at 3:58 PM on September 28, 2010


The Link that jeremias cites above re the use of Ipads in schools mentions an interesting current limitation: it is hard to find a way of projecting what is seen on an iPad screen so that others in a group can also see it. Since the tablet does not have a cursor it might also help to indicate to an audience how the user is interacting with it for operations such as zoom - and some way of dealing with tilt operations.

This would be quite an important thing to be able to do in a business context - just as it is in classrooms.
posted by rongorongo at 4:38 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"That kind of kills the whole single-thing-to-carry model though. And it does nothing for games like Farm Story where you have to push on the GUI again and again."

So, pick up the iPad and use it that way. I can't imagine that in some farming application you are required to type a whole hell of a lot.

The Apple bluetooth keyboard I have, along with the iPad, are still lighter than most of the netbooks out there, and the battery life is just in a whole different league.

Apple's specs on the iPad's battery say "10 hours of HD video watching" but if you are just reading ebooks and pottering about the web, in my experience the battery lasts a solid 30-40 hours.
posted by Sukiari at 4:48 PM on September 28, 2010


It's kind of an annoying "feature," but the way it currently works on the iPad is that your app has to include specific code to be able to use the docking port and adapter for video out. It works for, I believe, iTunes where you can send videos out to a TV or other monitor, and for Keynote so you can send your presentation out.

I'm not sure what other apps use this function yet, if any.

So to be able to do this, the school or business app has to be written that way. I would think there's a way to add some kind of position indicator under where your fingers touch, and maybe it would only be seen on the output send?
posted by zoogleplex at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2010


So? Who cares! ... Stuff you use gets a bit worn. Maybe I am on the outside here, but when I buy stuff it's generally to use it.

I'm guessing a significant portion of people care, otherwise second hand stuff would be a lot more popular.


Second hand stuff is extremely popular. Secondhand cars are more popular than ever. eBay is filled with second hand stuff. So is Craigslist. Goodwill is still in business, aren't they? However, when you want a gadget that just came onto the market, you have to buy it new.

It's fine to want all the things you buy to look as shiny and new as possible, for as long as possible. I just think that if you also use the things you buy, you have to accept the idea of cosmetic wear.
posted by Sukiari at 4:53 PM on September 28, 2010


"it is hard to find a way of projecting what is seen on an iPad screen so that others in a group can also see it"

Hard? HARD? Building a car from scratch is hard. Making your own vacuum tubes is hard. For projecting with the iPad, all you need is a TV or projector with an HDMI input, and the little HDMI out dongle that Apple sells.

Hard indeed.
posted by Sukiari at 4:55 PM on September 28, 2010


Developers Favor Android Over Apple Long Term

It took 17 years after the introduction of the 128K Mac before Microsoft released an operating system as good. After that, there was no reason for me to buy Apple computers.

I'm sure the same thing will happen with tablets on a comparable time scale.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:56 PM on September 28, 2010


OK, I read zoogleplex's comment and he is correct. However I do not think that, once iOS 4 rolls out for the iPad, that you will need a special dongle at all. Unless I am reading the iOS 4.2 beta docs incorrectly.

I am under a confidentiality agreement with Apple, but I will say this about iOS 4.2 - it's a great upgrade, and in fact the whole device feels quite a bit snappier even with 10 apps running in the background.
posted by Sukiari at 4:58 PM on September 28, 2010


I'm looking forward to the OS update.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:00 PM on September 28, 2010


In related news: Survey: Developers Favor Android over Apple Long-Term -- "Apple's iOS tops in other categories, but more developers see Android as better positioned to power a variety of devices in the future, IDC and Appcelerator find."

From the report, "Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 2,363 of over 70,000 developers who use Appcelerator’s Titanium application development platform..."

In related news - Gimp developers think Linux r00lz.
posted by ecurtz at 5:03 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hard indeed.

Apps need to enable TV-out on a per-app basis. The dongle is useless if the app decides it's useless.

So yes, it can be kind of hard.
posted by GuyZero at 5:05 PM on September 28, 2010


Yeah I found that out the hard way when I was trying to demo the iPad to my cartoonist group via a projector. I had to have them crowd around me instead. Kiiiiiiiiindofadrag. Will be nice if they add full-time display mirroring.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:11 PM on September 28, 2010


One thing I have noticed since I started buying from Apple's App Store is that the developers are really, really interested in user feedback. I have contacted 5 developers so far, with either feature requests or bug information, and they all got back to me quickly. I can't say that all the feature requests have been implemented yet, but one guy fixed a bug for me.

I think that if you need an app to support mirroring, you should be able to email the developer and they will likely enable mirroring. Right now, it's just an option for the application. In OS 4.2, that option will be set for them automatically.
posted by Sukiari at 5:30 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually Archos came out with their Android tablet (called the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android) just about a year ago, so the "me-too" Android tablets pre-date the iPad.

I bought one as a replacement for my iPod 160 GB when my music collection outgrew the iPod - I bought the version with a 500 GB hard drive. The early firmware was a horror-show, but it is stable now, and does a hell of a lot more than the iPad could ever dream of. Also, it isn't chained to a "real" computer by iTunes like the Apple products all are.

The 5 inch screen is big enough to be good at web browsing (unlike a phone), but it still fits in your pocket (if it's a big pocket) - I looked at the iPad - it is just too big and bulky for me.

It's kind of like the Amiga of tablets - a true original, a few rough edges, more open to hacking, more powerful, and less expensive than the Apple equivalent.

It runs Android 1.6 with the Archos Media Player ported from their previous PMPs, and all of the talk about Android not being ready for a tablet yet is total BS.
posted by rfs at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2010


Also, it isn't chained to a "real" computer by iTunes like the Apple products all are.

I'm feeling that particular pinch at the moment.

Daring Fireball - as sympathetic a blog outlet as Apple computer could ask for - acknowledges this as a rare Cupertino FAIL.

Has Apple ever offered a justification for this? Or at least said they're working on it?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:48 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re: re:

Amazon says they are a few years away from a color eInk display...Without color, eInk will be relegated to electronic books.

Nail everything else and I'd gladly live with B&W. AND buy the color model when it finally comes out.

Tablets have been out for a while but never really caught on in academia. Too expensive, the battery life is too short, and fragile. Mostly it was the expense that was what stopped us from deploying them over regular, reliable, cheap iBooks.


I would pay the extra money for the touch screen if it did something useful, like let me annotate. As for the power consumption, see my comment at the bottom.

Most users don't think about whether the operating system is open source as a buying point. This is why almost every computer that Best Buy sells still runs Windows.


This goes hand in hand with third party development that doesn't suck, and also allays fears about abandonware. Most idiots with an iPad don't care, but academia does.

A lot of that stuff may come to a lot of different devices as cloud storage

Yeah, that doesn't really help me when I'm on the road and service is unreliable.

Most of this is a given on mobile devices.

Which is why I tacked it on as an afterthought. And it's an afterthought we can live without, frankly. Browsing is useful, but reading, writing, and marginalia are essential.

Do people really use these as expansion?

Seeing as all ebook manufacturers up until this year didn't think we needed more than 500mb, and the current highest ebook storage is a paltry 2gigs, yes. We really need these as an expansion. I know scads of students and profs who won't buy Kindles et al simply because they can't store anything useful on them.

See, what we want is a low-power ebook reader that lets us write. Obviously this is really a PC that only drains the battery when we touch it, or use a browser. It also has enough storage to hold our personal libraries of txt, doc, and pdf files. We don't want a design studio. We don't want an entertainment center. We don't want a smartphone. We want a writing tablet and a bookshelf.

You sound like someone involved in this industry. When you guys get this you won't need to ask these silly questions. And then you'll have your new market. One you won't have to gin up out of the ether.


I suspect yours is not the average use case.

As you can tell from the heated replies to this comment, you've suspect wrongly. I don't know if you're the average development case, but I'm getting the impression that tablet users and designers are like ships passing in the night; only in a narrow channel that forces occasional bumps.
posted by clarknova at 7:04 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


As you can tell from the heated replies to this comment, you've suspect wrongly

The only thing the heated, obnoxious reply suggested is that its writer didn't know what the word "sneakernet" meant and assumed it was some pejorative. I didn't bother to respond to that kind of reply.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:35 PM on September 28, 2010


If you think sneakernet isn't still necessary, you've never tried to dump a couple of hundred pictures, perhaps 200 to 400 MB via 802.11g or 3G wireless. An operation of less than a minute, unplugging an SD card from the camera then moving it over to the computer, takes more than 20 over the network. Why do it the slow way?
posted by bonehead at 8:00 PM on September 28, 2010


JoeBeese: "Has Apple ever offered a justification for this? Or at least said they're working on it?"

In the on-video interview he did at the D8 conference (this link seems appropriate), Steve Jobs was asked about this and IIRC his response was that at least in the realm of sharing and transferring media to and from the iPad, he and Apple know this is a problem and "we need to get better at it."

I get the feeling that the content owners are requiring at least part of this.

Still, it's a lot faster to back up 64GB via a USB cable instead of over WiFi at any speed, as bonehead alludes.

If I may be curious, what problem are you having with iTunes? I mean, yeah it's a bit clunky, but it isn't inherently a bad thing to have a backup system for the tablet.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:08 PM on September 28, 2010


I didn't bother to respond to that kind of reply.

Spoken like a true product manager.
posted by clarknova at 8:11 PM on September 28, 2010


Who the hell would argue against an SD port? I own an iPad and think it's ridiculous that it doesn't have one. My fucking Zaurus from a decade ago has an SD port AND a CF port!

Apple fucked up, but not so badly that the iPad is a piece of worthless junk. They just saw a chance to offer a tiered product. I bet the real manufacturing cost difference of the iPad wifi 16GB and the iPad wifi 64GB is less than $5.

I just can't imagine paying for the extra tiers of storage. Apple does this kind of shit with all upgrades. Price some RAM or a drive or a graphics card for a Mac off the Apple web site, you'll see what I mean.
posted by Sukiari at 8:46 PM on September 28, 2010


How about the $150 for the 3G radio?
posted by smackfu at 8:58 PM on September 28, 2010


Threeway Handshake wrote: ""solidly aimed at business" = "awkward to use, expensive, vague concept of being 'more secure'""

You must not have used OS6 yet. ;)

Also, reports of RIMs impending demise are greatly exaggerated. After a long absence from being physically present at my clients' sites, several folks expressed plans to abandon their iPhones for Torches. These are people who don't really use smart phones to their fullest. Their main reason for the change? Apple's stubborn insistence on not having a physical keyboard. On the other hand, there was also lots of praise for the iPad, even amongst folks who dislike the iPhone.

After having hands on it, I also decided the iPad isn't quite as bad as I had previously thought. Still not for me, but the keyboard works for me, unlike the one on the iPhone.

schmod wrote: "Unfortunately, "older" devices such as my 5-month-old Tour won't be getting an upgrade."

Actually, several BB devices are getting OS6, which has the WebKit browser.

Sukiari wrote: "Hell, Flash runs like crap on a dual 1.4 GHz Atom under any OS but Windows."

Yet it works fine on my phone that has a 600MHz Cortex A8. Go figure...

bonaldi wrote: "And "there was hype around the iPad" is justification enough for "we're going to refuse to enable ActiveSync because we think you're morons who just like toys and we know better"?"

It's not just them being obstinate. There are serious disadvantages to ActiveSync relative to BES, security-wise. Of course, that's a plus from the end-user's perspective, since it's more difficult or impossible to lock down the device in the many annoying-as-an-end-user-but-required-for-legal-and-other-reasons-in-some-fields ways that can be done with Blackberry.

Overall, people just like the things they buy to work like the things they're used to. So for someone whose first "real" phone was an iPhone (and there are a lot of 'em!), they're of course going to want iPhones and things that work like iPhones. People who are used to BBs tend to stick with them. Same goes for Symbian, Android, or even any of the various feature phone interfaces. (My SO still laments not being able to use the UI on her old SE phone) She hated Symbian at first but came to like it. She hated BB OS6 at first, but is coming around on that, too. Few people will put in a week or two with a new OS so they can really get a feel for how things are done on it. They expect everything to work the same as it did on their old device and get annoyed when it doesn't.
posted by wierdo at 9:27 PM on September 28, 2010


How about the $150 for the 3G radio?

Yes, my point exactly. They could have offered only one iPad, 64GB with the 3G, for probably ten bucks more per unit.
posted by Sukiari at 10:08 PM on September 28, 2010


"Yet it works fine on my phone that has a 600MHz Cortex A8. Go figure..."

I am tempted to call bullcrap here. I have heard a lot of folks who comment on message boards say that Flash runs great on their [insert phone here] but from what I have read, it's just not so. Especially with video which is not "optimized" and 3D graphics and so on and so forth. If you are using it as a glorified implementation of a web browser with some whizzy transitions, it may work fine though.

If it does run just fine on your phone, it is likely because Adobe has been pressured into stripping bloat and tuning software by Apple. If it runs fine on your Cortex, why is it such a fucking pig on Solaris and OS X?
posted by Sukiari at 10:12 PM on September 28, 2010


Sorry, Solaris 32, Solaris 64, Linux 32, Linux 64, and 32 bit OS X. It sucks major ass on all those platforms. I guess Adobe wants us to fall down in the dirt and praise them for even making Flash at all for those platforms, right?
posted by Sukiari at 10:13 PM on September 28, 2010


Also, it isn't chained to a "real" computer by iTunes like the Apple products all are.

So where's the content on that tablet's 500Gb hard drive coming from, if not a computer?
posted by Lazlo at 10:43 PM on September 28, 2010


If it's an archos 101, samba share, or plugging a usb hard-drive into it and copying the files across. Or sticking a microsd card in it and copying the files that way. Or just plugging into anything that understands fat32 - such as my centos server - mount the internal storage as a usb key, and copy the file directly onto the tablet with no intervening software needed.

In short - if there's a normal pc nearby I need some files off of that I don't control and can't install iTunes, or I run linux (which I do), or my files are on a sd card in another device; or on a usb storage device; being forced to do *everything* via iTunes is a deal-breaker for me. Apparently, ipad apps such as iwork, can't even sync files via mobileme?

I'll admit, I wasn't convinced by the ipad at first in terms of what it could be used for. Now I've seen them, and got to use android, I see the appeal and do rather fancy one. But the insistence of having to use iTunes instead of letting it interact with the wider world on its own without massive hackery, and the hard-lock down to the official App Store, and admittedly the price is a little steep.

So instead I will fill the same niche with an android device, that might not be quite as polished as the ipad (not that I've any complaints about froyo so far) but lets me do things my way instead of the apple way. And has more hardware options. And is cheaper. Each to their own!
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:07 AM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The short answer is this: RIM is screwed and the know it. In order to feign relevance in the marketplace they are demonstrating a device that won't ship until sometime next year at an unannounced price point.

I don't know - maybe this will be a killer product, maybe it won't. All I *do* know is that it's not available to evaluate now, so it makes little sense in speculating about it until it's launched. And for RIM's sake, I sure hope that it offers some serious killer features when it eventually is launched, otherwise it will remain as irrelevant a product as it is in non-shipping form today.
posted by tgrundke at 5:06 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


RIM's latest financials don't look bad to me with minimal debt, continued growth over the last year, and money in the bank. If they're going to fail, it's probably not going to be right away.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:46 AM on September 29, 2010


I'm with modernnomad: the name sucks internationally and will harm sales.
posted by magpie68 at 8:09 AM on September 29, 2010


Sukiari wrote: "If it does run just fine on your phone, it is likely because Adobe has been pressured into stripping bloat and tuning software by Apple. If it runs fine on your Cortex, why is it such a fucking pig on Solaris and OS X?"

Because Nokia has a source license and optimizes it for the platform and uses the GPU and DSP to help out where possible. It can get a little slow on particularly complex stuff, but for the vast majority of what Flash is used for, it works perfectly on my phone.

Flash Lite on S60 has always worked for whatever the current version of Flash YouTube used at the time a particular device is released, going back to GPU-less 369MHz ARM7 chips.

Also, 64 bit (beta) Flash works fine on my 64 bit Ubuntu install using a 64 bit browser. The wrapper for 32 bit flash doesn't work so well, though.

My main point wasn't about Flash anyway. My point was that RIM isn't going anywhere any time soon. OS6 works very well. If it didn't involve a contract and losing my unlimited data service, I'd probably buy a Torch for myself. It's living proof that CPU speed is pretty much irrelevant. What's more important is whether the software is optimized well for whatever hardware it's running on.
posted by wierdo at 8:27 AM on September 29, 2010


Steve Jobs was asked about this and IIRC his response was that at least in the realm of sharing and transferring media to and from the iPad, he and Apple know this is a problem and "we need to get better at it."

That's good to hear. Daring Fireball defended Apple's slowness in introducing copy-and-paste as an example of their "don't do it until you can do it right" philosophy*. So maybe the same thing is at work here.

* I personally don't think they've got it quite right yet. Without arrow keys, cursor placement can be a real nuisance. But I agree that there's no point in rushing crap to market.

If I may be curious, what problem are you having with iTunes? I mean, yeah it's a bit clunky, but it isn't inherently a bad thing to have a backup system for the tablet.

In three years, my HP laptop has had two different AC adapters die - and I haven't yet been able to bring myself to buy a third. My wife has a Macbook - so I could use her iTunes if it were absolutely necessary - but we generally try to stay out of each other's cyber-stuff.

Since the new VLC Player app doesn't use file sharing with anything except iTunes, I've got no way to get videos into it. I hope they add the ability to add files from Dropbox the way Goodreader can.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:28 AM on September 29, 2010


There's a lot more Hondas than Renaults on the road, I believe (YMMV in France). I have two of them (Civic and bike); the engines are fantastic and last forever. Honda did the DOHC (and one would probably say, the whole car) better, and thus are very successful.

Sure, they did it better. That wasn't the point. The point was they didn't do it first, which seems to have some sort of importance in this discussion. Again, innovation doesn't exist in a vacuum. Companies and people build upon and improve upon what others have done, or do it differently, Whether it's better or not can be subjective and depends on what is important to you. The iTunes gate keeper on the iPad makes it much worse for me than other tablets. Others couldn't care less.

As for there being a lot more Hondas on the road then Renaults well there are a lot more Britney Spears CDs sold then say, Pavement CDs. Renault sold about 1 million less cars than Honda in 2009, and that's without selling any cars in North America. Nissan sold about 250 000 less cars than Honda last year and who owns Nissan? There are a lot more GMs on the road then Honda. Does this mean GM has put the entire package together and does a better job?

Someone has to do the whole tablet - hardware, software, experience, utility, price, everything - better than Apple, and also out-market them. It will be interesting to see if anyone can.

Why does someone have to? There are many markets and many people out there. If they sell enough and do well and it appeals to certain people, that's a success. Look at Honda for example. Out sold by GM. Don't have their numbers, don't have as many customers and yet they're a success...
posted by juiceCake at 9:04 AM on September 29, 2010


Who the hell would argue against an SD port?

People who think others are not familiar with the term 'sneakernet' and can't admit their statement was incorrect.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2010


Who the hell would argue against an SD port?

The product designer. It costs money and unless people will base their buying decisions on its presence, leave it out.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm always vaguely amazed at Apples ability to charge $100 for an extra 16Gb of storage. 16Gb, that's, what, $20 of SD cards at Office Max, if that?
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2010


The UI considerations for managing a non-monolithic storage system are non-trivial. Android is jumping through hoops doing stuff like encrypting apps on SD cards to prevent piracy of purchased apps, etc.
posted by GuyZero at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2010


People who think others are not familiar with the term 'sneakernet' and can't admit their statement was incorrect.

My observation was fine. You didn't know what "sneakernet" meant and got upset. It's okay.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on September 29, 2010


You guys bicker like an old married couple.
posted by smackfu at 11:35 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm always vaguely amazed at Apples ability to charge $100 for an extra 16Gb of storage. 16Gb, that's, what, $20 of SD cards at Office Max, if that?

Do you want to carry a deck of SD cards around with you? If you ("hypothetical you") like using an iPad, do you want to carry around a dongle or have Apple have to design a bigger, heavier device to accomodate an internal SD port that not many will use, for what the iPad will be used for? The answers to these questions explain how Apple is able to upsell the memory upgrade.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:40 AM on September 29, 2010


Um, how big do you think SD cards actually are?
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on September 29, 2010


Fat enough to stop a train, no doubt.
posted by nomadicink at 12:07 PM on September 29, 2010


SD card slot is one of those things I'm dying to have on an iPad, but I can see how it would be useful. I'd prefer to just be able to wirelessly transfer stuff to and from an iPad, which makes me wonder why camera makers aren't being that into cameras. Keep the cable and cards in there for a the moment, but isn't it about time cameras added that?
posted by nomadicink at 12:11 PM on September 29, 2010


Some cameras do come with wireless and you can get wifi SD cards, but existing wireless networks are too slow for this to be practical. Most people would not want to wait 5, 10, 30 minutes to transfer their holiday pictures.
posted by bonehead at 12:21 PM on September 29, 2010


Ha, for that matter why does the iPad require being plugged in to sync?
posted by smackfu at 12:45 PM on September 29, 2010


Ha, for that matter why does the iPad require being plugged in to sync?

Because the alternative is a vastly different model that Apple's partners, record labels and book publishers, are not completely confortable with. And as others have noted, cloud sync for a full music library is going to be slow with current broadband speeds.

The alternative model is what Android does with email/calendar/facebook but they haven't even attempted it with music yet.

The seemingly simple idea of allowing itunes to sync over wifi in your house is in reality a very non-trivial UI issue. Plugging in a cable is easy and any moron can do it. Both my parents have PhDs yet they would not be able to enter the appropriate settings to configure wifi sync (I am fairly sure).

At the risk of being repetitive on all these issues, don't underestimate how hard it is to create a simple conceptual model for things like wireless sync or removable storage. The average person who doe not work in IT has trouble with the relatively simple concept of hierarchal directories. These simple changes are actually hugely complex in terms of configuration.
posted by GuyZero at 1:01 PM on September 29, 2010


Over-the-air sync was revolutionary when RIM did it in the mid-nineties, sure, but it's too hard to do a me-too when there are two or three (android, palmos, win7) other good implementations of it? Apple has a history of doing networking stuff well (Bonjour, for example). It's hard to fathom that OTA is too technically difficult to do on the iPad.

Wireless iTunes has been implemented by third parties. It's technically possible with their current UI. Perhaps it's a bad user experience because it's too slow. I can see Apple making that call. Perhaps it's a DRM/content protection issue, but it's not a technical or UI one.
posted by bonehead at 1:23 PM on September 29, 2010


At the risk of being repetitive on all these issues, don't underestimate how hard it is to create a simple conceptual model for things like wireless sync or removable storage.

But I wants it.
posted by nomadicink at 1:42 PM on September 29, 2010


Um, how big do you think SD cards actually are?

Big enough that carrying around a few of them is a pain, unless they are already plugged into something (camera, etc.). That's not to say that Apple isn't trying to make a profit, because that's what all companies do, but from the consumer end, it is demonstrably more convenient to buy a device with the requisite memory (demonstrated by sales, anyway).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on September 29, 2010


So, pick up the iPad and use it that way.

I should have been more clear, farm story has zero keyboard interaction, but it does require you to press each plot of land you farm at least 3 times per crop cycle. With a 16x16 farm, that's 768 taps against the hard surface of the ipad's screen. I dunno about you, but my finger felt like it was going to develop a blister.

The case with built in keyboard looks spiffy, if version 2.0 improves on the feedback from version 1.0.

I do not think that, once iOS 4 rolls out for the iPad, that you will need a special dongle at all. Unless I am reading the iOS 4.2 beta docs incorrectly.

It would seem like you have to be reading them incorrectly; there's no seperate HDMI output port to use, and no software update can magically add one to the ipad. The os update just eliminates the software switch.

I'd prefer to just be able to wirelessly transfer stuff to and from an iPad, which makes me wonder why camera makers aren't being that into cameras.

My newer model Nikon D90 has a 16gb memory card. Unloading that across a wired network takes forever (about an hour). I bought one of the eye-fi cards that lets you do the wireless uploading automatically, but it's so slow I always end up pulling the card out of the camera and putting into one of my computers, for any shoot with more than a dozen pictures.
posted by nomisxid at 1:57 PM on September 29, 2010


Do people really use these as expansion?

I think the easy rule is that if you have to take the back off to get the the card, it's intended as expanded file storage, and most often accessed by connecting the whole device by USB. If it sticks out of the side, it's for transferring media quickly from media recorders and to other card-reader-enabled PCs.

Apple don't tend to cater to the former: iPods have no media card slots. If you're supportive of the Apple project then this is because they want users to have a seamless experience undisturbed by problems caused by unreliable and uncontrollable third-party storage media, and they want to grade your experience through hardware design - you don't want a 9GB Shuffle, because the user experience would be damaged. If you aren't, it's because Apple makes a healthy profit ramping up the price on devices with larger internal storage.

So, the iPad isn't intended to be expanded by media cards, and to get around this the USB and SD card add-ons encourage specific behaviour by hardware - too unwieldy to be kept attached for any significant length of time - but also software - they can't be used as extended storage, because only certain media can be read by the iPad using them. The benefits of closed systems.

As for the Playbook, I'll be interested to see if it can tether with anything apart from Blackberries - whether it's a Folio-type device, in effect - or purely a Blackberry extension. It seems to be the latter at the moment (unless the distinction is between a secure Blackberry-to-Playbook Bluetooth connection and a less secure otherphone-to-Playbook connection), in which case the core market might be harried business IT staff whose shouty executives have been making them support unfamiliar and expensive iPads. That said, if this is the case RIM should probably put it in a shiny metal sleeve and charge a lot more.
posted by DNye at 5:26 PM on September 29, 2010


Ah, on preview we've already flamed out about that distinction. However, the talk about dongles is misguided - the iPad camera connector kit doesn't enable mass storage. It opens the Photo app, and allows users to dump pictures into the photo app from the connector kit. Those photos then sync to the computer the next time the iPad is connected. It's a device to review photos on a large screen and make space on a camera's media card, not a way to transfer files or to add storage space to the iPad. Obviously.
posted by DNye at 5:39 PM on September 29, 2010


My newer model Nikon D90 has a 16gb memory card. Unloading that across a wired network takes forever (about an hour).

Analyst: Cameras need networking--pronto.
posted by ericb at 5:45 PM on September 29, 2010


It's kind of fascinating to me that, like in the early 1990s, file size has far exceeded network transfer capacity in terms of reasonable transfer time. That was why we used to use SyQuest drives (shudder) to sneakernet artwork and prepress files.

I have a gigabit Ethernet network and backing up the 240-odd GB on it's HD takes 5 hours even when physically plugged in... So I use a USB 2.0 drive. That only takes 2 hours. Still way too long.

Ethernet needs a major upgrade.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:47 PM on September 29, 2010


That's not 2 hours everytime though, right? You're doing smart backups, only backing up files that have changed, right?
posted by nomadicink at 11:16 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gigabit ethernet will comfortably do 90MB/s in real world performance. USB2 will realistically do 40MB/s. Generally I hit the limit of single drive performance limits before I hit the ethernet limit - most single 3.5" desktop drives can only do 60-70MB/s at best, 2.5" laptop drives around 30-40 MB/s. I need raid arrays (or SSD) at both ends to actually saturate a single Gig link.

240GB in 5 hours is 13.65 MB/s, a fraction of Gigabit ethernet capability. Given those are rough numbers, I suspect you're actually running at 100 megabit ethernet speed, not 1 gigabit. You might want to check the ethernet route from source to destination, to make sure all devices - machines, switches, router etc - actually running at Gigabit. Is your router in the physical path, and a gigabit switch? Most aren't...
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:47 PM on September 29, 2010


Admittedly though, even at 90MB/s, that's still going to take 45 minutes to backup 240GB of data. With 2TB hard-drives available now for peanuts, yes, gigabit ethernet isn't up the job.
But then neither are mechanical hard-drives! Their ability to read and write data (especially write) is far out of whack with what they can store.

10 Gigabit ethernet does exist, but it's damn expensive - I don't expect it to trickle down to common use for probably another decade yet (though it will be in more stuff in the next few years).

USB3 and Sata3 - ~572 MB/s and 600MB/s respectively - prevent the bottleneck being the storage connection in consumer gear, and both standards are being rapidly adopted. Yet you need SSD speeds to get anywhere close to that, write speeds especially. I've just got one of the new sandforce SSDs (ocz vertex 2e) and while it claims 285Mb/s read and 275Mb/s write speeds, the small print explains it's using compression to hit those speeds - and it's accurate for small random writes, it can't sustain it for bulk transfers, such as backups.

Damn physics...
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:09 AM on September 30, 2010




The BlackBerry PlayBook Doesn't Exist

Sure it does. A 1:1 scale mockup is, like, step 5 in the product development process. Sure there's another 95 steps before it gets released but it's as real as anything.
posted by GuyZero at 11:00 AM on September 30, 2010


I love Metafilter because I saw that same article that Ian A.T. linked to above and I knew when I came here that someone would have posted it.

The sentiment was mentioned frequently in other comments, but if this pans out, it's worth repeating that you've been comparing a completely fictional device with one that's been out for nearly half a year.
posted by jeremias at 11:01 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure it does. A 1:1 scale mockup is, like, step 5 in the product development process. Sure there's another 95 steps before it gets released but it's as real as anything.

Yeah, and as the article mentions, the difference between BlackBerry and Apple is that when Apple announced the iPad they handed out sample units immediately. That is real. They had the product ready to go, people could make judgments about how fast or slow the UI was, how heavy it was, how big it was, etc . .

As the article also mentions, Blackberry has a track record of using CGI based models that do not map to reality. Their versions of the BlackBerry Torch featured a ui that was based in fiction. You can try to parse the semantics of "real" but a product mockup is not the same as the product.
posted by jeremias at 11:08 AM on September 30, 2010


a product mockup is not the same as the product

You, sir, are obviously not a high-tech product manager.

A roadmap, a mockup and a product are all homomorphic.
posted by GuyZero at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Big enough that carrying around a few of them is a pain"

Really? I could fit 5-10 (or more in some pants) full size SD cards in my watch pocket. MicroSD cards are so tiny that carrying around a few of them is completely unnoticeable unless you are the princess from the story about the princess and the pea. Of course, they're also very easy to lose, so there is that. Nevertheless, being able to add 32GB of storage to a device is pretty handy.
posted by wierdo at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2010


Yeah, I think the correct answer would be "Small enough that carrying around a few of them is fiddly and a pain", which sort of goes away if they are in something.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on September 30, 2010


The entire point of the ipod was to kill the Walkman-esque swapping-tapes media management metaphor. As a guy who still has C64 games on casette tape let me say that I'd rather listen to silence than have to shuffle SD cards to find the one where I copied the latest "ting Tings" album.
posted by GuyZero at 11:29 AM on September 30, 2010


I'm really not sure many people use them quite like that.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on September 30, 2010


I have lots of MicroSD cards, but they tend to belong to a particular device and stay in that device the vast majority of the time. Only rarely do I carry them loose.

I think the tape analogy is pretty bad anyway. They're not linear, and they hold a lot more information than a cassette does. It would be more akin to swapping between the card with a bunch of esoteric movies and the card with a bunch of esoteric music to go along with your 32GB of device storage that contains the content you more commonly listen to/watch. Quite handy on a long journey when you don't want to take a laptop with you.
posted by wierdo at 11:48 AM on September 30, 2010


I have multiple storage cards because:
- It's handy to be able to swap a device context. One set of in device storage has my work stuff, one has my home stuff. I work at the kind of place where there has to be a strict division between the two. Presto-chango and I don't have to worry about saving a flash game on a work drive.
- Work stuff is huge, currently taking up two of the highest-capacity cards I can get my hands on.
- I need cards for dedicated devices like cameras and the like. For the work cameras I have futher job-specific requirements that mean I have lots of cards, essentially one for each project that comes along.

The first reason is probably the most important to me.
posted by bonehead at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2010


Ian A.T.: "The BlackBerry PlayBook Doesn't Exist"

That's kind of interesting, but yeah, not that big of a deal. When the Wii was first being demoed, someone posted photos showing that it was actually a Gamecube running the demos.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2010


>>a product mockup is not the same as the product

> You, sir, are obviously not a high-tech product manager.
> A roadmap, a mockup and a product are all homomorphic.


Sounds like you still want to play the parsing game. I'm quite aware of the difference between a mockup and a production model. What is interesting is how far down the pipeline RIM really is with this device. The demo makes it appear as if it's not that far away from hitting the streets, but the fact that it may be more virtual than not is interesting.

On the same note, I also think it's deceptive if a CEO is standing on stage pretending to control a device (on a device which is in fact, a touchscreen) but in fact is not. And really, that's not the point. The point is one of contrasting corporate culture between Blackberry and Apple.

Blackberry is fine showing a device that won't get into people's hands for months. Apple is not.
posted by jeremias at 1:23 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I am being a bit of a tool but my point is really that in their own minds RIM is actually shipping the PlayBook. Someone in accounting is probably booking revenue for it right now. The CEO thinks he actually demonstrated the product on stage.

Not only is RIM losing market share, they're losing their goddamned minds.
posted by GuyZero at 1:27 PM on September 30, 2010


Looking forward to this one, i have never owned a blackberry product but if the price is right i'll probably get one.
posted by element[0] at 10:31 PM on September 30, 2010



Looking forward to this one, i have never owned a blackberry product but if the price is right i'll probably get one.
posted by element[0] at 1:31 AM on October 1 [+] [!]


Well you'll need two then. Remember the pad relies upon the phone to get cell service.
posted by Gungho at 5:40 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shit just got real
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on October 25, 2010


and a date and price for the Galaxy Tab.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on October 25, 2010


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