back to article HP's fondle-slab dilemma: What to do when you're No 2

After just one year, the iPad is making more revenue than Apple's 30-year-old personal computer division. It's almost bringing in as much as Dell brings in from PCs. This is a huge business, already. And nobody can quite say what their iPad is good for. If ever a computer was a means to an end, then the iPad is it – rather than …

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  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    Flame

    Airplay.

    I saw the advert touting that functionality the other day.

    My first reaction was; "Oh, Apple have included DLNA functionality so if I bought an iPad it would talk to my telly and media streamer. How nice[1] and better late than never.". Then I noticed the little box with an aerial on it hiding under the telly in the ad and the small print at the bottom of the screen saying; "Requires additional hardware....".

    Cue total sense of humour failure.

    Typical. Abso-bloody-lutely typical. Perfectly good standard method for achieving the same results, supported by most of the new kit on the shelves these days and Apple have to do it differently so they can flog you extra kit that you don't really need (Hey! More wires and plugs. Do I get a hole in the head with that too?). They should be shot. And cremated. And then shot again for good measure.

    [1] Well, less "How nice" and more "meh" actually, but it's the thought that counts.....

    1. Thomas Davie
      FAIL

      "perfectly good"

      This is the geek definition of "perfectly good" right? The one where it actually means "well, it works 60% of the time, if you spend 3 hours tinkering with it first". I've never met one single person who actually uses DLNA for anything, and that's not through lack of trying – they just can't get it to work reliably enough to not tear their hair out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Indeed @Thomas Davie

        I've spent an inordinate amount of time finding a media server that would work well with my Panny TV AND Seagate Theater+ box, which would not involve me transcoding all my video collection to some very basic container and codec.

        After trying out more than 8 DNLA servers I finally found one that's acceptable (and costs real ££), but still has some problems like cutting off some streams halfway.

        I guess if you have one of the two typical renderers - PS3 and Xbox360 - you're OK since most stuff has been tweaked for years to support them, but try to use something else and all hell breaks loose.

        That to me is not a "standard".

      2. Jolyon

        Hello, Thomas.

        Nice to meet you.

        I use DLNA to stream music from a cheap Buffalo NAS to my iPod Touch (using PlugPlayer) and my Pure Avanti Flow.

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

          Hello, Jolyon

          Nice to meet you.

          What format is your music in? DLNA says that you don't have to do anything, it is plug and play, things will automatically find other things, the player will find media and play it.

          Well I have music in different formats. I have a FLAC library which comes from my CDs, I have some MP3s, some Apple something or other and some windows something or another. I have a set-top which can play all of these, and a DLNA server (QNAP). Nothing on my network can play all my music through DLNA. Some things can play all the MP3s, but not because of DLNA, but because of uPnP.

          Videos are even worse! Even some of the MPEG 2 videos will not play over DLNA when the same file plays locally. I have .TS files which are MPEG2 as from digital TV, but DLNA won't accept them, similarly with 99.99% of my video library. My DLNA certified TV wouldn't play anything from my old DLNA certified NAS (Buffalo), even after spending ages changing settings and re-coding lots of video (read: NOT plug and play). My DLNA certified TV will only play a few MPEG2 files if they are served from the "playstation server app" on a PC, however the same app will not serve anything to my set-top box, nor phone nor ipod touch. Twonky media server will happily serve to the set-top or phone / iPod, but will not play anything on the TV.

          Now give DLNA to someone who doesn't know what a codec or container are. They haven't a hope . DLNA does practically nothing for them.

          1. Anon the mouse

            Decent DLNA software - Samsung Allshare

            I also do all of my home media tasks using DLNA over the network. 2 Jogglers, android phone, ps3, tv, and laptop all work without problems

            Currently I'm using Samsung Allshare (Free and pretty low resource usage). I can't comment on music files as I mainly play mp3's. But for video it seems to play anything that remotely ressembles a video file, I was surprised to see full HD MKV support over wifi with no stuttering/cutout.

            Point it in the direction of your library and let it index the files. Updated the files, just open up allshare again and it will ask if you want it to rebuild the library for you :D

            The only sticking point is enabling devices for playback the first time.

            1. Mark 65

              DLNA

              QNAP + WD HDTV Live. Job done.

  2. Thomas Davie
    Stop

    "No one knows what to do with one" is getting old

    If you asked most people what they do with their computer, they wouldn't be able to tell you. The reason – because they use it for a lot of random small tasks, not one major task.

    Some examples of what I do with my iPad:

    1) Read recipes off it in the kitchen.

    2) Take notes in meetings on it – being able to draw diagrams and take photos as well as just type is bloody useful.

    3) Play games.

    4) Sit in bed and browse about the place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      @Thomas Davie

      And with "place" you mean tornpube?

    2. spencer

      err

      replace Ipad with *any * portable computing device and what you said would still make sense.

      The edge that the Ipad has is that it's pretty, both in form and the UI looks nice as well.

  3. Tony Paulazzo

    Title

    I might get an eee pad transformer, they put in an sd slot.

    They also have a nice screen, OK battery life and can double as a netbook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except...

      the netbook part doesn't work that well - try drag-select with the mouse in the conventional fashion, or do a post on Facebook - you'll see what I mean - it's lag-tastic, even after the 3.1 update.

      It will improve, but right now, avoid the keyboard bit, and just use as a tablet. Which it is good at, incidentally.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      I totally...

      ....love my EEE Pad Transformer and keyboard dock. There is one caveat though. Never, whatever you do, never, ever play Robo Defense on it. It'll take over your life.

  4. Chris Miller

    It's the badge, stupid

    You'll never persuade an iDolater© to buy a slab without the logo. We're seeing the same triumph of marketing over function that BMW have established with cars. There's no way that any rational choice would lead one to purchase a Beemer, when a Ford or Skoda will do the job equally well (if not better) and cost 30% less. But then no-one ever says - wow, you've got a Skoda!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jolyon

      Rational choice

      Agree that they've built brand loyalty to a level Lucky Strike would kill (more) for.

      But they do actually make the best product in this category and it isn't the most expensive.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Not without a little irony, anyway.

      Wow. You've got a skoda. That's, like... wow.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Stick and stones

      Maybe one day, I'll see a post on here from a rabid Apple hater who doesn't resort to petty name calling.

      Maybe...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Facepalm

        @Stick and Stones

        "rabid Apple hater"

        "petty name calling"

        Pot, meet kettle...

    5. Khaptain Silver badge

      Nope its not just a badge

      I have owned quite a few cars in my time and also 2 BMWs. Sorry Chris buts it's not a case of just a badge, have you ever opened up the bonnet of a BMW, if you do you will understand immediately.

      OK the badge does have a certain "stigma" attached to it but in general you get what you pay for.

      I don't think I would say thew same thing about Apple though. They have the outside of the BMW and the inside of a Ford.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        "They have the outside of the BMW and the inside of a Ford."

        Bollocks. Go and look at ifixit.com Slag 'em off all you want, but one area where Apple really do innovate in the electronic devises and computer markets is manufacturing. The parts that they use are generally of high quality too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No

          Apple products are generally short-lived and problematic in my long experience. Of course, with the users being expected to churn their ownership every 12mths anyway it's not such an obvious problem. But for people who want to buy a computer/phone/music player and just forget about the hardware for four or five years Apple is the worst choice. Every office I've worked in that uses Macs has a cupboard full of dead hardware that's hardly been used. Which would be okayish if the stuff was cheap.

          And BMWs are largely the same. Mechanically they are a nightmare; it's like owning some sort of sickly horse; petrol prices are not an issue because the fuel costs are eclipsed by the constant drip-drip of getting the damn things mended and/or towed. Total waste of money.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            "Apple products are generally short-lived and problematic in my long experience"

            Is that why my mid 2007 20" iMac still works perfectly? I won't be looking to replacing it for at least 18 months.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        "the outside of the BMW and the inside of a Ford"

        I think you'll find that's called a Saab.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...will do the job equally well (if not better) and cost 30% less"

      That hasn't been the case with tables though. To quote from the article; "...note how HP's Bill of Materials costs are higher than Apple's." This has also been the case for the other manufacturers. Competing on price alone is becoming less of an option. We've seen where the race to the bottom takes us and it ain't pretty, after all in business terms market share isn't everything, just look at Apple's last couple of quarters (Yeah, yeah yeah - it won't last et c.) Individually, Apple has a larger market share than Samsung or HTC and other businesses anyway. Ultimately the iPad has *the* killer feature; apps. There are a limited number of "HD" apps for Android and even less for WebOS and QNX based devices. The traditional Windows argument (more choice of apps) applies here. Yes, Android's is slowly expanding, but there is more development and innovation in the Apple app store for very obvious reasons.

    7. The Brave Sir Robin
      Happy

      Having owned a BMW...

      I can safely say that both of my current cars, both of which are Skodas (BMW 325i replaced by a Fabia and and an Octavia for financial and practical reasons) , are so much better quality than it was. More reliable, cheaper to run and insure. They just work, and work well whereas I had many issues with the BMW.

      However, it does have to be said that the BMW 325i was a whole lot of fun to drive.

      Would I buy a BMW again? I doubt it. Another Skoda ? Oh yes. Make mine a vRS please.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Insurance

        Stating that a Skoda is cheaper to insure than a BMW is kind of stating the obvious what with insurance premiums being based on the cost to repair and related to market value of the vehicle which is undoubtedly higher.

    8. Warren

      Drivers choice

      Actually, if the person driving the car has any feeling for it, the BMW is one of very few manufacturers who give a toss about RWD and the proper driving feel it gives you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Rear Wheel Drive

        Which is why I cheer for snow days... I know there won't be a single BMW on the road!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And the comparison with Andriod tablets?

    I know the iPad has the lion's share of the market, but there are some plausible Honeycomb tablets out there - and they are the ones most likely to be in a deathmatch with HP's offering for the 'non Apple market'. So, in a review, you might have offered some kind of comparison? Just a little bit?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Hardware is nothing without software

      To use a phrase "it's the software stupid". Android tablets have very little in the way of native tablet applications and some droidtards have been spinning this unfortunate situation by saying "I prefer to just see my phone applications bigger" or "You don't need tablet specific interfaces".

      Of course as soon as Android has loads of native tablet applications (sometime in 2015 probably) they will change their tune.

      1. dogged
        Boffin

        Except

        that 2012 sees not only the end of the world (alleged) but also Windows 8 on ARM and Intel, which has, er all the software. All the software ever.

        If your "apps" argument is correct, that will be the end of any other tablet OS. Let's wait and see.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Giles Jones: missing the point

        If the reviewer had made that point, it would have enhanced the article. To overlook such an issue entirely in this comparison just misses the point.

        AFAIK, the HP offering has even fewer tablet applications than Andriod, so the point stands. The more interesting question is which platform is likely to get more, sooner, and how long HP will carry this product if it doesn't rapidly gain enough market share to make the platform attractive to developers. As long as it's in third place behind iOS and Android, the beauty contest won't look pretty.

  6. Rosco

    iPod Docks

    Apple have completely sewn up the portable music player market and part of the secret is the dock connector. There is an enormous variety of iPod docks that let an iPod owner dock their music player wherein it will be charged and can be controlled to some degree by the remote control of the dock. No other portable music players have docks like this. They have only the jack connector which won't charge batteries or provide control.

    The rest of the industry needs to get together to produce a rival, open standard that would stand a fighting chance of adoption by dock manufacturers. That might give their music players a better chance of being noticed. Of course, their players would also have to be halfway decent (which I'm not sure they are right now).

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Point taken, but

      Your bog-standard portable media player interfaces passively to USB port, and many domestic media devices have USB, including TVs and TV set-top boxes as well as hi-fis. So that'll work.

      But you may not get charging, and you almost certainly won't get your media player enthroned in a dock that it controls, that it is a detachable core part of. The iPod gets that because there's a very limited number of iPod models, and because the proprietary interfaces provide for external control buttons.

      And your cheap TV media player software is liable to be rough-edged.

      1. Rosco

        Yes, the standard is about much more than hardware

        What I suggest is needed to break Apple's stranglehold could be realised through USB hardware. That would make a lot of sense. But it needs to be backed up with a set of guaranteed functions that both dock and device can rely on. Then it can be given a consumer friendly name (see "Made for iPod") and a shiny badge for packaging so that consumers can buy a PMP from any given vendor knowing that it will work properly in the great sounding/looking dock they read about.

        Note that if any vendor tries to go it alone and make their own proprietary standard for this, they will find that no dock manufacturers will bother implementing it for lack of adoption.

        (Ditto the need for a consumer friendly wireless standard).

    2. Goat Jam
      FAIL

      Don't hold your breath pn that one.

      I wrote much the same thing over a year ago;

      "If these PC and old school phone manufacturers want to play in this market they simply have to get together and create an "open", apple style dock connector (plain USB is simply not enough) that they all use. They need to pay proper attention to interoperability. They will also initially need to start producing some accessories themselves to seed the market until they get enough traction for all the accessories manufacturers to take note and start making stuff too. Then they need to stick with it, and not force people to repurchase things like speaker docks every time they change phones. Until this happens then apple will continue to dominate them."

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1024429

      Since then I have seen zero evidence that any of the Android OEMs have even a semblance of a clue.

      Fail for HTC, Samsung et al

  7. HP Cynic
    Devil

    Car Analogy

    There's a difference in the car market: residual value. Pretty sure that a few years ago it was worked out that it was cheaper to buy a BMW 3-Series than a Ford Focus because of the former's ability to retain value.

    I bet they did not take Service/Repair costs into account though...BMW gouge you for parts etc.

    I own neither car and neither tablet by the way.

    When the iPad 3 is announced later this year I will be hoping it corrects many of the flaws present on the current models:

    1. Mono speaker - how dare they say "it's the best way to watch movies" when the sound is output through a crappy, single speaker.

    2. Replaceable battery - I can dream that Apple would allow us to replace a battery ourselves!

    3. Display - it's not great, how did they convince the world that suddenly smaller and lower-res was good after years of screen sizes and resolutions improving.

    4. Decent cameras - if they are going to mount 1, 2 or even 10 cameras on the thing at least make one of them of a reasonable standard.

    So let's hope that the increased competition from Tablets like the HP TouchPad (Stereo Speakers if nothing else!) will give Apple the push. After all, it's believed this is why the iPad 3 will be out before Christmas to ensure it catches all those gift sales.

    1. ratfox
      Boffin

      Lord post

      I won't address the other points, but as for 2., not a chance.

      Unfortunately, in order to have a shape that thin, you need to have battery packs that are spread all over the place. If you put all of them in a single convenient-to-remove block, it will overheat.

      Simply speaking, it is not physically possible with the current technology to have a removable battery without massively reducing the battery life. Or having it catch fire.

    2. gratou

      Obvious flaws

      5. USB ports

      6. SD slot

      Sheesh!

      1. Mark 65

        @gratou

        Don't care about the USB too much if you could get a dock to USB converter. However the lack of SD slot is the thing that really irritates me as you know they're just trying to push you towards the largest unit as a hedge against filling the device.

  8. Gert Selkobi
    Thumb Up

    @ Tony Paulazzo

    I'd recommend it. I've had one for a little while now. It's not perfect and needs a few must have apps, like Hacker's keyboard and the web browser can be a bit flaky at times. It is a nice piece of kit though and I'm satisfied with it overall, despite the slight niggles. Personally not delighted with Android and am waiting for a reliable way of putting a decent Linux onto it that won't get randomly borked by OTA firmware updates.

    If you're in the market for a fondleslab then this is a good one, especially with the dock.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title is *still* required

    DLNA. I use it to stream MPEG2 video (recorded off air) from a mac to a PS3 using a paid for server. It works, so long as you don't try to fast forward or rewind. Pausing is risky. When it fails it sometimes requires a reboot of the server, sometimes the playstation. Both server and PS3 are software driven and frequently updated.

    It's not a good User Experience. Also, the 'music' interface is useless - no playlists and you select from an alphabetical list. Maybe ok with 30 albums but no good with 10,000 songs.

    Re Android and 'plausible honeycomb tablets'. That's not enough - they need to be better rather than plausible, with higher quality/nicer feeling HARDWARE, or significantly cheaper (20-25% - £300 against £400 for a equivalent). Hardware specs might sell to geeks but not to the general public.

    Android phones took off when they network operators started giving them away free/significantly cheaper than iPhones more than for any other reason.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPod docks

    In response to Rosco, the Creative Zens used to have a dock port that allowed the device to be charged and controlled, and the sound quality was far better than the iPod.

    Unfotunately, all the rival MP3 makers don't have the marketing clout of Apple, not to mention they've pretty much given up on making high capacity players. Apple seem to be the only manufacturer that makes an MP3 player (I'm not talking movie players here) with a capacity over 64Gb. When my last Zen died, and I was looking for a capacity of 100GB+, the iPod Classic was the only option.

    Whilst the physical size & capacity of the Classic is good, I really don't like their menu system (Creative's original implementation is superior IMO), or the inability to delete files without synchronising the damn thing. And don't get me started on iTunes - I user a plugin for Windows Media Player to sync it, but even that is a pain when compared with being able to just drag and drop files onto it, the way I could with the Zen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re

      The greatest sin of Apple is killing off Creative. They had far superior products, but Apple won by having the iPod in shiny colors to win the id-10T market.

      1. jai

        Creative

        How did Apple kill Creative? Seems to me they gave them a ton of cash... did the settlement include a clause preventing Creative from continuing to produce mp3 players??

        [from wikipedia]

        Creative applied for U.S. Patent 6,928,433 on January 5, 2001 and was awarded the patent on August 9, 2005.[7] The ZEN Patent was awarded to Creative for the invention of user interface for portable media players. This opened the way for potential legal action against Apple's iPod and the other competing players. Creative took legal actions against Apple in May 2006. In August, 2006, Creative and Apple entered into a broad settlement,[8] with Apple paying Creative $100 million for the license to use the Zen patent. Creative will join the "Made for iPod" program which opens new opportunities for the company.

      2. Dana W
        Meh

        Not exactly.

        A combination of Creatives blind insistence on Windows only, and its loathsome, device killing firmware updates killed it as much as anything else.

        I used to buy Creative, and "even though I'm using OS X now" I'd buy a different MP3 player than an iPod, but there ARE no other high capacity MP3 players anymore.

    2. Goat Jam
      FAIL

      Creative Zen?

      Don't make me laugh.

      A more unreliable PoS is hard to imagine. Having better sound quality is of no use at all if the damn thing doesn't work half of the time.

      The Zen was crap. The return rate for them in the mid 00's was quadruple that of the alternate brands of the time.

  11. Whitter
    Meh

    An unlevel playing field true, but that's life.

    When you are trying to break into an established market, particularly one that is so dominated by one player, you have to be both better and cheeper. If you can't do both, then pack up and go home.

    (Ignoring the niche markets of super cheep/low-spec or super high-spec/expensive).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    History tells us what?

    Quote: "History tells us that commodity-priced rivals will take an increasing share of a consumer electronics market, as the market grows bigger."

    What does the history of the iPod tell us? Other manufacturers have never taken a notable chunk of that market.

    History can be useful as a reference, but you can't make sweeping assumptions like that. The phone market isn't the music player market or the tablet market. People are motivated to purchase for different reasons, and discover products in different ways.

    Apple could never have taken the phone market with the iPhone in the way the iPod seized the market. The iPhone is designed to target only a segment of that market - there are many people who simply want to make calls and couldn't care less what else the phone might do. I suspect the low sales of apps to Android users vs the high sales of devices merely reflects the fact that Android phones are being shovelled out to customers who only wanted a phone. The mobile stores are bending over backwards to move these customers up a rung.

    Is this going to happen with tablets? I can't see why. These things will be marketed like computers, not phones. The purchases will be looking for a tablet, not something less with tablet features added on top. If you are looking for a tablet, Apple makes a compelling case with excellent quality, support, features, price, and ecosystem.

  13. Gil Grissum
    Pint

    DLNA??

    I don't use it to stream music from anywhere. If I want to hear Music, I stream AOL Radio on my PC, otherwise, I watch a lot of Youtube on my PC, Laptop, or HTC EVO 4G. I see no valued to spending more money for a tablet (either iPad, Android, or WebOS) than a full featured laptop. I can pick up a full featured lappy in a variety of screen sizes with more on board memory and storage in the $300 to $400 range so I see no point to spending $500 or more for any tablet that has less memory, less storage, and in most cases, no replaceable battery. Sure the iPads have a bunch of apps, but I can get a full featured laptop for less, with better speakers and if the built in speakers don't get the job done, I can add externals. Sorry, but for me, it's about function, not just having a premium product that is around to impress women with. I'm not going to spend more for something that does less. That's why I don't have an iPhone. So have fun with your fondle slabs. Until the Android and WebOS camps offer tablets that have more apps and do more for a lower price than the iPad, I won't be owning a tablet. I'd buy a new lappy before wasting coin on t any tab. That's just me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Thanks...

      ... for that stream of consciousness rant.

      And your point about the article was?

      1. Gil Grissum
        Thumb Down

        @ Anonomyous Coward

        My point is that I'm not going to spend more to get a device that does less when I can spend less on a laptop that does more. I'm not into "fashion statement technology", i.e. anything made by Apple and am not out to impress anyone by whipping out some Apple toy. I use technology to get things done, such as work, as well as the enjoyment of media consumption, both of which can be done more effectively, efficiently, and better with a Laptop that costs less. That's my perspective. Yours might be different, either way, I'm going to do what works for me and it is not anyone's tablet, at the moment. No one is going to beat Apple selling Tablets for the same price with less Apps and until the price comes down to at least equal technology that does more (laptops), I won't be getting one.

  14. Martin Silver badge

    But it's that little word "Apple...."

    Apple have managed to persuade people that there are no alternatives. You want to look cool? You have to have an iPhone, or an iTouch, and/or an iPad. Your lappy is a Mac. Nothing else matters. Even if it's better, it isn't - it hasn't got the magic logo on it. And they catch kids early too. Kids have ipod minis, they don't generally have other mp3 players.

    I'm trying to think of another brand that has succeeded so well with that "Essential" feel. It's technology as fashion. No-one else has ever really succeeded with that. And I have to, reluctantly, admire them for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My experience of takeup of Apple products

      I have an iphone - because a friend didn't need it anymore

      My mother has an iphone - because my brother didn't need it anymore

  15. Nigel 11
    Thumb Down

    More for less, rather than less for more.

    Apple fanbois buy Apple because Apple wants them to. I understand brainwashing.

    For the rest of us, I think the problem is that every tablet manufacturer is trying to sell us less for more. The netbook or notebook format has a keyboard, yet like for like costs less. If that's the real economic cost of a touch-screen showing up, then most of us simply don't need or want to pay extra for touch-screen. But since we can buy non-smart phones with touch-screens so cheaply, I doubt that it is.

    Asus and Acer seem to be the only companies addressing this, with tablets with detachable keyboards. But they still aren't cheap and aren't necessarily the best way to do it. Who sells a tablet with a passive stand, wireless keyboard and mouse and (ideally) an optional clip-on keyboard so you can also configure it as a one-piece notebook? When someone sells it and it's price-competitive with a same-spec notebook plus £30 for the wireless keyboard/mouse, I'll think about buying it.

  16. Spiracle

    #2 next year will be...

    "But what really struck home is how much of the value an iPad gives you comes from the third-party apps, and third-party hardware: from the (swearbox) open "ecosystem". It's that means to an end aspect: the iPad is just another way of playing music, reading web or books, watching TV. If you can't do that, then it's a problem"

    Hence the soon to arrive Amazon tablet. OK, It'll be yet another Android tablet but that's not what's most important. Its primary function will be to be the pointy end of an enormous, fine-tuned media-delivery system.

  17. Putonghua73

    re: More for less, rather than less for more

    Agreed. As other commentators here have mentioned, combine tablet functionality, UI, eco-system (especially native apps for the specific device) and price point, then despite the Jobsian restrictions, the Apple value proposition (urgh. I work in Procurement, and I still hate that term) is a tough one to beat.

    I resisted the temptation for a tablet for a long time as I didn't understand their use. I succumbed to an iPad2 last week. Why Apple rather than Android, or any other brand? Simply put, all the above. Flash? It is an issue, but my desktop will be my main point for JAV [Japanese Adult Video - I'll quite happily 'fess up for my occasion Riko Tachibana fix) with it's 22 inch screen. iTunes? Dropbox provides a different paradigm for managing content - yes, would still prefer portable media (USB stick) but I see the power of Dropbox and have converted.

    Unlike smartphones where there is still a large difference (on contract) between iPhones and HTC Desires (insert own brand here) and little difference in functionality, I feel there is still a night and day difference between the tablets in terms of slickness of UI, eco-system and price point. If you're prepared to get down and dirty, and like tinkering, then you can get a tablet for half the price [Android] and install a custom ROM. Me? I've realised that my tinkering days are over, and it's more the overall experience, as well as a few killer apps such as Anki (Chinese), and the more ubiquitous ones.

    ** I'll probably tinker at home with Ubuntu (or another linux deriative) but life is too short to be faffing around tinkering with a tablet. The 'just works' paradigm - even with the Jobsian restrictions - and the slick user experience (plus 10 hours battery life) ticked my requirements and except for Riko Tachibana requirements, my desktop and netbook (due to be sold, along with e-Reader and HTC Desire - I'll downgrade to a baisc Nokia, if I can find a 6310i) have been displaced by my iPad2.

    YMMV.

  18. MGT

    Remote Desktop app

    Has anyone found a remote desktop app that functions correctly on the TouchPad (VNC seems unable to display the keyboard).

  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Android or iPad

    If you want something basic to browse in bed, read ebooks and play the occasional Angry birds then a $75 chinese Android tablet does that perfectly.

    If you want easy access to itunes and have pretty colours and look cool in starbucks an iPad is $350

    If you need to type an Acer netbook is $200

    Why exactly would you pay $500 for a Samsung/HP tablet instead?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Development is dead simple

    I just got the TouchPad and I really, really like it. I can develop my own applications (without paying $99 a year to Apple) and it is dead simple. High-performance stuff is done with C++ and OpenGL, but most applications can be done with the excellent widget set, HTML5, and Javascript.

    While I'm developing, I can test my application in a WebKit-based browser (Chrome with a couple of command-line options set). So, I make changes to my code and refresh the browser and -bam!- I'm running the new code and "emulating" my TouchPad.

    When I want to actually test the code on my real TouchPad, I just plug in my tablet (usb) and execute two command lines:

    palm-package appname

    palm-install packagename

    A couple of seconds later, I'm running my code. If I want to share the code with others in my office, I just give them the package and they can install it in seconds.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      What OS

      What OS are you describing there? If it's unWinows You might have just changed my mind & persuaded me to buy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But

      You don't have to pay Apple $99/year to develop your own applications for their stuff either, Xcode is free and when you plug in an iDevice it asks you if you want to use it for development and will then allow you to just install you own code.

      You only pay $99/year if you want to sell though the app store or have support and early access to new OS revisions, pretty well the same as many other providers.

  21. Neily-boy

    Now it's funny you should mention Apple and Cars.....

    I have a theory on that front........

    It is my contention that if you are the type of person who is naturally predisposed to owning a BMW (or Mini - same thing) and in particular, the automatic transmission versions of those cars, you are also naturally predisposed to owning all things Apple.

    There are several reasons, the main ones being:-

    The whole "more money than sense" thing. All right, I'm not wanting to bring the wrath of the cult on my head, but there is more than a hint of this with Beamers and Apple products

    The wanabee thing. In particular this seems to be far more prevalent in women of most ages and young men, who are buying (or having bought for them) little BMWs, Audis and Minis in alarming, debt deepening quantities, and obviously have to have the iphone to go with them.

    And finally, the bigee - the lack of need for control. This is mainly a man thing. I can not abide automatic transmission, it never feels like you are in complete control of the car, but many people are perfectly at ease with relinquishing control in favour of ease of use. Can anyone see where this is going in relation to computing? I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I am saying that I am seeing an ever greater connection between these brands, their customers and their philosophies towards these products.

    .

  22. Nate Amsden

    text rendering

    while reading this article from a touchpad i found the text rendering comment curious, i could see a difference between the screenshot and the article itself (which had perfect fonts), then i got to the comment page and did notice the text a bit blurry -- until i zoomed in a bit then it was perfect. i normally never notice because i always zoom in anyways, but give it a shot. I would like it if tge browser could remember zoom levels going between pages, but its not a big deal.

    good review- njce to see a fairly positive review of the touch fondleslab.

    i have never really used an ipad and never used android (don't like apple, don't trust google), as a launch day buyer of the TP, i like it, its a neat toy - and at this point that's all i was lookin for.

    eagerly awaiting the pre3.…

  23. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    ahh bless, someone from el-reg crying about injustice..

    because their favorite hardware is being ignored over something technically inferior.

    Welcome to the real world, you lot have been doing the exact same thing to the PS3 for years, because Microsoft made it fashionable to hate Sony because they were top-dog last-gen, and encourage people that it's uber-cool to support a underdog.

    EPIC FAIL to cry about the exact same thing you have been part of for so long....

  24. Robert E A Harvey
    FAIL

    Number 2?

    The time to worry about what to do when you are number 2 is when you are number 2.

    I would be very surprised if they were currently number 22

  25. Nick Pettefar

    Shiny but Slippy

    I have a lovely white iPad2.

    Unfortunately its use in the bedroom is somewhat limited. It is too heavy to hold for any length of time, has no handholds anyway and is too shiny to get a proper grip on. Whether one is watching videos, looking at pictures or reading text, it is all too difficult when in bed. Reading and answering e-mails is really bad, as is web surfing, etc. It's all just ergonomically bad. Propped up on a desk or table is ideal but we don't have those in the bedroom.

    I will be buying a new MacBook Air as it has a proper keyboard and can stand up by itself. I just wish I could put a SIM in it for 3G and that the battery would last longer. Also it isn't OS-crippled.

    If other manufacturers have followed the Apple pattern then they too will be bad to use in the bedroom.

    1. Neily-boy
      Joke

      Hold on, don't give up just yet.

      Apparently, the ipad 3 will have a revolutionary new, hinged, fold-out keyboard and the navigational system will be on one tiny area just below the keys, thus negating the need to even touch the screen. This type of innovation is going to change portable computing for ever!

  26. mcslemon
    FAIL

    Plastic fantastic

    I bought an iPad... much to my distaste. I waited for the Flyer, Playbook, Xoom and Touchpad before I made this decision and was disappointed by all.

    I'd seen the Touchpad at a HP launch event but wasn't allowed near enough to see what it looked and felt like but got quite excited. I finally got my hands on it in PC World and put it down straight away. None of them get near the iPad for build quality and that is such a shame. HP have got a cheek charging £399 for their entry Touchpad when it feels like a cheap rip off. They'll probably do an Envy Touchpad and charge over the odds.. and it'll still not come close.

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