i Pad alternative?

Is there a non-Apple device comparable to an i Pad? If not, anyone working on one?
Does an I Pad render a net book to the garbage heap?

No, the iPad doesn’t render a netbook useless. The iPad is NOT a full blown computer with a computer OS. It won’t run your games or other programs. It WILL run about 300,000 apps, some of which are equivalent of the computer programs you might need.

But really, since the vast majority of people use their computer for nothing more than email and surfing the web, a tablet like the iPad is a perfectly valid substitute for a full computer.

There’s a couple of tablets just coming on the market now and in the next couple of months. Some are full blown laptop computers just tricked out to ‘appear’ like a tablet, some, like the Galaxy, are just bigger cellphones, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (the iPad is just a big iPod Touch). But it means you’d have to replace your phone or pay for another line, and then carry around this 7" screen big honking unit everywhere.

Acer is supposedly going to put out a 10" Windows 7 tablet in February, with a 3G connection ala the 3G iPad, followed quickly by 7" and 10" Android versions.

I believe that Apple, which blew the entire market out of the water and proved there is a niche for these things (they sold 7.5 million iPads in the first 6 months) is really going to need to step up their game for the iPad 2, which I would expect to see in April.

if you want a tablet, there’s no reason not to get an iPad. If you want something more flexible and general purpose, a netbook or small notebook is the way to go.

'nuff said.

Okay. Here it is straight:

I’ve worked in computers for years. The iPad is one of the most powerful computers I’ve used. Of course, I’m talking about the 48K 8085A machine with a .98 Khz processor and that old Compaq 386 with 8 megabytes of memory and a 100 Mb hard drive that was the envy of our shop. And, that Mac Plus with 4 megs of memory (and I had no idea what to do with all that memory). Or that first 10Mb hard drive system I got for $3000+.

Okay,the iPad is far from the most powerful computer you can buy today, but it has enough fire power to more than get us to the moon and back.

The iPad runs iOS which uses the same Mach kernel and basic OS that is used by Mac OS X. The iPad is a real life, honest to goodness computer. That is a fact.

Now, the iPad is a new paradigm in computer usage. In your desktop and laptop computer, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you’d like. You can change the operating system, get programs from all over the place, let your computer become part of some child porn botnet, download malware that will spam the Internet for some Russian hacker. It’s yours to do whatever you like!

The iPad is a protected environment. You’re not free to download any program. Only from the list of 350,000+ programs available from the iTunes App Store. And, there are no programming languages there. There’s no way to setup a webserver on your iPad available from the store. Heck, if you want to program your iPad, you can’t even do that on an iPad.

That said, 350,000+ programs are quite a lot even if you toss out all the fart apps, and many people are finding that they can find enough programs to do what they want in the iTunes app store.

And, the iPad has been a big seller. People apparently, despite its limitations, buy the sucker in droves. I’ve talked to Linux heads who run entire computer networks from their houses, and they tell me they spend over half of their computer time on an iPad. I steal my wife’s iPad to watch Netflix videos even though I have a 44" screen Windows 7 machine that we setup as our TV that’s suppose to be for that very purpose. It’s nice to lie back on the couch and hold the 9" screen and watch your movie.

And, the iPad has hurt netbook sales. Even the president of Asus, the producers of the EEE PC that started the whole netbook trend agree. However, that doesn’t mean the netbook is on the garbage heap. A netbook has the same architecture as your desktop computer and can run the same programs. My sister thought of buying an iPad for her trip to Ecuador, but bought a Netbook instead and was quite happy with her decision. She simply didn’t think the iPad quite did what she wanted (she’s a heavy Adobe Photoshop user), and the Netbook, although slow, simply worked better for her.

Are there plans for iPad competitors? You betcha. Samsung has brought out the Galaxy Tab. It is a 7" screen, runs the Android OS, and costs almost the same price as an iPad. Unlike the iPad, the Samsung is unable to really use its larger screen size. For example, programs that run on the iPhone and the iPad can change their layout to use the extra real estate space on the iPad.

The reviews of the Samsung are very mixed. There are others that have come out. The JooJoo pad has sold dozens, maybe even hundreds of 10" tablets. (Wired’s review was entitled “The JooJoo is DooDoo”, and that was one of the more positive reviews).

Google has indicated that the Android OS – as it stands now – isn’t made for a tablet computer. They were pushing their Chrome OS for tablets, but it looks like some future release of Android coming out sometime mid next year will be made for tablet computers.

You can bet that many companies will be coming out with their own Android tablet that will compete against the iPad. But, most are waiting for a version of Android that is tablet friendly. There’s no sense producing a $500 7" tablet running an OS that’s not quite right to compete against the 9" $500 iPad. These will start popping out sometime between March and April.

And, then there’s HP which bought Palm for its WebOS software. HP has been very, very busy getting WebOS ready as a tablet OS. In fact, HP also has a 10" Windows 7 tablet that they think might work as a 10" WebOS iPad competitor. (The Windows 7 version is list price at $1000, but they’re now selling it for a mere $800, just $300 more than the iPad). HP will probably come out with a 10" WebOS tablet sometime for around $500 to $600.

If you’re thinking that someone is going to come out with an iPad Killer tablet for only $200, you’re going to be disappointed. The iPad is apparently quite aggressively priced. In fact, most Apple products aren’t outrageously priced. Apple simply doesn’t build low end products, so you can’t compare the loss leader $350 Dell laptop against the $1000 MacBook. Instead, you have to compare that $1000 Dell laptop against the $1000 MacBook.

The problem is that Apple has placed a mark in the type of quality and construction that people expect from tablets and smart phones, so other manufacturers have to produce machines of similar quality. And, Apple has pretty gobbled up the market for things like memory and touch screens. There will be iPad competitors, but they’ll be between the $450 to $600 mark.

You might be able to get subsidized tablet computers much the way that the cell phone providers give you subsidized smart phones. Samsung is negotiating with Verizon and AT&T now to sell the Galaxy Tab for $200. I’m sure other companies will try similar schemes, and you can bet so will Apple.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab has sold 1 million units already, proving itself to be very popular. If you want to wait a little while longer then have a look at Notion Ink’s Adam.

The spec sheet is impressive with a 1GHz processor (like iPad) but comes with Flash support, GPS, accelerometer, 3.2 Mega-pixel swivelling camera, 1080p HDMI out, 2 x USB ports, 1 x USB-mini port, micro SD slot as well as doing everything the iPad can do. Plus it boasts a 16 hour battery life though this is yet to be seen (I think). Basically it looks like it poops on the iPad from a great height in terms of hardware. The US release date is supposed to be before 25th Dec 2010, I would expect them to be very hard to get hold of if they release in time, however.

Probably worth mentioning that Blackberry’s tablet is on its way - the Blackberry Playbook will be shipping early next year.

thanks for the marketing presentation, qazwart.

You can get a 529 pound iPad in Britain for 199 pounds if you sign up for a 2 year data package with Orange, and a Japanese carrier has announced a similar deal with a FREE iPad with the 2 year (bit more expensive) data plan.

To be expected. They got caught with their pants down by Apple. No one took the iPad seriously. Hell, even as late as September there was a video on CNN where their tech person was poo-pooing the iPad and saying there was no market for it when Apple had already sold 7 million of them. So now all the other companies have had time to work on one and OF COURSE, they’re doing their level best to build the best possible machine in order to blow the iPad out of the water and make up for lost ground. They’ve had 9 months to come out with better hardware. The trick for me will be what Apple comes out with for the iPad 2 in March or April. That’s what I’m waiting for.

I own an iPad.

The iPad is NOT a replacement for a PC (laptop/netbook/desktop), it is a complimentary tool.

It serves the purpose of e-reader well (though it’s a bit heavy and not as easy on the eyes as a more specialized device like the nook). It can also handle web browsing and email competently. But that’s the best word I’d use to describe it. If I’m on the couch playing games/watching a movie and need to check something online quick I’ll grab the iPad. If I want to post on the SDMB anything of any significant length (like this post), or just do a lot of web browsing I’ll jump on the desktop or my netbook. Same goes for most word processing, and certainly any serious work like programming/excel stuff.

The device is fast for something of it’s size and bulk, but it’s still slow compared to my netbook, never mind my desktop.

If you need a truly portable complimentary device to your every-day computing, the iPad is a decent choice. But, again, it is not a suitable replacement for a PC for anyone except the most casual of PC users, hell, even most of them would miss an easy to use, fast and powerful photo editor at the minimum.

This is how I use my ipad:

As a music player - it connects via bluetooth to my car stereo for tunes on the go.
As a recipe book - I can carry it easily to my kitchen, much more handy than flipping through a large book.
As an eReader - Again really good at this. Can read kindle, itunes and nook books.
As a digital photo frame - Looks nice while it charges.
potty gaming - You heard me. Games on the iPad can be fun time wasters. Most of my gaming is still on the desktop/HTPC however.

Asking more than that is liable to showcase the iPads faults. Most of the apps in the store, btw, are novelty items. They do little more than provide momentary distraction. You’re very likely to find yourself only consistently using a handful of them.

I also don’t like the closed ecosystem one bit. Specially as a programmer/dev. The moment a decent windows 7 tablet comes out, I’m selling the iPad and getting it.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

It’s great. It does pretty much everything that an iPad can do, plus take photos and do video conferencing. It is a very well constructed device that is intuitive to use. I love it.
… and I’m returning it.

I’m doing this mainly because I have been looking for a good mobile device (Emphasis on mobile). I thought the Galaxy Tab would be it, but the fact is for what I’m looking to do, it’s not mobile enough. I’d love to be able to read a book on it, then put it in my pocket, or do a little geocaching and not stumble around trying to find a pocket to safely store it so I can free up both hands to log my visits. It’s just not mobile enough, so I’m returning it for an android smartphone.

I hate to do it because the device is just fabulous. If it were an iPad I would still return it. They call it a mobile device, but it is far from mobile.

This comment seems a little unnecessary. I thought that post was very balanced and informative.

Have you looked at the Dell Streak? I know very little about it except that it’s sized in between the Galaxy Tab and smartphones.

Regarding Google’s “Android 2.2 is not optimized for tablets”:

There are some rumblings that Samsung will upgrade the tablet to “Gingerbread” and “Honeycomb” when they come out, which is unlikely to be until well into 2011. You may gamble that that is true AND that the Galaxy Tablet hardware will be compatible for upgrade.

Currently, several of the manufacturers are holding of on Android tablets until the “tablet ready” OS version.

That said, I’ve tried out the Galaxy tablet a few times, and it seems pretty good, “Froyo” optimized for the form factor or not.

For me, there’s a big paradox here with mobile devices in general. I see the value in being able to do a lot of this stuff with a mobile device. But, I don’t want to do much more than make phone calls on an itsy-bitsy little phone screen and keyboard. Yuck. I don’t care how clever you get with the UI, I don’t want to even read my email through a dinky little keyhole, much less read, say, SDMB, or look at a map. And I don’t want to press teeny little keys designed for Lilliputians, either on the aforementioned teeny little screen, or on a slide out keyboard. OTOH, I’m not all that sanguine about lugging around a device with a 7 inch display on it, either. Currently, I’m beginning to think the latter may be a better compromise, sticking to a cell phone which is simply a cell phone, and easily pocketable. I took me long enough to convince myself to accept carting THAT.

When you switch it on, it tells you that you’re looking wonderful today.

You can jailbreak the iPad and load your own apps. The development approval process is a significant hurdle, but also ensures a degree of high robustness of applications across all supported platforms as well as provisions for forward compatibility, issues that are plaguing some newer Android OS devices as detailed above.

The iPad is expensive as just purely an e-book reader or mail device in comparison to devices that do only those tasks, but as a complement to a laptop or desktop computer used for heavy lifting (programming, main office productivity, et cetera) it serves well in the capabilities of a reader, e-mail client, web browser, et cetera it is in both a reasonable price range and more functional at many of these tasks than a smartphone.

I have yet to be genuinely impressed by any netbook I’ve seen. They are what they are; a low powered compact laptop that is large for an e-mail reader and compact web browser but too small and underpowered for involved office productivity. It is nice that they are able to run Windows or Linux applications, but they are hobbled by the lack of memory and speed that many of those applications demand. In trying to be more than a tablet-type computer, they end up being less than the sum of what they are intended to do. They basically functioned in a stopgap niche, but I don’t see netbooks maintaining a big presence five years down the road though I do expect to see true lightweight notebooks like the Lenovo X300 and the MacBook Air becoming more dominant for portable office productivity.


iPad, iPad on the wall, who’s the cutest of them all?

iPad: Your hamster.


There is a color Nook now that does most, if not all, of what the ipad does. It’s a smaller screen though so it’s not as well suited to viewing multimedia and other apps that the ipad is a good fit for. However at $250, it is half the price of the low end ipad. So if you don’t really intent to exploit an ipad to the fullest possible extent, it’s probably worth looking at.


The NookColor is a neat little reader and arguably a steep competitor to the Kindle (though it can’t begin to rival the Kindle’s battery life) but it really isn’t in the same class as the iPad. It is a brighter and more capable e-book reader with some capability to read Office documents and play low resolution videos, but it is not a general web browser or productivity device. The iPad is a portable tablet computer with a restricted interface but has the capability of multitasking, performing lightweight productivity tasks, full on web browsing (save for the lack of Flash support), viewing HD video formats, and anything you can find an app for, from GPS tracking to a Python interpreter. The Nook isn’t trying to be any of that, and that limitation is reflected in its price point as a high end reader rather than a tablet computer.


I haven’t tried it, but a reviewer from Bloomberg said you could surf with it and that seems to be echoed at the link I posted above. They don’t list any limitations though if there are any beyond the smaller screen size. I’d look into it more but I’m not in the market for such a device.

You can web surf on the Nookcolor to about the same degree you can on a new Kindle (albeit in color) which is to say slowly and with some limitations. The iPad handles web browsing as smoothly as a real laptop or desktop machine, and can provide more-or-less full e-mail client capability versus the kind of pseudo-text client capability of the Kindle. (It isn’t clear what the Nook does in terms of an e-mail client but I doubt it offers much more capability than listing the Inbox.)

Don’t get me wrong; for certain types of usage the Nookcolor is an interesting product, and if your primary intended use is to read books and magazines, it is by far a better value, especially once they start discounting it to undercut the Kindle (which they’ll have to do). But it isn’t in the same category as an iPad, which is a true tablet computer, just as the iPad isn’t in the same category as a true laptop. The iPad has faster processing speed, more (useful) applications, higher resolution, the ability to play high definition video, provide lightweight office productivity functions, and (at the higher price point) 3G cellular network service. The two are very different beasts.