Tablet envy

Tablet envy

Summary: In case you missed it, there's a whole lot going on with tablet development these days - and it's not in the Mac camp.

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TOPICS: Apple
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umpc.jpgIn case you missed it, there's a whole lot going on with tablet development these days - and it's not in the Mac camp.

The Wintel community is abuzz about Intel's Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) platform and a new product from Microsoft called Origami due to launch on March 9. The very stealthy Origami Project Web site only gives clues about what's to come but the conventional wisdom is that it's a miniature tablet PC that will play music and have full Media Center functionality, including playback of full motion videos.

Origami will most likely feature WiFi, Bluetooth and don't be surprised if it also contains high-speed EVDO or HSDPA connectivity. Sitting down? Origami is also rumored to have a GPS receiver and be powerful enough to play full screen 3D games. TG Daily reported that Samsung, Asus and Founder will deliver the first Intel's Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs) with high-speed wireless and up to one week of standby time.

CNet's Ina Fried got a preview of several of Intel's Ultra Mobile PCs, including an example of the kind of hardware that will ship in the next few weeks as part of the Microsoft effort.

So where does this leave the Mac faithful? The Mac community (myself included) have been hoping for a "MacTablet" for quite a while now and the closest that we've come is Mac OS X for Intel running on Tablet PC and an iBook converted into a iTablet.

Is Apple just teasing us with all these "touch sensitive" patent filings of late? Are they doing Microsoft and Intel's R&D for them again? Maybe they're just reserving all the cool stuff for the iPod from now on.

What's stopping Apple from getting OS X to run on the UMPC platform? This could be a cheap way for Apple to get into the fray. Do you care if Apple ever releases a Tablet Mac? Would you buy one? I would...

Topic: Apple

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  • Psion 5

    I have had a host of pda's and smartphones which have constantly
    failed to be the laptop replacement that I have needed. In fact the
    only product that got close was the classic Psion 5 way back in
    1998. I would welome a mac version of the UMPC, and may even be
    tempted by the Windows version.
    xfletch
  • A lot of light, but not much heat

    Considering the current Origami prototypes have a battery life of 15 minutes (yeah, you read that right), and the execs showing them off continually talk about "in the future," I'd say this is more hype than substance right now. In my opinion, it's just another attempt to re-work the tablet PC, and I don't put much stock in it, especially since it's coming from Microsoft, a company which really hasn't had a truly successful product in the last 10 years (even Windows and Office are struggling these days to be meaningful products).
    baggins_z
    • Spoken like a true Linux geek...

      [b]Considering the current Origami prototypes have a battery life of 15 minutes (yeah, you read that right), and the execs showing them off continually talk about "in the future," I'd say this is more hype than substance right now. In my opinion, it's just another attempt to re-work the tablet PC, and I don't put much stock in it, especially since it's coming from Microsoft, a company which really hasn't had a truly successful product in the last 10 years (even Windows and Office are struggling these days to be meaningful products).[/b]

      1.) 15 minutes? Uh.. Did we read the same articles? Last I heard the battery life was currently at about 2 - 3 HOURS depending on what you did with it.

      2.) Microsoft NOT have successful products? Uh... Right. Then I guess Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, XBox, XBox 360, Office, etc... etc... are what? flops? Help me out here. Doesn't 90 - 95% of the desktop market constitute something meaningful?

      I suppose 30-40% of the game console market (one Microsoft was the late comer) is likewise meaningless.

      And I suppose Office, which is still pretty much the defacto standard for most business' on TWO of the 3 top platforms (Windows and Mac), is a non-starter.

      Get REAL here for a minute. If Microsoft products were so "unsuccessful" then how is it they keep raking in all that money? No one's twisting anyone's arm to buy MS products - and yet, people do.
      Wolfie2K3
      • RE: Spoken like...

        >15 minutes? Uh.. Did we read the same articles? Last I heard the battery life was currently at about 2 - 3 HOURS depending on what you did with it.

        I've read that 1 or 2 have 'approached' 2-3 hours. I've also read horror stories about the 15 minute issue and the fact that Samsung shown off at CeBIT apparently ran out of it's battery so quickly they couldn't even show it functioning. Right now there seems to be 2 guarded secrets for the UMPC... the first is battery life as NO manufacturer will even hint at it yet. The second is price. Only Samsung has mentioned a price, and that was 1000 Euros.

        >I suppose 30-40% of the game console market (one Microsoft was the late comer) is likewise meaningless.

        Yeah. Even the ~20% of the console market that Microsoft actually got to is impressive. They don't have anywhere near 30-40% of the market. I love my XBox and 360, but Sony still controls the vast majority of the home console market.
        JakAttak
  • Perhaps Apple's letting MS do the research this time

    People have lamented the fact that Apple had the Mac out before Windows but essentially lost the desktop battle, and they pretty much invented the PDA as we know it. They've said that Apple did MSFT's (and other's) R&D.

    It seems with the iPod and a few other successful Apple products, they've let somebody else take the initial risks and then sniped the prize. Hopefully, they're doing the same with mini-notebook/tablet devices as well.
    willhoyt
    • Apple will come out with some smaller computing devices.

      It's hard to predict what Apple will come out with, but obviously
      they're going to make some portable devices. After all the switch
      to Intel was to enable Apple to make more portable devices
      including laptops. Apple has done well with small form factor
      devices. Also, all new Macs are coming out with Bluetooth,
      infrared, and wireless networking. Other devices are on the way,
      but we'll have to wait and see what is coming from Apple. Since
      Apple seems to be leading the way in music and media, it seems
      logical that Apple products will move more into the
      entertainment fields. Microsoft has this thing really hyped, so
      the thing will probably sell well. To put out something that
      directly competes with Microsoft after Microsoft has a foothold
      is probably not a good idea. Still Apple is Apple and who really
      knows what they are up to?
      MacGeek2121
  • Tablet What?

    As I look at the Origami machines my thought go back to my own
    cool tablet trial. I can type faster than I can write. I have a large
    screen on a laptop. They run Windows... Is that cool? not. The
    handwriting recognition is not very good. Why would I buy a tablet?
    Why would Apple build a tablet? The PC vendors have not found
    them to be a rousing success. I just don't see a business case for it
    but I do see that Apple is preparing something and when it is
    released it will be great... You can bet on that.
    aplman
  • I mean, Apple should be embarassed . . .

    that they have been pipped by Bill & Co. Considering that
    Apple's main core of users have a tendancy to come from the
    graphic world where pens, pencils, markers, etc are a natural
    input device (or have been), I'm still asking myself why haven't
    they considered this? If one needs to type on a keyboard at a
    'workstsion', USB keyboards solve that in a heartbeat. To think
    that OSX has Inkwell imbedded, yet it is viryually going unused
    by the majority of Mac users is a waste, especially considering
    how advanced it is. I still use my Newton MessagePad 2000
    every day for business, and I can say for a fact that if one prints
    well enough that they can read their own printing, the
    recognizer works like a miracle. And that was 1997 technology.

    As far as the TabletPC being a flop, well, it is in the consumer
    world, but certain business sectors are doing very well with them
    -- specifically industries with people who need to be taking
    stats untethered and are on their feet doing so.
    999ad@...
    • iPod wasn't the first MP3 player either...

      I think the Mac community is stuck with Steve Jobs' sense of when the time is right to do a tablet or ultra portable--what convergence of technological advances will allow Apple to do this the Steve wants to do it. And will it be an iPod or will it be a Mac? I'd personally rather see them do a phone first, since it's so painfully obvious that the phone world could use a lesson in user interface design. The ultra-mobiles seem more like a technology in search of a use.
      mrs1622
  • No Thanks...

    ...if any of this speculation turns out to be true, then, no thanks:

    [url=http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/rumors-
    origami-just-a-glorified-media-player-with-nasty-
    drm-159153.php]GizmodoArticle[/url]
    tic swayback
    • Man, ZDNet just hates my links

      Not sure why ZDNet's talkbacks adds bizarre characters to my
      links, but here it is again, so you can just cut and paste it yourself:

      http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/rumors-
      origami-just-a-glorified-media-player-with-nasty-
      drm-159153.php
      tic swayback
      • After seeing that expose on Gizmodo . . .

        you are totally right, tic. This thing will tank, and in short order. I
        think Jason should make this link public so others reading this
        article can see the other side. Oooo . . . a real stinker.
        999ad@...
  • Apple Newton

    Apple already did the marketing years ago. The answer then,
    and pretty much what is happening to Microsoft today is that the
    market is vertical and niche. The premium for the touch display
    is just not worth it for most users.

    If Microsoft wants this goofy thing to sell to average users, they
    better work on the style of the thing. It just isn't cool. It is
    Newton 1990's retro. And not retro-chic either. Then the
    technical side which I assume is fixable. The price needs to be
    under $300, the battery better last for 8-12 hours under
    moderate use and it should be fast enough to surf at reasonable
    speeds.

    **tic swayback is a bugmenot alias used by many anonymous
    posters
    thunderdome1
    • **tic swayback

      >>**tic swayback is a bugmenot alias used by many anonymous
      posters

      I'm an idiot, that should read:

      **thunderdome1 is a bugmenot alias used by anonymous posters
      thunderdome1
      • **thunderdome1

        **ticswayback is a unique alias used by my various multiple
        personalities.
        tic swayback
  • Why not an Apple tablet?

    Soon very soon. I think Apple is creating the ultimate tablet. However for the world to see it as such, the world must first experience the poor designs and horrible reliability and the constant patching of Windows software. In any case buying a MS Windows tablet with a version number less than 5 is not a good idea.
    aaggarwal
    • All hail - bow down and worship at the feet of his majesty, Steve Jobs....

      [b]Soon very soon. I think Apple is creating the ultimate tablet. However for the world to see it as such, the world must first experience the poor designs and horrible reliability and the constant patching of Windows software. In any case buying a MS Windows tablet with a version number less than 5 is not a good idea.[/b]

      Another Mac sycophant heard from.

      Here's a news flash for you... Macs now use the same "crappy" components as PCs. Can't be using that argument for too much longer.

      Another news flash - Steve Jobs is not god. He's just another human who puts his pants on just like everyone else - one leg at a time.

      For what its worth, if Windows was a system with such "horrible reliability" as you suggest, then explain why it is that they OWN 85 to 95% (depending on who you're reading) of the computer market? If it was half as bad as you say it is, then the market share would be MINIMAL - less than 5%.

      Let me clue you in. If it was even remotely as bad as that FUD statment would have everyone believe, NO sane business owner would ever adopt it as a platform. Business, contrary to popular misconception, has LITTLE tolerance or use for downtime. They want to get to work, do their thing and go home. Home users generally want a familiar environment - something they can do work at home on occasion, play games, read email and surf the web. And that's just scracthing the surface.

      As far as patching goes - since when is the monthly patch release a "constant" thing? And you can even set the whole process to automatic - so those patches are automatically downloaded and installed.

      As for Apple not being able to do no wrong. I got news for you... NO OS is perfect. Even OSX has it's share of issues - otherwise Apple wouldn't be needing to release patches EVER. And we both know that's not true.

      And if that weren't bad enough - there's the recent story about how a Mac box was hacked and "0wned" in less than 30 minutes. So much for the vaunted Mac security.
      Wolfie2K3
      • Windows does NOT own 85%+ of the computer market. Nor even the majority.

        They own upwards of 85% of the DESKTOP market ONLY. Somewhat less for laptops. Definitely less for servers.

        But there's one market that overpowers all of those combined. It's so big, and Microsoft so tiny in it (though not for lack of trying), that one OS that most people have never heard of actually has an installed base that's roughly TEN TIMES that of ALL forms of Windows COMBINED!

        I speak of the EMBEDDED market. The OS that rules this is VXworks, with QNX as an also-ran. Embedded Windows XP, Microsoft's great hope for this market, hasn't even scratched, let alone dented, it.

        You almost certainly own several copies of VXworks and don't even know it. It's likely in your DVD player, VCR, microwave oven, late-model vehicle (in several components including sound system, air conditioner, the dashboard, GPS, etc.), musical keyboard, and many, many more. Many people who think that they don't even have a computer own several copies of VXworks.

        Secondly, even sticking with the desktop and notebook markets, how many people who have Windows actually went out and BOUGHT it, as opposed to buying a computer that had it pre-installed?

        Thirdly, since when does market share have anything at all to do with reliability? Or are Rolls Royces really so much less reliable than Yugos?
        Joel R
      • Actually...

        The Mac OSX wasn't owned in 30 minutes. That was an error in the story, as you would of known had you read the updates on it.

        Mac OSX isn't perfect though anyway. There's a very good reason why Mac OSX has less hacks etc. It's because the public use Windows exponentially more, so there are more people probing Windows. It's just simple numbers. Period.
        neophyte1
        • mistaken assumption about attacks

          it is too common an error to presume that Windows numbers
          have anything at all to do with the frequency, ability, danger, or
          susceptibility to malware and other attacks.
          Obviously, if it were simply numbers and nothing more, then the
          attacks would mimic exactly the number of computers being
          used over a sample period. Something close to the market share
          (although that number doesn't really tell you anything but the
          number of machines sold, not how many are IN USE.)
          To imagine that attacks have something to do with what is
          common ignores that the attacks have to be made differently,
          encoded differently, made to do ENTIRELY different things, for
          each victim OS. Similarly, to assume it has mostly to do with
          being motivated to infect the most common platform is silly,
          when everyone knows there are many motivations for such acts.
          Have these people never imagined a Windows user would enjoy
          infecting the Mac platform? Or that the many challenges to do so
          over the years would be laurels for them?
          maxsnorkel