Oh Joy, A Firefox Tablet

The Taipei-based Mozilla spokeswoman declined to provide details on the device that the companies plan to unveil on June 3, but Focus Taiwan, citing an “industry insider”, reported that it would likely be a tablet.

Reuters

Just a couple  weeks away. What’s Firefox OS like? No one really knows. What’s the “tablet” design? No one knows. Battery life? Hardware? Apps? Size/weight? Price? No one has a clue.

I’m buying two.

My Thoughts On the iPad in 2010

For the iPad’s three year anniversary I’m not going to dwell on the thoughts of those that didn’t understand it back then (many of them still don’t), but these were my thoughts…

What always amazes me isn’t the [Apple] bashers’ lack of vision or imagination, or their misreading of the target market… or having learned nothing from previous Apple products’ successes… No, it’s the complete lack of originality in their arguments. I mean, it’s been 25 years since the Macintosh and they’re still calling Apple’s products “toys”

Dear Apple iPad Haters: Please Get A Grip (And A Thesaurus)

Touch devices need that input method close to their core, and an API to back it up. That’s why the iPad will be an incredible hit while tablet PCs will continue to fail, no matter what flavor of Windows you slap on them.

The Windows XP, Vista, or 7 UI Is the Tablet PC’s Biggest Weakness

I can’t understand how anybody can watch the videos for Keynote, Pages and Numbers and claim the iPad is “just a big iPod touch”. This device is going to change everything.

Apple iPad Guided Tour Videos: Don’t Tell Me This Can’t Do Serious Work

Right now the iPad is one-of-a-kind, no matter how many pundits blather about “tablets” having been around for 10 years. Those are laptops running a desktop OS with the keyboard snapped off. You don’t build the new paradigm with the old paradigm’s thinking.

iPad alternatives? Only if you stretch the meaning of “alternative”

However, I believe the fact that [the iPad] performs respectably for [some pundits] means it can be a laptop replacement for millions of non-geeks. They just don’t know it yet.

The iPad as a productivity tool

The result is the first and only practical tablet computer.… Apple rightly deserves credit for building what makes sense now, and not chasing failed “visions” from yesterday.

Microsoft: Getting tablet PCs wrong since 2002

Remember when tech pundits used to lead the charge for change, and get excited about new, powerful technologies that made things easier for non-technicians? Yeah, me neither.

What can we learn from the “moderated” Windows SuperSite blog?

increasingly, [iOS] is becoming “mainstream”. By this, I mean there’s less concern in the mind of the average consumer that a purely touch interface can work. No more garbage about how the screen will get too oily, you can’t use a software keyboard, etc. Put simply, the paradigm shift from keyboard/mouse to touch screen—at least for tasks most consumers do—is less of a question. As more and more consumers understand this, iPad sales will continue to roll.

What Sales of Two Million iPads Can Tell Us

It’s this [desktop OS] confusion that a touch OS simplifies. It isn’t just about touch, but about removing the complications of GUIs that have accrued over the years. To me, when I use the iPad I see something with current faults (just as the GUI had faults in the beginning), but it’s clear to me that every computer will eventually work this way.

Every Computer Will Work This Way

The tablet form factor is going to be huge. I’m already on record that it’s how “all” computers will work someday, and I don’t think critical mass will take as long as the GUI did, which is apparently what Forrester is expecting.

Forrester Research: Tablets Will Only Steal Sales From… Desktops?

Chromebooks: Not PC, Not Post-PC

Chromebooks are here and getting a lot of press, just as Netbooks did before them. But in a post-PC world the two categories have more in common than one might think.

For starters, let’s see where a Chromebook differs from the leading post-PC device:

Software

Chrome OS doesn’t approach the rich app ecosystem of iOS. This is further diluted when no Internet connection is available, as some apps require. The basics are there, but the beauty of post-PC—like the beauty of PC—is a wealth of third-party additions to make the machine “yours”. In this regard iPad’s versatility goes way beyond a Chromebook.

Privacy
Chrome OS is from Google. Let’s not pretend a primary function isn’t to gather data about you for sale to ad agencies. It lacks iOS’ easy user-controlled granularity of privacy settings per app, photo access per app, location access per app, etc., as well as default third-party cookie blocking, ability to reset device identity and more.

Hardware
Cheap hardware built to look like a “real” laptop. A major design goal is to beat out the cheapest Windows laptops while not appearing to be a tiny netbook.

Mobility
This is one of the tenets of post-PC, yet Chromebooks are bulky and heavy by any iPad standard. Further, battery life is no better than a “regular” PC notebook.

Netbooks are cheap PCs with small screens and cramped keyboards. They fizzled in the marketplace when it become clear they don’t offer the UX of a conventional Windows laptop. Meanwhile, Chromebooks are “regular” laptop size to avoid the netbook stigma, but remain cheap by ditching the PC OS for Google’s data-gathering tools.

There are many ways to cling to a familiar past while cheating the experience in an attempt to reduce cost and appear “new”. Netbooks and Chromebooks take different approaches but the result is the same: their UX is unlike the laptops they’re designed to imitate. In many ways Netbooks and Chromebooks are the ultimate skeumorphic design. Designed to look like the familiar laptop form we’ve known for 20 years, but in reality being no such thing.

If you want a laptop for its usability and legacy functions, by all means get one. Mac or PC, there are plenty of excellent choices on the market. But be realistic on either cost or functionality. If you’re not, then one way or the other you’ll be disappointed.

Who Wouldn’t Want…?

Over the last decade, as Apple has entered and dominated markets beyond computers, their competitors have attempted to compete via spec sheet. The strategy has been simple: find what feature consumers must want that the iPod, iPhone, MacBook or iPad lack, then supply it.

How does the competition determine a “missing” feature? They look to what Apple removed, and assume it was a mistake; that in fact everybody wants it. I expect the design meetings asked questions like this:

  • “Who wouldn’t want a card slot to add more storage?”
  • “Who wouldn’t want a replaceable battery?”
  • “Who wouldn’t want an FM radio?”
  • “Who wouldn’t want Flash?”
  • “Who wouldn’t want a hardware keyboard on their phone?”

In every case, new devices were cranked out touting these “advantages”, and failed to make a dent in Apple’s growth or popularity.

This is because what Apple supplied in exchange for the alleged deficiencies more than made up for them. To the point where many were not even considered deficiencies at all (most people never added storage, or carried an extra battery, and so on).

The good news is that the competition is mostly in line with Apple now. Apple’s changes are more or less given as norms, and this silly strategy is no longer attempted.

Wait, what’s that I just heard from tablet design rooms everywhere?

  • “Who wouldn’t want a physical keyboard dock?”

Yes, this is the man I’ll listen to about the future of the PC

Michael Dell in an interview Sunday took a stance that there was no such thing as a post-PC era. In spite of struggling PC sales, he argued to the FT that the PC industry was still growing… Smartphones and tablets weren’t “necessarily” replacing PCs, and long-term forecasts suggested that would stay the case for years to come, he said.

via Electronista

Screen_shot_2011-09-19_at_12

Blowin’ in the Fan (with apologies to Bob Dylan)

How many tablet PCs must be built
Before people get that they’re wrong?
How many demos must Microsoft give
Propped up by their own dance and song?
And after a decade of failure in this
Do they know that we won’t tag along?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the fan
The answer is blowin’ in the fan.

How many years can an OS exist
Before its best days have gone by?
How many new paradigms can be shown
That much better methods apply?
And how many times to the well will they go
Before seeing it’s finally run dry?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the fan
The answer is blowin’ in the fan.

How many vendors were pulled on a chain
Building tablets unfriendly to hands?
How many failures and misguided tries
Were continued according to plans?
And when will they get the futility of
Shoehorning PCs into cans?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the fan
The answer is blowin’ in the fan.

(Inspired by this tidbit about a prototype Windows 8 tablet.)

Sony Tablet S Review

Even so, the Tablet S feels more competent than outstanding. For every nice
extra feature, there’s seemingly another that doesn’t quite work the way it’s
promised, sometimes within the same app. The performance, the screen, the build
quality are all good, but not great. The camera is just a mess, too

Yet another vendor releases a tablet before it’s ready, and uses weaker components to make the “iPad price” of $499.