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back to article Analyst forecasts Apple Kindle-killer for 2010

Apple may have a downer on netbooks, but that won't stop it releasing a 7-10in tablet in the coming months, one analyst has forecast. It's some way off, though. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster is a long time Apple watcher well known among the firms fans for his product predictions. His latest, made in a research note sent out to …

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Stop

Screen??

Unless it uses e-ink it'll be uncomfortable, tiring and possibly painful to read for any length of time.

But e-ink isn't suitable for video or internet browsing.

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Jobs Halo

e-Ink doesn't do motion

The problem with combining things like a fluid interface or watching films with e-books is that the e-Ink screens don't do motion well, but backlit LCD/OLED screens don't come close to e-Ink screens for reading books and battery life.

At the moment you have to pick one or the other; either e-Ink for good reading and battery life, or a more conventional screen for a multi-purpose device that is noticeably not as good for reading.

Maybe Jobs can square that circle, but I can't see how.

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ian
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Jobs Halo

Is it the boom box again?

I can easily see Apple making a kindle-killer that includes any number of apps that now require an iPhone. In fact, why not make it a mobile phone? I envision bling-hobbled chavs holding enormo boxes to their heads and nattering on, much like the giant boxes from the 1980s. They can't read, can they?

Bless me St. Jobs, for the marketing research I have rendered unto you..

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Paris Hilton

The trick, I think...

...is to be able to strike the right balance between usability and portability. If they can do this, then they'll surely capture the market, like they normally do. 7 inches seems ample to me.

\ paris, because 7 inches seems ample for her too

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It's the screen

The distinguishing feature of an ebook reader is a non-luminous screen, for long periods of reading. Will a non-luminous screen host a browser in a year? I would have thought it would take another few before response times become acceptable.

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Thumb Up

Screens and reading

Screens can do more than one thing. They can be bright for one application and more subdued for others, the technology exists it just takes software. You can do it right now yourself if you like, go ahead and play with your video card settings. Having that automated by software is something games have been doing for years.

As for painful to read, not really. Adobe's own book reading software, which is a version of it's PDF reader, comes with a font specifically designed to make reading easier on the eye. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that ebooks use a version of this font or something very similar.

Netbooks seem to be the biggest threat to these devices right now. Book reading software already exists and is hardly processor or battery intensive. Books in formats compatible with that software are at least as easy to find that books for Kindle or Sony's reader.

But I agree with the author, Apple are in a position to really clean up here and do the same thing they did to the Sony Walkman. Their MP3 player wasn't the first player on the market, but it was clearly the best. The price was definitely premium, but their sales have shown there's a huge market for quality that comes at a premium price. And they can easily do the same with something that is significantly more capable than a book reader. A large screen portable media player is something travelers in their millions are crying out for. Just look at the rental sales of portable DVD players at airports. With browsing, book reading, music and whatever else built in to the OS, those portable DVD players would become as obsolete as a book reader that can only.. well read books really.

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Anonymous Coward

OLED?

There are rumors of an OLED display iPhone coming out later this year. If true then Apple would have over a year's experience with it before releasing a Kindle killer. Would this type of display fix all of the battery and resolution problems?

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Jobs Horns

Wot - More shiney crap!!!

And at a price only real iTwats will pay!!

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Have both screens

The way to go is to have an e-Ink display that overlaid upon a conventional LCD touch screen. Its expensive, but that's what Apple does well. They give you the best of both worlds and charge a premium. That's their whole business model. They already have plenty of retail outlets and people who love their iPod and iPhone and trust them to do the iReader well.

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err

about the "how to make such a gadget work without a keyboard, something UMPCs failed to do"

Funny my Samsung Q1 does EXACTLY what I need it to do without a keyboard. Wish people would understand Tablets, UMPC's, and even netbooks were NOT designed to replace laptops.

Now if this is a tablet with a 7-8inch screen for around $500 and has decent specs (atom+ processor none of the VIA crap Samsung swapped to for the new Q1) then I might actually be tempted to actually buy something apple made for once in my life because my Q1 is starting to get issues in its old age.

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Double sided?

If I was a clever design person I would produce a table that has an oled display on one side, an e-ink display on the other and sleeve for it to fit in so you could swap round which side you used so that it automatically turned off the side hidden in the sleeve.

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Jobs Halo

@Paul

Beat me to it - I was going to suggest a double sided device too. Or how about the e-ink display is inside the cover for the LCD, or som'at like that.

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Get it right!

Current-generation netbooks show a sad lack of imagination: they're no more than an updated return to the laptops of 15 years ago, before the era of "desktop replacement". Smartphones and e-readers have given us much more that's interesting.

The logical update now is a reasonably-capable netbook-size device with a couple of major differences from the eee-clones: e-ink display, ARM processor, and solid-state storage. And with that, decent battery life on a much lighter-weight battery. Apple seems a plausible candidate to be first to market with such a thing.

As for gaming and videos, I don't give a **** if an e-ink screen isn't up to the task. It'll remind me of my first 15" colour laptop back in 1997: the display fell well short of the current macbook's!

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