How much of the value in the iPod is really Google Maps, Google, You Tube etc.?
I'll take a look at my iPod Touch main page,
I have, Google (Safari set to Google mobile home page), Calender, mail, contacts, maps, weather, clock, calculator, safari Google (apps), skype, Google Earth, Youtube.
Of those Calender to crap, contacts I never use, safari I never use (always start directly with the Google icon), skype only works as messenger (no mic on this Touch).
So an Ipod to me is mostly a device for delivering Google with a really crappy interface called iTunes on my PC that I despise for all the crapware it installs too, and some other features, and a few games. The bits I like on my iPod are the Google bits.
"I don't see a viable iPad alternative appearing in the West anytime soon, but I'm sure there'll be a veritable feast of devices available in the East - there always is!"
IMHO, the iPad will fail because it has no reason to succeed. Previous Windows touchpads have failed too, so the physical format isn't a winner. What I suspect will happen is it will have a niche and since Google is what you'd really want on an Internet device (they dominate the net) it follows that it will be a device tailored to Google. i.e. Android.
Really without Google it looks like a toy:
He goes to run YouTube, Apple rep tells him that doesn't work yet... so what does work? The book browser minus its search? iTunes, iTunes book store, a browser, WTF. They launched with incomplete product, so they're shit scared. They're trying patent games with bullshit patents they should never have been given, so they are scared.