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2010: it's a wrap There's no doubt about it, Apple's iPad was the defining product of 2010. No other offering came out of nowhere not only to establish a new category of kit, but to kick an existing one - the netbook - up the proverbial and, into the bargain, scupper another - the smartbook - before it had even established …

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Galaxy Tab

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and it feels like a poor cousin to an iPad.

Comparing the display in terms of the screen diagonal is misleading. What you should say is that the Tab's screen is *half* the size of the iPad's, but it's still too big to carry around in your pocket. So you have all the limitations of a bulky device, but with a screen that doesn't justify it.

The graphics are not as smooth as the iPad, despite having a similar spec processor.

Most annoying feature is the screen rotation detection, which forces you to either: Hold the dvice with all the care of a safe-cracker, lest your hand shake and the screen clunkily re-draws into landscape, you over correct and throw it back the wrong way, repeat; - or - lock it permanently. (Biggest bug bear here, you can't lock the screen in Landscape from the web browser, because it hides the menu bar. You have to quit browsing, go back to the main menu, lock the screen, and then go back. Argh)

The camera may well be a boasted 3MP unit, but there's no zoom and the focus is poor. The less said about the front facing camera, the better, it produces super grainy images with the screen rotation not recorded in the JPEG. The automatic panorama mode is a neat feature, until you find that the images are only 800x600, which makes them pretty much unusable for anything. (The Tab offers no way to showcase them, any at event). Video calling *is* supported, but only with Samsung proprietary platform. There's no standard 3G video calling support. (Which the Reg slammed Apple for, but remained totally silent about on this device. Double standards anyone?)

So you can only call someone else who also has a Galaxy Tab. With them.

Like the iPad, the device will only charge from the supplied charger. Regular USB doesn't pump out enough juice to charge it otherwise. Unlike the iPad, it doesn't use the same cable that all your friends and colleagues already have for there iPhone/iPod/iPads. Lose Samsung's supplied copycat cable, and you have to buy another. (From where, I have no idea).

Somehow the headphones are also proprietary, try to use a (de-facto) standard iPhone headset, and it'll shut off the mic on the device, but not use the one on your 'phones, so you're leaft shouting to no one. The only other option is having the device on loud-speaker and shouting at it Dom Jolly style.

Things I won't even start on, in case I explode. Flash support (ahahahahahahaha, enable at your peril), Swype (note: learning my typing style != remembering every single typo I ever made and substituting real words with them /every/ time). The android marketplace (or beta-shop, as it should be called. I *like* apple weeding out the crappy, unfinished dross, thanks)

Good points, and there are some. it's sturdy. even though it's plastic it feels quality, and mine has taken a few knocks well. The battery is excellent, will easily go all day. The extra screen space really makes some apps come alive.

The Mobile AP support in android 2.2 is excellent, and has helped me out several times already. Email works well (though no push), but the supplied MS Word reader is piss poor, Google Docs and Documents-to-go do a much better job.

I'm looking forward to 2.3 and I hope many of the niggling features can be ironed out.

So, in conclusion, it's 1/2 the size of an iPad; doesn't work quite as well, still needs a bag to be carried in, doesn't do video calling and costs the same.

I got one free* with my mobile contract though, so I'll see where it goes.

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How Refreshing ...

... to read informed comment from someone who can make an objective comparison.

Thanks jamie 5.

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Anonymous Coward

De-facto headphones?

Apple? De-facto? Since when? You'll probably find any other manufacturers headphones work OK, only Apple ones that don't, as their wiring is different for the segments... as for not being able to use an iPod connector, come on, how long would it take Apple's lawyers to seize on that one?

Push email does work on Android, depends on the mail system though.

Still can't see the use any type of tablet, phone for portable, laptop for home. Something too big to fit in my jeans pocket comes under the category of non-portable.

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thanks

now know what to be looking for now.

seen both in shop, but can't beat a "real use" review

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Can somebody please explain...

a) why for a 7 inch device that can be held in the pocket why the bezel has to be so wide? I don't need a bezel that big on my mobile phone, why do i need it on my 7 inch tablet? If it wasn't for that bezel that thing might fit in a jacket pocket....

b) why put stereo speakers on only one edge of a device that can be held in both portrait and landscape or even upside down? Isn't it obvious to put a speaker at each of the 4 corners and get the os to rotate the stereo to match when the screen is rotated?

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Bezel

I suppose the large bezel is

1. To look like the iPad.

2. To allow for holding it with your fingers instead of palming it in your hand like you do with a phone.

-dZ.

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iReckon......

Having recently acquired an iPad for nowt (by fair means, not foul) I was wondering whether it would actually live up to the hype. I was wondering if it would replace my laptop, i was wondering if it would be the new form factor to wow the masses.

It isn't.

It just doesn't do anything as well as the other devices i have. My laptop is a hundred times more flexible. My smart phone is more mobile, if i had an ebook reader and time to read books, it would be better (and have a longer battery life). I have not been able to figure what use this thing is and as a result, after a week of use it has started to be left next to the bed charging. I do think there is one area where i suspect it would come in very handy indeed.

Holidays!

It seems that this little device is very portable indeed, and has web and email, Music, entertainment and the ability to get new apps very easily. I think that it would be a definite for when i go away and saves me lugging about a fairly large laptop which doesn't need its flexibility when i am just wanting a way to stay online while away from home.

Would i pay £600 for the iPad i have?

No

I would be gutted if i had shelled out that much just to find that it doesn't do very much more than my phone does (and less in some areas). As I see it, it is an iPod touch for those with restricted eyesight.

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Don't think you've really 'got it'

The iPad isn't a replacement for your laptops.

It is a great device for certain things which beats a laptop hands down. For example, lightweight browsing is great in portrait mode. I wouldn't use it for research, but a general poke around the web is fine.

It's instant on with no effort, meaning that I think "I need to look that up", I grab it, it's instantly on, I look up the thing I wanted to know about. Compare that with a lappie; it's got to be opened, switched on (fast on a Mac, less so for windwos), placed on your lap (it's got limited places where it'll work), fire up the browser, search. For me, the iPad is just a lot easier for casual use.

It's form factor is massively better than a lappie in certain circumstances. On a train/plane/automobile. Standing up. Portrait mode is much better for reading. Laying on ones side whilst reading in bed. Landscape mode for more detail, typing and films. Lappies don't have orientation choice.

An iPad is rubbish at doing multi-tasking 'work' things such as taking notes whilst reading a document (it's single-tasking user interface won't allow that). It's rubbish for long typing sessions, although it's fine for email, etc. The limited functionality of the browser means you're not going to use it to develop websites, not view sources. The 'odd' layout of the keyboard gets on one's tit - lack of tab or cursor keys for editing.

I paid £730 for mine and am delighted with it being a great device to AUGMENT my large 17" lappie, particularly when commuting, watching the telly, reading in bed, etc. It ISN'T A REPLACEMENT for a lappie. This is probably where people who 'don't get it' go wrong.

The fact it was given to you means it has little value to you. Why not give it away to someone who would value it, or even drop it into a charity shop.

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give away...

I did give it away.....to the wife, who always wanted one. She doesn't use it much either. I understand it isn't a replacement, and i also understand that it is better for the quick browse fix, but my argument is that for £600 it really isn't worth it or a massive leap forward.

And for the record.... Laptops DO have orientation choice. At least mine does, though it does need a keyboard shortcut to rotate it.

I think my points are valid, but i take yours. I just object to the ludicrous price for what is a big ipod.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: give away...

"I think my points are valid, but i take yours. I just object to the ludicrous price for what is a big ipod."

Remember that everyone paying for that iLifestyle ("I've so seen the light that I can now only refer to laptops as lappies, although maybe I did that before!") is "invested" (and, indeed, has invested) in not seeing the iPad as a big iPod Touch, even though common sense would indicate this to largely be the case.

Of course, Apple is great at getting people to pay a premium for just a bit more. And then having those people defend their purchase in the face of a more objective evaluation such as your own.

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I just object to the ludicrous price for what is a big ipod.

For a price that's supposed to be so expensive, it's funny how few people actually beat it with a device that has comparable specs.

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@Rob Moir

I don't think people are necessarily saying it's too expensive from a cost of components aspect, although there is a site that lists the profit over pure component costs that shows some good margins for a non-discounted device, but rather that it's expensive for what it does. Drop the 16GB wi-fi to 329 from 429 and we could be talking, especially if you can tether to an iphone for mobile web. It's not massively overpriced but it does make you wince first time you consider it.

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Linux

Yet something else to lug around.

> The iPad isn't a replacement for your laptops.

Then why bother? The thing is huge. There are some laptops that take up less space. Such laptops have been commonplace long before there was the artificially defined notion of a "netbook"..

I am sure there are plenty of Apple fanboys that wish they had waited for the Apple netbook.

If a tablet can't completely replace your netbook, then it just becomes another bit of bulky gear that you have do drag around with you. The larger the tablet, the more of a bother. An iPad is just large enough to be a bother. 7" and smaller tablets and smart phones are better in this respect.

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@Super Tim. Re "give away"

"I just object to the ludicrous price for what is a big ipod."

I agree. That indeed is my main beef with the iPad, the price is a liberty. I note also that we see certain enthusiasts (note how polite I am - haven't said a word about f'* b''s. -:)) defend the Apple-premium by referring to what Samsung are asking for the Tab. Of course Samsung are trying to get the same sort of money for the Tab as Apple are getting for the Pad as long as they think that they can get away with it, any manufacturer would if they thought they could. That does not however IMO mean that it is remotely sensible spending that kind of dosh on such products this early in the development of the pad-segment. There are several medium-high to high-end manufacturers lining up to release kit in 2011 with specs that will make both the Pad and the Tab look ordinary with regard to functionality etc and with so many heavy hitters in the market the prices will begin to fall - big time. Anybody who has bought either of those two products in 2010 has paid a very high price for being an "early adopter". I am looking at getting a tablet of some kind towards the back end of the coming year and I confidently predict that a large choice of kit *at least* as good as the two aforementioned or better will be available and at lower prices.

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Perhaps the smartbook could have worked

If, instead of showing them off at CES and the like for several years in a row, one or two were actually released.

Yes, I know there's the Toshiba AC100 now, but it's too little and too late, they should have been out in '09 when the manufacturers were proudly showing them off.

As for the iPad - is it the only 9-inch tablet so far?

The others seem small by comparison.

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WTF?

Advent Vega?

I got one of these for less than £200, and with the modaco custom rom and launcher pro it's bloody great! Loading the custom rom was no more work than loading an official firmware before anyone starts... ;)

My old man had a go on it the other day and tried to walk out the oddor with it hidden in his jacket. He was considering an ipad to read the times online instead of getting the paper delivered each morning, until he saw the price of the things that is. The Vega works fine for him, so I expect he'll be getting one fairly soon.

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me too

In fact i'm using it to type this....it's great - not perfect but for £249 from pcworld, i cannot complain. And I'm a mac fan but the ipad is definately over priced.

Well impressed.

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size difference

is a 7 inch an ipod touch equivalent or a tablet device. Steve Jobs said he would not introduce a 7inch tablet but he did not say he would not introduce a 7inch ipod touch. At some point size changes the nature of the device. Just like the internet became interesting when a certain number of people started connecting.

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Thickness & weight

I use a Galaxy Tab day to day but recently had it and an iPad together for a few days on a trip, and while the unfamiliarity of the iPad meant I only used it for the presentations I had to do, so I can't honestly compare usability, your comment about the weight and thickness really surprised me. I would have sworn blind that the iPad was thinner and lighter than the Tab. Just goes to show how effective the design of the iPad is.

I've grown very fond of the Tab though, and wouldn't swap it. 7in is the right size for me.

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Walled gardens

A fair assessment of apple's walled garden IMO. It's really not the huge deal breaker for Joe Public that droidbois make it out to be. And one advantage of a huge app Market is there's now very little you can't do - I can now use mine as a direct netbook replacement, and haven't had to sync with iTunes in weeks.

And when you're as ugly as I am, the lack of camera is actually a benefit.

Cue "but...but...but!" style responses from said bois...

However, there is one point of concern - on my particular device, I get horrendous static feedback on skype calls if you run your hand down the case mid-call. That's not a good sign.

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"but...but...but!"

If the iPad was an actual tablet computer, I'd be tempted myself. I remember when the first rumours of an Apple tablet started, and I thought "Mmm.. tablet. OS X. Partition it with Ubuntu, get a bluetooth keyboard, this could be my first real, live, actual fruit machine!"

Instead it's a bloody big, expensive, iPod.

So no, I do not consider this device (nor the various droid tablets, yet) to be anything other than toys. You have fun with yours, but I'm not willing to shell out that much on something that limited. Spending all night (literally, from about 7pm to Midnight) trying to get an iPad Mini^W^WiPod Touch 4 working because first iTunes needs updating, then the owner didn't want to put a debit card into iTunes before giving it to an 8 year old as a Christmas present? Yeah, right.

Oh, don't ever be honest with the age if you're giving it to a kid as a present. Not only will Apple ban you from creating an account, but they'll ban that email address AND your copy of iTunes from attempting to create another account for the next 24 hours. Cue some interesting hackish workarounds and some interesting choices of epithets being thrown in Steve Jobs' direction.

Apple: It Just Works. Hahahahaha...

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Stop

Juast because

its a niche market, not a major market, and because YOU have no intent of spending $400-700 on a companion device has no impact on the fact than several MILLION people did actually consider that a good deal, and found use cases for the device that met its value.

Arguing that because you won;t buy it, or you don;t see the value proposition has no impact on the very real fact that others do, enough to make the product and for it to be massively popular and successful. Should BMW stop making cars just because average Joe will never buy one?

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BMW? Ah, the toy car manufacturer.

I have a friend who rather likes his BMWs. He's not rich, so he tends to get second hand ones. His every-day car is a 315i, and he's just gotten himself an old M5.

Three litres. Rear wheel drive, like all good BMWs.

Do you know that no car with a BMW badge on it will ever be anything other than rear wheel drive, or four wheel drive, and that BMW are proud of that? The Mini doesn't have a BMW badge on it, by the way.

You know what he likes to do most in his BMW? Yep, he likes to drive sideways - and he's good at it, too. Remember those BMW adverts that profess to put the "joy" into driving? The ones that show that car driving around an ice rink? Film directors should hire this guy as a stunt driver, he's that good.

BMW. Nice toy, but you don't buy one for its fuel economy, boot space or "productivity". One would think that for the latter, you'd buy a van. Maybe Mercedes-Benz, maybe Ford.

Really, really bad example you gave me there. Besides, second-hand BMWs don't stop working on modern roads just because the manufacturer has decided to not give you firmware updates any more.

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More common than you think

BMW 3-series are one of the most popular cars in UK, up there with Mini, Peugeot 207, VW Golf, Vauxhalls Astra and Corsa, and Fords Focus and Fiesta.

The average Joe buys plenty of BMW, and I think the same is true of iPad.

As to Apple iPad, in my social circle every family and friend has one ... they kids love 'em, and they are used primarily for casual web-browsing by the adults. One of the only friends I know without one is an "anything but Apple" crusader who always says "but...but...but!" whenever he sees an iPad, and he's saying that a lot these days ... especially on Xmas present lists.

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It's still a toy.

"As to Apple iPad, in my social circle every family and friend has one.."

I think that says more about your social circle than the public at large.

Really, I'd like to meet this fabled place where everyone has an iPad. The iPod? Fairly popular, not as popular as Apple would have you believe, but you do tend to see them out and about. The iPad? Not so much!

Not as much as netbooks and laptops, anyway - and I'm going outside my own particular circle of friends here. All I can say is, you must be in the well-above-average wage bracket.

(waiting for more downvotes...)

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RE: More common than you think

Like arse are they. In my social circle, I've still yet to see one (outside a shop). This leads me to suspect that they aren’t as common as YOU’D think, or people are too embarrassed to admit they’ve got one ... and let’s be honest, if someone has an “i” device, they’ll tell you alllllll about it…

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The thing is...

Apple's support for their products is actually rather good, especially their phones. for instance a 2.5 year old iPhone is still supported and will continue to be supported until next summer, after 3 years. I've *never* had a phone that has been supported that long and it really should be applauded. I expect Apple to support the current iPad for about as long. How many times have we seen people complaining on these very message boards that their particular Android device hasn't had an update released? Sure, one can 'root' it or install a different mod if you know what you are doing or can be arsed. This is the point that you ABA's perpetually miss; it's not that majority can't do it, they just can't be arsed, and why should they? The truth is that what you accuse Apple of , many of the other businesses that people cite, normally Apple competitors, are just as bad and often worse. Yes, Apple do chase profits. Funnily enough that's what businesses do. You come across as a bit of a know-it-all and I doubt you've ever 'used' a BMW or an iPad for any length of time, if at all. That's fine, but don't expect anyone to take your views and opinions seriously, especially when they are nothing more than a veiled troll. You might want to check those BMW specs too. YAWN...

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Linux

Depends on your circle

...it all depends on your circle.

Although the crowds that are likely to jump on the iPad as a bit of conspicous consumption are just as likely to dump it as soon as the next thing comes along. Since there's a new trinket in town (the new Macbook Air) such people are fixating on that now and not the iPad so much.

The "trendy" types don't stay with anything for long.

Beyond that, you might see a few iThings here or there but it's hardly pervasive.

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FAIL

lol?

"There's no doubt about it, Apple's iPad was the defining product of 2010. No other offering came out of nowhere not only to establish a new category of kit, but to kick an existing one - the netbook - up the proverbial and, into the bargain, scupper another - the smartbook - before it had even established itself in the market."

Nowhere except in the minds of journalists and people rich enough to spend that much on a toy, has this happened.

iPad is a fun toy, but please. Hyperbole much?

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What you have to remember about meejahoars is

That they only hang out with other meejahoars and marketdroids.

And since everyone who pours free booze down their gullets is packing a iFad and yakking on about it, they naturally assume that everyone who matters has one, and is obsessed with it. The alternative - talking to non meeja people - is just to horrifying to contemplate. Why, some of those proles might expect you to pay for your own lunch!

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Anonymous Coward

personally I see no real point to an iPad

However, to support your assertion you have to either provide a coherent argument that the iPad is not the 2010 defining product or provide an alternative as the defining product of the year.

Also, as a grown up, my toys tend to cost more than £600 anyway.

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Sales figures say otherwise

As widely reported, if you (somewhat artificially, but bear with me) count the iPad as a computer then Apple jump from being America's fourth largest computer supplier with around 7% of the market to being America's largest computer supplier with around 25% of the market. Like the product or not, that would appear to be a major splash and a product that is likely to have substantially overshadowed niche parts of the computer market.

Given that those are numerical facts and you supply no evidence whatsoever, I'm inclined to agree with El Reg's assessment.

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Anonymous Coward

@Lee: "as a grown up, my toys tend to cost more than £600 anyway."

As a grown up with a family, _my_ toys consist of the kid's Lego and some colouring pencils. Your point is?

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Happy

@Lee -- Sorry sport, couldn't help but notice that

I'm considerably richer than you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHo2pXO_XAI

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Re: lol?

>> Nowhere except in the minds of journalists and people rich enough to spend that much on a toy, has this happened.

Maybe that's why all other manufacturers stopped dead on their progress of their upcoming tablets and smartbooks announced last year, in order to try to mimic the iPad.

Yes, I'm sure that missing the Christmas shopping season this year was part of their original plan.

-dZ.

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Re: Sales figures say otherwise.

I'm pretty sure that if you included the Playstation as "a computer", then Sony would take a hell of a jump upward in terms of computer sales.

It's not though, is it?

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Re: Re: Sales figures say otherwise.

I think you've lost sight of your argument. Are you now arguing that releasing the first product that consumers notice in a particular product area and achieving Playstation-level sales immediately doesn't make that arguably a defining product of the year?

I accept that it's more difficult to establish the iPad as a causative factor in the ongoing demise of the netbook — I'd put the blame there more on a general lack of direction within the market. El Reg originally dubbed them small, cheap computers and all you can say about them now is that they're definitely still computers.

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Linux for PlayStation 2

Linux for PlayStation 2, from Sony, turned it into a PC.

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and Sony turned it back into a console...

...by removing the option to install Linux on it.

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Re: and Sony turned it back into a console...

And this is exactly what I mean. My PC is my PC.

If I bought an iPad (and who knows, if I somehow end up with enough money to buy a mansion, five cars, a several-thousand-pound b&o hifi, a yacht and some hired help then I might), then I know that I'm subjecting myself to Stevey-boy's dictatorial tendencies. I know that at some point in the future I may end up with functionality added, removed, and generally fucked about with on the device that I've paid good money for. All without me asking for it. I would know that my iDevice is essentially a toy, to be played with but certainly not relied upon.

Just like a Playstation. The game is just the start? Yeah right.

(I love the smell of downvotes in the morning.. or afternoon, as the case may be)

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Linux

Your blinders are on too tight.

> Maybe that's why all other manufacturers stopped dead

> on their progress of their upcoming tablets and smartbooks

> announced last year, in order to try to mimic the iPad.

Archos had a similar device for sale 6 months before the iPad hysteria started.

Sometimes I even like to refer to the iPad as the iPod 9.

Tablets are something that everyone has been working on. Apple's variant has somewhat of an edge due to the fact that it's made with cheaper parts. Apple is very much on the "cheap and crappy" side of the market here despite all of the hype and nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

right size

I'm expecting Santa to deliver me a Tab this year. When it came down to it, the biggest single reason to choose it over the iPad was size. I'll use it for video, music and reading, and the iPad is just too damn big as e-reader, whereas the Tab is just right as a paperback replacement, and has a better aspect ratio for watching video. Yes, in reality its barely more portable than the iPad but it just felt less awkward than the iPad for me, and that counts for a lot. Plus, I loathe iTunes and its lack of file support in particular; it don't particularly want to have to jump through hoops just to play an avi file.

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Anonymous Coward

AVI difficulty

You mean as difficult as say... installing a free app from the Apple marketplace? Try VLC no need to convert video anymore.....

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Android will do better when it officially supports tablets

Android works on tablets but there is no definition of what a compatible tablet device is. So every tablet, PMP etc. does things different. Some like the Galaxy Tab pretend to be giant phones. Others dump superfluous features like camera, GPS etc. and run afoul of compatibility requirements to get the marketplace app. So the market seems to be split between expensive giant phone like devices and cheap and cheerful incompatible generic devices.

Once Honeycomb turns up I expect things will rapidly turn around for android on tablets but it's a mess at the moment.

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GPS? Superfluous?

Well I suppose. But to be honest, of all the odds and sods you can attach to a portable computer, GPS does seem at least somewhat useful.

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I'm sure some will provide it

The problem at the moment is Google have something called the CDD which is their compliance document. If you want the marketplace app your device must be compliant with the CDD. It says devices MUST implement GPS. And a 2+ megapixel camera. And an accelerometer. And a compass. And bluetooth etc.

http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/source.android.com/en//compatibility/android-2.2-cdd.pdf

While these things make sense in phones, they don't always make sense in tablets and should be optional. If someone wants a tablet for reading books, then GPS and the other junk should be optional. Their absence makes the device cheaper and smaller.

I am hoping that when Honeycomb turns up they revise the CDD into a bunch of profiles rather than one size fits all, e.g. core tablet profile, PMP tablet profile, ereader tablet profile, 3G profile etc.

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How about the Vega

No mention of the Advent Vega ! For £250 plus a 30 minutes to add the mods (market and all Google apps) it is an incredible bargain. Paul O'Brien at the Modaco site has worked wonders with the basic machine plus the retailers (Dixons) are providing upgrades and support. If I sound like a fanboy it's because in this case I am.

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half the price

At £200ish the Advent Vega a phenomenal machine even with the stock firmware although good luck getting stock - its sold out 5 times already. ( If that were apple the guardian would have a 10 page spread about the stock problem).

Some of the apps have problems but having a better web browser than the iPad its not a bad trade off for the time being.

Specification wise it beats the iPad ( CPU and graphics) on some things and is worse on other (the iPad screen has a better viewing angle).

But at half the price is it therefore half as bad? No - its 90% as good as an iPad.

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Welcome

Advice please

I want to get a pad device, and the killer app is handwriting recognition. That way I can replace my paper book that I carry around everywhere.

What's the best device to get?

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Entourage eDGe

The Entourage eDGe is a 10" pad and a 9" e-ink reader combined, i.e. two screens. You can take notes and save them as a PDF. At the moment it runs Android 1.6 but that should be updated in the new year.

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