back to article Canada? The computer vendor says no

I am not a front-row blogger invited to wine and dine at all the latest product releases. I don't write reviews for the hardware side of El Reg. When it comes to technology of any kind, I am in the same boat as you, dear readers. I have to buy the shiny with my own bent coppers. When I am in the market for a brand new something- …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Viewsonic

    I wrote to Viewsonic to ask about availability in Canada and the response was a mess, on the second try, I was able to get an actual "no".

    I almost bought one anyway (via my American cousin) but the inability to put my hands on the physical device left me with the worry that I might not like the feel. Had I been in the US for black Monday, I would probably have purchased one.

    I never considered the oversize-phone/tablets, the prices are high and I don't want a phone or a multi-year contract.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    I'm waiting for this one.

    http://xkcd.com/207/

    I think I'd buy it just because.

    Personally, I think there are enough 40+ year old D.A. fans that it would be well worth someone paying the licensing fees to get the rights to sell it.

    1. Steven Knox Silver badge
      Boffin

      Comic Sans...

      Did you mean http://xkcd.com/548/ ?

      There's no reference to a tablet or DNA in #207 that I could see.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Here's what you do.

    You pretend you bought a Galaxy Tab and that you've had it just long enough so the novelty has worn off and all your friends are sick to death of hearing about it.

    By that time you will have come to the conclusion that at nearly 8 inches long and nearly 6 across, it's too big to fit in your trouser pocket - so you need to carry a bag to keep it in. You have further realised that having it in a bag is very inconvenient when someone calls or you want to plug your head in for some tunes (esp. if your bluetooth connection gets shielded by the bag) so you carry a phone in your pocket, too.

    Since you now have to carry a bag, you might as well have a laptop in it - with a decent sized screen and a proper keyboard, rather than that greasy, dirty and fingerprint covered touchscreen (where you cover up with your finger exactly the thing you're trying to access).

    You are now ahead of the field. Whereas most people are still in the thinking-of, or buyers remorse stages, you have a good 3 months on them. You can talk sagely to prospective buyers about the advantages (for you have read the reviews, too) and you can warn them of the disadvantages - or not. You can feel superior to people with even the latest tablets and if you really, really can't shake the desire to actually own one - don't despair, they'll be up on eBay soon when everyone who did buy them in the first flush of enthusiasm discovers the drawbacks for themselves.

  4. M Gale

    Happy Commtiva N700 owner

    No it doesn't have huge battery life (though enough to last a day of my usage patterns, possibly only 3-4 hours of Angry Birds). Also doesn't have the fastest processor and OH GOD PLEASE LET ME TURN SWYPE AND THAT AWFUL LEFT-HAND QUICKBAR OFF, however it's responsive enough, capacitive, and 800x480 is quite enough for this seven inch screen thankyouverymuch. Stupidly high res = more gpu needed = more power = less battery life + more expensive.

    This thing's 300 quid. Compared to the Tab and Pad, it's a bargain with wifi, 3G, tethering and portable AP functionality. Don't think it'll manage 720p video but ffs, you're not going to notice on a screen this size. Just downsample to 480p and enjoy your extra storage space.

  5. Andy Baird

    Having trouble with the logic here

    So let me get this straight, Trevor: you say you'd rather pay $2,000 for an Android tablet with 6-hour battery life and a USB connector than $500 for an iPad with 10-hour battery life, and an AC charger and USB charging cable included.

    Seems like a pretty steep price for maintaining your membership in the Apple Haters Club. ;-)

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      I am not an Apple hater

      I simply have requirements Apple refuses to meet. Such as the ability to actually cut down on the number of devices I use. I need to be able to use my tablet as removable storage. I need to be able to carry around more than 64GB of media. (I refuse to cart a laptop with me on vacation for no reason other than to have my library available to sync with iTunes!)

      MicroSD cables are /everywhere/. iPad chargers are not. So in short: give me a standard MicroUSB interface, access to the filesystem of my device, and support for removable media, or give me death!

      If Apple's iPad 2 has all these things, I'll be the very first person in line. I promise. I'll take pictures.

  6. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    Your problem is you live in the middle of nowhere

    If you lived in Toronto you wouldn't be having all these complaints.

    Besides living in the cold of Alberta your pad/tablet will only be operable a few months each year unless the Chinooks** happen by.

    ** See: < https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Chinook_wind >

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @JaitcH

      My HTC Desire and Blackberry Curve have both preformed admirably from -40c up to 35c. Why can't a tablet do the same?

      1. JaitcH
        Alert

        "... preformed admirably from -40c up to 35c. Why can't a tablet do the same?"

        They are generally larger than smartphones and and harder to keep warm and lose heat more quickly. Then there's the wind-chill factor. Smartphones can keep snug and warn under your clothing.

        The rapid temp changes with a Chinook might cause condensation. Apple has admitted that it's warranty denying moisture detectors are defective and rely on the ability of an Apple employee to 'interpret' the colour of the detector not exactly scientific.

        Of course, if it's an Apple product you are out of spec, anyway, with your operating specs.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @jaitcH

          No Chinook in Edmonton. Also, Chinooks don't cause rapid temperature changes. They cause a gradual increase that lasts hours before returning to normal.

    2. Keith T
      WTF?

      Toronto, self-styled center of the world

      Yes, if you lived in Toronto, if you lived in "Canada's only world class city", if you were a person that mattered, you wouldn't have a problem.

      Better cold Edmonton that heavily polluted Toronto.

    3. Poor Coco

      Wrong town, dude.

      The Chinooks hit Calgary: Edmonton simply stays in the icebox all winter. I know this well, having spent a quarter of a century there. It's really not terribly surprising, the number of indoor shopping malls there.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        Beside which,

        Argos suck.

      2. Tempest
        Unhappy

        Is Alberta a town?

        I don't think @JaitcH actually referenced a town in connection with the Chinooks. did he?

  7. Sarah 7

    (untitled)

    Time for a drive to beautiful Montana? Though I don't really think of Montana as a great hub for finding the latest tech gadget. Head a little farther west and visit us in Seattle, perhaps?

    1. Chris 244
      Coffee/keyboard

      Yes, just a quick little jaunt

      Edmonton to Seattle is about 800 miles one-way, a good part of which is through mountains. Really big ones. The drive would include Rogers pass, at 1330m elevation.

      You were trying to be funny, right?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @ Chris 244

        Well, I do drive down to Vancouver once a year. Edmonton --> Prince George --> V-Town --> Cowtown and home again.

        Takes a little over a week to do the circut, with only a could of days in V-town and a couple of days in Cowtown to get things done. I do agree however that Edmonton --> Seattle for a big of kit is madness. The fuel alone would be worth more than the gear!

      2. raving angry loony

        trip

        Edmonton to Bellingham would be a more reasonable trip, taking only about 14 hours. One way. So it's a weekend trip. Since I used to do Calgary to Vancouver for the weekend, at 11.5 hours one way, it's doable.

        Not enjoyable (I've done Calgary to Seattle), very hard on the body, but doable.

        Bloody expensive in gas, food, and lodging though for a gadget. Better to just have someone who lives close to the border get it for you and ship it.

      3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Happy

        @Chris 244

        Well if nothing else, you've sold me on my next photographic holiday destination!

  8. compkriss
    Unhappy

    True enough

    As an expat living in Ottawa I cannot agree more and with UBB coming soon it seems like we may even be going backwards!

  9. Chris Gray 1

    Sim card?

    Do the cell-connected tablets use regular sim cards?

    If so, and you really are willing to spend the money, then perhaps you can order a tablet from the states, buy a cheap phone with a data plan, and swap the sim cards.

    Just don't blame me if you spend a lot of money and it doesn't work. :-)

    Be happy Trevor, here in Edmonton it is now 31 degrees C warmer than it was 48 hours ago!

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Chris Gray1

      Yeah, but have you noticed how it's all melting, only to re-freeze tonight? They sent the graders through Beaumaris yesterday, but there's still 15cm of solid black ice on the roads. I've no real yen to see all the snowbanks melt back onto the streets only to add another quarter metre of ice.

      Wake me when the snow is not only gone, but the city is significantly less /brown/. As bad as winter is, spring is worse. An entire city covered in sand. Sand and rain and sleet and more sand.

  10. Renato
    Unhappy

    Canada, eh?

    You complain about devices not being available in Canada. The problem actually is: only a few manufacturers readily launch their products outside the US market. And when launched six months later, they sell with absurd conversion rates and taxes.

    Why? That's a question all us non-USAnians would like an answer.

    1. Keith T
      Flame

      We don't get European versions, Asian version or American versions

      We don't get European versions, Asian version or American versions.

      Basically Canada is too small to bother with. There are just a few big wholesalers selling off the stock that won't sell in the USA, and Canadian retailers aren't industrious enough to bypass them.

      And the prices here for consumer electronics are as shamelessly jacked-up as their are in the UK.

  11. Dazzz
    Go

    Cheap tablet

    Look up a zt-180a

    Not brilliant but cheap and slightly better battery life than the cheaper ones and an up to date OS

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      T-180a

      I wrecked it in 1.5 hours. Seriously, it didn't even make it through Stargate: Continuum. I was peeved...

    2. Keith Smith 1
      Alert

      SuperPad FlyTouch 2

      My kids got me a SuperPad for xmas. Dual TF slots android 2.1 w/market. Plays h264 720p just fine. Can't get hdmi on the 60 plasma to work. Screen is resistive. I get about 4 hours of video. CCplayer will even play 960x540 xvids. Dual usb wifi and rj45 enet. Lots of issues latest updates help. Less than 300US.

      Honestly a fun toy. Typing this on it! Android is pretty stable but I would like it to be a tad more powerful. this is 800mhz 192mb. It needs to be 1.2ghz 512mb. The rest of the spec is peachy 2gb flash is plenty with the abundance of usb and tf. Worth the 200+ from china to figure out I'd rather tote a netbook :). Acually of the USB keyboard worked better it could almost replace the netbook.

  12. Sean Baggaley 1

    So?

    It's no better anywhere else on the planet. Even Hong Kong gets more stuff, cheaper, and earlier, than the (apparently third-world) country I live in*.

    Welcome to the rest of the world. Specifically, the bit that doesn't speak English natively.

    * (Italy. Apple's iTunes Store lacks many of the features found in the UK and US, while Amazon only got around to creating an online presence here a few months ago.)

    1. Britt Johnston
      Welcome

      early release

      Have you observed Asian tourists window-shopping? "ooh, look, we got that in Kyoto 2 years ago". Could be

      - they want to make their own feel good while on holiday

      - the companies are not well enough organised to manage a world-wide roll-out

      - the iffy models get beta-tested at home, and only the better ones make it to ROW

      I have tried to wean myself off cutting-edge products, just to reduce the bleeding.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Here's a solution...

    ...move

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Working on it.

      Learning German properly takes time.

    2. Keith T

      Yes, we'll all move to California, that will solve it.

      Then the US government can start building a fence along its northern border.

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      Oi!

      Is that Eric Schmitt? Haven't you got TV shows to do?!

  14. Dan 92

    Does anyone actually NEED a tablet?

    There are far more capable devices to be had for the same or less money. I don't know how many times I've seen someone pull out an iPad in a cafe, followed by a stand, followed by a keyboard. Just get laptop for gods sake!!

    Tablets have some uses, but for almost anything of any importance you're better off with a netbook or laptop.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Dan 92

      I have a Fujitsu P1510d. The articles about that however...well...that's what I'm goign to be heading to the pub to write in about two hours! ;)

    2. Volker Hett

      It's a nice to have

      My Asus 901 was too small for many things and I still needed a real notebook.

      Gave the netbook to my nephew and use a tablet where a phone is too small and a notebook not needed.

      E-Mail, contacts and calendar mostly with some games and an occasional video thrown in for good measure.

      It even works fine with the files from my DSLR, one with a big sensor and huge files btw.

  15. Edlem

    Archos 101?

    http://www.hotmp3gear.com/Archos%20101%20Internet%20Tabelt.htm

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Edlem

      Until you have to RMA the blighter. Then you're boned. Archos and I are not on speaking terms. *spit*

    2. Stuart Halliday
      FAIL

      Archos 101- almost...

      Nah, its going to be stuck at Android 2.2.Plus you want a decent sized battery don't you?

  16. xj25vm

    Tablets as (single use) devices

    "Unfortunately I believe that Samsung abandoned the early adopters who bought the original Galaxy by refusing to release a firmware updates."

    I think the above sums up my biggest gripe with the current tablets situation. Tablets have evolved from the world of mobile phones. Mobile phones are more like devices - like a TV or microwave. Not like a computer. In majority they spend their entire life using the same firmware version (or equivalent of) as they were shipped from the factory. The only time this might get updates is if a fault is found. Classic/dumb mobile phones in their majority suffer the same fate. People buy them, get tired of them, and throw them away. No software upgrades, no new tricks. Which is great for manufacturers. They get to push newer models at us as fast as they can.

    Now with tablets (and to a significant extent smartphones) - their level of functionality approaches in a greater degree the level of functionality of a computer. Their price is also higher. Thus people will start more and more to realise that their shiny, expensive toy can't really be taught new tricks. Sure, there are ways of hacking about with these things - but it's not like on a pc. You can't just get your brand new copy of [insert favourite operating system] and install it on a device 5, 6 or even 7 years old. You have to do a lot of research, you have to wait for somebody to have figured out a way of breaking the whichever esoteric variation of bootloader your smartphone or tablet is using - and then do some custom Android (or whatever else) image for it.

    However, I don't think the manufacturer (in this case Samsung - but you can choose any other example) is the only one responsible for this situation:

    1. ARM might be theoretically a fairly open architecture - but it is mainly open for the licensees - not so much for the end users. With each licensee producing their own variation of the platform - in majority of cases you can't just run vanilla versions of OS's on these devices.

    2. The bootloader (or whatever equivalent for the BIOS in the ARM world) seems to vary a lot from device to device. This means even more customisation for a manufacturer in order to release a new version of the firmware (together with point no.1).

    3. Google themselves don't seem all that keen to build backwards compatibility with older devices in the newer versions of Android. Devices just 2 years old are not compatible with the latest version of Android. I suppose this is the price of break-neck speed with which Android and the tablets/smartphones develop nowadays - but it leaves people with un-upgradeable devices as a result.

    So until the bootloader on various ARM platforms won't be universal, and we won't have a truly open OS to run on these things where the community can contribute and provide drivers and updates in a more universally accessible fashion - the situation will probably stay the same.

    I think I'll stick with my 3 years old ultra-portable laptop - which can still be taught new tricks, can be plugged into any peripheral I want to plug it, and can be OS upgraded in any way I please. Bulky and un-tablet like as it is.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Where do you go?

    I'm kinda stuck with the issue of where to actually look at a good selection of Android phones that are not tied to a carrier.

    Over Christmas, I would have liked to look at some devices that were supposedly "hot Christmas products" but could I actually find any to fondle? Nope. And yes I live in Canada, Vancouver to be specific.

    I guess this is an issue generally though. There are a lot of Telus/Virgin/Fido/Rogers places that are eager to get you on contracts and have a small selection of locked phones, but if you want something a little different, who stocks them?

  18. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Pocketbook IQ?

    http://www.pocketbook-usa.com/products/pocketbook-iq/

    Not the best spec in the world but only 500g and USD 140

  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Canadian Dollars at Amazon

    On a similar note - does anyone know where I can buy some of the Canadian dollars they have at Amazon?

    In the real world a CDN$ costs slightly more than a US$ - whereas on Amazon they seem to be only worth 50c

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese crap will do...

    ... if it's just to tide you over. I say that while busily bricking $50 direct-from-China devices after having misunderstood google-translated rooting instructions. Yes, it's lots of crap and you have to learn chinese to get all the functionality out of it. But you appear to need it for surviving a commute. Even chinese batteries last that long.

  21. Mark 65 Silver badge
    Coat

    Chuckle

    "I would love to get a Nook Colour and root it."

    That would get chuckles in the back of any Australian classroom.

  22. Cryptokid
    WTF?

    Standard Operating Procedure

    It is not just tablets, but pretty well anything technologically related. I contacted Sony in Canada to ask about the availability of the new Sony Alpha 580 which has been available in the United States for about three months. They told me that they do not know when / if the camera would be available in Canada.

    For some strange reason, it seems that computer / camera manufacturers seem to think that Canada is a frozen wasteland of non-technical people.

    However, like some people have stated, is there really a reason for a tablet? A coworker just told me that he spent half the night converting his movies so that he could play them on his iPad. Hmmm... I can get a 9" DVD player from Wally-world for $129.

    1. Keith T

      Canada is where they sell off last year's obsolete stuff

      Canada is where they sell off last year's obsolete stuff at full price. If they sold the new stuff here, they couldn't do that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      You hit the nail right on, mate!

      Open software + Open hardware = End user freedom. Android worth nothing as FOSS as long as is runs on proprietary closed software. The same thing happened when people tried to run FOSS on laptops, it took a long time until they managed to make it work because of the proprietary nature of laptop hardware. So far the PC hardware is (still) open but I sincerely wish anyone good luck with any other platform, especially with phones, intelligent or not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Sony ?!

      Please get real! I wouldn't buy a pencil sharpener with that logo on it.

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