back to article Samsung's lovely illegal tablet: Why no one wants to know

Quite unexpectedly I found myself in possession of some very hot, illegal property last week. Not a looted plasma TV but rather the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which thanks to legal injunctions is disappearing from channels all over Europe. Vodafone is the latest to cancel its orders. It is a beautifully designed piece of hardware …


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  3. Robert E A Harvey

    Points to Jen-Hsun Huang

    as the man says, it is a "why bother" problem.

    To beat the market leader you need to be one or both of:

    * twice as good

    * half the price.

    it isn't, and it isn't.

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  5. Alan Denman

    Has the apple dropped yet?

    Obviously Apple own's all the stupid people but if you ban all non selling others they get to appear a bit less stupid.

    1. RichyS

      Re. stupid

      Yeah, stupid people who can't punctuate...


      1. scub

        re. stupid

        The way I see it, apple have always been about marketing, and nothing else. If you want to beat apple, its the marketing, not the hardware.

        Sheesh Kebab!

    2. a_been

      In other words your owned by Apple?

      see above

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother


      You need to pull state power to your side.

      As in "Intellectual Property" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

  6. turnip handler

    Concentrate on services rather than hardware.

    The iPad is a window on to your media ecosystem and gives you instant access to those movies, music, games and web sites that you want to view all the time.

    Any other tablet that doesn't have the full media ecosystem behind it is mearly a netbook without a keyboard, hence they will fail until they can provide the services to support.

  7. Ru

    There is no tablet market, stupid

    There is an iPad market, and a bunch of hopeful wannabes clustered around the outside. They cannot compete because they are not Apple.

    The use cases for smartphones are pretty clear, but tablets in general are not a solution to a problem that everyone is desparate to solve. Not many people will find their lives noticably improving with the addition of a tablet.

    I guess it doesn't help that samsung have screwed up their android implementation here. Seriously, landscape only? What were they thinking?

    1. Ru


      Landscape is of course merely preferred. My bad.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: There is no tablet market, stupid

      "Landscape only"

      Eh? Portrait and landscape, you can soft lock it in either.

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: What were they thinking?

      They were thinking "I bet if we make it landscape only, we wont get sued by Apple for copying their tablet design".

      1. Thomas 4

        Maybe I'm reading too much into this

        But the feel I got from the article was that everyone should stop making tablets because they'll only end up as inferior iPad clones. Is this really what we want? The iPod did a pretty good job of strangling diversity in the MP3 market, in no small part due to iTunes as well. If I asked you to name 3 prominent MP3/media players that weren't developed by Apple, you'd have to pause and think for a little bit.

        Crap productss deserve to be consigned to the bargin bin of history but you shouldn't give up the race just because someone's in the lead.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          @Thomas 4

          I think the point is that a lot of the not-Apple tables are being built by companies who have no idea what they are for or why people buy them (or rather why people buy the iPad). As a result you get products that can feel a little half-baked or directionless.

          Take the Playbook, for example, RIM is famous for BBM and push mail. So, what do they bring out? A device that does neither (unless you have a BlackBerry to pair it to).

          Great, now I can buy a tablet that does Flash, but is useless for something somewhat more important unless I also change my phone. Remind me why I would want one? Oh yeah, it does Flash. I can see all of the internet. Except my mail. Maybe I'll just buy a netbook instead.


    4. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Music production

      There's quite a good niche market for it in music production and in home automation.

      A use programmable MIDI controller can cost you about £250 and isn't wireless.

      An iPad can do so much more and is wireless, battery powered (important for on-stage performances where mains glitches can crash computers) and there's even DJ-ing applications.

  8. Alan Bourke

    iPad use case

    The iPad *does* have a use case - it's for looking up trivia about whatever you're watching on telly, on Wikipedia and IMDB without having to cope with a smartphone screen or firing up a laptop.

    1. Si 1

      Re: iPad use case

      That's exactly the sort of stuff I use mine for. Quick jumps onto the internet, checking a few eBay auctions, checking email, reading books, etc.

      In many ways I'm amazed the iPad has been so popular. I'm incredibly happy with my iPad and I use it constantly, but when asked exactly why it's so great, it's very hard to give an answer that matches my enthusiasm. At the end of the day, the iPad doesn't do anything a netbook or laptop couldn't do and is more than twice the price. So on paper it sounds crap.

      I should just say now, I'm not the type to think it's great because it's got Steve Jobs' magic pixie dust sprinkled on it. In reality I think it's just the convenience of the device that I really like. It doesn't need charging all the time, it's instant-on, browsing in portrait mode is excellent and the various apps available make it great for books, films, TV shows, etc. The simplicity of it means it doesn't go wrong or need rebooting either. You see? I still can't properly explain why I like it so much...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iPad use case

      Perfect for the "just to a bit of e-mailing and web browsing and nothing more" crowd.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: iPad use case

      Yep, that's what we use it for.

      It's also easier to use while lounging in bed on a lazy Sunday morning; no need to fully sit up so you can use the keyboard of your laptop.

      We live in NYC. In a <600sq ft apartment. Space is a premium. We don't have a "computer room", or even a "computer area", we have laptops that we use on the couch or the kitchen table or the kitchen counter. Because we also need to sit on the couch, eat meals, cook... laptops need to be tucked away, they can't always be sitting out in the open, can't always be plugged in and in sleep mode.

      The tablet is much easier because it can sit on the coffee table and not get in the way. You can check IMDB, FB, then put it back on the table, and two minutes later look up something else, and then an hour later look up something else without having to dig the laptop out from its hiding place. It's way more convenient.

      It's great for recipes. It can be propped up against the backsplash and you still have room on the counter (remember, small NYC kitchen). It can be easily moved without clearnig a huge space for it.

      Coffee shops are getting stingy with their power and there are the laptop people who hog the tables all day. It's easy to sit and use a tablet (assuming you're just browsing the web and not trying to use the coffee shop as your office).

      It's awesome for watching movies on road trips. Laptop was always a kludge, having to use an inverter to keep it powered. Even better on the plane, as seats are shoved so close together and the seat in front is reclined all the way, hard to fit your 15" laptop on those tiny little trays.

      So for us, the tablet is very convenient. Nothing we couldn't do with a laptop, but it's just easier with a tablet. Maybe it doesn't matter which brand of tablet, but since we have iPhones as well, the iPad just integrates nicely.

      1. Manu T

        re: we have iPhones as well, the iPad just integrates nicely.

        "we have iPhones as well, the iPad just integrates nicely."

        Can you ellaborate? From my understanding these are 2 separate products that don't integrate at all. In fact it seems that only tablets that integrate with phones are RIM's offerings. You can't even read your bloody email if you haven't "integrated" your blackberry with the playbook.

        So please explain how the iPhone "integrate" with the iPad?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At last!

      A bunch of people who realise what the point of the iPad is.

      The whole point of the iPad was summed up in one line during Jobs' keynote (paraphrased):

      'You pick up the iPad that just happens to lying around in your kitchen.'

      It's a *consumer* device. It's meant for *consumption*. As such, it's brilliant - it does exactly what the label says! All these companies who're trying to make "computers" are missing the point.

      Whilst the commentards here may want open/portable/programmable tablets (I'm the same), most people aren't commentards and have no technical background (first hand experience with the boyfriend here). As such they want something simple and easy to use. Mac OS X does it well. My iPod Touch does it well. (Both observations based on the non-techie boyfriend rating.)

      I, personally, like GNU/Linux & BSD but most people don't give a rat's arse about this sort of thing, This is a *consumer* device - celebrate it for what it is or don't buy it!

    5. blearrgh
      Thumb Up

      Use case = portable documents

      The ipad is awesome for carrying large quantities of documents as PDFs. Tried a lot of alternatives - tablets (in the old Windows pen sense) are too bulky and too slow. Ebook readers are waaaay too slow with large scanned PDFs (my old irex took ^ 20 seconds to change pages).

      ipad + goodreader + a good scanner = so much win it's incredible.

  9. Mondo the Magnificent

    Second place is the first loser

    It looks to be a great device physically, but like all great computing devices, they're only as good as the OS they run.

    Perhaps those who compete with Apple rested too many Laurels on Android? Sure HP have gone their own way with WebOS, but 18 months into the "Tablet Era" I would have expected Android to be driving the tablet bull by the horns.

    Obviously and sadly this is not the case, so what exactly needs to be done to make Android based tablets jump out and shout loudly from the moment it's removed from the packaging and powered on for the very first time?

    I don't have the answer, but hopefully someone out there does, but until then it seems that Android based tablets will have a better look than feel..

    1. technome

      You need apps...

      ... and they need to be good ones. I mean they need to challenge Apple's flagship apps like Garageband and iMovie. But you're not going to get developers writing apps even close to that quality until there's a large customer base. And you're not going to get a large customer base until there's plenty of high quality apps.

      See the paradox?

      With phones, it wasn't a problem, as apps were considered (rightly or wrongly) to be secondary functionality and cheap Android phones sold in spite of the poor app-ecosystem. It was only once Android started gaining traction as a phone platform that an increasingly hungry market for apps led to developer interest. That's not happening with tablets and it's unlikely to change any time soon

      Apple own this market now and, given their business nous and track-record for innovation, they're likely to maintain that ownership for the foreseeable future.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Fanboy silliness

        Garage band and iMovie? Are you on crack.

        No. The "flagship apps" for an alternate tablet don't have to be anything like that.

        Their lock on smaller tablets (the ones called phones) are slipping. It's only a matter of time before that erodes their mindshare for larger tablets.

      2. jarjarbinks

        Plenty of apps for android tablets

        Am I the only one that knows that there are 1000's of apps for Android tablets? Keep in mind that we've only had Android tablets for a few months now, and developers need time to modify apps that make sense on a tablet in the first place. Also, keep in mind that a lot of developers are waiting for the Android 4.0 OS that is due out around the same time iOS 5, as it will unify the phone and tablet app development.

        That said, most apps I ran on iPad were iphone apps that had a 2x button to enlarge it. The same is happening on android tablets right now. Most apps will scale to fit the screen, but don't quite use it right. As many pointed out, ipad is 4:3 portrait, where as android started off with 16:9 or 16:10 landscape. I am a bit baffled at the OP comment about this.. every app I've ever ran in Android can rotate to portrait as well. Almost every app on our ipad, we have to rotate the ipad to landscape to make use (games, music apps, video, etc). Seems like Android has it right..most apps and games are going to be landscape, not portrait.

        The great thing about Android.. WAY more developers. The market growth on the phone side outpaced iphone this past year and is pulling away. With almost 250K apps now on the phone side, it will close in on the apple market in another year or so. Also, with a large number of developers giving up on apple due to their ridiculous ways with pulling apps, not allowing apps, hi barrier to entry (buy a mac and pay another $100 to develop iphone apps), and their Objective-C language which is more difficult to work with than Java and native C, you're starting to see many first-run apps on android now, and then ported to iphone.

      3. Armando 123

        Building on strengths

        Apple having iTunes and the iTunes/App store already built gave them a huge advantage here. I know that most Reg readers have a strong dislike of Apple's iTunes/App store, but for most consumers, having their music and phone apps right there ready to transfer is a huge bonus.

    2. Manu T

      re: Second place is the first loser

      "so what exactly needs to be done to make Android based tablets jump out and shout loudly from the moment it's removed from the packaging and powered on for the very first time?"

      Make it compatible with iTunes :-)

  10. ratfox Silver badge

    No use case?

    I thought "surfing the web from your couch" was the use case. Considering the way people use their home computer most of the time (or their laptop at home), that could be good enough.

    Oh, yeah, maybe read an eBook, perhaps some games. And email. That's it... Few people want more (apart from Reg readers).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Shame... As soon as someone makes a tablet which /is/ a replacement for my netbook - ie: Runs Windows or Linux properly, not a hideously chopped down version, I'll be there. I was sort of hoping that this may be the device, but Android does still seem to be very phone orientated. I'm also none too happy with the links to Google, my partner's Android is very chatty with Google.

  12. pre-pc

    Content, not OS, is king

    Arguably a little bit niche (but a big niche!) but Garageband fairly killer app on ipad. Nothing remotely as good on other systems. If you're musically creative, ios only sensible way to currently go; touch format makes knocking out demo's very simple and fun. Smart drums on garageband a work of genius. At the end of the day its what you can do with the tablet that will dictate what its worth is to you.

    Most tablets can do the basics well - browsing media email etc but apple have got better content, and a few niches (such as music creation) better covered. I think other OS's more technically superior - I'd be especially interested to see a webos or a meego tablet suceed, but as I say for a discretionary purchase like a tablet its the applications, simplicity of use and quick access to content that will appeal to joe public - not the potential of the operating system.

    apple seem to have the consumer side sewn-up for now, perhaps room for a business orientated tablet/ecosytem to succeed, and somebody surely will get a 'grown-up' OS to run finger-friendly allowing both lightwieght content consumption/creation and proper full applications to run succesfully side by side...

    1. Rob Beard


      ...have a 10" tablet running Windows 7 Home Premium for about 450 quid. I must admit I was surprised to see it in PC World at the weekend. Not sure what CPU it has but it had a 32GB SSD in there, no doubt it would be coaxed into running Linux.


      1. Manu T

        RE: Acer...

        It uses an ATOM cpu. So the thing is dog slow for anything besides reading email.

        There are various others like Medialine's tablets. Besides didn't HP brought out a couple of Wintendo tablets?

        Who cares. Windows is too bulky for a tablet.

        Even Ubuntu blows away Windows as a desktop experience these days.

      2. Peter Johnstone

        @Rob Beard

        I wonder if you could use it as a hackintosh?

    2. moiety

      I have SmartQ devices...

      ...the 5" and 7" versions. Cheap chinese knockoffs, I'll concede, but they run linux and are perfect for reading books/light surfing etc.

  13. ElNumbre

    Don't blame Honeycomb...

    RE: "Annoyingly, it continues a first-generation flaw: insisting on showing the mobile (typically iPhone-optimised) version of websites."

    Don't blame Honeycomb, blame the browser detection scripts that haven't been adjusted to support Android tablets. By default (on the Asus Yorkshire Transformer at least) the browser's default mode is 'tablet', which does give you the crappy mobile version on most websites. However, changing the 'User Agent String' to Desktop via the browser settings makes everything look peachy again. Just a shame that setting is 4 clicks deep so most will assume that the browser is broken and go look elsewhere.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    2 year olds

    Interestingly, I conducted an expirment with my own < 2 year old daughter.

    My wife and I have "his and hers" xoom and ipad tablets. When handed to our < 2 year old, the following was noted:

    - Neither were destroyed or broken, and both screens resistant to milk and slavers.

    - The ipad was the preferred device if measuring hours-used

    - The ipad had the the better games for 2 year olds

    - It was easier to find the games on the ipad

    - The UI screens were faster/smoother on the ipad (those with 2 years old will understand why this is important)

    - The ipad was quicker to rotate


    For its ruthless UI simplicity, the ipad is the preferred device, even if it sacrifices UI features to achieve it. It's proven to be successful. Simplicity is universally useful, from 2 year olds to Grandma.

    Why test on a 2 year old? Because they bring no pre-conceptions about UI, and don't use problem-solving skills or brain power to compensate for any UI deficiencies.

  15. silver_softie

    Apple recognise threat

    So, tablets have no valid use cases? Yet Apple are making money hand over fist on the back of the iPad, whatever its intended use. And if Samsung's offering is so wide of the mark why are Apple doing their level best to sink it before it even makes it to market? I'll tell you why, Apple see it as the threat it really is. Android will inevitably catch up and overtake iOS given enough time. Apple are scrambling to buy time with these endless rounds of litigation.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Up

      Brave man.

      Were I foolish enough to hand such a device to one of mine, all I would learn would be whether or not it would survive employment as a tool with which to twat one's siblings over the head.

    2. Oninoshiko
      Thumb Down

      the question remains:

      Why are we using browser detection at all? Hasn't CSS included notations for different formats for a while now?

      @media handheld

      Of course, many of the mobile and tablet browsers ignore it (because they generally look like crap where they exist at all), so many sites are resorting to UA detection to FORCE on us the crap-version.

      Here's a thought, stop serving different pages to different browsers. Just serve everyone the same compliant page.

      1. A J Stiles

        Ah, but

        That would require people to learn stuff and understand it properly.

        As opposed to just blindly copying stuff from elsewhere on the Internet, without making any attempt to understand what it does.

        Ever seen a page that wasn't designed using Dreamweaver, but with MM_ prefixes on the JavaScript functions that do the image rollovers and stuff? Exactly.

    3. Manu T

      RE: Don't blame Honeycomb..

      Just a shame that setting is 4 clicks deep so most will assume that the browser is broken and go look elsewhere... which is exactly the reason why ppl tend to look elsewhere.

      Android isn't enough consumer oriented. They perceive ppl that they are iPad's equal but in reality it's just not as simple.

      First Android tablet manufacturers ought to stop making craplets. Make quality products instead of cheap plastic garbage with cheap plastic screens. Ditch the ubercheap models and perhaps ditch generic consumers but look for higher profiled IT users. Secondly Apple created a market because they had Music and media-businesses in their pocket. Google doesn't have the same library of passive consumer content so its pointless to go after the same market.

      If they don't see that then Android on tablets will fail.

    4. Manu T

      RE: 2 year olds to my point from a previous post.

      So if Google wants Android-tablets to break through then they ought to stop targeting infant consumers. They don't have the content nor the simplicity. They can't win this battle if they don't re-consider their proposed market.

    5. Manu T

      RE: Apple recognise threat

      it should have read: "Yet Apple are making money hand over fist on the back of the iPad NOW"

      This won't last.

  16. eugene

    Remember... wasn't too long ago when people said Android wouldn't succeed and iOS would become king.

    Today, Android has the largest market share in the world.

    You can argue against it all you want, the fact that Android succeeded despite the ios-toting naysayers' predictions will remain unchanged.

    It's still early days for honeycomb. I can see the benefits and disadvantages of both the ios and honeycomb platforms, so it's game on!

    cue explosive responses now...

    1. Ed 11

      Wide of the mark

      I have an Android phone. My employer gives me a new 'voice' device every year to compliment the obligatory Blackberry data device. The voice devices tend to be low-end and bargain basement and this year the list included a number of Android devices. Away from that, my mother was eligible for upgrade earlier in the year and found herself the proud owner of another similarly low-end Android phone.

      Both these phones count as "new Android activiations". I've downloaded a couple of free apps, whilst my mum doesn't have a data package, has no interest in one, and will never take her phone online.

      Now to compare either of these Android phone sales to iPhone sales where someone has looked at the market and made a conscious decision to buy a relatively high-end product is wide of the mark. The low-end phone market is now flooded with Android devices and many punters with no interest in the functions of their phone will become Android owners. The default upgrade is likely to be Android. Realisitically, it is only really those customers who purchase high-end Android phones that are likely to embrace the Android Marketplace and only these sales that are genuinely like-for-like when comparing to iPhone sales. Market share is all well and good.

      Now the iPad is different. Each tablet sale is a conscious decision. Very few employers hand them out. Joe Bloggs doesn't have an existing tablet that comes up for upgrade every few months. Therefore, I fear it is far from guaranteed that Android tablets are destined to overtake iOS tablets because very few people who decide to buy a tablet will entertain the possibility of anything but an iPad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Only half the point

        "...Now to compare either of these Android phone sales to iPhone sales where someone has looked at the market and made a conscious decision to buy a relatively high-end product is wide of the mark. ..."

        You fail in this statement to point out that similar such tactics have been used to shove the various flavors of the iphone out there. How many people received offers of "Free iphone" from their mobile service provider, how many people were offered free upgrades to an iphone if they resigned their contract and handed over the battered old nokias and razrs. How many settled on that free phone when they discovered that their own phone of choice wasn't available, or just didn't care in the first place and went with what everybody else was getting.

        I was a blackberry user for a year and a bit, after I got frustrated with the crappy featurephone that replaced my pure dumbphone (startac), but had intended to go with a nokia initially. I settled because the blackberry was free (contract notwithstanding). A year later and now I'm on android - because the phone was cheap and my idiot friend mashed the screen on the crackberry.

        Though my research was leading me to a android clone of my blackberry anyhow :)


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