If You Can’t Beat the Apple iPad on Features, Beat the Price

Apple has always priced its products higher than the competition. Apple’s iPad is no exception. Priced from $499 up to $829, the iPad can be called anything but inexpensive. If you look at the history of Apple computers, the main drawback to all of its products has always been price. This is why the PC running Windows soared in popularity. It is not because a PC is better; it is because it has always been good enough at a lower price.

The Apple iPad currently sets the standard when it comes to tablet computers. While other companies are trying to play catch-up, there is one area they are missing. The Android powered units, as an example, are priced the same as what Apple offers in its selection of iPads. In some cases the pricing is even higher.

The Motorola Xoom has superior features compared to the Apple iPad. Yet pricing is the same as a comparable iPad. If Motorola dropped the price by $100, I believe sales would skyrocket. But at $599, most consumers will purchase the iPad, since the Apple tablet offers more applications than what Google currently offers for its Android OS.

Some companies that are producing tablets have tied their products to companies that require two year contracts, which makes it appear that their tablet costs less. This of course is nonsense and most of us have been the victim of such shenanigans from cell phone carriers before. I will not purchase any device, no matter who makes it, when the device is tied to any type of contractual agreement, no matter how attractive the price of the device is.

Until tablet manufacturers achieve a price point below what Apple is charging for its iPad, I seriously doubt that Apple has anything to worry about. Gartner’s prediction of Apple selling 70 million iPads this year could become a reality, unless companies such as HTC, LG, Motorola, RIM, Samsung, HP and others cut their prices.

Comments welcome.

Bankers With iPads Signals The End For RIM

If I was Research In Motion, I’d be selling the farm. Despite every new phone, every valiant effort they’ve pushed forward to make their phones and devices to look more business friendly that iOS offering, Apple continues to destroy them.

Don’t misunderstand me, I have much love for the BlackBerry devices…of yesterday. But rather than doing something completely new and different like Windows Phone 7, the latest RIM devices feel like a bad replica of something using Android. Worse, was the invention of the app store. Something RIM has to compete against with both Apple and Google now.

The takeaway here is that bankers with iPads is signalling the end of RIM and I am fairly sure the stock market is going to be reflecting this in a strong way here very soon despite apparent gains made today. The problem isn’t so much the devices themselves, rather the walled garden for messaging that is BES and the competition with mobile apps. An area where the biggest competitors were once Palm, Microsoft and RIM has blown up to Google, Microsoft, RIM and Apple. RIM cannot compete and even Microsoft, has their work cut out for them.

At this point RIM’s only prayer in my book is to make a Palm like move and dump the BlackBerry experience as we once knew it. But unlike Palm’s (now HP) WebOS approach, logic would dictate begging Microsoft for access to their wares or at best, look to Android. Why? Simple, because RIM needs a real app market place in order to have a hope in the world of competing. Apps are now defining the success of mobile devices, not just the experience and usability they provide.

HP Slate Launches Today For $799

The rumors have been around for a long time about Hewlett-Packard developing a tablet PC. But amazingly today HP took all the rumors down and debuted the HP Slate 500.

This Windows 7-based tablet features a whopping 8.9-inch screen, 1.86GHz Intel Atom processor, a Crystal HD accelerator for smooth playback on HD videos, 2 GB of RAM, and a 64GB solid state drive.

HP didn’t take any shortcuts when making this tablet, boasting two cameras; a 3-megapixel one on the back, and a VGA camera on the front facing the user. Although the slate has integrated Wi-FI there is still no sign of a 3G connection.

Looking over all the specifications of the slate it makes it the mist powerful table on the market currently, but it also makes it very expensive at $799. Unfortunately HP’s competition is the Apple iPad, and with a price tag like that HP will most likely pick up the business customers and not go after the iPad until they can drop their price.

HP Introduces webOS 2.0

There should be an image here!Since HP bought out Palm, there has been a lot of questions surrounding where Palm’s efforts were going to end up and how WebOS was going to evolve in such a way as to make sense in the future.

Today it appears that question has received its answer. Introducing WebOS 2.0, now with more features and Flash 10.1. In addition to badly needed functionality like card-grouping, new plugins and the ability to favorite a contact, the inclusion of Flash for web browsing was badly needed for this mobile OS to stand-up against Android.

On another positive front, WebOS’ latest browser now supports HTML5 functionality which is a huge deal as we continue our growth into this area of web browsing both mobility speaking and at the local PC level.

Touchscreen Testing For The New iMac?

There should be an image here!It would be like an iPad…with a kickstand. Apple, in their rush to make the touch screen the next big thing in other devices, looks to be pushing in this direction with their upcoming iMacs. But is the world really ready for a touchscreen iMac just yet? Maybe, so long as the keyboard is still an available option for those tasks that really don’t do well with a touch screen.

At the point, it’s all still very much a rumor and little more. Regardless of a given timeline, no one can question that if Apple did decide to go the touchscreen, the marketplace would likely eat it up. The problem which would be interpreted by competitors, is how using a desktop without a keyboard is just silly. Funny, they once said the same of mobile phones….

The single thing we can all take to the bank with Apple is this. These days, they will be leading the way on the cutting edge. Unlike Microsoft, they are willing to take a walk on the wild side and try something new. But in the case of the touchscreen desktop, I believe that Windows and HP may already have beat them to the punch, no?

HP And Yahoo To Spam Select Printers?

There should be an image here!My feelings on ads are fairly straightforward. Use them if you like, but be prepared to give me and other users an opt out option — an opt out that involves either the ability to pay for an ad-free solution or for me not to use the service, should I choose.

It seems that Yahoo and HP might be potentially crossing this line a bit. Now anything I come up with here is speculation at this point, but here is how this latest bit of news appears to be rolling forward.

Yahoo and HP are working together to send ads on printed documents, for their ePrint Web-connected printers. So it sounds like something folks are able to opt in and out of. The problem is: why would anyone want this? Would we not consider this spam?

I’d like to lean with no, but I am concerned how non-Yahoo content might be able to take advantage of this to spam folks. So to be clear, not Yahoo spamming folks, but those malicious types who may be able to potentially abuse this kind of technology.

So where is it all heading? I think that if this concept is done wrong, we may see the same double edged sword as with email — easy to spam.

[Photo above by allspice1 / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:SPAM Classic 12 Ounce Cans]

Can Asus Really Challenge Apple In The Tablet Market? Some Think It Can

For the past few years Asus has been expanding its business from motherboards and video cards to a complete series of notebook and netbook computers. Now the computer company is getting ready to challenge Apple and is coming out with its own tablet computer. The company is said to be reading a tablet computer that will be powered by Google Chrome or Android operating systems and also will provide a heavy dose of multimedia capabilities. In addition, the system maker is hoping to propel itself to the number 3 computer manufacturing spot by the end of 2011.

One recent article states:

Even as new projects beckon, Eee PCs remain a big focus. Asus says it continues to work on making the devices thinner, more reliable and more battery-efficient and is expanding the line, known for its casual, intuitive software, to be more business-oriented. “The netbook market is getting more mature, so segmentation is more important,” said Shih. “We’re trying to address more commercial customers.”

Asus now asks its employees to follow “human-centered design thinking” called STS across all its products. The approach stresses a transition from thinking about device features or “specs” to “scenarios,” meaning how a consumer will actually use the product. The strategy inspired Asus to bulk up its audio technology staff while developing its NX90 laptop, a sleek, aluminum-covered device meant to serve as a multimedia hub in a living room. These employees, known internally as the “Golden Ear Team,” fine-tuned the notebook’s audio-frequency software so that someone listening to classical music would be able to easily follow the strains of a violin, if desired.

After it conquers the living room Asus wants to place its products throughout consumers’ homes. “There will be many different form factors, depending on different scenarios,” said Shih. “We’re interested in making anything that can improve your life experience.”

With Asus and Acer pushing the envelope on development of computers and other devices, one can see how the folks in Taiwan are getting ready to replace such companies as HP and Dell here in the U.S. This shouldn’t come as any surprise since most everything else we now use in the U.S. is manufactured outside of our country.

Comments welcome.


Computer Reliability Statistics – How Reliable Are They?

Computer Reliability Statistics – How Reliable Are They? You Decide.

Last week I wrote two articles about how Computerworld had been the victim of fraudulent information, provided by one of their contributors, whom they subsequently terminated. Today I was reading an article about computer reliability in which the author was questioning the methodology and data that previously has been reported by Rescuecom Corporation, in which they had stated that these brands were reliable according to their data:

  1. Apple (AAPL)
  2. Asus (AKCIF)
  3. IBM/Lenovo (LNVGY)
  4. Toshiba (TOSBF)
  5. HP/Compaq (HPQ)

I found this interesting because I had previously reported this data in an article I wrote. Which brings me to question just how accurate any data about reliability really is?

In the article it states the following information:

So what’s the problem? The results are meaningless, given the methodology. According to Rescuecom president Josh Kaplan, the company looked at a sample of 69,900 support calls it received from its clients in 2009. It then looked at the machine that was the subject of the calls, and compared the percentage breakout to the U.S. personal computer market share data (percentage share of computers shipped) from market researcher IDC. However, there are a few major problems:

  • The company doesn’t have support contracts with users. They simply provide support for people who call.
  • Rescuecom assumes that the calls come in a breakdown proportionate to the computer-buying public as a whole.
  • Rescuecom compares its numbers to market share numbers for people who bought computers in the country last year.
  • They assume that every call for support indicates a problem with the computer, even if the software and hardware are functioning as designed and a user misunderstood how to do something.

It’s not that the Rescuecom people are trying to pull one over on the public. I think they’re sincere. Unfortunately, misunderstandings of statistics are as rampant in the high tech industry as they are anywhere, and journalists should get a lot smarter about what they read in press releases.

So who should we trust when it comes to accurate data about computer reliability? I recently received the 2010 buying guide from Consumer Reports. The report basically supports the findings of Rescuecom. But just how reliable is this data from Consumer Reports?

So my question for you is this. Who do you trust to provide accurate data on the reliability of computers?

Let us know what you think.

Comments welcome.


What Are The Best & Worst PC, Printer, Camera & HDTV?

When I read the March, 2010 issue of PC World magazine. my interest was drawn to their recent reader survey they had just completed. The readers numbered some 45,000+ and covered such electronic products such as computers, cameras. printers and HDTV’s. I was especially interested since some of the brands I recommend were listed in all of the categories. So after giving myself a pat on the back [LOL], I thought I would share this information with you.

The reader ratings were as follows:

Best laptop computers: Apple, Toshiba

Worst laptop computers: Dell, HP

Best desktop computers: Apple, Sony

Worst desktop computers: Cyberpower, Gateway,HP

Best camera: Canon

Worst camera: Kodak, Samsung

Best HDTV: Panasonic, Pioneer, Sharp

Worst HDTV: Mitsubishi

Best printer: Canon, Brother

Worst printer: HP

As many of you know I am a huge fan of Toshiba laptop computers. I have no opinion on desktop systems since I have been building my own gaming systems for the past 15 years. As far as digital cameras go my Kodak has worked very well for the past 3 years. I will replace it with a Canon when it eventually breaks.  I recently posted a sale on a Canon all-in-one printer over at my Deals and Steals site. When it comes to HDTV;s I have always recommended Panasonic for Plasma sets and Sharp makes the best LCD sets.

Comments welcome.

Source – March, 2010 issue of PC World

Acer To U.S. Computer Companies – ‘We Will Bury You’

The founder of Acer seems to believe that U.S. computer brands may be gone in 20 years. His message has the same ring as when Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev made the famous statement ;we will bury you’ to the United States. What ever happened to Russia anyway? But that is another story.

According to the Acer founder the U.S. can not compete with the cheaper knock offs being made in Taiwan. He states that:

US computer brands may be gone in 20 years’ time due to an inability to produce the low-priced PCs the market demands, the Taiwanese founder of computer maker Acer was quoted as saying Tuesday.

“The trend for low-priced computers will last for the coming years,” said Stan Shih, high tech entrepreneur and founder of the island’s leading personal computer brand according to the Taipei-based Commercial Times newspaper.

“But US computer makers just don’t know how to put such products on the market… US computer brands may disappear over the next 20 years, just like what happened to US television brands.”

Acer outperformed US-based Dell as the world’s second-largest computer vendor last year and is likely to replace Hewlett-Packard, also of the US, as the No. 1 vendor in 2011, according to Taipei-based industry publication Digitimes.

I am somewhat confused. I thought that companies like Dell and HP had their computers built in Taiwan?  If that is the case, how will Acer be able to sell at a lower price? Is it because the American corporations are top heavy in management and love big fat bonuses? Just a thought.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


The HP Tablet Comes With Windows 7 But Will It Be Enough To Compete Against The Apple Tablet?

As most of you know I am a PC person and most likely will continue to use the personal computer until I am laid to rest. I do however have a deep respect for Apple and its products. The Apple iPhone is an excellent example of technology at its best and the MacBooks are a superior computer to many on the market. So being a PC person comes down to money, plain and simple.

As many of you are aware, Apple rumors have been surfacing all week about the company coming out with its own tablet computer possibly in March, 2010. So on Wednesday when Steve Ballmer from Microsoft showed a new HP tablet running Windows 7, there were those who criticized Microsoft for being late to the party. The new tablet was met with yawns and the attention turned back to Apple.

FastCompany stated:

Among other hardware, Microsoft did make special mention of the emergent category of “slate PCs.” And, just as Brian Lam and Kara Swisher had earlier noted, Steve Ballmer concentrated most on a quick demo of that small HP-made slate. From scrutinizing this demonstration we can conclude it’s a 7-inch (ish) device with capacitive multitouch display and decent enough processor to run Windows 7 pretty well.

At second glance we can deduce a bit more about the hardware: It’s thicker than you might have expected–chunkier even than the ill-fated CrunchPad–which probably relates to the more powerful netbook-like hardware inside needed to run Windows 7 without sacrificing performance or battery life. There seems to be at least one port, which doesn’t seem to be a USB one. And there’s a power switch.

Hmm. That’s not much more. By watching Ballmer himself juggle the machine during the keynote we learned one more fact: Finding Windows 7 controls on the tiny screen wasn’t easy, even for the man in charge of the whole company (who should presumably know his way around the gear!). That went for big controls like the Media Player “play” button as much as the tiny “close window” icon. And that, I’m afraid, suggests that an unadulterated Windows 7 experience on small slates like this won’t make for fabulous user interactivity. It is, in fact, going to be very much the opposite of the intuitive UI demonstrated on MS’s own Courier research project slate PC.

The smallish screen is going to make Windows 7 hard to use. The alleged Apple tablet may be 10″ in size, which make more sense. But since little is known about either the HP tablet nor the Apple tablet, it may be early to make a valid decision on which will be better. Or is it?

What do you think? HP or Apple for your tablet? Or is it neither?

Comments welcome.


HP – Facial Recognition Technology Only Works With White People

I what could make HP look racist, it appears that their facial recognition technology only works with whites and not darker skinned people. The issue came to light when a YouTube video showed a black man named Desi demonstrated that a web can would not follow his movement but would with a white coworker entered the picture.

In a response HP stated:

“Everything we do is focused on ensuring that we provide a high-quality experience for all our customers, who are ethnically diverse and work around the world. That’s why when issues surface, we take them seriously and work hard to understand the root causes,” said HP social media strategist Tony “Frosty” Welch.

The official implied that HP’s Web cams may, indeed, have difficult tracking black individuals’ faces.

“The technology we use is built on standard algorithms that measure the difference in intensity of contrast between the eyes and the upper cheek and nose. We believe the camera might have difficulty ‘seeing’ contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting,” said Welch.

“We are working with our partners to learn more,” said Welch

It seems that investors could care less about the issue since HP’s stock actually rose after the announcement. I seriously doubt the HP is racist and that the real culprit is just a software glitch that can be easily corrected.

Comments welcome.


Acer Bumps Dell From The #2 Spot In Sales – But Who Are All Those ‘Others’?

Last year just before Acer purchased Gateway, the company stated that their goal for 2009 was to unseat Dell from the #2 spot. Acer has accomplished their goal with a surge in computer sales of 23% + from the third quarter sales figure they posted for 2008. Overall it seems that most companies, HP, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba showed increases in sales while Dell sales figure shrink by 6%.

According to one news agency they stated that:

Acer’s success is mostly attributed to consumer preference for low-cost mobile PCs, like netbooks, in recent months. Acer, obviously, has a slew of netbook offerings which have appealed to consumers. Loren Loverde, program director for IDC’s PC Tracker, said. “It’s a pretty amazing transition in market leadership by Acer. It’s reflective of the changes in form factors and channels and pricing–the way we’ve shifted to lower cost portables, particularly in consumer and retail, which is where Dell was not as strong.”

The third quarter sales results aren’t just good for Acer. For the first time in a year, PC shipments grew, meaning every manufacturer probably saw increased sales. The increase wasn’t fantastic, only 2 percent growth over a year ago, but these companies struggling to make do with ever thinner profit margins will be excited to see any amount of growth. Hopefully the boost can sustain them because IDC is expecting a 3 percent drop for this quarter.


There is one segment of the market that we rarely hear about and that is the ‘others’. These are the folks who build custom boxes and specialty computers, usually for companies. These system builders make up over 40% of the computer market.

Comments welcome,


Best Buy Ups The Ante For Black Friday With A $197 HP Laptop

Best Buy today announced the Black Friday sale of a HP laptop for $197. The company states that the laptop will feature a Celeron 900 processor, 2GB memory and a 160GB hard drive. On the Best Buy site they provided this additional information:

Offer available In Store only.
Minimum 5 per store. Limit 1 per customer. No rainchecks.

What’s Included

  • HP Laptop with Intel® Celeron® Processor
  • 6-cell lithium-ion battery
  • AC power adapter
  • Software: Microsoft Works; Cyberlink DVD Suite; Adobe Acrobat Reader and more
  • Owner’s manual

Product Features

  • Intel® Celeron® processor 900
    Features an 800MHz frontside bus, 1MB cache and 2.2GHz processor speed.
  • 2GB DDR2 DIMM memory
    For multitasking power, expandable to 4GB.
  • Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support
    Records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media; also supports LightScribe direct-disc labels using compatible LightScribe media.
  • 15.6″ high-definition widescreen display
    With BrightView technology and 1366 x 768 resolution showcases movies and games in stunning clarity.
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)
    Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times.
  • Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M
    Features up to 797MB total graphics memory for lush images. HDMI output for connecting to an HDTV. Altec Lansing audio.
  • 5-in-1 digital media reader
    Supports Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO and xD-Picture Card formats.
  • 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
    For fast digital video, audio and data transfer.
  • Built-in wireless LAN (802.11b/g)
    Connect to the Internet without wires.
  • Built-in 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN
    With RJ-45 connector and 56 Kbps modem for flexible wired Web connectivity options.
  • Weighs 6.6 lbs. and measures just 1.7″ thin
    For portable power.
  • HP Imprint Piano Black finish
    With a silver keyboard surround for a stylish look.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit operating system preinstalled
    Provides a stable computing platform.
  • Software package included
    With Microsoft Works, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Adobe Acrobat Reader and more. 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 also included.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified
    Designed to use less energy and meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Intel, Pentium, Celeron, Centrino, Core, Viiv, Intel Inside and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

There you have it.These won’t last long at this price.

Comments welcome.


Best Buy web site