Can iPad And Tablet Use In The Enterprise Hurt Microsoft?

It has been interesting watching Redmond giant Microsoft not respond to the Apple iPad and other tablets, since it seems there was little concern for the devices. Even though Microsoft has seen the success of the Apple iPad being directed at the consumer market, the company had no fear that businesses would use either the Apple iPad nor any other tablet system. Now that more companies are introducing tablet computers that are mainly using Google’s Android OS, business organizations are starting to look at tablet computers to give their employees more flexibility.

So why is this happening? It seems that many companies dismissed the smartphone as a toy when it was introduced. Companies who didn’t provide smartphones to their employees regretted not doing so as they saw the benefits of the devices for business use. Businesses are not about to make the same mistake twice and therefore according to a Gartner bulletin, are starting to implement tablet computers to their employees.

But just how many companies will implement tablet computers into the work place? Some in the business world like Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore believes there might be quite a few. His estimates of PC growth has been slashed from 9% down to 4%. He cites the growth of the tablet by businesses which could stem the future growth of PC sales.

On the flip side Microsoft has stated that their upcoming Windows 8 will be tablet friendly. Microsoft and their partners could introduce a tablet next year and the selling feature would be its compatibility with Windows desktops and other Windows devices. This alone could make some businesses wait to see what Microsoft comes up with, before taking the plunge into the tablet market.

But before we write off Microsoft and run out and sell our Microsoft stock, there are a few facts that we must remember. According to the worldometers web site, there has been something like 1 billion PC computers in use through out the world. This number is expected to hit 2 billion by 2015. It is estimated that Apple has sold some 40 million iPad and iPad 2 tablets. Compared to a billion units that are most likely running Microsoft software, 40 million is hardly anything to worry about.

I believe this is why Microsoft is in no hurry to enter the tablet market.

Comments welcome.

Source – InformationWeek

Source – Worldometers

Why Has Apple Sold 15M iPads? Because They’re The Best Toys On The Planet!

In 1974 I bought what was a remarkable device for its time called a Radarange made by Amana. At the time the units were retailing for $700 and I thought I was getting a deal when I bought one for $450, which at the time was about a 1/2 month’s pay. But the unit proved to be a marvel, though most people who visited our home looked at the oven being similar to a nuclear power plant. We were  all going to be sterile, have our hair fall out, and all types of scary diseases would plague us if we got too close to the machine. Fortunately none of these things happened and I found the microwave not as a replacement for the traditional stove, but as a supplement to the kitchen range.

Let’s be honest. The Apple iPad is not a replacement for the traditional desktop or laptop computer. For some the fact that the Apple iPad doesn’t support Microsoft Office is also a reason it can’t compete with a real computer. In fact, compared to a smart phone, the Apple iPad cannot really be called a portable unit. So what is making the Apple iPad such a popular computer? The reason is because, like the microwave, people keep finding more and more uses for it.

People started to find that reading an eBook on an iPad while lounging on the couch was a good idea. They also found that surfing the Internet from just about anywhere and in any comfortable position was also a novelty compared to a real computer. Sure, the pint-sized wannabe doesn’t have the power to run complicated software programs, nor does it have a huge hard disk to store all of the junk we collect.

But the iPad has something else that makes it special. It is easy to use, simple to figure out, and offers some 400,000 apps that have something for everyone. So is the iPad just a toy? Not really. It is also a TV, entertainment device, a note taker for students of all ages, and can also be used to teach small children how to count, read, and just about anything else a kid would need. There is just about something for everybody that makes the iPad an attractive device for many.

2011 is being said to be the year of the tablet computer. No less than 50 devices will be hitting the market in the very near future. As prices drop and the tablets improve, the tablet will become more and more popular. Though it may not replace a traditional computer, it will find a place in more and more homes this year.

Just how good is an Apple iPad? Just give it to a child and watch.

Comments welcome.

Source – Gadget Lab

If Amazon Builds An Android Kindle Tablet, Would You Buy One?

According to Amazon it has sold millions of its popular eBook reader, Kindle. The Kindle is advertised on Amazon as a device that not only allows the reader to download eBooks, but also newspapers and magazines. Its 3G model is also unique since it provides free access to the Amazon site from anywhere that 3G service is available. With a battery that Amazon claims will last for over a month, the Kindle is in fact a very popular and reliable device.

So could an Android Kindle Tablet actually be in the Amazon arsenal coming our way soon? Amazon has been on a recent hiring adventure looking for Android developers. At first some thought it was for the upcoming Android application store soon to hit Amazon shelves. But now it seems that some are thinking that Amazon could be in the process of building an Android Kindle Tablet of its own.

So what would Amazon accomplish by having its own tablet computer? Amazon is and has been in direct competition with Apple for music downloads, Barnes and Noble [at one time], for eBook downloads, and also against Netflix for the movie streaming plus rental business. Amazon also has what I would describe as a trustworthy reputation. For the most part all of my deals with Amazon have been great and I am even a Prime member. I now have access to its free movie rental service, which like Netflix and DirecTV provides old movies of little or no value (just my personal opinion).

What Amazon may be looking at is how the company can position itself — kind of like an online Walmart of sorts. Amazon having its own tablet computer would allow the company to not only offer Android applications, but also movies, music, and TV shows it controls to a device that it also would make. This is not to say that the device wouldn’t also offer other third party applications or downloads. Amazon, because of its reputation, could become the next great tablet company.

I see this situation like standing at a craps table in any gambling casino. Standing around the table are representatives from all of the major tablet producers, soon to be tablet producers, the music, movie, and TV entertainment industries. No one is exactly sure who is going to throw a 7 or 11, make the point, or crap out. With billions of dollars at stake it should be interesting to see what happens.

Would you buy an Android Kindle Tablet?

Comments welcome.

Source – Betanews

Source – slashgear

New Motorola Xoom To Feature Wi-Fi, 32GB Memory For $599 – Same Price As Apple iPad

Motorola is coming out with a new model of their Xoom tablet computer. The major difference is that the new model will feature Wi-Fi only, 32GB of memory and priced at $599. This price is the exact same price that Apple is charging for their Wi-Fi only 32GB model. But will trying to match Apple on price be enough? Or will Motorola need to make more price cuts?

As some one stated in a comment recently, there is always one company that sets the standard, that others try to emulate. Apple has set the bar very high, and consumers seem to agree that Apple is currently number one, top dog, big cheese and any other platitude one can use to describe success.

I have tried the Motorola Xoom model with the $800 price tag and it is a sweet device. I really like the Xoom, but was overwhelmed by the price. At the time I tested the Xoom the $800 model was the only model available. But now Motorola has a more competitive model using Wi-Fi and with 32GB memory. The new Xoom will also come with Google’s Android Honeycomb operating system. This unit should fare better in sales than the $800 model did. One would hope that Motorola would also offer the same Wi-Fi unit with 16GB for $499 and really compete with other Apple iPads with the same specifications.

So what is going to determine which tablet will be the market leader? I believe that there will be two main issues. The first is going to be price. The company that has the best product will matter, but the company must be price competitive. Second will be performance. I wrote a piece about some rather inexpensive tablets that have been tested by others, and have fallen down on performance, even when priced right. The winner is going to have a performer plus priced in a range that consumers can afford.

I believe the sweet spot will be in the $500 to $600 price range.

Comments welcome.

Source – Forbes

Would You Buy Any Of These Apple iPad Imitation Tablets?

Yesterday I received a flyer from Circuit City — yes, it is still around — with a listing of tablet computers. I was actually surprised at the number of tablets that Circuit City was selling. There was only one problem with the list of tablets. It was apparent that these were mere imitations of the popular Apple iPad and I would categorize these tablets as wannabes. Pricing for the units ranged from a low of $99.99 to a high of $349.99. Here are a few of the models that Circuit City is selling:

For $99.99 it has a refurbished Archos 7″ model # 501521, which is described as an Internet Home Tablet that will connect you to the Internet and is a device that will fill the gap between your home personal computer and smart phone. The Archos has a 7″ screen, a 660MHz processor, 8GB internal memory, and uses the Android 1.6 operating system. This is a refurbished product and make sure you check out the coupon, which you need to use to get the price down to $99.99. The Archos can be found here.

Another unit is Curtis model LT7028, which is a 7″ touchscreen tablet with 4GB of memory and using the Android 2.1 operating system at $149.99. The unit comes with a 1GHz ARM processor and also comes with USB, HDMI, and other options that make it an improvement over the model above. This is a new unit but also has a discount code that needs to be used to save $30, making the price $119.99. The Curtis can be found here.

Next we have a Viewsonic gTablet using Android 2.2, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 1GHz featuring 1080P playback. The unit also comes with a 10.1 screen, HDMI, USB ports on sale for $349.99 after a $ 20 coupon rebate. This unit seems like the closet to an Apple iPad that is being featured by Circuit City and can be viewed here. I have owned Viewsonic monitors before and their performance is satisfactory.

I have never owned any of these tablet computers, so I cannot offer any opinion on how well they work or how well they may not work. But if you have owned one of these, would you take the time to let us know what your experience has been?

For those that have never owned one of these devices, would you buy one of these?

Comments welcome.

PS FWIW Circuit City was purchased by TigerDirect which uses the Circuit City brand name.

Dell Inspiron Duo – Part Tablet And Part Notebook – Reviewed

Just before the holidays, I had spoken with a neighbor who was looking to buy a new computer. He mentioned his looking at both notebook and tablet computers, but was having trouble making up his mind. I briefly mentioned the Dell Inspiron Duo, and its part notebook part tablet design; I basically didn’t give it further thought about what he bought — until on Monday night when he called. Sure enough he had ordered a Dell Inspiron Duo several weeks ago and he knew I had a Cr-48. So we decided to swap computers for a day, which gave me the opportunity to review the Duo.

The first thing I had to do was put my prejudice aside regarding Dell computers. A decade ago I recommended Dell computers to all of my clients. But when Dell farmed out its technical support overseas, like others did, Dell lost its credibility. It became just ‘another PC maker’ and it was not offering anything new nor innovative. It also seemed to me that the quality of its hardware suffered. Again, Dell was no worse nor better than the others like HP, Compaq, and Acer to name a few.

Here is the first thing you must accept. Repeat after me: This is not an Apple iPad, this is not an Apple iPad. The Duo touch screen works fairly well. The only issue I noticed was that it appeared to me to be sluggish in performance. This could be a hardware issue since the little Duo comes with the Intel 1.5Ghz Dual-Core Atom processor. Windows 7 needs some extra horses, in my opinion. Also, I would prefer 3 GB of RAM instead of 2 GB, but that is just me.

Flipping from tablet mode to notebook mode is fairly simple. You just flip the screen and you are ready to go. But like with all touchscreen devices, this one is also a fingerprint magnet. For some of us, fingerprints aren’t a bother. But for me, I hate greasy fingerprints. I even keep my cell phone case and screen clean and free of fingerprints.

The Duo is also thick and heavy. Trying to hold the unit in one hand and use the touch screen with the other requires a good deal of strength. I had my wife try it and she thought it was heavy for holding in one hand, but worked just fine when placed on her lap or table.

I have another concern about the Duo. Since this is a brand new product and a brand new design, I wonder how long one could continue to flip the screen before developing problems? I think that waiting for the second generation of the Duo is advisable, unless you need the latest and greatest right now.

I think that Dell has a great idea and the Duo at $549 is reasonably priced for what you get. Yes, the notebook/touchscreen Duo could use a few additional hardware features, like more RAM, faster processor, better Web cam, and a media card reader. A future version of the Duo that addresses these concerns could be a winner, IMO.

If you own a Duo, please share your experience with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Dell

Samsung’s Slider Tablet Combo Notebook (Say That Three Times Fast!)

A few days ago, I had mentioned that one of the problems with the tablet computers, were that they were not equipped with a real QWERTY keyboard. Though Dell has a device with a flip screen that doubles as both a tablet and notebook, Samsung seems to have the right idea in design and function. Samsung will introduce in March of this year, a tablet computer with a slide out keyboard. The unit, pictured below, has just one small problem. It comes with Windows 7 installed, which has not received rave reviews when running on a tablet computer.

Some of the technical facts are:

As far as technical details are concerned, the 7 Series will be available in 32- or 64GB and Samsung is reporting expandable storage via a 4-in-1 memory card reader which sounds neat on paper but we’d like some more details. There’s also a HDMI port for sharing multimedia on HD TVs which is something we haven’t seen on a lot of tablets so far. Webcam on the front is standard but as far as we can tell there’s no back-facing cam.

The computer will also have an Intel Atom processor at 1.66GHz, but no mention how much RAM the unit will have, but my guess will be about 2 GB of RAM. Windows 7 needs at least that much to function at an acceptable performance rate.

Price for the unit will retail at about $699.

Comments welcome.

Source – Mobile Magazine

Consumer Electronics Show – Everyone Is Picking On Microsoft

The mood at the consumer electronics show is not reflecting the way Microsoft has been treated in the past. On years, past, many would bow to the software giant in fear of retaliation. But that was then and this is now and there is a new day on the horizon. It could be a new day in which Microsoft plays a very minor role. The folks at Microsoft have ignored the tablet computer completely and have been caught in a tough position. Most companies are not going to sit back and wait for Microsoft to introduce a slimmer, meaner Windows for the tablet systems.

Over at CNet one article stated:

“Intel has urged Microsoft to tailor Windows for smaller devices, to no avail, an executive from the chipmaker said at the Consumer Electronics Show.

“Hey, we tried to get [Microsoft] to do a tablet OS (operating system) for a long time. Us, and others like Dell,” said Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group, speaking to CNET at an Intel function last night.

Though Windows 7 is being used on a number tablets already, that operating system’s PC heritage makes it less than ideal, as many have attested to already.

Goldman Sachs released a research note last month critical of Microsoft’s tablet strategy.”

But it was this sentence that caught my eye:

“Kilroy said Intel is building Atom processors–known by the code names of Oak Trail and Moorestown–for the Android, Windows 7, and MeeGo operating systems.”

Meego? What is that? Over to the Meego site i went for a look-see and here is what I found. Apparently Meego is bringing forth operating systems for specific devices, including netbooks, handsets and in vehicle systems. So I downloaded Meego for Netbooks and took it for a quick ride. Most of you are aware that I am currently testing Mint and I am now using it as my full-time operating system.

Meego is another Linux distro. :-)

Unfortunately Meego requires a Atom processor and will not install on my laptop. It is definitely made for a netbook only device.

Comments welcome.

Source – CNet

Download Meego

Microsoft Windows 7 Tablets Could Fail Because Of Pricing

Microsoft Corporation located in the rainy state of Redmond, WA., had announced that they were preparing to introduce a Windows version for the tablet computer. What Microsoft failed to tell us was that the price of using a Windows-based tablet computer would cost double what the same Android powered system would cost. Why is a Windows tablet costing so much more? It is the hardware requirements.

While Android can function nicely on an Atom processor, Windows 7 needs an Intel Core i5-470 UVM processor and 4GB of memory to function correctly. In one recent article it stated these prices for the Asus Eee PC:

  • Eee Pad MeMO: starts at $499
  • Eee Slate: starts at $999 [Windows 7 box]
  • Eee Pad Slider: starts at $499
  • Eee Pad Transformer: starts at $399

Before I would plunk down $999 for a Eee Slate, I would purchase an Apple iPad. Which makes one wonder just how long Asus will produce a Windows tablet computer if sales are dismal?

There was also this statement:

And it’s not even designed for tablets. The user interface is designed for a cursor and a mouse, not fingers. There are few touch-enabled applications for it. Android is cheaper, built for touch, and has more than 200,000 available apps.
I am not surprised that Microsoft is taking this approach for tablet computers. They have become out of touch with what a tablet computer should be and thinking that by putting on Windows 7 they can fool the masses. Those days are over. I personally believe that consumers in the market to buy a tablet computer will want something priced at $500 or less.
Users are also not going to want a stripped down version of Windows 7 or even Windows XP on their new tablets.

Just my two cents.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – SAI

Vizio Is Expanding Into Cellphone And Tablet Computer Markets

Vizio is the current leader when it comes to sales in the HDTV marketplace. The company has succeeded in offering quality TV’s at affordable prices, mainly through retail outlets such as Costco and Walmart. The company now plans on expanding their business into the lucrative cellphone and tablet computer market place. Some critics are claiming that Vizio will not be able to compete with products like the Apple iPad, but I for one disagree with these assumptions.

Here are the two new products Vizio is planning on introducing:

The Via Tablet, will have an 8-inch, high-resolution screen; WiFi wireless connectivity; three speakers; and a front-facing camera for video conferencing. Both items will be introduced this summer and run Google Inc.’s Android operating system, providing access to the application store associated with the popular operating system, Vizio said.

The Irvine, Calif., company said its first mobile phone, to be called Via Phone, will have a 4-inch screen, a front-facing camera for video calls, a rear-facing five megapixel camera and the capability to shoot video.

There are two reasons why Vizio will be successful with these two new devices. First is that Vizio has now proved itself in the marketplace as a producer of reliable products that provide comparable performance to other companies. Second will be price. Though the Apple iPad is the best tablet computer on the market today, they are pricey for the average consumer. Vizio with their products being offered by Costco and Walmart should have no problem attracting a large audience for both their phone and tablet computers.

Though Vizio has not released the prices for either the phone or the tablet computer, I would venture a guess that they will be priced lower than what the competition will be offering. I would also guess that both Costco and Walmart will be offering deep discounts when these products hit the market place.

What will also make theses products popular is the fact that both the cellphone and tablet computer will have HDMI ports. The units will have the ability to connect to a HDTV and display high-definition video on the bigger screen. Vizio is also planning on offering services such as Netflix which will also attract buyers.

Comments welcome.

Source – WSJ

Acer Tablet Computers – A Real Challenge To Apple iPad?

Acer is introducing three new tablet computers two of which will be  powered by Google’s Android operating system. The new tablet computers will come in 7″ and 10.1″ models, with one model in the 10.1″ size being powered by Microsoft Windows operating system. The one question that everyone is asking is whether Acer can challenge Apple’s iPad tablet which currently commands 95% of the tablet market?

In a recent article it states that:

“This is a market that’s still not fully known, not fully satisfied,” said Jim Wong, Acer’s head of information technology products, at the event. The company expects 40 million to 50 million tablets will be sold worldwide next year, and Acer aims to take about 10 percent of the market, he said.

Acer joins a field dominated by Apple, which had a 95 percent share of the tablet market last quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Samsung Electronics Co. recently released its Galaxy Tab and RIM plans to release its 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook next quarter.

“It’s a wide-open market and an opportunity for Acer to make itself better known to a North American market,” said Roger Entner, head of telecom research at Nielsen Co.

Hedging Bets

Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci may be trying to hedge his bets by releasing devices in different sizes. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last month that devices like the PlayBook are “dead on arrival“ because they are too small to compete with the iPad, which has a 9.7-inch screen.

The two Android tablets will be available in April and the Microsoft device will go on sale in February. All three will offer Wi-Fi connectivity and allow users to surf the Internet using a 3G connection. Wong said the tablets would likely be in the previously stated range of $299 to $699.

Pricing for the new tablets should make them an attractive alternative to the Apple iPad. But will this be enough to take on Apple? It seems to me that Acer and others are going to have an uphill battle trying to dethrone the number one tablet. Apple has also announced a second model of their popular tablet computer, also to be introduced in April 2011.

The good news for us consumers is that as more tablet computers are introduced into the market place, prices are sure to drop. :-)

What do you think? Would you consider a tablet running Android or Windows over the popular Apple iPad?

Comments welcome.

Source – Bloomberg Businessweek