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Tablet PC Dead for Now

post #1 of 18
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<a href="http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,5101823,00.html?chkpt=zdhpnews01" target="_blank">http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,5101823,00.html?chkpt=zdhpnews01</a>

Sony is killing their Tablet screened PC
post #2 of 18
This is not future hardware. LOCK COUNTDOWN

5, 4, 3, 2, 1......
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #3 of 18
[quote]Originally posted by SDW2001:
<strong>This is not future hardware. </strong><hr></blockquote>

It belongs here to show that although a minority want a tablet so bad they actually believe Apple will make one, most people don't need or want one. As demonstrated by Sony's experiment, it would be a great mistake for Apple to produce one, no matter how passionately a select few would like one. Plus, it doesn't fit at all into the Apple strategy.
post #4 of 18
[quote]Originally posted by SDW2001:
<strong>
5, 4, 3, 2, 1......</strong><hr></blockquote>

2, 3, 4, 5....
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #5 of 18
I'll bite.

Ifor oneam sad to see this happen... not becuase I have any great love for tablets, but becuase I was really hoping for detatchable monitors, and think this will set that back a few years.

Bummer.
- me

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- me

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post #6 of 18
DEAD? DEAD?

Since when have they been 'alive'? This product category has always been a failure.
Like, I really had something clever to say, like, you know ...
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Like, I really had something clever to say, like, you know ...
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post #7 of 18
They looked like crap. I wouln't put one of those on my desk even if I got it for free.

<img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
post #8 of 18
Great news.

This tablet BS is so nauseating.

Truthfully. What the hell is the big deal about these things.

Underpowered and overpriced.

But, hey. If you like that, good for you.
post #9 of 18
For some reason a bunch of yahoos around these boards would love one. Sadly for them, it's a ridiculous idea, as is the detachable monitor. The trend in displays is for them to get bigger. The bigger they get, the less you'll want to move them around. Why go throughtthe expense of engineering/implementing such a system when few if any will use it? You NEED a keyboard. It's called a laptop, ok people? Get one, they're actually quite useful. Speech recognition doesn't cut it, and even a two finger hunt and peck typist writes faster with a keyboard than with a pen and paper.

Some kind of **SMALL** easily handheld tablet might actually be useful. But it'd have to be no bigger than a trade paperback book and no more than half an inch thick. This is no kind of primary display that detaches. It could be something supplementary, like a smoothly networked eBook reader that let's you control your home network. Perhaps with a paper-like pressure sensitive screen to accept input for drawing skecthing etc... to be used with a main display. See how much that cintiq LCD tablet costs (and it ain't even wireless) You can forget it! The main criteria for this e-paper dream device is that it be cheap. Along the lines of other input periphs like your keyboard and mouse. Ok, it could cost a little more, but not much. No one, not with any current tech, can provide a device (of this kind) which is both cheap and usefull, at least not in the next 5 years.
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post #10 of 18
Pen tablet dies but the consumer focused <a href="http://www.sony.co.jp/sd/products/Consumer/airboard/IDT-LF2/index.html" target="_blank">airboard</a> seems to live on because its good at doing non critial stuff. If APPLE were to do something I would guess it would be more along these lines than a full on PC as Matsu points out.
post #11 of 18
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>For some reason a bunch of yahoos around these boards would love one. Sadly for them, it's a ridiculous idea, as is the detachable monitor. The trend in displays is for them to get bigger. The bigger they get, the less you'll want to move them around. Why go throughtthe expense of engineering/implementing such a system when few if any will use it? You NEED a keyboard. It's called a laptop, ok people? Get one, they're actually quite useful. Speech recognition doesn't cut it, and even a two finger hunt and peck typist writes faster with a keyboard than with a pen and paper. </strong><hr></blockquote>

Engineers who need mobility onsite can definitely use tablets and they would be a hit around hospitals.

It isn't practical to use a laptop because you actually need a place to set it down.

Frankly I'm tired of using a clipboard then having to redo everything onto my computer. The ability to just interface a tablet would be great. Doesn't need to be powerful just needs to be able to take notes and diagrams.

[quote]<strong>Some kind of **SMALL** easily handheld tablet might actually be useful. But it'd have to be no bigger than a trade paperback book and no more than half an inch thick. This is no kind of primary display that detaches. It could be something supplementary, like a smoothly networked eBook reader that let's you control your home network. Perhaps with a paper-like pressure sensitive screen to accept input for drawing skecthing etc... to be used with a main display. See how much that cintiq LCD tablet costs (and it ain't even wireless) You can forget it! The main criteria for this e-paper dream device is that it be cheap. Along the lines of other input periphs like your keyboard and mouse. Ok, it could cost a little more, but not much. No one, not with any current tech, can provide a device (of this kind) which is both cheap and usefull, at least not in the next 5 years.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Your idea of what is needed are about right (detechable screen or not doesn't matter) but the technology exists now. Just nobody is making them (demand too small I guess). As for how much people would pay I imagine that would vary. I would pay up to around $1000 perhaps more (comes out of the company's pocket so like I really care ) if it could do what I wanted and needed.
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post #12 of 18
"Digital paper" is close to becoming a reality -- there are two seperate technologies that I'm aware of. One by Xerox. Both of them are the thickness of a heavy-weight paper, are very flexible, require little power to change the image, no power to maintain the image (!!), and are 2 colour (i.e. black & white). The current stumbling block is mass production, but progress is being made. When it happens it promises to be quite cheap.

Flexible and accurate touch sensitive membranes already exist. Combined with digitial paper, and hooked up to an iPod or smaller-sized computer, and wireless networking (possibly cel based), this would make an interesting device to fill the role of a "smart clipboard", "digital book", etc. Some versions could have microphone input for dictation... with the wireless network speech recognition could be done on a remote computer in real-time without placing extreme requirements on the mobile machine. Due to flexible materials it could fold like a book or roll like a newspaper.

I envision all sorts of very cool gadgets based on this kind of technology... but none of them are the "PC tablet" that is always talked about. I feel that is just the wrong approach... one put forward by PC companies stuck in the PC mentality. Apple's iPod is much closer in concept to what it should be: minimalist devices which have specific enabling functionality, plus connectivity to your "digital hub" desktop computer (wire-based or wireless). The portable unit doesn't need to "dock", it just needs to connect. It does need to be light, durable, light, flexible, light, cheap, light, simple, and (most important) very light. Imagine "rolling up" your portable so that you can carry it around under your arm -- then you sit down with your coffee, unroll it, and start reading the latest news on CNN.com or in the AI forums (and naturally you can make annotations while you're reading, and they're automatically sent back to your digital hub).

We're not far off now.
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post #13 of 18
Oh, we're pretty far off yet. A few years at least. I can see how (even the current) web pad concepts could be useful in certain vertical market applications, but they're far from ideal, and very expensive/fragile/awkward. For Hospitals and engineers both, the ideal would still be something about twice the size of a PDA, say Netwon sized, (only the display fills out the whole area minus a very thin bezel) and very thin/light. Something that lasts forever on a charge, is very readable, and fits in a Lab coat pocket. But it must be capable of working 'off-line' as well. Of course an excellent/thin/fast browser is a must, but it must be capable of running a decent size database based OS in order to catalogue and store inputs made while being used off-line.

I think the paradigm ought to be the ultimate connected 'spiral bound notebook' It understands how to organize your inputs/work and access a library of your material (on your/others' computers & the internet). But it must also be cheap and convenient; light and natural enough to convincingly simulate a paper pad.
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post #14 of 18
Sony's tablet PC has nothing to do with the Tablet concepts that have been flying around on both the Mac and PC sides.

It's just a Wacom LCD Pen Tablet bundled with a computer. Let me clarify for those who aren't familiar with these products. Everybody knows Wacom has their line of professional art tablets right? Well, for a while now they've had LCD pen tablets that you can draw on. But they're quite expensive at about 2-3 thousand dollars for a 15" 1024x768 tablet. What Sony did was to make a deal with Wacom and license their LCD tablet technology and use it to make an LCD based computer. The computer wasn't built into the tablet itself. Nothing like those tablets that you can take around. The tablet just happens to be an LCD screen that you can draw on, simple as that.

There were some problems with it though, and that's why it didn't sell much. First off, it wasn't clear whom it was targeted at. They made it sound like it was for design professionals but its specs were too weak for that because they had to cut a lot of corners to make up for the expensive screen. It had crappy integrated Intel graphics and no separate AGP slot so you couldn't even upgrade if you wanted to. It also came with a 1 Ghz PIII, which looks very weak for a professional product in the age fo 2+ Ghz P4s.

The LCD tablet technology has some of its own problems as well. I tried out one of the expensive Wacom tablets at Siggraph this summer. The screen glass has to be somewhat strong in order for it to sustain the pressure of being poked with a stylus and that makes the tablet 2 to 3 times less sensitive than a regular Wacom Intuos. Not really a problem if you're using it for 3D modelling but a huge one with Photoshop, Painter etc. Also the screen resolution @ 1024x768 is too small for professional use. Yet another problem is that the glass surface is too slippery to draw on comfortably, a lot more so than my Intuos tablet. On the Intuos I can also lay a thin piece of paper to make it feel like the real thing but that would kinda defeat the purpose of a tablet that is also a screen. It's a promising technology but it's still got some growing up to do.

[ 01-18-2002: Message edited by: timortis ]</p>
post #15 of 18
Matsu, nice analysis! Nethertheless, I think there are 2 roads to travel (btw, I really dig this name Airboard from Sony, kinda cool):

- AirPad: a really slim, 12 inch display running with a airport connection from your digital hub - you could do this with a StrongARM processor and a mobile graphic chip. You can curl up on Your sofa and browse the web or read some pdf-docs. processing is done on Your mac. should have limited annotation possibility with a pen, but there should also be a jog dial. On the back there should be a stand You can use to put the AirPad onto the table and use a wireless keyboard (sold extra) to input type. This could sell for less than $999. It would be like the top of the ibook + another half inch for the battery and the airport card and the mainboard. should look like a smaller iMac monitor, detached.

This idea would ask for multiple-parallel-user support in Mac OS X, so that I can use my AirPad while another user is logged into my digital hub mac.

- another story is a iPad thingy - cool for making notes on conferences or in meetings - stand alone airPad. Actually, with a wireless keyboard and wireless broadband access we can clearly see here the road for the new iBook III. Steve will break the MWSF 2004 with the announcement: physical media is dead, long live the EverNet. When we no longer need a dvd for a mobile device, each component can be "true to itself" the iPad is just a monitor with a pen, and everyone can use his wireless keyboard of choice, or use a pen.

I would be happy if we get at least an airPad. makes good business sense - it does not cannabalize mac sales, but gives an incentive to buy a new digital hub.

-k
post #16 of 18
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>Oh, we're pretty far off yet. A few years at least.</strong><hr></blockquote>

LOL!

Clearly your definition of "far off" is quite different than mine. To me 5 years is pretty damn close. Far off would be in the next decade. I guess I'm getting old. :eek:
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post #17 of 18
ah!

yeah you're right I guess, it hard to switch back fromthinking in computer years to human years when you spend a little too much time tlking about tech, kinda like dog years times ten.

Now that I think about it, I'd say 5 years is optimistic for an affordable version. Maybe closer to 10 before it's something consumers can afford.
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post #18 of 18
[quote]"Just because one or two products weren't successful doesn't mean that one won't be successful in the future," he said. "What was the name of the AT&T handheld? And there was the Newton. It took awhile for Palm to take off too." <hr></blockquote>

At least the article gives credit to the Newton.

BTW, I've been hearing TONS of rumors that Sony is going to EXIT the consumer PC market in the next few months. I just started hearing this today. Anyone else? :confused: :eek:
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