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Handhelds Portables

2011, Year of the Tablet? 324

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the doesn't-fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand dept.
frontwave writes "After the huge success of the iPad, with over 4 million units sold since its introduction, all major hardware vendors of PCs and mobile devices are coming out with new tablets in the next few months, including Apple with a smaller version of the popular product. Analysts estimate the market for tablet devices (over 6" screen size) to be around 25 million units for 2011."
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2011, Year of the Tablet?

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  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by anomnomnomymous (1321267) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:51AM (#33664690)
    Including Apple with a smaller version of the popular product.

    And let me guess; You can also call with this one?
    • by TheKidWho (705796)

      I make phone calls all the time on my iPad via Skype...

    • And if you actually make it really tiny, you could call it the iPad Shuffle
  • Useless prediction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

    I'm just going to go ahead and call it.

    2011: Year of the soap bar

    • by srussia (884021)

      I'm just going to go ahead and call it.

      2011: Year of the soap bar

      Nah, that was 2005 when the Motorola PEBL came out.

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:53AM (#33664728) Journal

    I'm seriously waiting for this tablet hysteria to die down. In 2007/2008, it was netbooks and nowadays we barely hear a peep about them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by frontwave (1895050)
      The BBC called the iPad "a glorified toy", but the numbers are there: 4 million units in less than 5 months. I just try to look at the business market. Tablets are for hardware vendors what 3D is for TV now: an opportunity to raise profits. The mobile market is where people make money now
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sonny Yatsen (603655) *

        I'm not saying it's not going to sell. I'm saying I'm waiting for the breathless superlatives to die down.

      • by bhartman34 (886109) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:14PM (#33665092)
        The fact that 4 million people bought one doesn't mean it's not a toy. It just means that 4 million people bought a toy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dutchmaan (442553)
          I'm not so sure. The ipad/tablets are just taking the place of netbooks. In my opinion netbooks were just underpowered and cramped laptops. The ipad/tablets remove the cramped aspect of the netbook and slap on a touch based gui. It seems to me that it's just the natural evolution of the netbook, taking it's shortcomings and addressing them. So I suppose if netbooks were a toy to you, then by all means, believe that the ipad is a toy as well.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bhartman34 (886109)

            I'm not so sure. The ipad/tablets are just taking the place of netbooks. In my opinion netbooks were just underpowered and cramped laptops. The ipad/tablets remove the cramped aspect of the netbook and slap on a touch based gui. It seems to me that it's just the natural evolution of the netbook, taking it's shortcomings and addressing them. So I suppose if netbooks were a toy to you, then by all means, believe that the ipad is a toy as well.

            You're missing one of the important aspects of netbooks. They run real operating systems (i.e., not phone OSes). They don't limit you to whatever the manufacturer (be it Apple or anyone else) wants to sell you in their app store.

            I'd also take issue with the idea that removing the keyboard eliminates the "cramped aspect of a netbook". You can rip out the steering wheel in a car to get more space, but have you really gained anything? Typing on a netbook may not be a dream come true, but it's a damn sight

      • by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:18PM (#33665156) Homepage

        In Q2 2010, PC makers shipped a combined 82.5 million devices. HP and Dell combined to ship over 25 million computers.

        Over the course of a year, that's 330 million PCs. Assuming each one has a life span of four years, that puts 1.32 billion PCs in use.

        Apple have achieved great sales numbers with the iPad. I've no doubt that they created a new market segment (though one that would likely have been created anyway). It's still useful to be able to place that 4m number in comparison with the billion plus computers already out there (and able to run Flash too!).

        • What is particularly interesting is the growth rate. Over a very short period of time, Apple has shipped 16% as many very high-margin devices as compared to BOTH HP and Dell.

          They don't need the volume, they will take the profit. Apple now has like 90% of the $1000 and more computer market. They're selling iPads as fast as they can make them available. These devices make Apple hundreds of dollars in profit for each sale. The apps add lots more profit on top, at a low impulse-buy price point that Joe Sixpack
      • by Cylix (55374) *

        The mobile market has been ramping up for several months now.

        I'm not sure if its actually predicted what customers want or simply marketing the shit out of it.

        Personally, I've been wanting a couch surfer since a bit after the first asus clam shell mini netbook of doom. Mostly this was because my laptop was a bit on the heavy side and getting an ultra portable was a bit pricey. I've wasted far too much in the past on laptops and they depreciate so quickly. At this point I'm simply used to the convenience, bu

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The iPad is an *excellent* toy. My sister has one and loaded it up with educational materials for her kids. We decided to order take-out one night from a place we hadn't tried yet. I searched for the place on the iPad then passed it around so everyone could look at the menu and order what they wanted. My friend used his as a portable video player to show movies from his last vacation. It's not something I'd carry around with me like one does a cell phone, but I've seen how convenient it can be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by matty619 (630957)

      I don't think its going away. I think in a couple years, the current ipad will look like a cruel joke, but the form factor will most definitely thrive, and schools will probably be the deciding factor on winners and losers. Make a tablet cheap enough to loose, rugged enough to survive a year in the hands of a 4th grader, and open enough to to become everything to everyone, and it will become ubiquitous.

      • by saider (177166)

        They can't do that with computers, why would tablets be any different?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I think that the tablet is basically just a specialized form of smartphone. These gadgets have been predicted [ibiblio.org] to replace the personal computer, and things are moving in that direction with smartphone GPUs [techradar.com], wireless graphics [techworld.com], etc.

        The writing's on the wall: laptops and PCs will be replaced by smartphones (and tablets) as everyday computing devices for most of the public.

    • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:02PM (#33664888)

      That's mostly because they stopped selling the good ones. The attraction went away when they got bug (11+ inches), and stopped using solid state storage. At that point they were just cheap underpowered laptops.

      And also the netbook has now been done. We don't hear much about how amazing laptops are here on /. either, do we?

      But I think they still sell a few of those.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Precisely. Netbooks serve a useful niche, unlike some other things which have managed to stick around for quite a while inexplicably. The iPods sticking around isn't a particular surprise, the tiny ones sticking around is rather inexplicable. But then again, hipsters tend to do that to a market. Call me old fashioned, but there is such a thing as too small.

        I've got an Eee PC and I'll probably get another one at some point when this one dies off. It's the perfect size for on the go. But as you say, even i
      • by Haeleth (414428)

        The attraction went away when they got bug (11+ inches),

        When they got over 11 inches they were big. The point at which they got bug was when Microsoft made all the vendors an offer they couldn't refuse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poetmatt (793785)

      things get a rush of hype, and then it dies down. It doesn't mean the product loses relevance, it means it doesn't keep getting pushed for hype by advertisers.

      You don't think this hype actually comes from the public, do you?

      No, it comes from advertisers and publishers, driven by the seller of said product. Consumers just carry the hype.

      Netbooks are still around, but yes, you don't hear about em as being hyped so much. In a couple years? Same with tablet.

    • Clarification (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sonny Yatsen (603655) *

      I'm talking about the hysteria going away, not the tablets themselves. I thought I made that clear, but apparently not.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      You still hear a TON about them: current tablets are nothing more than netbooks minus the keyboards.

    • Every blasted time someone mentions an iPad, some troll comes out of the woodwork to proclaim that netbooks are better. So in some strange way, the iPad may bring netbooks back. At least temporarily.
  • Doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:54AM (#33664742) Homepage
    I think apple is riding on its marketing success with the iphone which rode on the marketing success of the ipod, and the other manufacturers are just chasing to keep up. In terms of utility I don't find tablets all that great, unless maybe someone comes up with a colour, solar powered, ruggedised ebook reader, then I'll buy two. I'd call it a pad fad until then. I know there will be hundreds of comments detailing all the wonderful uses they have found for the tablet, but I can't think of many my laptop doesn't do a lot better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by riegel (980896)

      I think apple is riding on its marketing success with the iphone which rode on the marketing success of the ipod.

      Or perhaps people like devices that pack a lot of functionality into a small footprint.

      I'm old but I loved the walkman because it was small. I loved the iPod because it was small, I love my iPhone because it is small, and I love the small size of the iPad.

      • by hercubus (755805)

        ... I loved the walkman because it was small. I loved the iPod because it was small, I love my iPhone because it is small, and I love the small size of the iPad.

        So if normal guys love large trucks because they compensate, and you appently love small things, then that must mean, umm, "Oh! Hello sailor!!!"

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Or you've got small hands. A lot of the Apple products these days are really tough to use with somebody that has large hands. Some of those apple devices are small enough that if I use my pinky, I'm still covering up most of the device. I'm going to have to see that new Nano, I'm curious if it's even usable by an adult. From the advertisements it looks rather improbable.
    • Re:Doubt it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:19PM (#33665196) Homepage

      In terms of utility I don't find tablets all that great

      A little contrast: I'm a programmer and a power user, with, god, 15 years of Linux under my belt. I recently replaced my Palm TX with a 4g Touch, mainly for use as an ereader and music player, and yet suddenly I find myself using it instead of pulling out my laptop for certain things. Want to check my email? Browse my RSS feeds? Look up a wikipedia article? (Yes, I admit it) Check Facebook? All these things work great on my touch. But it's often that I really wish it had a larger screen... the instant on, always connected convenience is awesome, Safari is an impressive piece of work, and the high-res display means the touch is decent for web browsing, but a larger screen would be perfect. As such, I can conclude that I would likely find myself completely replacing my laptop with a tablet for idle internet noodling if such a device was available to me.

      'course, as always, I'm going to wait a hardware generation or two before I take the plunge. But I can definitely see a tablet filling a niche in my day-to-day life.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Nikker (749551)
        I agree with you that these little devices are great for browsing for info and basic tasks but when I compare them to tablets I realize that they won't fit in my pocket. Most of the time I use my iPhone to look up quick info but it's because I already have it on me. If I had a tablet would I carry it around with me as much as my cell? Not likely. I would like to see one with much better specs as far as CPU, graphics, USB, SSD and HDMI and way more RAM(at least 1GB). With these specs I would definately use
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by syousef (465911)

        I'm a programmer and a power user, with, god

        I've heard that fanboism could take on almost religious fervour, but that just takes the cake! ;-)

    • Getac E100 (Score:3, Informative)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      Here you go: www.getac.com It is not solar powered, but it is direct sunlight readable and rugged.
    • I bought my iPad as an ebook reader. Kindle is nice for novels, but it's awful for textbooks.

      However, just 10 minutes ago I was reading with my iPad outside and it popped up a warning that it was overheating, and I'd have to wait for it to cool down. It's only 75 degrees out!

      • That and the luminous screen. Its this simple - read from a bright screen, and read from a piece of paper; which is preferable? The paper for most people I would say. So e-ink being a non luminous medium is much better for reading, and what a day that will be, hundreds of thousands of novels in a thumb drive, tiny form factor, and powered by the light you read by, in particular since e-ink devices use far less power. I will in fact buy three and use the other two for spare parts. All DRM free needless to sa
  • Wrong (Score:5, Funny)

    by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:54AM (#33664752)
    I thought 2011 was going to be the year of Linux on the desktop?
  • Notion Ink's Adam (Score:3, Informative)

    by sverrehu (22545) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:54AM (#33664762) Homepage
    What? No mention of the Pixel Qi -based Adam? This is the one I'm waiting for.
    http://notionink.wordpress.com/
    http://www.notionink.in/
  • What is this 4square? When did hardware vendors become mayors?

  • I doubt it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Tablets have traditionally been used in realms like manufacturing and maintenance, where they replace the clipboards technicians used to carry around. They're useful for activities in which you're running around collecting data (i.e. checking inventory in a warehouse) or going through checklists (i.e. doing maintenance checks on an aircraft's engines). But how useful are they as general-purpose computing devices?

    We already have desktops and laptops, which are much better at general-purpose computing than t

    • Re:I doubt it. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Phantom Mensch (52436) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:30PM (#33665362)

      They are computers for folks that don't do "general purpose" computing. Folks that want to browse some websites, check their facebook and e-mail, carry their photos around and play some games. All without waiting for a general purpose OS to boot or worrying about a virus protection subscription. If a general purpose computer is for folks aged 13-70, iPad like tablets are for the 9-90 year olds.

      They're also a good secondary device the rest of us for low intensity after hours computing like the above mentioned activities. The size and screen resolution make them better than smartphones for this, and the instant-on Android/iOS applications environment make them better than netbooks for this.

    • Re:I doubt it. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by EkriirkE (1075937) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:53PM (#33665758) Homepage

      I've owned only tablet (convertible) pcs for about 6 years now, in tablet mode the only good uses I use that for are

      • web browsing
      • video
      • reading
      • drawing
      • many games*
      • presentations/demos
      • the swiveled screen in laptop mode was handy for sharing my non-projected screen

      *I had a toshiba tecra m4 that had a nifty little arrow-key joystick button on the corner which was awesome for RPGs using the pen for mouse. right now i use a smaller fujitsu lifebook which lacks these - when it dies i will look for another one with the thumbstick on the screen bezel

  • Pixel QI Screens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by captrb (1298149) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:01PM (#33664872)
    I almost don't care about the operating system of a tablet, as long as it is well supported, as I suspect that in the future many tablet applications with be HTML5-based. But I really really really care about the screen. I want a Pixel QI(OLPC) style screen that works in light emitting and non-emitting mode, so that it can be used as a normal tablet, as an e-reader, and viewed in full sunlight.
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:01PM (#33664878)

    This is old news. The 5th Dimension called this years ago in their song when they sang,

    'This is the dawning of the Age of the Archos.'

  • I'm not sure how else to read the summary line of

    all mayor hardware vendors of PCs and mobile devices

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:07PM (#33664948) Homepage

    What are you using your tablet for? I have never understood what problem a tablet is trying to solve.

    I could see if it was a replacement for something like a notebook ( which I carry around daily ), but current tablets don't do that; the input method is clunky and unwieldy, I can still work significantly faster on my plain old notebook with a pen than a tablet.

    So what's it good for?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by crunzh (1082841)
      I use mine to watch video and surf on the train when commuting. Better at this than a netbook. Its instant on, good battery and easy to use when not have much space and a bumpy ride.
    • by zero0ne (1309517) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:26PM (#33665298) Journal

      Enterprise system administrator here.

      _IF_ we had wifi setup in our building I can see a HUGE use for this in my daily activities.

      Update a ticket? use the tablet to update it while you are on the PC dong the work. without one, I usually forget by the end of the day as I just want to leave.

      Need to re-image a PC using Altiris / KACE / OPSI / other home grown app? go to the site, log in, and queue up the jobs / tasks necessary for that asset.

      Those are just the ones that come to my head.

      Hell, regarding tickets / work done, you could create a area for the user to sign his name after you complete the work so that if they ever try to come back at you and say you didn't do it right or it was never completed, you have their sig right there!

    • by alen (225700)

      don't have an ipad, but i've been thinking of going the desktop/ipad route. the last 10 years or so notebook sales have grown faster and outpaced desktop sales. a lot of consumers never take the laptop out of the house, like some people i know they just don't want to be tied down to the corner with the computer desk for their computing. if they want to surf the internet on the couch, they want to do so.

      the iPad has around 80% of a laptop's functionality, nice lite casual gaming capabilities and if you have

    • Yes they do (Score:3, Informative)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      I could see if it was a replacement for something like a notebook ( which I carry around daily ), but current tablets don't do that; the input method is clunky and unwieldy

      I had no problems typing notes on an iPad at a conference. It's much easier to type on them directly than you seem to think.

      Tablets are great for travel, much lighter and better battery life. They are also good for more casual use around the house, like quickly looking up things or in the kitchen.

    • by hellfire (86129) <(deviladv) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:53PM (#33665760) Homepage

      A traditional laptop basically requires you to unfold the setup, and sometimes plug in peripherals depending on if you like trackpoints or trackpads or neither (I personally hate both, traditional mice for me). An iPad requires you to hit the screen power button and viola, it's on and everything is there you need. I'm directly interacting with the electronic book page or web page. The motions feel nature and are easy to learn.

      Also an iPad is more about getting information and content out, not putting information in. Touch screens work fine for writing short specific messages. Keyboards will be better input devices until touchscreens become as accurate and fast as keyboards, and some people even buy keyboards for their iPad. And even if you did have a physical keyboard, you could just whip out the iPad and check the scores or read the news without it so many times it's optional.

      With an iPad you are getting an extra level of physical convenience that is quite real. If that's not for you that's fine, it's not meant for everyone. Tablets are suddenly the en vogue because when the iPad was first released, all the other tech companies said "me too!" Now these same companies are saying "shit we are losing laptop sales, we better get our asses moving." I can't speak to say if other tablets will offer a total package that is useful and competitive with the iPad. Right now we can only say what the iPad does vs everything else.

    • They certainly have uses. The iPad is nice for browsing the web while watching TV, for watching video or reading a book on a train or plane, for referring to a recipe website while cooking, etc. Now, many will argue "you can do all those things with a netbook or laptop" and it is certainly true. But the iPad weight and form factor (and battery life) increase the likelihood that you'll actually have it with you in these kinds of situations, which increases its utility.

      Honestly, I'm pretty sure everyone wo
    • by hoggoth (414195)

      I sit in my big swivel chair in the middle of the room looking at a giant projection screen at the front and have a pretty girl in a mini-skirt come up to me with an iPad to sign some workflow forms, all while I bark commands at my friends stationed around the perimeter of the room.

      It doesn't get better than this.

    • Serious answer (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:31PM (#33666366)

      1.5 pounds, smaller than a sheet of paper, no unfolding & setup, instant on, always connected. What's not to solve?

      Key thing most miss: it's not an outright computer replacement. It gives you about 80% of what you need a computer for, anywhere anytime. You don't have to drag around the mass storage, bulky input devices, larger screen, etc. you need for about 20% of your use. To the contrary, by putting 80% of what you do on a tiny superduperportable tablet, you're freed to leave a big bulky powerhouse computer behind, rather than trying to cram everything into a compromise notebook shell.

  • Year of the X (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koterica (981373) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:08PM (#33664974) Journal
    Can 2012 be the year of the not-saying-"the year of the ___"-anymore? Please?
  • Yes, with 3 millions sold from Apr 3 to June 22 (80 days), I'd say they've sold over 4 million. Hey TacoBell, why low-ball it? Why not treat it like a new flavor of bubble gum and give it your best UNbiased guess?
  • by cain (14472)

    2011, Year of the Tablet?

    Nope.

  • No, Apple is not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:22PM (#33665242)

    I know some people have tried to spread the RUMOR that Apple is making a 7" tablet, but I just don't see it happing. Size is too weird being in-beteen the current iPad and the Touch.

    Frankly to me a 7" tablet makes no sense. Part of what makes the iPad really nice to read or browse is the size. What makes the iPod Touch and iPhone so nice is portability.

    A 7" tablet is what you make when you get engineers driving specs: "Well how can we make it priced around the iPad with quality parts", or "How to we make it light enough to hold for a long time". Rather than thinking about how easy the final result is to use they optimize for cost or weight without thinking how it will really effect people using the device.

    The iPad optimized for readability and features, the Kindle optimized (very well) for long term use and dedication to reading. The smaller tablets coming out (including the Samsung), I just don't know how they will fare.

    If anyone will succeed at all it would be Samsung, they are the ones to watch for sure.

    • I don't care if it is the same size or not, but when trying both an iPad and Kindle outside its laughable.

      The first company to deliver a e-paper quality screen in color is going to rake in the money.

      I want a tablet that a) I can use in all lighting conditions, but will accept needing a light source b) will not be horribly put out money wise if I drop it/it walks

  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:24PM (#33665276)

    If I put Linux on my tablet.

    And put my tablet on the desktop.

    Would that make 2011 the year of Linux on the desktop?

  • The current designs really don't impress me yet. How about:

    - Solving the input problem. Virtual keyboards are virtually awful. Maybe integrate a snap-on BT keyboard?

    - Easy to use on the couch? Have you tried it? Will someone make Chumby-style beanbag 'covers' for tablets? If only they had a cupholder, perfect! :)

    - Screen size is in opposition to portability. Show me the folding or pull-out screen, something like a windowshade. Is this technology anywhweres near production? Well, I guess I'll be wai

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "Solving the input problem. Virtual keyboards are virtually awful. Maybe integrate a snap-on BT keyboard?"

      The iPad will work with pretty much any bluetooth keyboard you care to use. If you buy the adapter it will also work with many USB keyboards.

      "Easy to use on the couch? Have you tried it? Will someone make Chumby-style beanbag 'covers' for tablets? If only they had a cupholder, perfect!"

      Yes, yes, and I'm pretty sure someone already does.

      "Screen size is in opposition to portability. Show me the folding o

  • I heard apple is coming out with a larger version of the I-Pad as well. The Max-I-Pad.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:48PM (#33665678) Homepage
    If Android is going to really "flood the market" with tablets, it better revise it's decision to require a carrier contract to allow Market access. What use is a tablet that doesn't have the biggest storefront available for that OS? There's no way they're going to compete with Apple on price if they require contracts... I already have a contract for my smartphone, I can't afford a 2nd one just for data on a non-primary device.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:20PM (#33666188) Homepage

    I think it is too early to call them a huge success. The Yugo, by this standard, was a huge success of a car. After all, a lot of people bought them and at one time, there was a LOT of them on the road.

    Before we start calling this a success, we should wait to see if people are still using them in another year... or a couple more years. A successful product is one, like the palm pilot. That gadget was wildly successful. It was in many pockets, briefcases and hands for a very long time... some people are still using theirs. (Personally, I didn't think it would catch on...I was wrong)

    So far, I know three iPad owners. Of those three, exactly 0 of them are still carrying it around with them. That's right. They carried them around for about a month before I no longer notice them carrying it. Do they still play with it? Maybe... maybe at home. They certainly don't bring it to work with them any longer. That sampling is certainly not large enough to establish a trend, but it is certainly within my expectations.

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.

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