[NTLK] [OT] X2 announces iTablet

Andrei Chichak newton at chichak.ca
Sat Feb 13 17:37:38 EST 2010

On 2010-February-13, at 3:55 AM, j g wrote:
>> So, who says I have to go with an Apple product to revive my Newt?
>> UK company X2 Computing has announced the release of the iTablet.

I'd have to say that the hardware is pretty irrelevant without the software. 

First some background (I'm just resurrecting a Dell XP box, it was built by Foxconn, the same people who build Macs, hunh neat I guess Macs can't be worse than Dells and vice versa)

I worked with Windows 7 for a few months before it was released. It was installed on a clean virtual machine and I was completely unimpressed. It was an operating system, it didn't have a better emailer, no better file manager, no PDF readers, just an operating system. So, I had a machine and an OS with no apps. For it to be useful I'd have to run out to Future Shop and start buying the basics. At least with a Mac it would have come with a pretty good suite of basics++.

With an iTablet, you have the machine, drop on Windows 7 and you have a machine with an OS. Where are the apps? I'll tell you - they are stuck within Microsoft where the Office group is actively working against the tablet PC group (http://gizmodo.com/5464229/how-innovation-dies-at-microsoft). Why should I give my money to a bunch of people who don't have a coherent concept as to what they are going to offer?

The nice thing about the Newton is how the OS was aware of things like the small FLASH based file system and batteries, the FLASH meant compression and wear levelling were necessary, batteries meant power conservation everywhere. If the OS is being supplied by a company who doesn't know about the design decisions of the hardware, how are they planning to handle the nuances? Microsoft doesn't get this, they don't need to, they have billions of customers who don't need it.

The nice thing about the Newton is how the address book shares data with the daytimer and whoever else needs that information. With PC based systems, the format of that data is either a trade secret or none of your business. It is the suppliers way of locking you into their "solution".

The nice thing about the Newton is how they thought about data entry, you have writing and printing recognition as well as an on screen keyboard, or you can just store the "ink". Apple took it in the teeth for the first gen recognition and the rest of the industry is shy about giving it another go. This is a very conservative industry, the PC makers don't want to try any new technology, some companies sell a million units a year and they don't need to innovate, innovation is expensive and the margins are slim.

So, where is this all going? There have been a few generations of tablet PCs already, from the GridPad to X2, they are all "solutions" looking for the problem. In certain vertical apps tablets make sense, form stuffing, ... umm umm ... form stuffing. Perhaps if there was better integration of the whole tablet computer paradigm with the operating system and applications then there might be more markets for these things.

For me, I like having a big screen so I can put multiple pages of code up at the same time. If I have to give up a bunch of the screen for a keyboard then that is a loss. The ergonomics of a laptop are bad enough, on a tablet you are now looking down at the screen to where your hands are, or you can hold the screen up in front of you - wait, there is the answer - the tablet computer should be mounted on the wall of your kitchen and used for a cooking reference.

Oh, wait, there's no apps available for that.


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