Forbes writer travels in time from 2011, invents Surface

Intel Haswell Dramatically Strengthens The ‘2 In 1’ Device Argument – Forbes:

At 7 watts SDP, this could enable a tablet, detachable, or convertible with up to 8-10 hours of battery life with PC-like performance.  As a tablet, it would require a small fan and if it were a tablet would be a bit thicker than the iPad at 11-12mm, a bit heavier, and more expensive.  The trade-off is you get PC performance and features. Consider a convertible or detachable in this scenario.  You are basically getting the most powerful notebook at the thinnest dimensions with up to 8-10 hours battery life, always-on, always connected that can serve as a decent tablet under many circumstances.  All three of these form-factor scenarios are powerful, and I believe that this would sway many people to buy a new Haswell-based tablet, detachable or convertible. At this point you need to question just how many consumers will lay down $699 for your typically configured 10” iPad.

Wow: a tablet that:

  • has the power of a PC
  • needs a fan
  • is a bit thicker than an iPad
  • costs more than an iPad

I bet that would sell like hotcakes! Oh, wait:

According to the IDC, the Redmond company shipped 900,000 units of the Surface tablet. The unit figures equate to 1.8 percent of the first-quarter market share for 2013. The percentage presents both Surface with Windows RT and Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablets, however, IDC noted most of the shipments were of the latter.

CNET puts words in the mouth of Intel CEO, then hides it

CNET, yesterday:

Intel CEO Paul Otellini last week said touchscreen PCs could debut at prices as low as $200 in the coming months. At the time, he didn’t specify what operating system those products would run.

But Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and chief product officer, told CNET on Wednesday that notebooks priced at the $200 level will predominantly be Android products running on Intel’s Atom mobile processor. Whether Windows 8 PCs hit that price largely depends on Microsoft, he said.

CNET last week, originally:

Windows 8 touch laptop prices are headed south. Way south, according to Intel executives.

The price of Windows 8 touch devices, including laptops, will sink to price points that penetrate inexpensive tablet territory. These new “innovative” designs will be based on Intel’s upcoming quad-core “Bay Trail” chip, Intel executives said today during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

CNET last week, updated:

Touch laptop prices are headed south. Way south, according to Intel executives.

The price of Intel-based touch devices, including laptops, will sink to price points that penetrate inexpensive tablet territory. These new “innovative” designs will be based on Intel’s Atom chip, Intel executives said today during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

CNET’s update note on that article:

Updated on April 19 at 1:05 p.m. PST: adds discussion about inexpensive Android devices. Updated throughout.

The editors at CNET did a pretty good job of covering up that fact that their writer basically quoted the CEO of Intel saying something he totally didn’t say.

Smaller Tablets to Take Over in 2013?

Smaller Tablet PCs to Take Over in 2013? | DisplaySearch Blog:

The launch of the iPad mini in late 2012 has been seen as an acknowledgement by Apple that smaller size (7-9”) tablet PCs would become a larger part of the market than larger sizes (9.7” or 10.1”). Key aspects are more attractive prices and the ability to hold the device in one hand rather than two.

Pretty sure David has the logic backwards on this one. Apple didn’t make the iPad Mini because the smaller tablets are taking over – smaller tablets are taking over because Apple made an iPad Mini. Just look at Apple’s tablet-making competitors: their sales aren’t even coming close to Apple’s numbers.

Gabe of Penny Arcade on the Surface Pro tablet

Microsoft surface pro

Penny Arcade:

As a mobile solution for a digital artist I’d say the Surface Pro is a winner. Now obviously if you need Photoshop you will probably want to wait until they get their driver issues worked out. If you’re a Sketchbook user (or you could be) then this thing is ready to go right now. I had some people on Twitter asking if the Surface Pro makes sense as an alternative to a Cintiq at home or the office. That one is harder for me to answer. I personally really like my Cintiq 24HD and I would not use the Surface pro at the office instead of it. With that said, if I had about a grand to spend and I was looking at a Cintiq, I’d say the Surface Pro is a much better purchase than the12WX Cintiq. The 64gb Surface Pro and the 12” Cintiq are about the same price but with the Surface, not only are you getting a fantastic drawing tablet that you can take with you wherever you go, it’s also a fucking computer!

This is probably the most positive thing that I’ve read about the Surface. It makes sense, really – he needs a tablet that lets him do digital artwork with the fewest hassles possible. The tech press is looking for a general purpose device that will replace their tablet/laptop (it doesn’t help that it’s priced somewhere in between what most people pay for those two kinds of devices).

As Gabe points out, for someone looking into buying a high-end drawing device like a Cintiq, the Surface Pro is a steal. After all, you also basically get a laplet/tabtop (because we need more stupid terms like phablet) thrown in for free.

The problem is that Microsoft is trying to sell this as a mainstream device like the MacBook Air or the iPad. At its current price point, I don’t think its compromises make it appealing to people looking to buy a device at either end of that spectrum.

Microsoft Surface sales well below shipments, says iSuppli

Microsoft Surface sales well below shipments, says iSuppli | Microsoft – CNET News:

“Shipments of the Surface RT device, which debuted last quarter, into the channel were about 1.25 million, but sales out of the channel ‘were significantly lower, maybe on the order of 55 to 60 percent of that figure,’ said Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at iSuppli, citing the market research firm’s estimates. That would put sales in the range of between roughly 680,000 and 750,000 based on those percentages.”

Ouch. This needed to be big for Microsoft, and it just wasn’t. I think people who are predicting that the Surface Pro will be a success are fooling themselves.

Thoughts on the Nexus 7, two months in

In early November I made the decision to send my iPad 2 and Kindle home as presents to my younger sister and mom, respectively. I decided that I would replace both with one device, something with a 7- or 8-inch form factor. After being disappointed with the availability of the iPad Mini, I decided that I would give the Android ecosystem a shot and purchased a Nexus 7 at the Berkeley school store.

Rather than post my initial impressions of the device, I decided to get a few months of actual use out of it in order to give a better idea of what it’s like to use it on a regular basis. Two months in, I’ve done everything on it that I used to do my iPad. Here’s a list of what stuck out most to me from my time with Google’s first tablet:

  • Widgets, while cool in theory, really don’t serve much purpose in my use case. Out of the five home pages available, I use three – one for my most used apps and music controls, one for browser bookmarks and email, and one with a large widget of the albums I recently listened to. Besides the first page, which basically acts as my first page of apps on the iPad, the others are barely more useful than simply opening the apps. The bookmarks are convenient, but I could always not swipe over to the page and just tap on the Chrome icon to get to the bookmarks. The same can be said for email, and that requires less scrolling to see more of my inbox. The album widget is pretty nifty, but I don’t listen to music on my tablet as often as I do on my phone anyway.
  • Project Butter and quad-core processor be damned, this thing still stutters. Not in graphics-intense games, mind you – on small tasks, and in scrolling in the web browser. This happened occasionally on my iPad as well, but the increased frequency after switching is noticeable.
  • I haven’t found a suitable replacement for Reeder yet. This may simply be because of not enough searching on my part, but I miss the design and functionality of my go-to RSS reader.
  • Instapaper is worse on Android. Marco Arment didn’t develop this version, so I’m not putting the blame on him. With that said, not having The Feature available makes finding new things to read a bit of a pain in the ass, and articles that are formatted properly on the iOS version were so bad on Android that I would generally end up reading them in Chrome. Many of these were from the New York Times, so that might be an issue.
  • Google Music Manager is pretty nifty. I buy all my music from iTunes, and by having Music Manager installed on my laptop I automatically have all of the music available on the tablet as well.
  • It is incredibly nice being able to buy books from Amazon from within the Kindle app. I understand why Apple doesn’t allow it on iOS, but I still don’t like it.
  • Reading books on the Nexus 7 is much more comfortable than on the full-sized iPad. I can hold it in one hand for extended periods of time with no problem.
  • With that said, reading comics on the Nexus is not as enjoyable as on the iPad. Text is generally just a bit too small, and I found myself zooming in more than I liked and experiencing eye strain during and after reading.
  • Facebook on Android sucks. Even with the recent move to a native app, it’s slower and doesn’t work as well as on iOS.
  • Wi-Fi reception is worse than it was on my iPad. In my house in Berkeley, my iPad generally had access anywhere in the house. On the Nexus, I have to be sitting on the side of my room closest to the router, which is across a hallway from the router. Unacceptable.

Overall, would I recommend the Nexus 7 to a friend? That depends. If you’re adamant about only wanting to spend $200 for a tablet, then yeah, this is probably your best option. But if you’re willing to spend the money to have a better overall experience, the iPad Mini is the best you can buy. User interface preferences aside, it has better performance, better wireless access, 4G as an option, a bigger screen, and weighs less. While I don’t mind sticking with the Nexus for now, you can be sure I’ll be selling this to a friend and moving to an iPad Mini as soon as the next revision of it is available.