Confessions of a Tablet PC salesperson

NEC Tablet PC circa 2002

Few people remember that I sold Tablet PCs for NEC (here’s some details on that early thin tablet). We had a Tablet back in 2002 that:

1. Was 1/4-inch thick.
2. Supported multitasking.
3. Ran full Windows XP OS.
4. Supported Flash.
5. Had replaceable batteries.

So, why didn’t it sell? Well, it did sell. We sold out every month. Problem was that NEC could only make a few thousand a month for the US market and they never put the advertising/marketing dollars behind it.

But it had some really deep flaws.

1. It didn’t feel good after using it. Sorry, but Windows XP sucked for Tablet usage, especially now that we have iPads to compare it to. Apps didn’t feel like they were made for Tablet (most weren’t). To use it you needed to use a stylus. Lose it and the thing became pretty unusable. It also got warm so if you used it for a while it was uncomfortable to hold.
2. Batteries only lasted two hours. Compare to my iPad, which lasts 10 or more (I still haven’t depleted a battery fully on the thing).
3. It cost $2,000.
4. The wifi wasn’t all that reliable and not many places even had wifi, so walking around with it wasn’t all that useful.

I compare my experiences with that to the iPad and we’ve just come so far in a few years. The iPad is a sheer joy to use compared to that early NEC Tablet (which WAS revolutionary for its time!) Plus I can buy four of them for what one NEC cost.

It’s sad that Bill Gates tried to get Microsoft to deliver the Tablet PC vision but Microsoft mostly failed where Apple has largely succeeded. Some because the market is more ready for a Tablet PC today (we have wifi in a lot of places now, and 3G coverage is getting there). Some because technology has evolved (battery life is dramatically better than back then and lighter too). Some because prices have come down.

It is interesting to look back at gadgets just a few years ago and see how far we’ve come.

Comments

  1. Needs a little work in the design department, but hey, I'd have bought one.

    It is a helpful reminder, since Apple definitely didn't invent the tablet. Like everything else they do, they took a good idea and and made it a great one.

    Oh, and I feel a lot better now about a $499 tablet then a a $2000 one.

    Was it Ray Kurzweil that said that “The future is here, its just not evenly distributed yet”? Since that was definitely the case here.

    In the end, what happened to the NEC Tablet, Robert?

  2. I still think its a bit early to call Apple the winner here. They may have brought the idea of a tablet PC to the masses, but compared to the reception that both the iPod and iPhone received, the iPad sits nowhere near the top.

    There still a great chance for Microsoft, and for proof, you need to look no further then the netbook craze. They originally run some form of Linux, but now that they run Windows xp/7, they’ve really taken off. If Asus, Acer, MSI or HP where to come up with some sort of tablet/netbook hybrid, they could be onto something and really extinguish Apple’s iPad dreams

  3. I still think its a bit early to call Apple the winner here. They may have brought the idea of a tablet PC to the masses, but compared to the reception that both the iPod and iPhone received, the iPad sits nowhere near the top.

    There still a great chance for Microsoft, and for proof, you need to look no further then the netbook craze. They originally run some form of Linux, but now that they run Windows xp/7, they’ve really taken off. If Asus, Acer, MSI or HP where to come up with some sort of tablet/netbook hybrid, they could be onto something and really extinguish Apple’s iPad dreams

  4. I you think hit the nail on the head when you said “Apps didn’t feel like they were made for Tablet (most weren’t). To use it you needed to use a stylus. Lose it and the thing became pretty unusable.”

    This is exactly the reason why Windows 7 based iPad competitors will fail unless they manage to put another interface over the top of the standard Windows 7 UI.

    I am again amazed how Microsoft just let Apple move ahead and pretty much show what a modern tablet needs to look like in order to succeed. Looking at Windows Mobile I am guessing Microsoft might have a competing product sometime around 2015… at which stage of course the world will have moved on to something bigger and better.

  5. I you think hit the nail on the head when you said “Apps didn’t feel like they were made for Tablet (most weren’t). To use it you needed to use a stylus. Lose it and the thing became pretty unusable.”

    This is exactly the reason why Windows 7 based iPad competitors will fail unless they manage to put another interface over the top of the standard Windows 7 UI.

    I am again amazed how Microsoft just let Apple move ahead and pretty much show what a modern tablet needs to look like in order to succeed. Looking at Windows Mobile I am guessing Microsoft might have a competing product sometime around 2015… at which stage of course the world will have moved on to something bigger and better.

  6. It will be interesting how Windows 7 based tablets will develop. I mean you can put every software on there that you use on a daily basis on your normal PC at work. But the software might not be optimized for touch-interaction.

    So I think that might be a big drawback for Windows or even Linux based tablets, that the software for it is not designed for a touch-interface. The developers might eventually adapt or change their software to support better touch-interaction.

    I think that is another difference between iPad/iPhone apps and Windows/Linux apps: The apps specifically designed for iPad/iPhone are designed just to be used via touch. The apps for Windows/Linux: Not so much.

    1. I’m actually using a windows 7 tablet as we speak, well a semi tablet to be exact. It’s the HP touchsmart tx-2 and I’ve had it for a little over a year now. Basically, it’s a regular laptop which converts into a tablet. It does everything the iPad does, plus having the full functionality of a regular computer on top.

      The only drawback is the price tag, which may seem a little bit steep at first but is not bad when you consider that it is still cheaper than buying a similarly speced laptop and the iPad (which you really do have to)

      I love it to pieces (just wish there were more in the way of touch specific apps)

  7. In the short term that makes a strong case for the “closed system” of development Apple has created around the iDev OS. Currently that skill of making even passable applications for a touch environment is benefitting more from having a gatekeeper than not. I wonder how long that will last? And will win7/linux dev's have caught up by the time Apple's system really starts pissing people off?

    Sometimes I feel we're just going to see the 90's played out again.

  8. In the short term that makes a strong case for the “closed system” of development Apple has created around the iDev OS. Currently that skill of making even passable applications for a touch environment is benefitting more from having a gatekeeper than not. I wonder how long that will last? And will win7/linux dev's have caught up by the time Apple's system really starts pissing people off?

    Sometimes I feel we're just going to see the 90's played out again.

  9. Whether or not the iPad itself changes the world, or is too closed, or doesn't include all of the features some folks might want is irrelevant. Robert hit on a very important piece of the iPad's future legacy – it is bringing a fully native touch UI to the masses. Touch is the killer app, it is where Apple will succeed where others (notably Microsoft) have failed. The iPad has, effectively, killed the mouse in the way Steve Gillmor said years ago that Google Docs killed MS Office. It has rendered it obsolete but it will take a few years for everyone to notice. http://sethlong.com/2010/04/04/the-mouse-is-dea

    1. Perhaps killed it on the desktop, but I still prefer to use my laptop mousepad rather than reaching up to the screen. That’s especially true when I’m doing a lot if typing.

    2. Perhaps killed it on the desktop, but I still prefer to use my laptop mousepad rather than reaching up to the screen. That’s especially true when I’m doing a lot if typing.

  10. You know, in 1985 ifew people know i had an Amstrad CPC6128, it had every thing i needed in a nice compact form. But when i compare it to the PC today, 4GB RAM, 2GB Graphics where as the CPC only had 128k i can’t help but think Alan you tried but got it all wrong…

  11. You know, in 1985 ifew people know i had an Amstrad CPC6128, it had every thing i needed in a nice compact form. But when i compare it to the PC today, 4GB RAM, 2GB Graphics where as the CPC only had 128k i can’t help but think Alan you tried but got it all wrong…

  12. What would the iPad of cost in 2002? What would that same tablet have cost (and be able to do) now if made?

    I like the fact that the apps for the iPad are designed for a touchscreen, but the comparison between it and an 8 year old product isn't fair to either product.

    Maybe the only thing that the table PC was guilty of was being a little ahead of its time.

  13. Version 2 of the NEC TabletPC was thinner and had better case design. But they only ever sold it in Japan.

    However, even so, it wasn't an iPad. But commenter Dez is right. Not really a fair comparison. Since then, we've seen the development of low-power chips, lower manufacturing costs for everything, Wi-Fi and 3G, etc.

    As a good comparison, at the same time Microsoft actually built a pretty nice prototype eBook device. But at the component prices of the time it would have cost consumers $1200.

    Both it and the TabletPC were ahead of their time. They were great ideas that couldn't really become practical until a few more evolutions of the technologies they needed.

    For those who'd like to hear more of the story from the somewhat-embittered ex-Microsoft VP who ran the Tablet effort, read his op-ed piece in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04bra

  14. There are already several Windows-based touchscreen tablets from HP and Lenovo using BumpTop, which has some amazing gesture-based commands (check out the photo cropping, for one) http://gizmodo.com/5440162/hps-tm2-tablet-finally-touchable. Didn’t MSFT help expand the vision with Surface? I’m trying to remember the name of the uber-cool MSFT tablet prototype people were tweeting about last Summer. Robert? But yes, I’m still planning on getting an iPad once 3G is tweaked.

  15. There are already several Windows-based touchscreen tablets from HP and Lenovo using BumpTop, which has some amazing gesture-based commands (check out the photo cropping, for one) http://gizmodo.com/5440162/hps-tm2-tablet-finally-touchable. Didn’t MSFT help expand the vision with Surface? I’m trying to remember the name of the uber-cool MSFT tablet prototype people were tweeting about last Summer. Robert? But yes, I’m still planning on getting an iPad once 3G is tweaked.

  16. Hi Robert,
    I was appointed to Bagdad in 1984,as an offiial of The Turkish Goverment.One day,I have brougth two Nec mini computers home to my kids , given by the educational Iraqi officials .
    The boys were very happy,and fully focused on playing all sort of games.But two months later we received
    a warning letter from the UN School, ‘that my kids were not accomplishing their homeworks,and not
    paying to much attetions to lessens’ in school.
    The Iraq’i goverment in those days, were giving each student (primary,and junior high levels) a mini computer free.
    They were in war with Iran.Why they were doing this? Just to ease,and lower the bad tension of the
    people who’s sons were dying on battle fields.
    Living there for five long years,without a telephone(forbidden due to war) only 3-4 national Iraq
    Tv channels broadcasting,radio was forbidden too, plus lack of major daily needs etc. , was like really living in hell those days.
    ‘NEC’ s computers, shortly became mine and my wife’s main hobbies quickly.I had to buy an extra NEC
    from the black market for our selves, just to keep order at home’s basement (Everybody had to live in the basements for the sake of their lives, cause of the frequent İranian Scud missiles dropping to Bagdad)
    Please forgive me for taking to much sapace on your comment field. Your first word “Confessions”,and NEC in this post, have triggered my memories that took me back to Bagdad…

    Thank you for this unique post.
    Best wishes,
    Respectfully
    Hasan Sabri Kayaoglu-Aka” Dedegi” (My grandaughter is calling me dedegi instead of;’Dedeciğim’(Dear Grandpa in Turkish)

  17. Hi Robert,
    I was appointed to Bagdad in 1984,as an offiial of The Turkish Goverment.One day,I have brougth two Nec mini computers home to my kids , given by the educational Iraqi officials .
    The boys were very happy,and fully focused on playing all sort of games.But two months later we received
    a warning letter from the UN School, ‘that my kids were not accomplishing their homeworks,and not
    paying to much attetions to lessens’ in school.
    The Iraq’i goverment in those days, were giving each student (primary,and junior high levels) a mini computer free.
    They were in war with Iran.Why they were doing this? Just to ease,and lower the bad tension of the
    people who’s sons were dying on battle fields.
    Living there for five long years,without a telephone(forbidden due to war) only 3-4 national Iraq
    Tv channels broadcasting,radio was forbidden too, plus lack of major daily needs etc. , was like really living in hell those days.
    ‘NEC’ s computers, shortly became mine and my wife’s main hobbies quickly.I had to buy an extra NEC
    from the black market for our selves, just to keep order at home’s basement (Everybody had to live in the basements for the sake of their lives, cause of the frequent İranian Scud missiles dropping to Bagdad)
    Please forgive me for taking to much sapace on your comment field. Your first word “Confessions”,and NEC in this post, have triggered my memories that took me back to Bagdad…

    Thank you for this unique post.
    Best wishes,
    Respectfully
    Hasan Sabri Kayaoglu-Aka” Dedegi” (My grandaughter is calling me dedegi instead of;’Dedeciğim’(Dear Grandpa in Turkish)

  18. I agree with Robert on this – XP sucked as a Tablet OS. I had a Motion Computing tablet and it was too heavy and the XP on-screen keyboard had to be operated with the stylus. I'm actually taking the Motion Computing tablet to the recycler this weekend as it died a couple years ago and I just haven't felt the need to get it fixed. I even tried the little Sony UX-whatever and it died on me also. After those experiences I was a little gun shy about buying an iPhone. After trying a co-workers iPhone I immediately went out purchased by own. Guess what? I've ordered a full-up 3G iPad because I believe it is the tablet I've really been waiting for. Even the most expensive iPad is less than half what I paid for the each of the two XP devices and will run circles around them.

  19. I used to work at Microsoft Corporate Strategy Group (Scoble, you met with our team a couple of times, if I recall, in 05/06). MSFT often gets criticized for being a copycat and latecomer to a lot of markets, and to some extent that’s true. But just as often, MSFT seems too EARLY. They just don’t have enough product visionaries and agile groups to deliver excellent products at the right time, to capture the imagination of consumers and dominate the market. So they pull the plug or let groups languish. In the meantime, someone like Apple or Google comes along and does it RIGHT, and then MSFT is playing catchup. The link btw MSR (research labs) and commercialization is also seriously broken. So you have MSFT trying to do WebTV (too early), touchscreen mobiles (too early), search (should have bought Overture way back when, but thought it could do better in-house), Surface (too niche, too early), and of course this example of Tablet. Now it is playing catchup again in mobile, search, surface computing/touch, etc. And despite talking and playing around with location-based services, cloud computing etc it just doesn’t seem to get traction outside of the PC and server platforms, and apps like Office (all in relative decline). XBOX/HED does good work, but not making enough money. Even for products that now look quite respectable, like Zune, the market shrugs with indifference because other guys like Apple dominate. It’s sad that a company with decent vision, enough good people, and plenty of resources just can’t seem to get it together and move the world forward anymore.

  20. I used to work at Microsoft Corporate Strategy Group (Scoble, you met with our team a couple of times, if I recall, in 05/06). MSFT often gets criticized for being a copycat and latecomer to a lot of markets, and to some extent that’s true. But just as often, MSFT seems too EARLY. They just don’t have enough product visionaries and agile groups to deliver excellent products at the right time, to capture the imagination of consumers and dominate the market. So they pull the plug or let groups languish. In the meantime, someone like Apple or Google comes along and does it RIGHT, and then MSFT is playing catchup. The link btw MSR (research labs) and commercialization is also seriously broken. So you have MSFT trying to do WebTV (too early), touchscreen mobiles (too early), search (should have bought Overture way back when, but thought it could do better in-house), Surface (too niche, too early), and of course this example of Tablet. Now it is playing catchup again in mobile, search, surface computing/touch, etc. And despite talking and playing around with location-based services, cloud computing etc it just doesn’t seem to get traction outside of the PC and server platforms, and apps like Office (all in relative decline). XBOX/HED does good work, but not making enough money. Even for products that now look quite respectable, like Zune, the market shrugs with indifference because other guys like Apple dominate. It’s sad that a company with decent vision, enough good people, and plenty of resources just can’t seem to get it together and move the world forward anymore.

  21. I hate it that many people says iPad rocks. It really doesn't. Like iphone its missing flash, which makes it useless for the internet. You cant multitask… this is 2010… i can multitask on phones….
    Ipad isnt new. They just spent 5 bill dollars on a new processer and put it into a new package… It even has wifi problems.
    I wont go for the ipad. Ill buy this> http://www.wepad.mobi/

  22. I argued about the lack of flash included in the iphone/pod/pad when they came out, however, with the usage of HTML5 that doesn't require a bulky add-on (flash) to run video I think it should be just fine without it.

  23. This may be the first time I have ever seen someone declare success for a product that has been on the market for … How many hours has it been again?

  24. This may be the first time I have ever seen someone declare success for a product that has been on the market for … How many hours has it been again?

  25. Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t Tablet Netbook

    ASUS Eee PC T91 MT Tablet Netbook

    Why would I buy an over sized iphone, when I could have a fully functioning computer for less?

  26. Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t Tablet Netbook

    ASUS Eee PC T91 MT Tablet Netbook

    Why would I buy an over sized iphone, when I could have a fully functioning computer for less?

  27. I'm not sure if the iPad (as it is now) will catch on. With smart phones evolving at such an incredible speed, I just don't believe that a limited tablet like the iPad can succeed. Look at the HTC EVO: 4.3″ 800×480 screen, 1ghz processor, 512mb RAM, 8MP camera with 720p recording/double flash/auto-manual focus, an additional 1 or 2MP front facing camera and a 4G/WiMax connection?Software-wise it has the Android 2.1 with a kick ass Webkit browser and even Flash 10.1 hardware acceleration. Wow. Then tomorrow we'll be taking a look at the future of the iPhone which will undoubtedly be just as impressive.

    So besides the larger screen what does the iPad really offer? To me, 4.3″ inches is just big enough to be satisfying and just small enough to be fully portable. And at that size text input is 100x more usable.

    None of this would be true if Apple delivered what we all expected and what some seem to think the iPad is: a new category of tablet computing. We all expected something new and refreshing; and on top of that, we all wanted a full OS. Not really the desktop/laptop flavor of OSX but a tablet remix of it. Which one of us didn't picture using a tablet friendly version of a full app (adobe, office, etc)? If they could shrink OSX down to 480×320, I'm sure Apple could have made that happen again with a bigger tablet. But instead of making the device that consumers wanted and needed, they made a device that did not cannibalized their laptops and that took complete advantage of the app store ($$$).

    So while the iPad is cool and satisfying to use, if it stays as it is, it will be cannibalized by the evolution of the smart phone.

  28. One last thing, and it's more relevant to the post, I still believe that the iPad will be a non factor but maybe it was developed that way because the hardware is STILL NOT capable enough for a tablet? We've all seen that the iPad is just a beefed up iPhone inside (1Ghz A4 +256MB RAM) with a laptop-like battery. Pretty weak in comparison to a netbook (Atom + ION) but if you run a non-multitasking smartphone OS, it's smooth as butter and lasts forever.

    So if they did make the ultimate OSX tablet, maybe it'd be just as bad as the old NEC tablet. Maybe not software wise, but there would be a compromise with performance. If that's the case, I'll just wait until the technology finally catches up.

  29. “I am again amazed how Microsoft just let Apple move ahead and pretty much show what a modern tablet needs to look like in order to succeed. Looking at Windows Mobile I am guessing Microsoft might have a competing product sometime around 2015… at which stage of course the world will have moved on to something bigger and better.”

    Before we saw iPhone OS running on a iPad we saw this first: http://www.viddler.com/explore/engadget/videos/

  30. none of those things are “deep flaws”. they're just limitations of technology at the time, and everyone using any computer had to deal with much of them. ms was just way too ahead of its time.

    i see why people call scoble an attention whore. now he's sucking up to apple zealots with self-conflicting remarks.

  31. “The iPad has, effectively, killed the mouse in the way Steve Gillmor said years ago that Google Docs killed MS Office. It has rendered it obsolete but it will take a few years for everyone to notice.”

    shows the ignorance of many people who (pre-) bought or champion the iPad. Getting people to buy the iPad for personal reasons is one thing, making money off of businesses is an entirely different subject. Like it or not, M$FT makes more money off WINDOWS than Mac does total. Also, after the hype fades, i'd be interested to see how many people are buying Apple's and how many are buying Google's version (look for it this year)…

    1. Yeah, would be interesting to see N1 v 3GS sales stats as well.

      But guess you’re not so interested in them!

    2. Yeah, would be interesting to see N1 v 3GS sales stats as well.

      But guess you’re not so interested in them!

  32. Hi Mr. Scoble ,

    Thanks for pointing out the existence of the NEC VJ11f/gl-r slate tablet. I have one and still love it !!!!!! I just had my first look at the Ipad. I think it will do quite well in the market place despite the nay sayers. They should just get their minds around the size of this market place. it really is big.

    I had to comment on your opinion about the NEC slate. For me it does feel good after using it. I am because of time –hands on time– an expert with the XP tablet useage. It still has its place with a small group of people like me. One greatly , greatly overlooked piece of these new slates (eg. Ipad) in my opinion is the stylus. I believe the stylus turns the slate into an input device of creative intelligence and designs. For me that is why the NEC still outshines the Ipad but most likely me alone. I think it will take the touch screen people several more years to figure this out. The Ipad is standing on the shoulders of genius workers, definitely not all there own.

    ps,
    i have added an touchpad (2×3 inch ) onto the side of my nec slate. it helps a bunch for non stylus input. Not as awesome as the Ipad but makes the NEC pretty awesome none the less.

  33. To me, tablet and touchscreen are not the same thing. The iPad has a touchscreen. Okay. But you can't handwrite on it and have your writing turned to text and stored in a document. So it is not a tablet. I have a Win 7 table pc from HP. Yes, to write on it and have it turned to text, I have to use a stylus. Whoopie. I wouldn't dream of writing with my fingers anyway.

    I can use my fingers on the screen for scrooling, zooming, selecting, etc. So it is both a tablet and touchscreen. The iPad is not. The iPad probably does touchscreen better, but it is SO limited compared to my computer. Yes, the iPad is a lot easier to carry arround, but why bother, since it does so little of what I need.

    Jon

  34. You’re comparing 8 year old technology to the technology of today? Seriously? And this is considered an insightful observation? What’s next? Comparing a cathode ray tube television to an LCD HDTV?

  35. You’re comparing 8 year old technology to the technology of today? Seriously? And this is considered an insightful observation? What’s next? Comparing a cathode ray tube television to an LCD HDTV?

  36. As a fellow Tablet PC sales person… It is a bit strange to be comparing the 2010 iPad to an 8 year old Tablet. I sold the HP Tc1000 in 2002 – and it was an absolute dog! Then the TC1100 came along and made things much better… but it was still the best Tablet for the time and it opened up all sorts of possibilities – like the iPad one.

    I think this year is an exciting year for Tablets in general. Some big manufacturers have slates in the pipeline. As one of the commenters pointed out, iPad has not cannibalized anything (including smartphones, netbooks or laptops), it has just tapped a really big blue sky market for new computing devices.

    I have an iPad on the way to me down here in Australia now, but I love Windows 7 on my Tablet (as properly described by a commenter above). I think it's ok for touch screens too. It also offers a ton of functionality that the iPad never will – like real inking. It's a good year for Tablets (our sales have been through the roof for months now on the back of iPad rumours) – bring it on!

  37. We use a panasonic toughbook tablet PCR for our reports (I work for a fire-rescue dept) We have been using them for 3 years now. We actually started out with the Fujistu tablet….now we have the all mighty toughbook which didn't get it's name for no reason ! Interesting viewpoint on the I-pad versus the NEC in 2002.

  38. I have yet to play with a tablet for a few mins and get as excited about it as I did with the ipad. Not just for functionality because most tablets have better functionality than an ipad but for the user interface

    -Bella :)

  39. I've been a PC tablet user for 5 years. My tablet is an HP TC4400, 1024×768 wacom tablet screen, with magnetic pen stylus. Originally this shipped with XP tablet, but to be honest, this was absolute rubbish. Battery life was poor, only 2 hours, and nothign was really designed for use as a tablet. Handwriting recognition was poor, but the virtual keyboard was OK. But the general performance of XP on this tablet was abysmal. I quickly replaced this with OpenSuse Linux, and this extended the battery life to 3 hours, it didnt run as hot, but a bug with the CPU freq controller in the BIOS meant the CPU was often cripped at 1GHZ. I often had to shut down, remove the battery, replace the battery and reboot and then the CPU could again reach the heady heights of 1.6GHz.
    Since then I also put Vista on it. As a tablet, this was better than XP, but batterylife and performance went down the toilet. 2 minutes to boot, slow app load times etc. Windows7 is the only thing that I happily share on this tablet now with Linux (now up to Linux Mint based on ubuntu 9.04) and I have replaced the battery and added a gig of ram to run Win7.
    I've been looking forward to iPad as a replacement or suppliment to my tablet –
    1: Battery life 10+ hrs. Even if the device is limited, it is better than having to be tethered to power to make it through the working day.
    2: Silence – even though my tablet is quiet, the fan is still audible in meetings and makes it impractical to use in bed as an e-book reader, it also gets way to hot.
    Now if I actually look at what computer I use most, I think that would be my iPhone over the last two years. The tablet only gets taken out for serious typing or something that works better on a big screen as it does have a keyboard. IPhone OS can run SSH, VNC, Citrix clients and can bind a VPN tunnel to work. Email and calender wirelessly sync with Google for my peronal stuff, and I use webmail for work when I need it (and this also synchs with Google through the Outlook-GMail synch agent as long as I leave my desktop at work on) The only thing I dock at home for is transfering pictures, media, apps and backup.
    Now if only Apple would allow wifi snch for this, iPad would make a perfect net-book and replacement for my tablet.

  40. Actually most of the “Netbooks” running Windows are just underpowered small laptops.
    What limited linux adoption on the netbooks was the fact MS claimed Windows would work fine on a netbook – but in reality, they need an 80GB HDD, 1GB ram and a 1.6-1.8GHz intel x86 CPU.
    Most of the good Windows Netbooks still cost nearly NZ$1000.
    Windows 7 work OK on the HP mini I have for work, but linux just craps all over it for battery life, boot time, and general usability. The Windows 7 GUI really isn't designed for a small 9″ 600 pixel high screen. With the Office2007 ribbon, you only get about 20 lines of edit window in Word and excel!
    Using Gnome, small fonts, and a tool like maximus to remove the chrome and widgets from the windows this makes the whole thing much more useable on the small screen.
    Also with linux, most updates apply without restarts so I have never been interrupted with an auto reboot in linux, but I have three times now with Windows7. If only some of the major players would actually supply a full, working, not crippled install of linux on their netbooks!

  41. It is interesting how a company makes it or breaks it through their marketing efforts. I do agree that the market is much more ready now for such a gadget, and it would have been interesting to see the Tablet PC face off against the iPad in today's market – all things being equal though.

  42. I think the truth is, Gates pushed his projects through the various committees, and they had to ship. This is rumored to be the third or more iteration of the Apple tablet, started three or four years ago — or more — and it was Jobs who was saying, “No, not ready.” When he said, yeah, it's done, a very finished 1.0 finally shipped. Apple doesn't innovate in the way Gates always said. But when they do, they have a good batting average of getting it right.

  43. And Jobs was very careful to point out that iAd is all HTML 5. You want video, shortly you'll be able to watch all the video you want as H.264 streaming. Way less overhead. And ads? Welcome to iAd. Let's see: to get on the biggest mobile platform(s), you need to hone your HTML (open source) skills.

    Why do so many Google phone fans decry the absence of Flash and then praise Android for being open source? Flash is proprietary, you know.

  44. You can't comfortably write an essay on an iPad. I think that's enough of a turn-off for most of Gen-Y.

    iPad's a niche product at best. I'm sure it'll make Apple some money, but it's not replacing the tablet market, and it's just silly to compare it to TabletPCs or even netbooks.