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Is Tablet Success Bound To Their Crackability? 339

Hitting the front page for the first time, rippeltippel writes "The Economist recently published an article about HP quitting the tablet market. Nothing new I said, until I read 'the announcement showed that the firm had finally seen the light about the tablet market — namely, that there is no such thing.' But are the games closed with the iPad as a clear winner? Possibly not: 'hackers have embraced the Nook, "rooting" its underlying Linux software ... so it can run many more applications from Google's online app store and elsewhere.' A review on Amazon's Kindle tablet page reads: 'They've cracked it — this is the future.' Can it possibly be read as 'Crackable tablets are the future of tablets?'" Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones. It is a shame that Palm/HP, who were one of the only vendors open from the start, more or less lost the game. Unfortunately it seems that tablet and ebook reader vendors have yet to get the message.
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Is Tablet Success Bound To Their Crackability?

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  • Umm, no? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:14PM (#37276586)

    Very vocal minority are making noise that they want hackable widgets. How about some statistics showing just how many widgets are actually hacked? Is it even 5%?

    The real story, much to the chagrin of the FOSS fan boyz is that sometimes closed and functional will sell better than clunky but open.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:16PM (#37276596)

    The iPad is so successful because of high quality industrial design and ease of use. Software is everything. If you focus on "crackability" you'll be as successful as Linux on the desktop.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mensa Babe ( 675349 ) * on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:18PM (#37276630) Homepage Journal
    "Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones. It is a shame that Palm/HP, who were one of the only vendors open from the start, more or less lost the game."

    If users really wanted to control the software on their phones then Palm/HP, who were one of the only vendors open from the start, wouldn't have more or less lost the game, now would it? If the control was what users wanted, would they buy devices with no keyboards on which they can't even run their own software if it doesn't get a blessing from The Man? The sad truth is that users don't give a damn about freedom. We here do, but they don't. They just want to have a cooler version of TV which they can take with them and impress their friends with all of the apps they have. This is sad but true.
  • Re:FINALLY! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samalie ( 1016193 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:22PM (#37276688)

    Not likely...

    Hell, the success in the tablet space has been exactly inversely proportional to the ability to "hack" the device. Look at the iPad 2.

    Someone needs to figure out that the average dumb schmuck doesn't give two shits about "rooting" a device. They just want something that gets email, surfs the web, and allows them to consume the content of their choice. In fact, if anything, the more options/tweaking/etc you give an average user, the more likely they'll just fuck up the device/os/etc.

    Us geeks of course want to fuck with the shit we buy...but we're not the target market either. The target market is the average dumb schmuck.

  • Re:FINALLY! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:23PM (#37276708)
    It will never "end." It is a large market. Some people prefer safety at any cost, to freedom. That is fine. I just hope that soon it won't be the ONLY option.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:26PM (#37276742) Journal

    That's not to say you can't so work with them. In fact, I do. But tablets are about consumption right now, and Apple's taught that dog to hunt. Tech folks need to step out of Mom's basement and realize that the rest of us just want to be able to do shit, and if we've got $500 to drop on a toy like the iPad, we sure as hell have $40 a month to pay for content through the iTMS.

    If you buy a $150-$200 tablet so that you can rip/download content and serve it up in its native format, it means working on that house of cards to get everything operating. I know, I set up a media center PC and a usenet scraper, and have MyMedia to catalog my movies after I rip them. It's all quite snazzy, but God damned it takes too much time to keep running and if anything goes wrong my wife looks at me like she's never seen a PC or a remote control and expects me to fix it.

    Tablets are about quick access to things you want to do. It's all the things you want a smartphone to do, but in the right form factor and without having to worry about making or receiving phone calls (and in return you can't put a tablet in your pocket).

    Those of us who go back far enough to remember programming in BASIC to generate stats for D&D characters should be the ones to realize that these are not computers as we know them, but entertainment devices. Once you get past that hurdle, the usefulness of tablets makes a lot more sense.

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:28PM (#37276772)

    Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones.

    Users have sent no such message. Actual users are perfectly happy with the vendor's app stores. Actual users don't even realize that Apple's app store is curated and the various Android app stores are not. People cracking/rooting phones to get greater control are a tiny tiny tiny minority.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:32PM (#37276824)

    Most of the people are buying status and "cool" when they're buying those iPads. Those of us that want more control and ability have already bought Android stuff, where you can actually put on software that doesn't get the blessing from The Man.

    Most people buy "hey, I can browse the internet!" and "hey, I can read my email", and "hey, it has a map that shows me where I am", and "hey, it plays music and videos and the TV show I missed yesterday", and "hey, I can download and read loads of books" and "hey, I can show you all my photos" and "hey, I can play Angry Birds" and so on and so on and they don't give a damn about status and "cool" when they are buying an iPad.

  • Local Maximum (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:32PM (#37276828)

    The success of a tablet in the hacker community hinges on the ability to hack it.

    The success of a tablet in the community at large has nothing at all to do with packability, as the iPad 2 shows.

    On a side note you can also do "well" in the tablet space by giving away $450 of hardware for $100. I am not sure how many companies can enjoy that level of "success" for long though.

  • by FlyingGuy ( 989135 ) <flyingguy@gmai l . c om> on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:32PM (#37276836)

    One more time for the good times...

    Apples model is working just fine. The average retail consumer (read that as not geeks) could care less that they cannot SSH or recompile the linux kernel on the damn thing. It does what they want the most.

    The non-average consumer of this device ( read that as - Kaiser Permanente and other large corporate consumers ) is really really happy with it. The can write and distribute their own programs for it, get programming support etc. etc. from Apple, distribute those programs from their very own little walled garden and keep the rank and file from installing god alone knows what and breaking the damn thing.

    Geeks will find a way to jail break the thing so they can SSH, etc, etc, and try to re-compile the linux kernel on the damn thing because that is what geeks do.

    I know ALL of the FOOS geeks out there want desperately for Apple to fail, but guess what kids, that aint gonna happen. Jail break that damn thing and have fun with it, but please stop bitching and moaning about Apples successful business model since it makes you sound like nothing more the babies.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:42PM (#37276948) Homepage

    > If you are doing a form of business with your tablet or phone, do you really want to operate in an environment where security is deliberately compromised?

    That's a great argument to dump your iPhone for an Android.

    The whole reason I had my iPhone jailbroken was because it was painful to use for work in it's stock configuration.

    Although a copy of Unix under the control of the end user is far better than what most corporations do with their computing devices.

  • Re:FINALLY! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:52PM (#37277058)

    Gruber [daringfireball.net] said it best :

    “open and better” is a recipe for success; “open but worse” is a recipe for obscurity.

  • Re:FINALLY! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Thursday September 01, 2011 @02:17PM (#37277434)

    Nerds want nerd playgrounds and try to convince themselves that it's what everyone else wants too. Look at the summary: "Smartphone vendors seem to have gotten the message: users want to control the software on their phones."

    Uh, they do? Majority just wants to install Angry Birds and a few other things and never think about software again. Android has marketshare because it's a free iOS clone for carriers to slap onto cheap, weak devices that barely qualify as smartphones, not because users are enticed by "openness." The big, beefy Android smartphones are a niche, and the iPhone is still the #1 selling smartphone, so there's just a lot of misleading going on when it comes to what people want.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @02:21PM (#37277494) Homepage

    You need to friend HTC on Facebook. You're out of date.

    My god. Is this what the world is coming to? Friending soulless corporations on Facebook to get info?

    Everyone off my lawn please. I'd like a couple of moments of silence to grieve.

  • Since when (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @02:28PM (#37277596) Homepage Journal
    Since when is "friend" a verb? I enemy that.
  • Re:Price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @03:13PM (#37278328) Homepage Journal

    An important adjustment to your data...

    > At $99 people will fight for good tablets.

    Every review of the HP TouchPad said "A decent tablet, but no match for the iPad 2." Most agree that it is roughly comparable to the original iPad. At $99, a tablet of that quality will fly off the shelves. $99 piece-of-shit tablets like the Pandigital Novel are not flying off the shelves, nor is anyone skipping work to get them.

    > 2. By checking scalpers prices, I can deduce that about
    > $235 (16 gig), and $250 (32 gig) is where people stop
    > buying them on impulse.

    Again, this is TouchPad pricing. What we are truly seeing here by looking at all the craigslsit and eBay listings is that people value the TouchPad at around $250. It's value has dropped, actually, since everyone buying one is doing so knowing it's a dead-end product with no serious long-term prospects or support. If HP were still in the business, they could probably sell a decent amount of them for $299. Sadly, that number would not allow them to run a profitable operation. It's important to remember that Apple is making a profit on the iPad largely because they have done some very smart spending. [cnn.com] If Apple tablets were merely "overpriced", there would be TONS of good tablets for less, right? This is NOT just a case of "apple rep pushing the price up higher".

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson