ipad

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Matt Barton's picture

Her Interactive's Nancy Drew Coming to iPad

I've been mostly ambivalent about the iPad so far, but I have to admit, Her Interactive's new iPad Shadow Ranch game looks very intriguing. While the hype is perhaps a bit over the top (it's not like nobody has ever thought about combining games and books), it is nice to see a company so well-poised to deliver. Obviously, anyone who loves Nancy Drew probably fell in love first and foremost with the books, so a product like this makes a great deal of sense.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Google Android and Honeycomb Tablets as Vaporware - Only Apple Delivers with the iPad!

PCMag.com has a nice article by Tim Gideon, entitled, Apple Calls Android Tablets 'Vapor' - and It Isn't Just Hot Air. In it, Gideon makes the point that Apple's recent statements describing Google-based competitor tablets as essentially vaporware - meaning announced but not actually released - are not that far off from the reality. As you know, as a future tablet owner myself, I'm waiting for either the iPad 2 or any type of competing tablet with compelling enough features to lure me away, whichever comes first (or, more correctly, whichever is worth a reasonable amount of waiting time once the iPad 2 is available). The funny thing is, is that as much as the Android platform has its fans - and keep in mind this is coming from a previous iPhone 3G and now iPhone 4 owner - it is not a platform for the faint of heart. Criticize Apple all you want, but the one thing that they provide with their iOS devices (which they no doubt honed from years of similar "snobbery" on the Mac side) is a reasonable sense of cohesion and a reasonable chance that the latest updates will in fact work perfectly fine on your existing device. The downsides of a "walled garden" or not, there is nothing resembling reasonable standardization on the Android side, with some phones getting OS updates and some not, and some phones running, say, the latest games well, and others not.

Of course, the Android platform has many advantages and you would think an avowed tech geek such as myself would favor such an open and flexible platform since I've favored PC's for years over Mac's, but for me, phones, and, yes, tablets, are different beasts. I want them, like my videogame consoles, to just work, with minimal fuss. I don't think it's too much to ask that if I buy an Android device today, that I'll be guaranteed all future updates within a reasonable timeframe after they're available, and that all software will be compatible for a reasonable number of years before I upgrade again. Add to the fact that Android has not adapted well to being directly ported from phones to tablets, and there's no telling if Honeycomb (which IS far more optimized for tablets) will resolve any of the standardization issues, and you can't help but think that Apple's potshot may hold true for quite a bit longer.

Believe me, as a recent Google Chrome convert, I'd love nothing more than to get a Honeycomb tablet as a nice contrast to my iPhone 4, but I have a feeling that for better or worse, my phone will have an oversized i-buddy instead. Hope I'm wrong...

So, what are your thoughts on all of this? Sound off in the comments!

Bill Loguidice's picture

The Great Debate - Tablets versus eBook Readers and the Fight for our Senses

Over at another forum I frequent, a topic that ostensibly began, Dell Streak Available Next Month, AT&T Not Required, soon morphed into a discussion on the merits of an eReader, like the Kindle, over a tablet, like the iPad, and vice versa. To summarize the lengthy battle (though I recommend you read you yourself using the link), the argument on the eReader side essentially goes like this:

- eInk provides a superior reading experience
- The two top eReader devices offer free 3G
- Target will soon be offering the Kindle in their stores, so Kindle sales will naturally skyrocket
- The iPad is too expensive
- iTunes is too draconian
- Grandma and moms don't want a tablet

The argument on the tablet - and specifically the iPad side - goes something like this:

- The reading experience is just good enough for most people, and just good enough often wins over better
- Color eInk is still a ways away, and for black and white, static devices, eReaders are fairly expensive
- The iPad costs more, but also has many more features and capabilities
- If you're going to carry around a device the size of an eReader, it's not that much of a stretch that you'd carry around something only marginally bigger to get access to many more features
- The iPad has become a sexy, must-have device, thanks to slick advertising and the well regarded Apple brand; eReaders are unlikely to ever been seen as sexy, must-have devices
- In roughly two months, the iPad is closing in on the LIFETIME (since 2007) sales of the Kindle

The way I see it, while I'm a fan of eInk, especially for black and white and limited functionality devices, they tend to cost too much, even though the Kindle and Nook offer lifetime 3G service to purchase more books from just about any location you happen to be at (and a select few other online features to take advantage of the connection), though it's arguable if you really ever have to buy a new book every time you're out and about on the town. If they hit $99 or less, they might be able to gain more momentum outside of the successful niche I expect them to remain in for the foreseeable future, but I still find it unlikely, particularly with the coming onslaught of iPad-like tablet clones, which will continue to steal any new eReader thunder. What they really need though on the eReader side are color eInk displays, which right now are too expensive for mainstream price points. If they had color screens combined with a $150 or lower price point, they might stand a chance to be something a bit more than a niche product, though it's arguable how many truly avid readers there are anyway to support such dedicated products, no matter how refined they become (even recent tests with students at universities have not shown them to be reasonable substitutes for text books--at least in their current forms).

So to summarize, my main point is, is that the iPad's momentum will continue, price be damned, a ton of clone tablets will be released to further place the spotlight on the form and functionality factor, and as a result, sales of dedicated eReaders will remain at roughly the same rate and pace they are now. As a result, the dedicated reader's time in the spotlight has probably come and gone, and it's just a matter of time before the tablet format becomes the de facto companion (when called for) to cell phones, smart or otherwise, since they also give you full access to the same book libraries as the dedicated readers, as well all the other types of media (and games, apps, etc., etc.).

Even though I didn't lay out all the details in this post, I think you get the idea. Naturally I'm 100% correct in my prognostication, but I'm open to the remotest of possibilities that I might be a raving lunatic and don't know what the heck I'm talking about, so I would love to hear what YOU think...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Enhanced Press Looking for English Speaking Beta Testers for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Apps

Ciro Continisio of ENHANCED PRE$$ group has asked us to pass along the following press release for this interesting initiative for the iPhone and iPod Touch that needs English-speaking beta testers:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Breaking News: Apple Announces iPad

In a surprise to no one, Apple announced the iPad, their long rumored and hoped for tablet-style device. Despite being saddled with what in my opinion is the worst name for a new product since the Wii, it will surely be lapped up by Apple fans. Unlike the Wii, though, I don't think the name will eventually become catchy or memorable, particularly since a single letter separates it from Apple's own iPod. Basically an upsized iPhone and compatible with all existing apps for that platform, the major revelation thus far about the new device is the companion iBooks store, which I imagine would be a subset of iTunes. While iBooks is an important step for the eReader market and digital books in general - shockingly Apple is supporting the industry's ePub standard - it remains to be seen even with a no doubt beautiful 10inch color screen whether it will have any of the gentle-to-the-eye qualities of eInk displays. (Owners of recent gen eBook readers will know what I'm talking about, i.e., eInk is as paper like as we have at this point, and it's a huge distinction for electronic reading from traditional displays.)

As both an iPhone 3G owner and an enthusiast of and user of graphics tablets (a Gateway Tablet PC is my primary personal laptop these days), I'll be curious if there is any stylus support, as that would make this device much more useful for sketching and note taking than standard finger input. If it's missing that feature AND it has a high price tag, I fail to see the niche such a device could ultimately fill, particularly with netbooks being fully functional mini computers with keyboards and similar 10 hour battery life.

Further news, updates and discussions will take place in the comments to this blog post. Let us know what YOU think!

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