Tag Archives: ipad

HP Touchpad – Initial Thoughts

The venerable HP launched their competitor to the iPad earlier in the summer. As with most things slated to be a killer of any Apple product, it was not to be, and it’s a real shame. 

With a price of $499 for the 16 gig and $599 for the 32 gig version, the Touchpad was close, but not enough to really pick up market share. This lead to a huge write off for HP and a sweet deal for those of us who had been on the fence about a tablet. With a firesale price of $99/$149, I couldn’t resist, and after a few weeks of patience following a cancelled order, CDW came through with the 16 gig version for me.

It arrived late last week, and immediately it felt far superior to any of the Android tabs I have tested, including the Xoom and several Galaxy tabs; that made it worth it, if nothing else. The build quality is good, and never having played with the Palm Pre, I now see why people are big fans of the WebOS.

The home screen is clean and simple, and much like the Vista screen scroll feature, going through cards (or apps) is a visually appealing way to see what’s going on. The keyboard doesn’t offer haptic feedback, but is fast and allows for multiple digit entry. Same goes for copy and paste – it’s functional and effective.

I was nervous to tweak the OS, but simple online guides had me overclocking and turning off nannies in no time. I turned off much of the logging, overclocked to 1.5ghz and made a number of other tweaks to vastly improve how it works.

If a Android were immediately available for the Touchpad, I think I’d stick with WebOS and what I have because it works effectively. The browser leaves a good amount to the imagination, but is functional. The inability to organize and rearrange favourites is a bit of a pain.

I haven’t fully got Skype up and running, but voice works fine, there just seem to be some issues with the video. Similarly, have other apps to try out, but Google docs and WordPress (on which this post was written), among others work great. The app ecosystem may not be so rich as Apple or Google, but if clean and simple – with a lack of bloat, is the goal, this is what you want.

All in all, this is a great tablet, and if nothing else, you can’t get a digital photo frame with this quality for the money. With an iPad case from the VZW store I’m good to go, I think I will invest in the touchstone charger and stand at some point. It doesn’t take well to charging from standard USB phone chargers. People say the ecosystem is dead, but I think this WebOS tab has some life left in it, numbers alone I think will make that happen. Plus, if a good Android tablet build comes out, it will be interesting to see how the tablet takes to it.

But for HP, I think this about sums it up, via the WSJ:
Let’s say you were given a year to kill Hewlett-Packard. Here’s how you do it: http://goo.gl/Kr002

Will add more as I get my hands dirtier.

Updated iPad Initial Thoughts

A great Red Cross comms training in Tampa (and subsequent recovery) kept me from writing this sooner.

When I reviewed the iPad shortly after it first came out, I was pretty downbeat.

In an incremental move at a March 2 presser, Apple has updated the iPad, making it thinner, offering it in white, and adding two cameras and the dual core processors. The cameras have me sold – but from the reading I’ve been doing, this upgrade seems akin to the iPhone upgrade from 3G to 3Gs. The screen didn’t see any real improvement, leading me to believe the true iPad next-gen will have a high-end screen a la iPhone 4.

Another problem remains, if the iPad is to be for consuming, surely one could put an SD slot in it, or at least a way to USB/connect to other third-party devices without needing their proprietary dongles.

From a value perspective, the camera was my main gripe, so knowing this iPad will be faster, I could definitely see myself buying the base wi-fi model (or 32 gig) once the next generation is announced.

It’s not earth moving advances, but certainly enough to keep me on the fence about the Kindle, and the various Android tablets (which can’t meet or exceed Apple’s economies of scale).

Hurry up and wait…in the meantime, I think the HTC Thunderbolt is calling my name as an update to my HTC Droid Incredible.

First Impressions with the iPad

So I was allowed to play with a friend’s iPad the other day, and it was a very interesting experience.

I’ve always had a lust for many AAPL products, but unless they were work related, I was never an early adopter of them. Case in point, when I worked at a college paper, Quark and Photoshop on a Mac was (and many say remains) the only way to go. For full disclosure, I had a 160 gig iPod classic that was stolen from my car; a mini that was stolen from my car and my current day-to-day iPod is the blue 1 gig shuffle – great battery life, tiny and gives me a good selection of Tiesto podcasts to keep me going.

So, the iPad. It was handed over to me, with the nicely textured case (which doubles as a stand to hold it in portrait and landscape). I switched it on, and bam, I was sold – initially. But, like Monet’s paintings…looks good from afar – but far from good close up after some time using it.

Bullets will be the best way to highlight my observations:

  • It’s heavy. Honestly felt similar to a netbook with a standard battery. That said, it would fit in my bag perfectly when travelling on the Acela or otherwise.
  • Some of the apps were slow – but that’s to be expected, it’s not even been out for a week. The overall app experience was very compelling and contextual. This will force much change among future technological developments.
  • No camera. This one is a dealbreaker for me, if I can’t Skype, especially with a camera, then it’s no good. I have to imagine the second gen will have one.
  • Multitasking. I’ll leave this to Macworld’s Ben Long: http://www.macworld.com/article/150474/2010/04/ipad_not_for_everyone.html
  • ebook reader. I’ve played with the Kindle and brethren. It might be pricey, but the weight, availability of books (even with the crappy DRM restrictions and concerns), and killer screen res still gives them the upper hand. This iPad illustrations were nice in Winnie the Pooh, as was the color, but the font smoothing was poor. I suspect this can all be cleaned up with software, but that may be a limitation of the screen itself; so I won’t be buying it as an ebook reader anytime soon.
  • Expansion – with no way to switch battery, no USB ports for cameras, no way to expand memory – all makes no sense, but for AAPL, makes complete sense.
  • WiFi. Seemed ok to me, but may be some software glitches with getting on networks.
  • iTunes. The fact this has to be activated at a computer with iTunes makes no sense whatsoever, why can’t it be done OTA?
  • Photos. I love the idea to use it as a photo frame.
  • More real world applications. The iPad will have great appeal for point of sale and political purposes once developers can figure out how to sufficiently manipulate the SDK. More throughts from the Beekeeper group on the political implications: http://www.hivetalkin.com/post/2010/03/23/Five-Political-Uses-for-the-Apple-iPad.aspx

My bottom line assessment. If you want one, get it and use it at home – stream Netflix, listen to music while gardening, to use with a MiFi while travelling, get one. If you want to work, I mean real work, not email, then this is still not ready for primetime, especially with the price for the keyboard.

Glad I got to play with it though, I can’t imagine why anyone would spend the cash for the 3G micro-sim version on AT&T when it comes out. I am going to stay on the fence until the next generation comes out and the price goes down, but I suspect I do see one in my future to have around the house.

So Much to Ponder – the it’s been a while edition

Given that it’s been so long since I last posted; these are the things on my mind (no particular order):

  1. iPad
  2. Haiti/Red Cross activities
  3. Travelling with the netbook and MiFi
  4. What can Brown do for you
  5. Ava

1. It’s Alive! The iPad – it lives

The much ballyhooed and hyped Apple tablet was announced today as the iPad (http://www.apple.com/ipad), starting at $499 for one with a meager 16 gig memory. My immediate observations are that there is no way to add memory or to use removable flash memory – a major drawback. There is a $130 premium for 3G – basically that adds the unlocked GSM chipset allowing you to add data service from a GSM provider – T-Mobile or AT&T stateside. My money would say get a good mid-range WiFi only version and use it with a MiFi when on the road – getting you good network coverage too and the ability to have 4 others tie into the hotspot: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/mobilebroadband/?page=products_mifi

Don’t get me wrong about this, I like most people enjoy the products, I use a tiny 1gig shuffle about daily, but always avoided the iPhone. iTunes pisses me off because much of it is proprietary, and the same goes for the 30-pin connector on the iPad, why oh why are there no industry standards for CE devices – where you are talking mini-USB chargers, memory cards, or video outs. I also enjoy playing with my friend’s iPhones, but the costs and coverage leave much to be desired. Why would it not have a webcam in it? Makes so much sense for Skypeing – and a big reason behind the success of netbooks. I assume most people have a camera phone already, so not having a traditional camera is likely a non-issue.

Finally, the e-ink on the Kindle et al is great looking, it will take looking at the iPad to see if they can do the e-book experience nearly as well, I suspect I’ll need to see one in real life to see. But I don’t think Amazon or the BN Nook is too worried at this time. I’ll likely try the Sony e-reader software on the netbook. Stay tuned for that.

Parting thought from Rob Pegoraro’s WaPo chat today on the iPad:

Long Island, NY: So, this iPad is basically a 10″ iPhone that runs the same OS, but has iBooks, and scraps the phone and camera?

Rob Pegoraro: Not a bad summary of it. But… will software written for the iPad become a sort of middle ground of productivity and entertainment between the laptop and the phone? Apple is betting on that happening, but a lot of other things have to happen first. Let’s not forget here that it’s the same App Store as before, so you could have issues getting apps approved.

2. Issue 2 – Haiti (growled in my best McLaughlin Group tone):

Wow…where to start, Katrina was bad, the tsunami was bad, but this is a whole other bowl of bad. For a country in continuous strife – both man-made and weather-related, this was the icing on the cake to take them to the lowest they can go. Now they have to rebuild.

I was fortunate to be able to help the Red Cross National Capital Region with some of their press outreach, which led to a very cold morning the day of my Lasik surgery (the topic of an upcoming post). Long story short, some exceptionally well trained folks from the ARC deployed with all of their equipment to help with the disaster assessment and communications needs on the island. http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=95940&catid=187

This is going to be an incredibly long, expensive and time consuming rebuild, and just remember, as a result of Katrina, the Gulf Coast is still an active Red Cross disaster, beyond everyone else who is rebuilding down there.

I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that you can donate to both the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and International Response Fund at http://www.RedCross.org.

3. Travelling with the netbook and MiFi
A full post will follow on this, but starting earlier this month with a trip to Albany, I have ditched the 15″ Dell laptop for travel and am taking an Acer Aspire One and Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot on my travels. It’s working great so far, and saving several pounds of weight from my messenger bad is a huge bonus.

4. What Can Brown Do For You

In my gut, i knew this would happen, that Michael Brown would win by a few points over Martha Coakley. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t royally pissed off last Tuesday night. This was inexcusable. Less of a referendum on POTUS than it was a damning indictment of an atrociously run campaign. Seriously, having worked on a campaign over Christmas before, I can tell you the only day of downtime was Christmas Day itself. Where is the work regimen? And more to the point, why did more senior staffers not sound the alarm sooner to the candidate, kitchen cabinet and national committees?

Note to self, check any sense of inevitability and the fortune of incumbency at the door. This will be a fascinating election season, and hard work will be needed to see any successes on the Dem side, especially in light of the retirements. Hopefully a bold SOTU by Obama tonight will put the country on a more aggressive footing to tackle to many deep troubles at hand.

5. Ava

Well, I knew this day would come. She is now walking around and getting into everything more than ever. It’s been pretty quiet on the whole, no drama since she turned one except for a couple of trips to the ER, nothing serious, just to make sure she didn’t have a bad case of something called RSV.

It’s amazing how quick they grow up.

So that’s the update, I’ll try and write more, especially when I have time sitting on the 2100 or 2171.