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The Real Threat to iPad

Noharness's Avatar Picture Noharness – February 01, 2010 05:57AM Reply Quote
It's not Adobe or the machine's inability run Flash. It is not anything Google is doing or not doing. It's the Nokia N810 and its OS, Maemo, which like Ubuntu, is a fork of the Debian distribution of Linux.

As it happens I purchased a cheap HP at Walmart here a while back, paying a mere $400.00 US for it. It is not a bad piece of hardware for that amount of money. I managed to catch it while it was on clearance. So, I spent real money for a big monitor (HPw2007) for it. The trouble with it is that it came with Vista pre-installed. This was the very worst form of Vista, the very first one. It caused me as much trouble and discomfort as my ongoing incontinence has.

Not too long ago I installed Ubuntu on this machine. I am impressed with it. At least as impressed with it as I was Mac OSX. There is just a hell of a lot of software available for this operating system, for which I have not paid one thin dime. The trouble with this operating system is that it gives its users too many ways to do things. That can be corrected if someone would sit down with the Apple User Interface Guidelines and stuck to those guidelines while writing GUI for it. The GNOME GUI is workable, but needlessly flexible. Yes, Virginia, sometimes you really can get too much of a good thing.

Having criticized Ubuntu for being entirely too flexible, it really is, it is infinitely better than Vista, and for all I know, Windows 7. So, I think I can say, without qualms or reservations, that the real threat to Apple's iPad is the Nokia N810 running a version of the Linux OS with the right user interface. Now, I don't know if that will happen. Who can say, but the risk is real.

stan adams – February 01, 2010 06:06PM Reply Quote
Nah.

Easy to dismiss. Screen is too small, keyboard too cramped, no chance of an "ecosystem".

Heck when the marketing types kill a niche of a niche that is the kind of thing that makes TSO get all zen -- http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2009/01/n810-wimax-edition-pulled-by-nokia.ars

Noharness – February 01, 2010 08:20PM Reply Quote
Well, okay, Stan. I got the wrong number on the Nokia phone/tablet...er...tablet/phone. The point of it is that they are abandoning their old OS for a new one based on Debian Linux and it is called Maemo. I don't think the folks over at engadget understand what they are dealing with when it comes to this hardware/software combination and it is entirely possible that Nokia does not understand either.

Here is the engadget review of Nokia's N900 tablet (the replacement for the N810). The differences between this machine and the iPad are remarkably small.

ARL (Moderator) – February 01, 2010 10:56PM Reply Quote
I whinge therefore I am!
Sorry Don, you're not joe-six-pack (JSP).

JSP ain't gonna play with any form of linux...

Noharness – February 02, 2010 01:52AM Reply Quote
Oh, probably not so long as Linux geeks insist on producing a geekish os. Having said that, Ubuntu Linux is the least geekish of anything I have examined in a good long while. Oh, and there isn't the faintest trace of nerd in it.

I will admit that right now the N900 and Maemo together won't scratch the iPad. I am talking 'bout what might happen in a year or two years time. Were Nokia to put the right hard-head in charge of Maemo, things could start looking up fast. And, what's more, Nokia needs to start doing that real soon now.

John Willoughby – February 02, 2010 06:29AM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
Maemo's been around for a while. Not really going anywhere.

stan adams – February 02, 2010 07:19AM Reply Quote
I can see your point in a general sense, but the "universe" of folks that pick up a cell phone, play with and then pick up another one in a geeky never ending cycle is unlikely to foster the kind of "Bonsai Tree" attention to detail that I think Apple has infused into their development of the "other box".

How long has it been since there was "professional stationary Mac, the laptop portable Mac, the iPod and the "other" "? I am pretty sure that TSO and a whole lot of other folks from this page http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/ have not looked at the "other Device" as a hobby or diversion, but a future revenue stream of important size / scope. Their battles with Google & Adobe and others could arguably be called an attempt to maintain a "walled garden" by the OpenSource types, but I think that it may be closer to their true intent to say that they understand the value of "coherency" as well as fostering a revenue stream for all the developer that give a damn -- how many times have any of us gone to some poorly designed Flash site and literally not known what to do to get to the next screen , bit of info, navigate away even? That is not really the fault of Adobe, but the prevalence of that sort of thing means that designers and coders that work in the Flash world foster a mindset that is anathema to everything that OpenSource is supposed to stand for. The closed-ness of Flash was suppose to appeal to folks that are "scared" their code will leak out of Java applets, an antiquated mindset that still holds sway with too many backwards thinkers...

I think it is important to comment on the physical size of "phone-ish" devices vs iPad and up sized devices. While LOTS & LOTS of folks have said "its just a big iPhone" I know that for folks my age (I was born in 1965) and older actually using the "mobile iTunes App Store" is a huge pain. Much nicer to use a MB or even PC and sync things up. The iPad is really about the minimum size that one can reasonable have the preview and approve all happen comfortably. If I were to adopt any other platform I would almost certainly need to embrace multiple devices to get the nice integration, and I might style give up a great deal of "uniformity of experience".

75 Million users of iPhone is a head-start that would seem all but impossible to overcome in the US and Europe/Australia. China is a whole other question, as is India, yet somehow I suspect that talent will gravitate toward Apple. I suppose there is always the possibility that the "Brazil Orkut factor" could come into play http://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-brazil-loves-orkut/3082/ and you will get some folks that SO identify with the ethos of one platform that they'll turn their back on something for 'cultural reasons' but more likely Apple will attract sellers of 99 cent apps the way a crowded Flea Market attracts more folks hawking Sham WOW and anything else that SELLS. Do you really think that any app cooked up by some Android / Maemo / flavor of day basement coder is NOT going to end up in the iTunes App Store either as the work of the creator or as an "inspired by" sort of rip off? How many variants are there on "flashlight apps" already? Do you really believe that the WHOLE RANGE of iPhone SDK devices (from the really pretty cheap at $179 iPod Tocuh 8GB {my wife has an early Valentines present and does not miss the lack of voice memo,,,) will not be a phalanx against any one undercutting Apple? I think Ninetendo and Wii prove that "low res is more than enough" for MILLIONS of happy remote waving (or DS totting) folks. Who is going to be better equipped to fight any trademark /IP infringement? The unwashed that embrace the GNU licensing ethos or that of company that has basically written it existence in the courtrooms of IP ... http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#APPS



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2010 07:27AM by stan adams.

Noharness – February 02, 2010 08:40AM Reply Quote
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stan adams
I can see your point in a general sense, but the "universe" of folks that pick up a cell phone, play with and then pick up another one in a geeky never ending cycle is unlikely to foster the kind of "Bonsai Tree" attention to detail that I think Apple has infused into their development of the "other box".

I quite agree. It all depends on Nokia insisting thatthe open-source crowd become focused on one way of doing things.

Quote
stan adams
How long has it been since there was "professional stationary Mac, the laptop portable Mac, the iPod and the "other" "? I am pretty sure that TSO and a whole lot of other folks from this page http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/ have not looked at the "other Device" as a hobby or diversion, but a future revenue stream of important size / scope. Their battles with Google & Adobe and others could arguably be called an attempt to maintain a "walled garden" by the OpenSource types, but I think that it may be closer to their true intent to say that they understand the value of "coherency" as well as fostering a revenue stream for all the developer that give a damn -- "

I agree on both points. The open source folks see this as Apple creating and maintaining a "gated" community, but Don Trabajos et al see it as necessary coherency. In other words, a self-consistent system of metaphors for the user interface. I see this as a weakness in every distribution of Linux. MacOSX has two very different methods of getting things done. One is command-cowboy stuff in the Terminal package and the other through the elegant Apple GUI. Every command in the GUI is necessarily reflected in a shell running in the Terminal.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, has about five times as many that is assuming you run only GNOME for a GUI and more than that if you run something like X or K or any one or more of a plethora of GUI's that have been cooked up for the various flavors of Linux. This is a near fatal inconsistency to my way of seeing things and it makes the learning curve for any one Linux system incredibly steep.

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stan adams
I think it is important ...I might style give up a great deal of "uniformity of experience".

Okay, I cannot readily speak to this because I'll let you in a dirty little secret of mine. I never really liked portable computers very much. I own two of the damned things, one Apple's the other a Dell and I'll say this about both of them, they suck. They are both fragile and therefore clumsy to use. I see the iPad as a huge improvement over any laptop. Clearly it will not suffer from the mechanical shortcomings inherent in the usual laptop designs.

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stan adams
75 Million users... Do you really think that any app cooked up by some Android / Maemo / flavor of day basement coder is NOT going to end up in the iTunes App Store either as the work of the creator or as an "inspired by" sort of rip off? How many variants are there on "flashlight apps" already? Do you really believe that the WHOLE RANGE of iPhone SDK devices (from the really pretty cheap at $179 iPod Tocuh 8GB {my wife has an early Valentines present and does not miss the lack of voice memo,,,) will not be a phalanx against any one undercutting Apple?

Let's turn that around and look at it from the other direction. Can you imagine a programmer worth his salt writing an app for iPhone OS and not Maemo or some other flavor of Linux? All that goes wanting is an "App Store" for Linux users.

And just as an aside, I was born in 1953 so I am what, twelve years older than you? Not that that counts for much at our age. My daughters bought me an iPod shuffle while I was in the hospital and I still have the same set of tunes they installed on it. I'll probably keep it that way for as long as I live.

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stan adams
I think Nintendo and Wii prove that "low res is more than enough" for MILLIONS of happy remote waving (or DS totting) folks. Who is going to be better equipped to fight any trademark /IP infringement? The unwashed that embrace the GNU licensing ethos or that of company that has basically written it existence in the courtrooms of IP ... http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#APPS

Apple has gone out of its way to be nice to the open source movement. OSX is based upon FreeBSD. Don Trabajos himself is part of the great unwashed left as you are wont to describe them. I think of them as the left-wing of the Libertarian movement. There is a right wing of the Libertarian movement. I personally am an Objectivist so I spend a great deal of time scrutinizing the philosophical viewpoints of other people and then subsequently categorizing them. Feel free to take that for what it's worth, but be cautious. Assumptions can lead you badly astray.

El Jeffe – February 02, 2010 10:01AM Reply Quote
What a journey.
The best thing JSP played with was OS/2 under the covers of most all US-based ATMs at one point in the 90s.

tliet – February 03, 2010 12:58AM Reply Quote
Which was a damn fine operating system for that purpose, I hate seeing McAfee is expired messages on ATMs these days...

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