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Web Tablets 8 years later…

by @ 8:51 am on 7/22/2008. Filed under Hardware

I got a real kick out of this post on /.:

“TechCrunch announced that they are planning to design their own $200 web tablet device. Quoting: ‘The idea is to turn it on, bypass any desktop interface, and go directly to Firefox running in a modified Kiosk mode that effectively turns the browser into the operating system for the device. Add Gears for offline syncing of Google docs, email, etc., and Skype for communication and you have a machine that will be almost as useful as a desktop but cheaper and more portable than any laptop or tablet PC.’ The aim is for the tablet to run on modified open source software, which will be released back to the community along with the specifications for the hardware.”

Sounds a lot like a Qubit BeIA tablet from about 8 years ago to me, sans the open source part. 😉

2 Responses to “Web Tablets 8 years later…”

  1. biffuz says:

    Yes, but I don’t think the world is more ready than it was at that time. Not enough, at least.

  2. JonathanThompson says:

    They’re too late, and bound to fail: there’s already a successful web tablet, that (without phone capability) starts at (I believe) $299 US, and with phone capability, $199 US, which then requires a contract.

    What’s it called? iPod Touch and iPhone!

    The biggest flaw is the smallest flaw: ergonomics. What they’re proposing is perhaps smaller than a laptop or tablet PC, but too much bigger than a cell phone, while not having a sufficiently sane keyboard/screen for long typing/reading sessions, likely coupled with a relatively slow CPU for powering the darn thing. The net result is they’ll have something that’s not big enough to use as a proper laptop, but too big to fit in a pocket, not fast enough to be worth it for the price of using it, and too small to be comfortable, all for a price that’s no less than something that has a working form factor for its power and uses: the iPod Touch and the iPhone. Nobody is claiming they’re going to take over the uses of a desktop or a laptop: they don’t need to. They do email well enough, the web quite well, all considering, and are easy to use, and have a GUI designed for the limitations.

    TechCrunch people are clearly idiots, and are so young and inexperienced that they’ve not bothered to pay any attention to the industry and what’s happened before last year, it seems. Oh well, here comes another doomed product! That is, unless they do enough analysis before they commit too much and abandon it before it costs them much money…

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