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Author Topic: Competition to the plug?  (Read 3912 times)
plugcrazy
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« on: January 04, 2010, 11:21:46 AM »


An Affordable $199 Tablet for Everyone -- And It's Not From Apple
http://www.pcworld.com/article/185764/A_199_Tablet_for_Everyone_And_Its_Not_From_Apple.html

the specs: (copy pasted from the above link):
Here are the full specs of the Freescale smartbook:

    * Size: 200mm by 128mm by 14.9cm and weighing 376 grams; no need for fan or heat sink
    * Processor: Freescale i.MX515 applications processor provides high performance and low power
    * ARM Cortex-A8 1GHz
    * OpenVG & OpenGL/ES graphics cores
    * HD video decoder hardware
    * Memory: 512 MB DDR2
    * Display: 7-inch (1024 by 600) touch screen
    * Storage: 4-64 GB internal storage; removable micro SD
    * Connectivity: 3G modem (option) 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, RF4CE (option)
    * Ports: USB 2.0 and USB mini (also for charging), audio in/audio out, SIM card
    * Audio: speaker, microphone
    * Camera: 3 Megapixel (video recording up to VGA @ 30fps)
    * Battery: 1900mAh, USB charging
    * Sensors: the MMA8450Q three-axis accelerometer and an ambient light sensor
    * Power management IC

The lack of a RJ45 port might limit its use as a server. OK, not really competition but its an interesting spec and form factor.

Thanks,
PC
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mgillespie
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2010, 12:26:57 PM »

However Apple will spend lots of money on marketing, and consumers will then buy whatever crap Apple want to sell them regardless of how good or bad it is, in comparision to competing products.

I have long since worked out that best technology or best value does not mean best sales any more, if you have pretty adverts and comes with a "uban chic" created by the manufacturer, then you can sell sub-par stuff to the mass market consumers that are too stupid (or lazy) to bother to explore alternatives.   Many examples of this (iPhone, iPod, Wii, Xbox360 all inferior to their counterparts, but sell well due to advertising/marketing/virual marketing/astroturfing)
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darkscout
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 12:48:02 AM »

However Apple will spend lots of money on marketing, and consumers will then buy whatever crap Apple want to sell them regardless of how good or bad it is, in comparision to competing products.

I have long since worked out that best technology or best value does not mean best sales any more, if you have pretty adverts and comes with a "uban chic" created by the manufacturer, then you can sell sub-par stuff to the mass market consumers that are too stupid (or lazy) to bother to explore alternatives.   Many examples of this (iPhone, iPod, Wii, Xbox360 all inferior to their counterparts, but sell well due to advertising/marketing/virual marketing/astroturfing)

The iPod and then the iPhone made it because of the user interface. You can still go out there and buy cheap (<$75) media players from China. The UI sucks. You have to be a near Linux Guru to encode any media to play on them. The UI... really sucks. iPhone/iPod integrates directly with iTunes store. People can easily (and legally) get their media. I have no problem finding the latest Torrent/NZB, loading it up in rTorrent or SABnzbd+, scping it to my Mac. Dragging and dropping it onto my cheap media player. There is no way in hades I'm going to have my mother do that. Her iPod shuffle + iTunes is easy enough for her to figure out.

The Wii brought gaming to EVERYONE. My aunts and uncles who have never touched a gaming console in their lives got up and bowled with us at Thanksgiving. They played tennis and even some of the more advanced 'group' games.

Specs on paper don't always tell the whole story. If this comes out at $199 and the UI absolutely sucks, there is no product support and hard to figure out then you bet your a$$ a product that costs 5x as much is going to do better. Apple spends big money on the entire user experience, right down to product packaging. Some of their packaging for the last product I bought was ingenious. Compared to the 'I'm probably going to lose a finger opening this' stuff that I get at Walmart.

In the Same way I bought the Sheeva Dev Kit, but if my mom or sister wanted to do the stuff it does, I'd most certainly recommend a company that may be 'more expensive' that spends money on being 'urban chic' even though it may be missing the Oh So Important Extra Feature: SD card Slot. (I mean, on paper SD == Better Right?)

 
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superpat
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 03:07:50 AM »

@mgillespie

Not a computer contender but one of the biggest example of marketing winning over specifications

Two words for you:-

BETAMAX

VHS


cheers

Patrick
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mgillespie
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 03:16:17 AM »


The iPod and then the iPhone made it because of the user interface. You can still go out there and buy cheap (<$75) media players from China. The UI sucks. You have to be a near Linux Guru to encode any media to play on them. The UI... really sucks. iPhone/iPod integrates directly with iTunes store. People can easily (and legally) get their media. I have no problem finding the latest Torrent/NZB, loading it up in rTorrent or SABnzbd+, scping it to my Mac. Dragging and dropping it onto my cheap media player. There is no way in hades I'm going to have my mother do that. Her iPod shuffle + iTunes is easy enough for her to figure out.

The Wii brought gaming to EVERYONE. My aunts and uncles who have never touched a gaming console in their lives got up and bowled with us at Thanksgiving. They played tennis and even some of the more advanced 'group' games.


But isn't this just marketing people TELLING people that what they are doing is new and exciting?  Look at Nintendos stupid marketing tricks of drip feeding supplies, so consumers kill each other to buy one (they must be good, right, because nowhere has them...).   The reality is however, that the Playstation2 was doing EXACTLY what the Wii is doing today, TEN years ago, with the EyeToy camera and motion tracking.

Same really for the iPod/iPhone, yes, they might have a good UI, but everything else about them sucks badly, their PRIMARY purpose, music in the case of the ipod and making calls in the case of the iPhone, they are both horrid at (the sound quality of the iPods in particular, which cheap Chinese players regularly outclass them in).

As for the UI, again, Apple have such a foothold, people don't bother to explore alternatives.  Creative, Sony Walkman and iRiver all have great speedy UI, and do exactly what they neeed to, no more, and arguably because of that do it better than Apple.

I just get annoyed when marketing wins out over tech.  In my ideal world, the products with the best technology will always succeed, and marketing would not be needed at all.
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darkscout
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 09:08:15 AM »

But isn't this just marketing people TELLING people that what they are doing is new and exciting?  Look at Nintendos stupid marketing tricks of drip feeding supplies, so consumers kill each other to buy one (they must be good, right, because nowhere has them...).   The reality is however, that the Playstation2 was doing EXACTLY what the Wii is doing today, TEN years ago, with the EyeToy camera and motion tracking.

Well, yes guess Marketing has to tell the general public what they do. I never knew the PS2 did any of that. I don't remember seeing any ads for any games that did it. I'm really interested in how a single 2D camera was able to pick up stuff like the twist of your wrist during bowling, tennis and such. To say that it did exactly what the Wii does is a bit of a hyperbole.

Same really for the iPod/iPhone, yes, they might have a good UI, but everything else about them sucks badly, their PRIMARY purpose, music in the case of the ipod and making calls in the case of the iPhone, they are both horrid at (the sound quality of the iPods in particular, which cheap Chinese players regularly outclass them in).

What sucks so bad about the iPod? This chart shows that response is relatively flat: http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcomponents/934/index5.html# Most people are listening to 128k to 192k MP3s. I'm not all audio philes. Every music playing device I've used has sounded the same and



As for the UI, again, Apple have such a foothold, people don't bother to explore alternatives.  Creative, Sony Walkman and iRiver all have great speedy UI, and do exactly what they neeed to, no more, and arguably because of that do it better than Apple.

I've used some of those UIs. They suck. They're non-intuitive and the controls suck as well.

Quote
I just get annoyed when marketing wins out over tech.  In my ideal world, the products with the best technology will always succeed, and marketing would not be needed at all.

You severely underestimate what marketing does. God forbid a world with stuff designed by Engineers.
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Valkyrie
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 09:32:18 AM »

No RJ45? No way! I'll take copper over wireless any day.

Love the comments about Apple. iPhone + iPod = iSheep.
LOL!

Marketing has it's place. The job of Marketing is to sell crap to the unsuspecting public.
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mgillespie
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 10:17:24 AM »

Marketing has it's place. The job of Marketing is to sell crap to the unsuspecting public.

Precisely.  Anyone with any ounce of common sense will put the spin/hype/fud aside and pick a product based on REAL values (price, performance, build quality, features and specification),,,
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scologic
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 12:42:50 PM »

Knowing the costs involved with all this stuff the $200 will be a lot of BS down to the fact manufacture of such a device will be about that kind of figure. If it's touch it'll not be as tough as demand dictates either.
We've been looking at the toshiba tablet due out q1 this year and the bottom line is the battery fails the market demand.
Marvell could be more accepting to us asking for items like more usb ports, on off buttons and built in wifi. Perhaps if we had this a lot more would be developed sooner.

Sco Logic
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MarkF
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2010, 12:53:03 PM »

The job of Marketing is to sell crap to the unsuspecting public.
So the high quality or REAL value products are sold by companies without marketing departments?  Or are all products crap since all companies have marketing departments?

LOL!  You guys crack me up.   Grin

This is actually a pretty simple concept; but, it can be hard for some to understand.  Believe it or not, different people value different things from you.  That doesn't make them wrong, only different.  Some actually value a UI that someone other than an engineer can use.  Some value aesthetics more than function. (GASP!)  By the way, explaining to them why their values are wrong (their "good" and "bad" don't match yours) won't get them to buy your product.

Many of Apple's products have fallen into these categories (easy UI and high aesthetics).  Like it or not, these types of products tend to sell very well, and at high margins, because they appeal to people with these values who have no other choices that fit their needs.

Shouldn't you be COVETING customers that accept high margins and figuring out how to sell them YOUR products?  Or is it more fun to name call and bash products that you don't understand the appeal of instead of figuring out WHY they are wildly popular with the non-tech crowd? (So far, it looks like this one Smiley )

As for the actual topic of this thread: a non-HD, small screened, underpowered, wireless only, $200 tablet PC with little memory doesn't appeal to me.  Others may like it a lot. Wink
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Mark

plugcrazy
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 04:26:58 PM »

I should have removed the reference to apple in my post  Undecided

We are talking about using it as a server instead of the plug. But I think with the release of Plug3.0 it has a very unique spot in the server market.
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MarkF
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2010, 08:39:56 AM »

PC -

Sorry I strayed from the topic.  I shouldn't let myself get pulled into these side discussions so easily. Sad

Being battery powered, wireless ONLY (no GigE), no SATA or ESATA (with port multiplication) - this doesn't fit into any of the current server space I use.  But, as I said before, others may like it a lot.
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Mark

plugcrazy
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2010, 12:10:18 PM »

Not a problem :-) ....

Well the only good thing going for it is the screen (I'm assuming we are talking about the competition and not the plug) and allows a little more acceptability in the non-geek market segment :-). In the home/smb it may find some use-cases. I would think its killer apps as all those applications that require some type of GUI.

Some examples:
1. Central console for the connected home
2. Electrical panel rooms that have smart/electronic meters
3. Cheap mobile mini-kiosks (for events etc.)

All the above could be done by the plug, but the combined solution would not be as neat.
- PC
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MarkF
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 01:42:07 PM »

Well the only good thing going for it is the screen (I'm assuming we are talking about the competition and not the plug) and allows a little more acceptability in the non-geek market segment :-).
I agree; though, headless network appliances are gaining more traction in the mainstream than a few years ago.
Quote
In the home/smb it may find some use-cases. I would think its killer apps as all those applications that require some type of GUI.
If I were to argue, Smiley I'd say something about many PDAs, nettops, netbooks, laptops and smartphones covering these same areas and doing a bunch more.  I just don't know how big of a niche this device will find at $200.

Maybe it becomes a plug-n-play Skype videophone?  At $200, it is certainly in the same price range as the competition.  Does it have the "guts" to do it?  I don't know.
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Mark

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