Thursday, March 18, 2010

At Last

With all of the hemming and hawing over the iPad I've done in the past few months announcements of competitive tech are a breath of fresh air. The iPad, to be clear, is amazing. I think it would do anything and everything I would want to do with such a device... in one way or another. But there are things about it which bother me:
- Like... there's no USB ports. You have to connect a dongle. That's retarded. I am sorry... if it makes sense to someone and they are offended by what I just said, I am sorry. But, to me, it's clearly retarded in the truest sense of the word retarded.
- Also there's no built in card reader. I know. I am nitpicking. But almost every netbook in existence right now has an SD card reader built in. It's just handy. It's just useful. And on a device using a custom OS which may or may not play nice with the other computers on my network, it's doubly handy. But it's not part of the iPad. So you connect a USB dongle and then you connect a USB card reader? Ridiculous.
- It's ABSOLUTELY NOT CHEAP. Let's be real for a second. This thing is essentially a netbook to me. That's what I am looking for. A netbook... which also functions as an e-reader. I can get a netbook. I can get one for less than half the price of the iPad. Sure, the iPad will boot faster and is more function oriented. It's interface is very likely a good deal smoother. But that's not the point. The point is this question: is the iPad inexpensive for what it is? Honestly... here's the breakdown: Is the iPad worth its price? Probably. Is it cheap? Nope.
- It's not an e-book reader. I am sorry, I know it will have e-book software built in. I know it was specifically designed to function as an e-book reader. I know it's almost heretical to say it isn't an e-book reader. But it's not. Not to me. Not in the one most important way which justifies getting an e-book reader at all instead of running emulation software on a PC or netbook. The screen. The whole point of getting a device specific to reading books/e-books [in my opinion] is that it would be comfortable to look at for hours at a time. LCDs are pretty good at that. They don't strain the eyes like an old CRT would, sure. But they are nowhere near as good at it as the e-paper technology is. I can't justify the iPad as an e-book reader for that reason more than anything.
- It is tied to Apple, to iTunes, and to all of their iCrap infrastructure. This is actually a bonus feature for some people. I get that. For me... it's not. I hate iTunes. I hate everything about it. I can't stand trying to use it. I sure as shooting don't want to be locked into using it without any recourse or other options.
- Finally, there's the big issue that everyone has latched onto to argue about: it doesn't support Flash. Do I really care if it supports flash? Yes and no. I mean... will people love it and never notice it's lack of flash support? Sure. Is flash the end-all be-all of the internet? No. Is flash itself even worth throwing a fit about? Not really. The problem, however, is the underlying attitude it represents. I want devices that do as much as they possibly can. If the device is capable of doing it, I want it to allow the option. The iPad is capable of supporting flash. It just won't because Apple decided flash is bad and they won't allow anyone in their ecosystem to have it. Is this good for some people? Possibly. I am sure there are people out there who are really happy to have big daddy Apple guiding their every step and shielding them from any potential harm. That's not really me, though. Apple limits everything. They limit it right down to their little vision. Their vision is certainly compelling, but I don't want it at the expense of everything else. I want a device from a company whose attitude is that they want to support everything they possibly can. That is not Apple.

So... those are my qualms. Why am I even still considering the iPad? Because it looks nice and it will doubtless be fun to use despite all of these drawbacks.
Even better, though, is when I hear about something on par with the iPad - like the HP Slate - which fits my needs better. And best of all is a device like this one which seems to fit all of my requirements absolutely perfectly and does so while purportedly aiming at a price point one could argue is actually cheap. It's not available until June supposedly. Still, I couldn't be more excited about it. I give you the:
Notion Ink Adam

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