suggestion for a new model

Discussion in 'Axiotron Modbook' started by superspypig, Jul 18, 2007.

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  1. detlef

    detlef Pen Pal - Newbie

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    according to Mac Rumors Apple is developing a tablet.
    (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/01/17/full-video-ipod-in-2007-and-mac-tablet-in-2008/)

    If Apple isn't than Axiotron should do it.

    According to the rumor the Tablet Mac is targeted for the research and education markets. I have been working in research since over 15 years. I worked in academia and in the industry.

    Coming from this background I will be giving below the specifications of a device that I would like. I strongly believe that many in academia and research grave for such a device.

    I do read a lot of scientific publications. I use my desktop computer in my office to do the literature search and to download the publications in PDF form from an online source. Currently I print the papers and read the hardcopies. In my office hundreds of publications are stacked.

    This practice costs a lot of paper and ink. Considering that almost all scientists in academia and industrial research have stacks of publications in their office one can imagine how much money could be saved with a useful device that would eliminate this practice.

    Such a devise would not only save money but also make reading publications more convenient. One wouldn't have to carry hardcopies around anymore. Imagine, the only thing one would need to carry to the cafe, or during commute or during a business trip would be the tablet.

    Such a tablet would also allow people to follow a presentation while it is given at e.g at a scientific conference. That would open the possibility to take notes to each slide of the presentation. Some people today follow presentations and take notes using their laptops but most people still use paper and pen. Using a tablet would be more efficient and effective.

    Another useful function for this tablet would be the ability to take hand written notes. Scientists do have a lot of meetings. People take notes during meetings. As during conferences a few people today use computers most still even in Silicon Valley use paper and pen.

    Rounding up the functionality of the tablet would be wireless internet access using a browser like Safari.

    In summary the perfect tablet for scientists would have wireless capability to enable search and download of publications from the internet. It would have the ability to read as well as to highlight text in PDF publications and is has the capability to take handwritten notes. Finally the inclusion of Endnote would turn the device into a well rounded mobile study and note taking tool. The perfect companion for any academic, student or industrial scientist.

    Here are my specifications:
    1. The screen size of the device should be US letter or just a little bit smaller.
    2. The style and thickness of the device should be like an iPod nano and weight less than 1 kg.
    3. Software: File manager (Finder), Web browser, PDF reader for reading, highlighting & notes, simple text editor for notes, Endnote
    4. Hardware: flash drive, bluetooth, wireless lan

    I really hope that such a device will enter the market soon. I am already waiting since years for such a thing.
    If I look at the types of tablets that are available today it reminds me of the days before the iPod. For the iPod I also had to wait years.
     
  2. dans595

    dans595 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    You didn't give any reasons why it needs to be a Mac. Everything you mentioned can already be done on a PC.
     
  3. detlef

    detlef Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The device doesn't necessarily need to be a Mac but I would prefer a Mac based slate tablet. That is my personal bias. I have been running Windows XP in parallel on my IntelMac since this became possible. I adapted and therefore would accept a Vista or WXP based slate tablet but I would prefer an OSX based slate tablet.

    You are right there are some slate tablets that fulfill my functional requirements. There is the Fujitsu ST5000 Series, there is the Motion LE1700wt, the Sahara Slate PC i440D, the Electrovaya Scribblers and there is the Axiotron. But all slates are too thick and too heavy. The Sahara comes closest to my wishes.

    The problem why these slates are to thick and too heavy is that these slates are derived from laptop computers. They are still full blown computers. Instead one should develop a slate coming from cellular phone technology. In my opinion it takes the most advanced cellular phone technology to develop an ultra slim and ultra light weight slate tablet.

    Furthermore the slate needs to be devolped with a clear customer group in mind. By doing so the focus will be only on the functionality that is need allowing to excluding everything else. That is another key to develop a light weight and slim slate. It looks to me that the slate developers are including everything to not exclude anybody. But I am questioning this strategy. This strategey may actually lead to the loss of a lot of potential customers.

    Among all slate tablet developers only Sony has access to the technology that would allow it to develop such a devise. Sony came out with the Sony Reader. That tablet goes into the right direction. If Sony would consider the needs of academics, students and industrial researchers and not just the needs of the general consumers Sony would probably be able to develop the right device.

    Apple is the only other company that can pull together all the technologies needed to develop a cellular phone technology based slate tablet. I can see the Mac tablet being an offshoot of the iPhone. Considering Apple's history in the academic market and its history in industrial design I believe Apple will be the one company that will develop the breakthrough slate tablet for the academic, student and research market.

    I really hope that the rumors are correct.
     
  4. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    What the heck is the point of a full sized tablet based on cell phone processors? I laugh everytime I see iPhone commercial about the "real internet" since I don't remember the last time the "real internet" that didn't involve Flash and Java, but that's exactly what iPhone can't support because it's using cell phone processors. Even though the ARM 11 CPU is running @ 620MHz, and even though the damn thing's OS has footprint of 700+MBs, you still have gimped internet experience because the class of CPU just isn't powerful enough for Flash and Java!

    So I have to ask you again, what do you want this Mac Tablet of yours to do? It obviously can't give you the full internet, nor run any decent art programs, nor do half the things real computers can do. If just want a giant iPhone, I don't think even the biggest Mac fans will be able to stand by such absurd request!
     
  5. dans595

    dans595 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    He wants an ultra-slim slate tablet that is always ready for you, like a cell phone. The tablet should do everything a current slate-tablet should do. The difference is, he wants it be smaller and to use less juice.

    From what I understand... there would be two ways to go about it: 1) Take the iPhone style technology to the next level and essentially turn it into a stylus-driven slate machine that is bigger and more powerful, with more software for scientists. or 2) Shrink the current slates to be ultra thin and have better battery life.

    Option 2 seems much more feasible to me, we're just waiting for our grasp to catch up to our reach.
     
  6. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    And I want a car that flies and costs pennies per day to operate. Come on guys. Let's be realistic with our expectations.

    There is SOOOO much problem with this entire notion. First, I don't even know what you mean by "iPhone style technology". All iPhone is is an embedded CPU device (ARM 11 in this case) that's married with rudimentary multitouch interface running cut down OSX. If you turn it bigger and more powerful, then you are competing with devices that has real X86 CPUs. No matter how much more powerful, it cannot compete with real Windows XP/Vista and OSX devices since it's using embedded processors with limited capabilities compared to the X86 counterparts.

    And if you intend to start a new class of device with non x86 processors that has nearly the capability, that's basically starting from scratch for software support. Apple has enough problems with maintaining 5% of the PC marketshare with their resources. They can't start an entirely new platform. The iPhone is using a modified OSX so that they don't have to start from scratch.

    This approach is where the future is fairly close. Intel's Menlow is only about 9 months away. But these guys won't give you instant on of embedded devices because of the RAM requirements of the OSes. There's just too much juice required to keep 512MB+ of RAM fed with electricity throughout the day, nor will NAND flash be fast enough to deal with those OSes.
     
  7. dans595

    dans595 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I think that that the original poster's desired machine's properties are a specified functionality (what it can do: PDFs, notes, web browsing, email, easy-on, etc) and form factor (small, thin, light).

    That's sort of what I said, if you'll read the last sentence of the post you replied to. However, we are much closer to thin slate PCs than we are to energy efficient flying cars.

    I think by "no matter how much more powerful, it cannot compete with [current machines]" you mean 'the power of these embedded CPUs are far from the level of performance expected out of current x86 chips.' The first sentence is probably indefensible, but your intent is clear enough. That is why I suggested option 2! Further, neither the original poster nor I said that the machine has to be as fast as current PCs, rather, that it must have a desired functionality (which I compared to that of a current slate machine).

    As far as that second paragraph, there's no reason to even consider going that route. One, it's better to continue on technology that is already established, and another, people love OSX. If he is an Apple fan, he'll surely want OSX.

    Perhaps instant-on is a bit lofty with current technology, but it sure would be a nice feature. Like I said, we're just waiting for our grasp to catch up with our reach.
     
  8. dans595

    dans595 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Re-reading the original poster's criteria, I think the product could be made with current technology. The power of a current slate and easy-on were not mentioned (I guess those were my wants sneaking in there). His requests are actually fairly modest. After trying an iPhone, and being in an academic discipline, I can see why he wants what he wants. Also after trying an iPhone, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable.
     
  9. superspypig

    superspypig Pen Pal - Newbie

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    sounds really epic.

    My want would be be able to oppen 50 webpages without any crash (I mean a real tablet.) Convertable, and have a set of external moniters so that I don't need papers on a table anymore. True, his ask IS really modest. Most of the functions are already available on a windows based tablet ps. Just, iPHONE's UI is so attempting.

    I really like the file browser in Leopard, this is also why I am plannig to double boot after I get my tabletPC. The file browser has the function of preview and managing files, while the former one is never available for all file types in windows.
     
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