Notable 2010 iPad Competitors that were dead on arrival

Created by Singapore's very own home grown tech company, Fusion Garage, the JooJoo showed a lot of promise but ultimately died. It was supposedly able to play HD video but stuttered along; it limped on a weak battery and the Atom powered 12.1 inch tablet was simply underpowered to do anything but surf the web. It's a cloud-computing product that's either too ahead of its time or ill-conceived.

The Microsoft Courier showed a lot of promise but I would venture a guess that the required processing power that could run such a visionary and intuitive (oh my God, it's like my Moleskin! But in tablet form!) product would have rendered Microsoft's innovative tablet a tad oversized. In terms of user experience and speed, the Courier would not only need at least 4GB of ram (for multiple projects) but also it's own dedicated graphics to facilitate smoothness of the flipping, pinching and swiping. Pity.

I don't know if any of Apple's rivals were taking notes when the iPad broke into and virtually dismantled the netbook and tablet market when they first launched in April 2010; Here's a list of features that upstarts and early adopters should take note off if they want to challenge the Cupertino fruit company's dominance.

What Rivals should have learned from the iPad

  1. The iPad's display is the key: The Apple iPad may not have the biggest screen real estate (9.7 inch) but it's certainly the best implemented. Taking the highly visual UI (user interface) lessons learned from the Apple iPhone, the Cupertino tech company removed unnecessary buttons and stuck to the bare minimum. With in-plane switching or IPS, the iPad continues to rule in terms of colour and viewing angles.
  2. It's the processor stupid: Powered by Apple A4 chip with Power VR SGX graphics, Apple is spot on overcoming one of the netbook's biggest flaws- underpowered processors lead to choppy video playback. Video being 1/3 of what users used their mobile computing devices for.
  3. iOS4 Native operating system: Having the iPad share an operating system with it's 2 other hero devices (iPod Touch and iPhone), means that- shared app store, lower development costs for developers wanting to produce for three platforms (iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone) and quality control in terms of the user experience. My only grouse is that Apple believes it has a right to control what apps I might wish to purchase and download. That said, if I wish to look at beautiful "semi-naked" women, the Safari browser is pretty much unblocked. Try to have a seamless app experience across 3 different implementations of the Android OS why don't you- Not possible. It's a headache for developers AND users.
  4. Magic Multitouch: While it's true that almost all of Apple's rivals have wisened up to the idea of multi-touch, none of them have calibrated their touch input software and hardware to the point of the iFamily's sheer magic. None of the other devices I've tested have as high an accuracy rate in terms of screen button presses than to the iPad. While rapid typing, at last count the Multitouch screen on the iPad scores about 98% accuracy out of 200 screen presses (using the on-screen keyboard). Android OS screen keyboards score around 89% in comparison.
  5. 802.11n WiFi, 3G and true mobility: No one wants to be tethered to a WiFi hotspot; Kudos for the "on-the-go" internet access through 3G but the micro-SIM card slot lost a lot of points for many users who might not have had any of these handy. The Apple iPad handles mobile computing needs with much panache and does it with longer battery life than it's rivals.
  6. Long battery life: Weighing in at up to 10 hours. The iPad's battery life is among the longest. You can't stay mobile if you need to stay tethered to the power supply.

Apple iPad's major disadvantages

Though it's not touted as a laptop or netbook replacement, the facts are that users are using these devices to clear emails and create documents in addition to using as a media consumption tool. For many mobile warriors, journalists and bloggers, a full feature (term used loosely) iPad goes a long way. Due to security and copy right restrictions, any images and photos in your iPad directory cannot be accessed by other apps (say wordpress or quick office) and this hampers many power iPad users. Though the iPad is powerful enough to handle basic presentation tasks, you couldn't actually create one because you couldn't use any of the JPGs transfered from your desktop via iTunes. That's a big minus.

In terms of technical spec design, the Cupertino fruit company has time and again proven itself equal parts marketing savvy and tech innovator. It's an open secret that Apple usually releases products missing a few key features that can only be found after repeated blogosphere outcry or available only in the next version of the product. The proof is in the pudding when Apple's rivals produce incredibly feature rich products (they sometimes come with a USB port) only to have consumers spending on Apple products. Truth is, Apple isn't just for fan boys, a show of hands how many PC desktop jockeys (myself included. I game) use iPods, iPhones and iPads? I rest my case.

Apple's  home court advantage

Apple makes it's own chips, components and software. When you're dealing with a Cupertino company that is so firmly (and some say perfectly) integrated in terms of it's product design and innovation, any company that depends on external vendors are going to face challenges when it comes to proper implementation of their vision.

“Our potential competitors are having a tough time coming close to iPad’s pricing even with their far smaller, far less expensive screens. The iPad incorporates everything we’ve learned about building high value products from iPhones, iPods and Macs. We create our own A4 chip, our own software, our own battery chemistry, our own enclosure, our own everything, and this results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof of this will be in the pricing of our competitors’ products which will likely offer less for more.” - Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and founder

The only way the iPad could get simpler to use.