Okay, Are there really any iPad alternatives?
The iPad hype has mostly passed us by. But everyone is talking about the iPad as if the main thing it brings to the table is its nice display and lovable iPhone interface. But is that really true?
Let's try a quick thought experiment -- Other than the iPad, what $500 or less product (already on the market) supports the comfortable reading of full page pdf documents with a large backlit screen? Sure, the iPad doesn't have SD Card or USB support, but are there really any other comparable devices available on the market?
Consider these specs as a baseline. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't see a lot of other choices (yet)...
* 10hrs+ battery life
* Backlit 9"+ hi-resolution color screen
* Small slate or convertible tablet form factor (netbook size or smaller)
* PDF, txt and ePub support
* Price below $500
And that has absolutely nothing to do with any of the "Apple mystique" or the iPhone OS. Throw in a large capacity SD Card slot that is available to e-book applications and it looks pretty close to unbeatable in this context, doesn't it?
Granted, if you're willing to live with a netbook form factor, you could get a netbook with 10hr+ battery life. But is that really an ideal consumer e-book device or just a hacker's workaround? And if you are very patient, there should be some solid Android tablets to compete sometime in the next year. But I suspect anyone reading this is too tech-hungry to be a patient buyer, so that's definitely an unlikely scenario!
What do you think? Is there more to the iPad than just the slick interface? Maybe Apple didn't use their mystique so much as they went for a sweet spot in the market where products are still missing despite all the talk of what's to come.