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The iPad hasn't been out three weeks and already we are hearing reports that Google , HP , Dell and Microsoft are planning tablet computers of their own.

Much like touch phones, these devices are not likely to be created equal and it got me thinking what these companies must do to compete with the mighty Apple on this front.

Here are five ways they can compete with the iPad.

1. Underprice: If the competitors hope to compete with the iPad, the first thing they need to do is come in much cheaper. I'm thinking $100-150 below the lowest price iPad.

2. Double the hard drive space: If Apple is 16 and 32 MB, make yours 32 MB and 64 MB and remember #1. Give more, charge less. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it's really the only way to compete with iPad.

3. Link it to a Mobile OS: Link the tablet to an existing mobile OS with an application eco-system in place. This is the only way to play against the App Store, which remains a key iPad strength.

4. Work with Flash: Seems simple enough, but if the iPad eschews Flash, then the competitors should embrace it.

5. Fill in the missing pieces: That means include a USB port, a camera and even an SD card reader. Whatever the iPad can't do, make your machine do it.

It may be difficult for manufacturers to compete with Apple while trying to adhere to these five items, but if they don't, they are destined to gather dust on the shelves of warehouses. Apple always has a certain advantage when it comes design and functionality and the others must fill in the missing pieces that people want to compete or face computing obscurity before they even leave the gate.

Photo by smays on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

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Last Post by Techwriter10
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Totally wrong. Your post is like saying a Hummer is better than a Ferrari Testarossa because it's cheaper and bigger. Tens of millions of people already ignore Flash on the internet and couldn't care less. A camera on a big thing like this would be like camera in your armpit. Sure, it's there, but nobody would use it.

If you want to compete you'd need a better, more intuitive interface (good luck with that!), an easy way to port applications to it so you'd have an enormous ecosystem, and several built-in killer applications.

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The camera wouldn't be for taking pictures it would be for services like Skype to have conversations with video, a common use for it.

In fact, many people do care about Flash and I found when I used an iPad for the first time, when you run into the Flash wall, on Hulu for instance, it's not pleasant.

Finally, they could try to compete on the OS level, but as you say it's not going to be easy. I actually included the idea of applications, so we agree on that point.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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Well, you may have a point... However I played with an iPad and will be buying the 64gb 3G when it is available. The problem for all other alternatives will be:

1. Will it be as fast?
2. Will it be as easy to use?
3. Apple already had a jump on the usability right a launch due to all the iphone apps that will already run on it.


at this point everyone else will be playing catch-up. Just when they are ready to release, Apple will raise the bar again. Looks like we are already seeing that with what little we know about iphone os 4.

HP promised a pretty intuitive slate. Still, has not been released, and it will be running windows. We already know Windows track record with the old pocket PC's Compaq had out in the early 90's, Windows CE, and other mobile versions. I am not holding my breath...

I think the iPad has what it takes. For business too. All we need is the app developers to release more in the line of VPN connectivity and we will be golden in the business place. other than that - with all the apps out there now, one can be very productive on the ipad. Even more when the 3G ones are available.

Hey I already have 120 apps (100 are on my iphone now). I am still lacking 2-3 apps, but as of right now, the ipad can do everything (with the exception of video editing, desktop publishing, iWeb editor, and being a mass storage device [permanent archive - MobileStudio handles the temporary aspect]) that I can with my 2008 macbook. my macbook is going to become my desktop machine permanently fixed in my office. my ipad will be my on-the-go, on my couch, weekend / vacation, and business trip computer.

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Good points, all, but remember, the iPad is good for limited typing. Having used the touch keyboard, I can tell you it's functional, but I can't see doing meaningful writing on it. Sure, in a pinch I could use it, but without an external keyboard, it's not a work tool. It's a media device for viewing movies, playing games, reading books and so forth. I'm not suggesting you couldn't do work on there, but if you are a writer like me, it would be very difficult. I think the lap top still has its place. This device fits somewhere in between the laptop and the netbook. And if you need a keyboard, it brings us back to the original UMPCs with external keyboards, and that gets a bit awkward to carry with us.

Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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Well Ron, I don't know.. We will have to wait and see, when I get mine. Then I will let you know more about writing...

But I can tell you that I typed up sermon's and articles that are about 5+ full-sized pages (8 1/2 X 11- when printed out) using QuikWord on my iphone (complete with bullet points, indentations, full paragraphs, etc). And with having played with an ipad for about 1/2 hr at an Apple store... I found the larger keyboard in landscape mode easier to use, and I could type with both hands instead of 1 (iphone keyboard I could only use 1 hand).

So for me, it is not that bad - it is an improvement over typing on the iphone. The younger kids who were working in the Apple store said "Wow you type fast". I told them that I have been using computers for 27 years and I am a computer programmer and minister - so I do a lot of typing.

Will I get the external keyboard dock? I am not so sure, unless I can find an ipad case it is compatible with the dock. But then again, if I am going to use an external keyboard, I might as well use my desktop or my macbook.

I'll update you in a few months (buy the time the 3G's are available, I get mine, and I had some time to really put it to good use). But for now, all things are positive for me; and I really did not find the virtual keyboard that bad. Less cramped than some netbooks I tried. I know some people have trouble, if they cannot feel the keys under their fingers - so a virtual keyboard may prove fustrating for them.

Other than that, what I see and can do (thanks to the app store developers) - I am very pleased with the device. More pleased than I was viewing the January Keynote.

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That's impressive if you are that comfortable typing on the iPhone. The iPad is definitely an improvement, but it's strange because it's big enough to use both hands, but of course if you lay your hands on the keys, you activate them, so you can't type in a normal way. See my full review here on DaniWeb.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. Always appreciated.

Ron

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