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iPad disappoints

Steve Jobs pours ridicule on netbooks, saying: “They’re slow, they have low quality displays … They’re not better at laptops than anything, they’re just cheaper”. Well I have news for him, after the launch of his iPad I think that my Acer Aspire One netbook is a better ownership proposition. Which is not what I was expecting.

So where have Apple gone wrong?:

  • Apple have a marketing strategy with iPod/iPhone of planned obsolescence, like Detroit carmakers in the 1950s and 1960s. The product line is updated regularly with features held back to make the next model more appealing. So many customers upgrade every year. This strategy is no longer valid because of Android. Apple need to maximise their benefits and features to stay ahead in the race. They haven’t done so and will be outperformed on price and specification by a myriad of competitors.
  • No OLED display, presumably this will be in next year’s model. Instead they have gone for IPS (In Plane Switching) LCD. This technology gives a wide viewing angle and good colours, however it switches very slowly producing motion blur which is not good for games. Also, compared with OLED, it uses a lot of electricity, resulting in a short battery life.
  • Not a proper competitor for Kindle. Amazon must be very happy today. The Kindle’s E Ink display technology is vastly more readable than any LCD. And Kindle will run for a week on a charge whilst the iPad only lasts 10 hours.
  • The iPad has no camera. What were Apple thinking about? This is an unbelievable omission which severely curtails the usefulness of the device.
  • Processing power. The iPad uses an ARM processor. The netbooks that Jobs derides can have ARM processors too. Or Intel’s rapidly developing Atom. So the iPad has no significant horsepower advantage.
  • No removable battery. This is naughty of Apple, these batteries have a finite life, so eventually need replacing. You have to send your machine back to Apple for this to be done. Which is costly and inconvenient. Also I have different sized batteries for my netbook for different situations and can change between them in seconds.
  • The name. iPad. This is already the butt of massive derision all over the net. I am sure that there are many excellent jokes to come. What were they thinking of?
  • No multitasking. My netbook will do this. This is a very significant weakness.
  • No Adobe Flash. Huge chunks of the internet run on Flash and iPad can’t see it. Presumably Apple do this to protect their App Store revenue. My netbook runs Flash.
  • No Skype. Another massive omission and, once again my netbook can do what the iPad can’t.
  • No USB or Firewire ports. Seriously. My netbook has three USB ports. Once again Apple are seriously limiting what their customers can do with their machine.
  • Storage capacity is limited to a maximum 64GB flash drive. When netbooks often have far bigger hard drives and as many USB memory sticks as the user wants.

Not looking good is it? So what has the iPad got going for it?:

  • Apple fanboys and Apple marketing. This is cult like. Lots of people will buy anything they stick the Apple logo on.
  • Fantastic user interface. Apple really do lead the world at this and have taken it several steps further with the iPad. This gives the device fantastic touch and feel.
  • Price. For once Apple have a realistic price structure. They need it with the competition this machine is going to have. But remember that an iPhone costs just $180 to manufacture and the iPad will cost a similar amount.
  • The App Store. 140,000 applications. On the iPad existing apps run in a small window or scaled, so there isn’t much advantage over an iPhone. But the huge catalogue still represents a huge amount of capabilities for the device. iPad specific applications will obviously benefit from using the bigger screen properly.
  • Money. Apple have enough cash in the bank to buy several small nations. They can throw this at the iPad project till it works.

My Acer Aspire One is still the better device for me and my requirements. It has a mechanical keyboard and a big enough hard drive, it runs Windows XP and Firefox customised for my needs. I can use nearly 30 years worth of heritage software including all the established industry standards. Apple have failed to come up with something that competes with such a netbook.

Evony want to sue me for telling the truth

Evony breasts advert

I have written a number of articles on here telling the truth about what Chinese gold farmers are doing with the game Evony. What I wrote was the truth and is supported by massive evidence from elsewhere. They are just trying to bully me, for instance threatening to sue in Australia in order to make things as difficult as possible. And it is ironic that they try to use the legal system against me when they blatantly stole other people’s game mechanics and graphics in order to make Evony. Also I wonder if they are trying to be so heavy handed against the Guardian? And cheek of all cheeks they are trying to deny comment spamming this blog.

Here are the articles about Evony:

#1

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Justin Forrest, a gaming star

The game Ashes Cricket 2009 is overall, all formats, number one in the UK, having removed Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort from that position. A great achievement. But as is so common in video games the people behind it don’t get the credit.

Justin Forrest is the key here. He played divisional cricket in South Africa, which is the equivalent of our county cricket. And he is a top game designer and external producer and was at Codies for 7 years, during the good days! He was the driving force behind Brian Lara ’05. Then he went to EA Canada for two and a half years and was responsible for their Cricket ’07. So Brian Lara Cricket ’07 was made by Codemasters without him.

But now he is back at Codemasters as we can all see with this great chart success.

PS3 manufacturing cost down 70%

Sony have reduced the manufacturing cost of the PS3 by 70% according to Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony CEO and EVP: “The cost reduction since we introduced the PS3 is very substantial and this is on schedule. We don’t disclose how much of the PS3, specifically the cost deduction was achieved during the past two years.  But that is on schedule.” Pushed further he admitted:  “About 70%, roughly speaking,”

Obviously this gives Sony room for a price reduction and thus make the PS3 less uncompetitive.

The 70% reduction is nothing special here. Firstly Sony were forced to rip a lot out of the original machine, including hardware backwards compatibility, to reduce costs. Secondly Moores Law reduces semiconductor costs by half every two years. And thirdly the Bluray drive was new and expensive at PS3 launch, now it is a mass production part which must be costing them a tenth as much to make.

And the PS3 Slim is in production now.

Ubisoft Ruse on Microsoft Surface

I just thought that I would share this great video with you. Very Minority Report. And a good example of a gesture interface used in gaming.

Sony PSP Go

So, as predicted, Sony have removed the UMD drive from the PSP and replaced it with 16 Gbytes of internal flash memory with the option of adding Memory Stick Micros. Content will be downloadable from the Playstation Network (PSN) and will include films, TV and games.

Online discuss has centred on the lack of a touch screen, lack of a second analogue nub and what looks like difficult ergonomics. So there isn’t really a wow factor out there.

It is ironic that Sony, who are championing physical content distribution using Blueray, have abandoned it with the PSP. Also this is another arrow in the back of high street game retail, who are becoming increasingly redundant. The writing is well and truly on the wall that their business model is on the way out.

What will make this device will be the available games. Developers and publishers don’t like PSP because of the immense piracy rate. For the PSP Go launch Sony have rustled up Gran Turismo, Little Big Planet, Metal Gear Solid and Jack and Daxter. A good start, but is it sustainable?

Personally I think that this is too little, too late. Just like the Zune HD. The world has moved on since these devices were thought up. Now an iPhone or an Android phone like the Samsung i7500 has these previous generation devices for breakfast.

And, also ironically, Sony, from a different division, have Android phones on the way. So the PSP Go is yet another example of the lack of joined up management at Sony. Their right hand doesn’t know what their left hand is doing.

Eight news stories 27.11

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