Tag Archives: iPad rivals

Survey Says: iPad Still the Runaway Leader in Tablet Usage

March 13 Tablet Usage

The latest report from the Chitika online advertising group shows that the iPad is till the runaway leader in tablet usage share. The report is based on web traffic share – and the iPad’s lead actually increased during March – to 81.9% of US and Canadian tablet web traffic.

Just to repeat, that’s 81.9% for all iPads, and less than 20% for all other tablets. The closest rival? Amazon’s Kindle Fire at below 8%, followed by Samsung tablets at less than 5%.

The worst news on here is for Microsoft. Just months after the launches of their Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, and the enormous promotional spend on them, their share is well below 1%. They’re running neck and neck with the Motorola Xoom, which was a major flop and was axed years ago.

Impressive numbers for the iPad.

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My Newest Tablet: Not an iPad


My newest tablet, just acquired today, is not an iPad. It’s the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 –s shown above right between my Nexus 7 and the iPad mini.

I’ve become quite a fan of the 7-8 inch tablet and I saw some very good early reviews of the Galaxy Note 8 and decided to try one out. I’ve had the Nexus 7 for months and been thoroughly underwhelmed by it thus far – so it’s a good time to try out another small tablet. I went to a Microsoft store recently and wanted to see if I liked a Surface RT enough to give it a go – but it didn’t grab me at all.

I’ve had the Galaxy Note 8 for only a little over two hours – just enough time to get to know it a tiny bit and stick it on a charger really. So no deep thoughts on it yet of course – but just as a super quick early impression, I like it. I think I already like it better than the Nexus 7 and I’m very keen to get to know it better.

I’m not ‘switching sides’ here by any means. I sill love the iPad and particularly the iPad mini. I have always been fascinated with mobile devices and I try to keep up a bit with other tablets that seem interesting. I’ve previously owned and spent time with an HP Touchpad, an original Kindle Fire, a Kindle Fire HD, and the Nexus 7.

As I get to know it and use it more I’ll likely write quite a bit more about the Galaxy Note 8 at my other fledgling tablets site – 247 Tablets.

Have any of you used any of the Galaxy Note devices? If so, please share your thoughts and recommendations on them in the comments.

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Surface Sales Estimates Are Bleak, Microsoft Thinks Better Marketing Will Save the Day

Microsoft Surface TV ads

Predictions and estimates offered last week for the early sales numbers for Microsoft’s Surface tablet line don’t paint a very pretty picture. They’re pretty bleak in fact – especially considering how heavily hyped and marketed the Surface RT and Surface Pro have been.

Here’s some details from a Bloomberg story on this:

Microsoft has sold little more than a million of the Surface RT version and about 400,000 Surface Pros since their debuts, according to three people, who asked not to be named because sales haven’t yet been made public. The company had ordered about 3 million Surface RTs, they said. Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG, had initially expected Microsoft to sell 2 million Surface RT devices in the December quarter alone.

Based on Apple’s last reported quarterly results it looks like more iPads are sold every week than the total number of Surface devices sold in four and half months (the Surface RT launched in late October of 2012 and the Surface Pro in early February of this year). If Bloomberg’s numbers are anywhere near accurate, then Surface is really not making much of a dent in the tablet arena at all.

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The New Surface Pro Ad: It’s the Funky Bad Dancing Tablet?

Wow. I’ve watched this new ad for Microsoft’s Surface Pro a few times now, and I still find myself laughing and shaking my head at it. I guess I just don’t get what the strategy behind the Surface ads is. These are meant to be the tablets / tablet hybrids that ‘let you do real work’. The powerful, serious business devices. But their ads are all about people dancing around with them – and offer just about zero indication of anything very business-like yopu can do with them.

Anyone care to fill me in? What’s the message that these ads are trying to deliver?



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TechRepublic’s Half Assed Surface RT to iPad Comparison

Half Assed

Image Source: writerdood.wordpress.com

TechRepublic has a post up this week from Patrick Gray that is billed as a hands-on comparison of the Microsoft Surface RT and the iPad. It’s a half-assed piece that’s full of apples to watermelons style comparisons.

For starters, when discussing the quality of the displays, Gray compares the Surface RT to the iPad 2. So that’s a tablet released very near the end of 2012 being pitted against the iPad released near the beginning of 2011 – and iPad that is now two generations behind the latest model. Lame.

Then Gray trots out a bit of tired, way overused, and misinformed nonsense about the iPad being a ‘just for consumption’ device (emphasis is mine in the excerpt below):

The aim of Microsoft’s tablet was to be easy to use and finger friendly, plus incorporate the best elements of a traditional computer, like running full-fledged productivity applications, which the iPad has never done well.

Bullshit. What are full-fledged productivity applications then? Over 90% of the Fortune 500 are deploying or piloting the iPad. That’s the heart of the enterprise arena there – so what,. they’re all using the iPad to watch movies and do some fun web browsing?

Local, state, and national governments are using the iPad. Healthcare professionals are using the iPad for everything from patient records to diagnostic usage. NFL teams are replacing their playbooks with iPads and have coaches and players using them heavily. The US Air Force and many commercial airlines are using iPads as electronic flightbags. Authors are writing entire novels on iPads, musicians are creating and producing entire albums on iPads.

The iPad has the iWork productivity suite, a number of apps that offer MS Office editing compatibility, cloud-based apps that offer access to Windows and the Office suite, and a huge array of great productivity apps from 3rd part developers.

Which tablet is the one that lacks for even half-decent app choices? The one that needs to pay developers to encourage them to develop for the disjointed half mobile / half desktop Surface RT? Hell, Office itself doesn’t even run on the ‘RT’ side of the Microsoft tablet.

Overall, Gray’s piece is a half-assed look at the Surface RT vs. the iPad, and a regurgitation of a delusional theory that Microsoft’s new tablet is somehow better for ‘real work’ than the iPad. Most reviews of it I’ve seen have left the reviewers not even wanting to carry on using the Surface RT after a day or two, nevermind getting any work done on it.

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Flirting with the Dark Side

Nexus 7

I received my Nexus 7 32GB with Mobile Data last night. I think I was likely one of the last stops on the UPS route, as it hit my doorstep at around 7PM.

I’m not actually flirting with the dark side or planning a switch to Android. But I do think the Nexus 7 looks interesting and it seems to rated as one of the top small tablet rivals to the iPad mini. I’ve tried out both the 2011 Kindle Fire and this year’s Kindle Fire HD and wasn’t particularly impressed with either – so I figure it’s about time to spend some time with a tablet running ‘real’ Android as opposed to the Kinde’s heavily ‘forked’ version.

I have not spent much time at all with the Nexus 7 yet, so no impressions to share just yet – other than that my 9 year old daughter thinks it is ultra cool, despite being told she is not allowed to like Android devices.

Once I’ve got to know it better I’ll share some thoughts on the Nexus 7 of course – but I’ll likely do that over at my more general tablets site: 247 Tablets, while keeping the focus 100% on the iPad here.

Have any of you tried out the Nexus 7? If so, please share your thoughts on it in the comments.

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Microsoft CEO Believes Unicorns Exist, Pigs Fly, & Surface Is the First Tablet Customers Want

Ballmer with Surface tablet

OK, so the first two parts of the post title may be a little exaggerated, but Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, does apparently believe that the new Microsoft Surface ‘PC tablets’ are coming into a tablet market where nobody thus far has made a tablet device that customers want.

In a recent interview with CNBC he has lots of fun things to say about the competition that the Surface may face in the tablet arena – and he dismisses it out of hand:

I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting …

You can go through the products from all those guys … and none of them has a product that you can really use. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. Nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC. Not at any price point.

A few things stand out here. Actually, 100 million things stand out for starters – as in, 100 million iPads sold in just 2.5 years. I think a lot of folks would class that as a pretty clear indication of customers wanting something – though apparently not in Ballmer’s world.

Ballmer talks about PC tablets, because of course he and Microsoft are not big fans of the idea of a Post-PC era. And he seems to believe that a PC tablet is what people really want. I think it’s another example of Ballmer and Microsoft being blind to what’s happening in the mobile space. I think MS has been clueless about mobile for years, and Ballmer’s views on the tablet market just show that they still are.

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Microsoft Exec Calls iPad Mini a ‘Recreational Tablet’

iPad Mini Recreational Tablet

A tablet war of words seems to have broken out over the last few days between Apple and Microsoft. Apple and Google and Amazon have occasionally traded barbs about their tablet devices, but now that Microsoft finally has an actual tablet available for sale – the Surface with Windows RT – Apple and Microsoft execs have exchanged a few choice words on the merits (or lack thereof) or their tablet offerings.

During Apple’s Q4 financial results call on Thursday afternoon, Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO) said that Surface tablets are a ‘fairly compromised, confusing product’ and that “You could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all of those things very well.”

Yesterday Steven Sinofski, President of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live divisions, referred to the new iPad Mini as a ‘recreational tablet’. Here’s the mention, via Apple Insider:

“These are fantastic machines,” Sinfosky said of one of many reasonably-priced Windows 8 laptops shown at Microsoft’s event. “It’s $279. Here we are, talking about seven-inch recreational tablets for $329.”

I haven’t seen the laptop Sinofski is talking about, but I have to say I find it hard to believe that any $279 laptop is anything more than a complete piece of junk, probably comparable to some of the worst netbooks we used to see in the local Best Buy store.

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First TV Ad for Microsoft Surface: ‘Movement’

Microsoft Surface Ad

Microsoft has started running their first TV ads for their upcoming new tablet/laptop device, Surface. The ad is called ‘Movement’ and I saw it several times last night during Monday Night Football.

It shows off the ability to snap on it’s add-on keyboard and use its built-in stand. There are a lot of snapping and clicking sounds and a whole lot of musical and dance routines to go with them.

I think the ad is OK enough to watch, it’s not terrible like many Microsoft ads have been. But … it says just about zero about what you can actually do with this supposedly powerhouse new tablet/laptop. One of the great things about Apple’s iPad TV ads is that they focus on all the amazing iPad apps and what you can do with them. Of course, Microsoft probably does not have much to say in this area yet – but even so this first Surface ad seems awfully lightweight to me.

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I Ordered a Kindle Fire HD Today

Kindle Fire HD

Like it says above, I just ordered a Kindle Fire HD a short while ago on the Amazon site. I’m not ‘switching sides’ all of a sudden, but I am interested in trying out some of the iPad’s most interesting rivals, and especially those in the smaller tablet bracket while I look forward to the expected iPad Mini launch next month.

Amazon is hailing this as ‘the world’s most advanced 7” tablet and their lineup of new Kindle tablets has been mostly well received based on their unveiling and early first impression reviews

I ordered the $199 16GB model with an expected delivery date of September 26. Here are some of the listed specs and features for it:

    • 1280×800 HD display with polarizing filter and anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle
    • Exclusive Dolby audio and dual-driver stereo speakers for immersive, virtual surround sound
    • World’s first tablet with dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40% faster downloads and streaming (compared to iPad 3)
    • High performance 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core for fast and fluid performance
    • Over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games such as Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, HBO GO, Pandora, and Angry Birds Space
    • Integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! and more, as well as Exchange calendar, contacts, and email
    • Free Skype video calls with front-facing HD camera
    • Free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content
    • Includes special offers and sponsored screensavers.
    • Kindle FreeTime – a personalized tablet experience just for kids. Set daily screen limits, and give access to appropriate content for each child. Free on every Kindle Fire HD.Coming next month
    • Prime Instant Video – unlimited, instant streaming of thousands of popular movies and TV shows
    • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – Kindle owners can choose from more than 180,000 books to borrow for free with no due dates, including over 100 current and former New York Times best sellers and all 7 Harry Potter books.

I bought the original Kindle Fire last year and found it pretty disappointing. I’m hoping this new HD model is much better. I’m also seriously considering getting a Microsoft Surface RT if the price for it is not too steep – that is if Microsoft ever decides to announce a price and release date for it.

Are any of you looking at getting any of the Kindle Fire models?

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Windows RT Tablet Demo = Yikes

Windows RT Tablet change orientation

Oh boy – if The Verge’s recent video demo of Windows RT is anything to go by, Microsoft’s upcoming tablets are going to be a flat out disaster. Ross Miller took a tour around a tablet running what they reckon to be a final build of Windows RT and it makes for horror movie style viewing – all that’s missing is a scary soundtrack.

Miller struggles during large parts of the demo to get much of anything done easily with the supposedly touch interface of the tablet – including when trying to use the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet app. From early on in the demo he mentions things like …

Clearly it’s more optimized for keyboard and mouse.

The touch menus are really not suitable for touch.

Those are always good things to hear when working with a supposedly touch-based tablet.

The tablet has no accelerometer and changing the orientation via a tiny menu item looks like far from a barrel of laughs – you can check that out at about the 2:10 – 2:40 section of the video.

Dear God I hope there’s an easier way of doing it …

Miller repeatedly gets switched to ‘classic mode’ when trying to do something and concludes that if you’re going to do anything even pseudo-serious you’re going to need a mouse and keyboard.

Check out the video (linked above) and see what you think. I think unless RT tablets are going to be near 100% different to this by release time then they’re going to be yet another huge failure for Microsoft in the mobile arena.

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