If you like the idea of the iPad but not the iPad…

The viliv S10 Blade is coming, and for those of you who like the idea of an Apple iPad more than the actual iPad, this just might fit the bill, but expect that bill to be a little larger.

Let’s be clear about this, an iPad is basically a giant iTouch.  An iPad is not a full computer, and it’s lacking a lot of features many people reasonably expect:

  • No Flash support & no browser plugins
  • No true HD (no 720p)
  • No camera for video conferencing
  • No Verizon, hope you like AT&T
  • No USB, no external memory sticks
  • No multitasking!!!
  • Limited format support for audio & video (only what will play natively)

The iPad will do what it does in style, and if that’s enough for you, you’ll be happy as a hipster clam.

But many of us are looking for something more.  We want something akin to a full laptop in the form factor of an iPad, and we want might options, not the constraints Apple imposes.   And the device to best deliver that at the moment is the viliv S10 Blade, a tablet PC running Windows 7.

Here’s a table, with many of the key comparitive points:

viliv S10 Blade Apple iPad Conclusion
OS Windows 7 iTouch OS Windows 7 is probably less stable, and more bloated, but you have more software to pick from, you can use Flash and any browser plugin, and multitask to your heart’s content!
Display 1366×768 1024×768 S10 wins
Battery Life 10 hours (spares allowed) 10 hours (non-replaceable) Even Stephen.
Hard Disk 32-64 GB SSD, 60 GB HD 16, 32, 64 GB SSD Even Stephen.
Multitouch 3 point 2 point? I haven’t tried the viliv or Windows 7 with multitouch, and I can’t find evidence that the iTouch OS detects more than 2 fingers. So, not sure who wins here.
Dimensions 10.23″ x 7.28″ x 0.67 – 1.02″ 9.56″ x 7.47″ x 0.5″ They are roughly the same width and height, but the iPad is half the thickness. You get a regular swivel keyboard as compensation, but for some, that won’t be enough.
Weight 2.67 lb 1.6 lb The iPad clearly wins here, it’s 33% lighter, and I’m sure you will feel that weight the longer you cradle it and carry it about. The weight won’t bother me unduly, but I won’t deny it will some people.
Keyboard Built-In No I’ve used tablet PCs for the last 5 years and I would be miserable without the speed and accuracy of a built-in regular keyboard. Typing on a screen isn’t the same.
Camera Yes, Facing No A stunning omission for the iPad.
Bluetooth 2.0+EDR 2.1+EDR I don’t know enough or care enough about Bluetooth to know how important this is, but the iPad wins.
GPS No Yes (and compass) I am surprised the viliv doesn’t have this, and wonder if perhaps it really does and just isn’t listed in the specs, GPS is ubiquitous these days, and comes on most of the 3G modem cards. If it truly doesn’t have this, then that is unfortunate, but perhaps not such a big deal. I rely on GPS and directions from my phone, and I’m not sure if I would require that from something in a tablet form factor. It could be a drawback, or it may not matter much.
CPU Intel Atom 1.6-2.0 GHz Apple A4 1 GHz The viliv is surely faster, but it’s hard to compare speeds. The iPad won’t multitask, won’t be expected to run the full desktop apps the viliv will, so it will surely be fast enough for the uses it’s put to. Personally, I require a device that can multitask, and has the speed to do it.
Instant On Wakeup from standby in < 4 seconds Nearly instantaneous The iPad certainly wins here, and wins big. Those 4 seconds will feel longer than they are, and I’m sure that will have a subtle effect on how people view this device. It will discourage someone ever so slightly from reaching for the S10 Blade to check a fact on wikipedia, when they could do it more quickly with their phone.
Heat Probably warm Probably not as warm The S10 uses more power and will almost assuredly feel a good bit warmer in your lap, cradled in your arm, etc.
Price $699+ $499+ The full pricing isn’t out for the viliv, so it’s hard to make comparisons. The iPad ranges from $499-899, and I’d guess the S10 Blade will range from $699-1399. So, the viliv is definitely more expensive, but you do end up with a real laptop.

For many, the iPad will surely be another amazing triumph from Apple.  For me, and for many like me, it will stop far short of what we want, and that’s where a device like this tablet PC steps in.  We’ll pay more, it’ll weigh more, and it won’t be quite as instantly handy, but we won’t be constantly frustrated by the many things we cannot do with it.

And read about two other coming iPad alternatives in my post about the HP Slate and MS Courier, The Second Coming of the Tablet PC.


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2 Responses to “If you like the idea of the iPad but not the iPad…”

  1. Gary says:

    I agree with you. I can’t see the future, but I have the feeling the iPad is going to primarily appeal to the hardcore Apple fans. I don’t think it’s going to be a massive breakthrough into the mass market. Granted, the iPhone made a huge splash, but it’s a phone. It’s a whole different class. While I feel a little silly actually saying this, we all need phones. We don’t all need tablets. We have options in the form of laptops, netbooks, and the larger tablet PC’s.

    But what I feel(And I am aware that this is just my opinion) is really going to hurt it are things like a non-replaceable battery(I absolutely love my iTouch, but it irritates me to no end being unable to change my own battery), no multitasking(The iTouch and Iphone can’t do that either, but that really doesn’t affect me personally, and I can see it being a big issue in something that is intended to at least partially replace the PC), Apple’s heavy hand in terms of software development, no browser plugins, and no Flash.

    And I know someone will come in and say that Flash is just a disaster in terms of security, bugs, and whatnot. But let’s face it. Flash is EVERYWHERE on the net. You absolutely cannot dispute it’s dominance out there, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Besides the non-user servicable battery, it’s my biggest complaint concerning my iTouch.

    All things considered, I’d much rather have the Blade. While it is probably going to be more expensive than the iPad, it delivers much more of what I want. So, in effect, it’s a better price. I can write my own software. I can multitask. I have flash and plugins. I can change my battery. And heck, since it’s Win7, I can have iTunes as well.

    But again, that’s only my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions. Opinions are like b-holes. Everyone has one, and they all stink. I can’t see the future, so for all I know the iPad could be a massive hit. Apple has been very successful, and make a great product. But they have also had their share of stinkers over the years. The Lisa and the Newton are the first ones that come to mind. I just don’t see it breaking very far out of the hardcore apple fan market. Not when there are products like these that will appeal to a far greater general audience.

    Maybe if the iPad was significantly less expensive, but that’s not going to happen. And that’s the primary reason I have no desire to own a Mac. Like I said, I freely admit that Apple makes a great product. More often than not, their stuff is of a much higher quality than any comparable product on the market. But not so much so to be worth the higher than premium price that comes with it. Being a long time system builder, I can put together twice the machine for half the price.

  2. Quinxy says:

    Great points. I’ve said it elsewhere, perhaps better than now, but the idea behind the points you highlight is my primary complaint with Apple… Apple [thinks they] knows best; and they are giving you the best [so it would be illogical to allow you to modify or alter their as-delivered product].

    They are effectively saying through their product design and OS restrictions:

    1. We know you want AT&T.
    2. We know you won’t want to visit any of the dozens of Flash sites you visit on your desktop, to watch movies, have a richer experience, etc. Just wait for those sites to be compatible with us and HTML 5 and…
    3. We know you’ll be near a power supply most of the day so you won’t want to have a second battery.
    4. We know you won’t keep this more than a year or two, so when the battery dies you’ll just buy our next device.
    5. We know you only like to do one thing at a time. Unless that other thing is listen to music or make a call.
    6. We know the iPad is too big for you to want to take a picture with it, or have you to video conferencing with it.
    7. We know you’ll only want to play your music with our iPod player/interface.
    8. We know you won’t have any audio/video with codecs other than the ones we natively support.
    9. We know you won’t want to use any other mail readers but ours.
    10. We know…

    It’s the arrogance that bothers me… I detest many things about Windows and Pocket PC (and Microsoft)… but by god they are infinitely and easily customizable, and can be made to do everything I want to do without violating anyone’s terms of use/service/etc. There is a price you pay; I missed about 20% of my calls with my last Pocket PC phone because it would hang, crash, etc. but at least it could do absolutely everything in those minutes it was running. ;) And I think the price may just be worth it (especially with the improvements in Windows Mobile and Windows 7).