Windows Phone 7 is now in the technical preview stage, and that means reviewers are getting their chance to just what it is, and what it’s not. And I must confess I’m more than a little stunned by what Microsoft and the reviewers are saying. Windows Phone 7 is a complete rewrite of the OS that Microsoft developed for the last decade and some as Pocket PC and then Windows Mobile. And in completely rewriting the OS they have left out critical, previously available features such as copy/paste and multitasking and they provide no compatibility with the thousands and thousands of apps developers already produced for their previous mobile OS. They are admitting their previous OS was a complete failure, and they undo the efforts of all those developers who wrote all the great apps that made the iPhone look elegantly stupid for its first three or more years of existence. Microsoft’s mobile platform was seriously flawed, no doubt about it. The paradigm they were using centered around the use of a stylus and this colored every aspect of OS and software design for the platform. There was no elegance in Windows Mobile, it was all the ugliness of PC applications shoved into the discomfort of a small screen; but it was powerful and flexible and unfettered by rules. Perhaps the underpinnings of the OS were so badly written and so inappropriate to a mobile device that they had to be replaced, but even if that’s the case it’s ridiculous to try and out-Apple Apple while simultaneously removing the only good things that Windows Mobile had long represented. With all their billions, surely Microsoft could have at least delivered a technical preview that assured the real thing was going to be at least as good as their old OS while making all the vital finger-focused improvements they desperately needed, and supporting the phenomenal feature-rich apps that developers had already invested all their energies and monies in creating (letting the user make the choice of whether to run these uglier UI apps while the developers have an opportunity to rewrite them). No doubt Microsoft will find success with their copy-catting, I didn’t think the X-Box would stand the test of time when they first decided to get into that game, and they’ve managed it. And while Zune is not succeeding, they’re at least rebranding things to make Zune not about a device but instead about accessing content (on a mobile device, on an X-Box, etc.). Must be nice to have money enough to make people like you.
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
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:
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!
10 hours (spares allowed)
10 hours (non-replaceable)
32-64 GB SSD, 60 GB HD
16, 32, 64 GB SSD
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.
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.
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.
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.
A stunning omission for the iPad.
I don’t know enough or care enough about Bluetooth to know how important this is, but the iPad wins.
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.
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.
Wakeup from standby in < 4 seconds
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.
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.
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.