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 Post subject: Re: Best Tablet for the money?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:14 pm 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000
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I hope to avoid aggravating anyone with my inquiry, I don't mean any offense.

I just am curious to know what people's opinions are for what keeps the popular android tablet from being as productive as it can be.

Ads just cheapen the feel of a app (obviously, this is just my opinion). Even if considered innocuous such as in mxplayer, sometimes I wanted to see that paused frame. I bought it because I thought it was a good app, but it's disappointing (to me) that there's so few free/ad-free options.

The usage pattern is a direct result of the OS limitations. Those of us with windows tablets, didn't face such limitations. Today's multicore ARM certainly doesn't need to devote ALL cpu processing to the foreground app only. Not everyone multitasks lightly.

The osx doc/rocket dock does help by magnifying your option for clumsy fingers, yet keeping options small enough to display them all - that's a pretty good idea. Mouse and pen pointer accuracy really shows up in stuff like menus and lists where there's no space between one screen element and the next on a standard desktop OS interface.

Well, direct competition for both is pretty new, but x86 has existed in this space for a while - i.e. Running a full OS on portable devices. OQO, flipstart, Tablet XP was a fair attempt but didn't gain enough traction (looking at 10 years). Regardless, your words cement my point - I'm also using a "slow" 1.2GHz core duo laptop as my main laptop and it's easily fast enough - handles office tasks, HD video, minor picture editing, etc. Our comfort with "adequate speed" gives ARM's rapidly increasing processing power to meet and compete with x86 architecture. I'm talking tablets. If you bring up phones, then yes, x86 like medfield is the newcomer.

Samsung has been including pens with some tablets (and wacom based tablets too!). Many windows users of tablet convertibles have pens - it's nothing new, and in many cases can increase productivity. The extra accuracy enables use of a touch screen with finer resolution, where a finger is to wide. Pen is optional. if you don't want to use it it slides into a pocket.

You missed my point about the utilization of space, let me explain.
Most android software appears designed for a phone without consideration for larger tablets. As a result you've got much less utilization of space - look at a laptop screen - say, using explorer to look to file properties. On my wife's 10" netbook with 1280*800 display, i can comfortably use keep irfanview on one side, explorer on the other and manage pictures. On android, the display is much less utilized, there can be much more information - it's not a readability issue. They make it large, so that your finger can hit it accurately and consistently - but in many cases, i think it's larger than necessary - most likely because rather design for multiple screen sizes, they design the app to work for all, and normally there's no customization for it. It's NOT about making text small, it's about fullscreen only apps, using their space better on a tablet.

Power also comes with time. Back in the day, I was using an N800. Today, my phone is orders of magnitude more powerful, and has better battery life - even though the same can be said about x86, we're at this era of "good enough" computing. x86 on the low cost/low power end isn't rapidly increasing in power. There's plenty of chance for ARM to catchup.


Bottom line, what I'd like to see:
■Android handle running multiple apps better - side by side like samsung's wiz interface, without needing to be a "wiz" app.
■Apps designed to utilize tablet real-estate better. No need to look at extreme's, but no need to overly large items either, because it may be used on a phone.
■More free (adfree) options - perhaps I'm just being greedy here. Free is not GPL, it's a superset. Sumatra, Irfanview couple of many truly free and wonderful apps available on the PC platform. Android just doesn't seem to attract the same developers. There's a couple great apps which don't toss ads in your face, but they're almost lost if the sea of marketingware.
■The next generation - The last few arm generations have really jumped in power. I'm REALLY looking forward to what comes next. A15 promises to be even better IPC than cortex a9, and samsung has been talking about big+little configurations using A15+A7 modules where a tiny low power core is used in idle to boost battery life more.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Tablet for the money?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:09 pm 
Clawhammer
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
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I'm just making conversation. It's always good anyway. But let's boil out some points...

Let's start with the physical aspect. On a desktop or laptop, you can expect one thing that every user will have (hopefully), and one other thing that most users have: a keyboard and mouse. A desktop and laptop are also usually fixed on a surface, giving you full use of your hands and fingers. And since you have more space, you can add, well the current count for a standard keyboard is something like 104-buttons.

But on a handheld device, something's immediately wrong: you have one hand missing from the picture. It's used to hold the device. So at most you can get is six fingers, but nominally five. Our inputs are now limited to soft buttons. And while sure, we have a stylus, it doesn't have pixel fine precision like a mouse and all you're really doing is instilling confidence in someone that they actually pressed where they wanted (or in most cases, making sure you hit that damn button). I guess we could use it to scribble notes, but I'm pretty used to using a soft keyboard one handed, as is a lot of people. I'm pretty sure the something similar happened when we sort of pushed GUI on the folks who were so used to CLI.

Am I saying a stylus is pointless? No. It might make some input scenarios efficient. But as a primary input device? No. I still play my DS games with buttons until the game in question forces me to use a stylus, simply because I find using buttons more efficient than using the stylus.

On multitasking, all the mobile OS's have a problem: how do you handle context switching? Maybe ARM has less advanced context switching modes (after all, it doesn't have gobbles of cache like a desktop processor does) to simplify design or save power. Maybe to keep the OS kernel footprint small, the scheduling and task handlers are simpler. Remember, the more features you add, the more resources it needs. Sure, you could have two apps running side by side, but how often do you see yourself doing that? How much of a "this is a dire need" feature is it? Remember, we have to cater to most of the population. I'm sure most of us on the forums are rocking awesome rigs with dual monitors. Most of the world isn't set up like that.

As far as using real estate goes... well the major problem is that your resolution gamut is wide on Android and even iOS devices. And they should all look the same regardless of which platform because of a little thing called consistency. So you can design for tablets in mind from say a smart phone app, but you can't deviate too far. Otherwise you may confuse and frustrate users. And the other thing is that it depends on what content the app is serving. Something like news feeds and Facebook are easy: it's text. More real estate? More text! But try a primarily graphical application, where it scales with resolution. Do you really want to make another version just for larger real estate screens? And even then, your only knowledge of real estate is pixel resolution, not spatial resolution. So say you design an app that takes advantage of 7" 720p tablets. Well... my phone has a 3.5" 720p screen, whoops, everything's smaller.

Lastly... about freeware applications you can find on Windows, 9 times out of 10, they'll bundle other software because sponsorship will pay. You can't do that with any of the market places, because the developer has no control over how distribution and installation is done.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Tablet for the money?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:32 am 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000
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In your opinion,

Can a tablet become more productive or is it at it's pinnacle?
What enhancements do you think can help?


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