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What happened to the iPad killers?

What happened to the iPad killers?
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First Published: Fri, Nov 11 2011. 09 30 PM IST

Updated: Fri, Nov 11 2011. 09 30 PM IST
The 2010 launch of the iPad led to a lot of companies announcing similar products, and some of the most anticipated ones were featured in many lists as iPad killers. New and old companies, such as JooJoo and Hewlett-Packard (HP), didn’t arouse enough interest and many of these hyped devices ended up being disasters.
The quick launch of the iPad 2 affected the plans of quite a few companies and led to delays in entering the market as people tried to match the new device, leading, in many cases, to bloated features and overly optimistic pricing.
Some Android tablets, like the Acer Iconia and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, were reasonably successful, while the Nook Colour was an unexpected hit. Others didn’t fare quite as well though.
Here are nine tablets that failed to live up to the hype:
Archos 7
French firm Archos has been making tablets much longer than Apple, but the Archos 7 died a quiet death. Archos replaced it with the Archos 70, but even that isn’t a polished device. It works well as a portable media player, but not as a tablet. Reading, browsing and text input are imprecise and it lags slightly—it’s as if Archos completely ignored the iPad and the way it has changed portable devices while updating its product line.
Notion Ink Adam
India’s bright hope in the tablet wars, the Adam was the most hyped tablet ever. Tech blogs had heated debates over the device, but problems at launch, a high price point, limited availability and marketing are just a few of the problems—the Adam is a let-down, with limited battery life. Moreover, the highly customized Android interface didn’t make efficient use of all the hardware, slowing down what should have been a speedy tablet.
Asus Eee Pad
The Eee Pad went through a lot of evolution—moving from Windows to Android and eventually disappearing entirely. The 10-inch tablet finally materialized in the form of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer—a powerful tablet that can also become a laptop when you connect its keyboard. The transformation mechanism is needlessly complicated though, which might be one of the factors holding back the Eee Pad.
RIM PlayBook
The RIM PlayBook has an excellent form factor and an interface that bears a strong resemblance to HP’s webOS. The browser on the PlayBook is one of the best and the device also handles multitasking competitively. Baffling design decisions held the tablet back and a severe lack of apps meant it didn’t catch the buyer’s eye.
MSI WindPad 110W
MSI WindPad 110W
The MSI WindPad was meant to be the breakout Windows tablet—Windows 7 has a lot of tablet-specific enhancements but is not a finger-friendly interface. The WindPad ran a custom interface that was a lot easier to use without a stylus, but the downside was that the interface slowed the tablet dramatically. Another drawback for the WindPad was its size—considering it doesn’t outperform Android and iOS devices, it was hard to justify the weight and thickness of the tablet. Microsoft’s refresh to Windows, Windows 8, has gone through drastic redesign and could well be the answer to these problems—too bad for MSI that it won’t be out till next year.
Cisco Cius
A business-focused tablet from Cisco makes sense—the device has just launched in India, and it might catch on with the audience here. It can turn into a VoIP phone with a special dock, and handles video conferencing beautifully. Its software has an enterprise focus. Internationally at least, the device hasn’t made waves but if enough firms decide to adopt tablets, something like this could still become the next BlackBerry for busy executives.
HP TouchPad
HP’s TouchPad was the result of its acquisition of Palm, whose technology and expertise went into designing the webOS used in this fantastic tablet. The interface was one of the best out there, and the device was one of the few that matched up to the iPad. So why is it on this list? Since it wasn’t an Android tablet, there were few apps available for the TouchPad. To make things worse, management issues in HP hurt the tablet greatly. It was discontinued in less than two months, before it got a chance to catch on.
Fusion Garage JooJoo
A 12-inch slate, the JooJoo had the potential to be the best multimedia tablet in the market, but questionable design decisions led to an overpriced browser in a box that barely sold 100 units before being discontinued. Fusion Garage launched the Grid10, a 10-inch Android tablet, in the US in October, to lacklustre reviews.
Dell Streak
The 5-inch Streak—like the just launched Galaxy Note—is an interesting device, but it was trying to fill a gap that just didn’t exist. It is supposed to have the portability of a phone and the viewing experience of a tablet, but the end result feels like they got those things a little mixed up. It doesn’t help that battery life is abysmal and the screen is slightly unresponsive.
gopal.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Nov 11 2011. 09 30 PM IST
More Topics: Tablets | iPad | Android | Apple | JooJoo |