Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Toshiba's iPad killer: No no no no no no

Once you play on an iPad - as my skeptical friend and skeptical father did over the weekend - you realise how it's changed the game as a personal device. It really only took five minutes of playing with it (including Harbor Master and Tap Tap Radiation) for them to change their minds.

Which is why it's always disappointing to see the early copycat devices. Toshiba's Libretto, launched yesterday, is seemingly built on these key foundations:

1. The iPad has a touchscreen. Let's make something with two!
2. Oh, that's it.

This thing isn't going to sell. They've put a touchscreen where a keyboard should be. Typing on the touchscreen is one of the worst things about the iPad.

When Steve Jobs launched the iPad he said a netbook wasn't as good as a laptop. I agree, but I also believe there is space for laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs. But crippling a netbook by taking its keyboard away is not a valid response to the tablet computing revolution.

There are some great things in the pipeline (Windows Phone 7, Android Froyo) that users say give Apple a run for its money, and it's fantastic to see other vendors experimenting, particularly using more ubiquitous OSes like Windows 7.

But let's see those experiments push the boundaries of what's possible rather than copying something by making it worse.