iPad vs. all other touch devices
I know that for some of you this might be stating-the-obvious, but I will say it anyhow: absolutely no other device will be able to rival iPad in the foreseeable future.
Many will try, but all will fail.
What everyone else is doing (as far as I know, maybe someone will surprise me) is try to replicate the hardware iPad has – sleek tablet-like touch screen device, and then on top of that they slap Windows / Linux / any other operating system.
And this just does not work.
Those operating systems are made to be used with mouse and keyboard as primary interface devices, and as such absolutely cannot function in a world of touch interface. How do you scroll a website in a normal browser? You use mouse scroll wheel. And if there is no mouse scroll wheel, then you click and drag a scrollbar. Now take your finger and place it close to the scrollbar of your monitor – it is at least double or triple the size of it!
How would you close tabs with touch interface? Trying to poke into that small [x] is just impossible and impractical.
Let’s say that you want to access some software that is running from your Windows system tray (for the new ones: that’s the little row of icons at the bottom right). Try tapping on that with your finger. There is no way you could do it without accidentally hitting two other icons.
Windows and similar systems are made to serve environment where keyboard and mouse are present, and that is OK, since they were thought of and developed to serve that purpose. iPad and iPhone was developed from zero to serve touch interface.
But besides these obvious interface problems that cannot be easily solved for Windows based tablets, there are more issues that users will just not like. First of all, if your tablet runs Windows, it will require constant maintenance. You will need to install antivirus software, run periodic hard drive defragmentation or at least registry clean up, and install all sorts of addons to keep the system alive. Whereas iPad OS requires basically no maintenance at all.
Furthermore, Windows based devices have boot up time. Even if you have put it into sleep mode instead of full shut down, it still requires some time to wake up. iPad – swipe unlock, and you are ready to go. In normal day to day use iPad is always on, so to speak.
And that is just the basics of operating system and primary logic behind it. If you look more into software you use in your normal day, you will see how Windows based touch devices are just not possible. Scrolling through that Start Menu with your finger? Outlook? Word? MSN messenger? Photoshop? Insane & impossible.
iPad's hardware, operating system and all applications are designed from scratch to be used through touch interface. Current competition just focuses to make hardware that is portable and has touch screen, completely ignoring software. What Microsoft and other should be doing is create competition starting from the operating system and usability logic, and the hardware part will easily come then.
Check out this review of Slate PC from Stantum on Wired.