My Surface RT actually just landed today in Cape Town, went to the FedEx office to collect it. I have clearly bought into the Microsoft eco-system :-)
As previously mentioned Paul, I'm actually sort of looking forward to the clean break Windows RT offers from the desktop. Considering it is an upgrade to my iPad 2, I'm sure it'll be just fine since I could easily do without a Windows desktop on the iPad and I think primarily my Surface will be used as a consumption device rather than a content creation device.
I just hope that Xbox Music offers something decent in our market. I read somewhere once that our antiquated copyright laws are the barrier to things like Netflix and so on.
Coming back to the topic on hand, I have now upgraded my desktop to Windows 8 Pro, have an HTC Windows Phone 8X and a Surface RT. Definitely the Microsoft ecosystem!
HERE'S A FEW OTHER NEW TABLETS released in November-- One of the first resellers to carry these new Android models is a site called TabletSprint - Several are made by Ainol Electronics, which received a "Best Tablet of the Year" award at CNET Consumer Electronics Show 2012 -- the Novo 7 Flame Android tablet is available for $189 and offers many more features than the 7 inch Nexus 7- which sells for $249... The Novo 7 Flame includes a 1280x800 High Resolution screen, a powerful Dual Core CPU/1.6 GHz, 32GB Memory, MicroSD portable storage, an HDMI connection to your TV with full 1080p (HD) that's great for movie downloads; Two Cameras - a 5 MegaPixel camera with video recording and AF & Flash and a 2 MegaPixel Webcam; Plus Bluetooth, Ethernet, WiFi and an option for 3G through a USB adapter.
There's also a 10-inch version released this week with impressive features... the Novo 10 Hero for $225. Also just launched this week is the $99 - Novo 7 Legend - which is truly the first quality "$100 TABLET" available of any major brand... with many of the same features as the higher end Novo 7 Flame -- Tabletsprint also offers two new tablets in December with 3G Wireless built directly into the tablet -- the Pipo 763 - 3G... a 7" tablet for $199, and the Pipo M8 3G, a higher-end 9.4 inch model with a 1280x800 high resolution screen that also offers GPS & Bluetooth.
Also in December, TabletSprint will carry the W30 HD - by Ramos Technology - a 10 inch tablet that takes on the new Nexus 10 and iPad with equal features at nearly half the price -- including the latest Quad Core performance-powerhouse, the Samsung Exynos 4212. 1.4 GHz processor; as well as a high resolution, 1920 X 1200 Liquid Crystal screen (comparable to Apple Retina display). TabletSprint also offers a nice perk for customers -- a FREE 3G/4G 500MB monthly data plan for all tablets they carry... with full internet access/VoIP calling in the U.S. -- all tablets are certainly worth checking out and comparing --
I'm confused. I bought a Kindle Fire as a gift for a family friend. Boy, I am severly disappointed with the Kindle as a web device. I had trouble running Youtube, which is required for watching videos. It ran once, but didn't again. There is no Youtube app for Kindle. The app selection was limited.
I won't go with Nexus right now. I read mixed reviews about them. The battery life isn't so great. The apps aren't designed for the tablet sizes 7 and 10. Again, it is a first generation device.
Since I currently own an iPhone, the logical alternative is buying an iPad. I eyed the iPad mini, but I'm disappointed with the lack of retina display. I prefer the price point and portable size. Thus, I have to wait another generation to get the iPad mini that I want.
Similar situation with the Windows 8 tables. Surface for ARM is the only choice for Windows RT. I've seen the Lenovo Yoga and the Sony convertible for Windows 8. Boy, they are expensive. They are $800 and higher. I think the user interface (UI) needs more work. I am dissatisfied with the clunky experience. The desktop UI needs more work. Microsoft needs to come back with a new version within 6 months that addresses the concerns.
Paul, everything you mention here is true for the US market only. International ecosystems are not the same.
How about BlueStacks in Windows 8?
For me it's either the Google Play or Windows 8/Metro ecosystem, or a hybrid of both ecosystems with Windows 8/Metro and BlueStacks installed on a Windows 8 tablet, which add Android app support to Windows.
My tablet will be an entertainment device, so Windows RT would be the choice there, but being that there aren't that many Metro apps at the moment, so I can't buy into that ecosystem yet. So the only option I have is the Google Play ecosystem, as I don't use Amazon that much and I don't want to be part of the Apple crowd.
Maybe once my desktop kicks the bucket, I will get a Windows 8 tablet and hopefully by then Metro apps will be on par or close to the Google Play store.
Having said that, I can't help but think about screen size and resolution and the Nexus 10 has a screen resolution that isn't yet available on Windows on a tablet. Surface Pro has a 1920x1080 resolution, which is good, but there's just something sexy about a high-res resolution like that of the Nexus 10. So yeah, I'd buying into a device, at least partially is part of the process (well for me).
I agree that ecosystems are really what you're buying into when you choose a device, but I hate that this is where the battle lines are being drawn. I want to be able to choose the device that is built the way I like, and which has the hardware to do what I need, and not have to worry about whether or not my music or movies will play on it. Wasn't platform agnosticism the real promise of moving media into the purely digital realm? It seems ridiculous that this is even an issue, and yet it is.
Anyway, my complaints about the ecosystem thing aside... I'm really hoping that Amazon puts out a version of their app for WP8 that will play purchased music / movies from the cloud (if they haven't already). Not being able to do that on WP7 has been a bummer for me, and my music collection on Amazon has grown to the point where it is impossible to get all of the stuff I want to listen to on my (don't laugh) Trophy's puny 16gb of storage.
This is a great point. These "ecosystems" have become critical apps with potentially high switching costs. Aside from this inertia, it also can get confusing pretty quickly if, for example, you rent media on iTunes, bought media from Google Play, stream free media from Amazon Prime...it'd be a pain to remember it all, and you still could be faced with the possibility that you can't easily watch all of it from your TV without additional hardware purchases.
I think the problem I have with this subject is understanding what people mean by eco system in relation to electronic devices.
The answer from the press seems to revolve around access to one particular offerings store. So the apple ecosystem is what devices I am able to connect to iTunes on, Microsoft's is there store and so on. However this for me is only part of the eco-system not the whole thing...
For example if I live in the apple ecosystem. So I use Mac's for work and ipads for tablets and iPhones for cell phones and apple tv for media hub what benefit do I get other than just being able to access iTunes content on them all. So one benefit would be the way I could push photos from an iPhone to the iTV device wirelessly for example. What costs are involved in buying into this ecosystem (for example if you buy into the Microsoft world you could have Xbox live 60 or 100 usd a year depending upon single or family account, xbox music at 100 a year per person who wants service). So with apple how much do I pay for music what are the limitations of what I buy there compared to Amazon or Windows Store. I recently read that Bruce Willis who has a huge music library from iTunes wanted to leave it to his kids but that he doesn't actually have the right as when he dies his license to the music expires.
This is the type of information I personally would be interested in reading about. I would really like to know what advantages there are besides how many apps one store has vis a vie another.
I don't entirely agree with Paul's multi platform range of electronic devices is the best answer but I also wouldn't say he was wrong. But it should be noted when you do concentrate on one platform you do gain some advantages that maybe lost to you if took a more diversified approach. For example with Windows Phone 8 while other devices such as Iphone, android can have smart glass they don't as readily have access to xbox music. There is also an argument to consolidation of device types across a family. So with both my wife and I carrying windows phone 8 devices we are able to use the full benefits of the family room whereas if we had differing devices we would loose some or all of this functionality.
Why do you always snub Barnes and Noble? The Nook color tablet line was released more than a year before the Kindle Fire. The GlowLight was out 6 months before the PaperWhite. The Nook HD has a superior screen, expandable storage, and is lighter in weight than the Kindle Fire HD. The Nook HD's design language/UI is elegant, beautiful, and ad-free. While the Kindle Fire HD's design language/UI is a dreary black with giant goofy icons. The Kindle Fire HD also has "suggestions" which a user can't remove even if they pay $15 to opt out of Amazon ads. Do you own any B&N devices? My wife has a Nook Simple Touch and she loves it. Maybe you should give them a try and then post a review. I don't think I've ever seen a review of a B&N device on your site. I'm sure B&N would be willing to give you some loaner devices.
For people like us, Windows users, I think the solution is clear about what tablet to get if you are concerned about ecosystems and buying content.
The solution is to keep your Windows desktops for work, get a HTPC on your TV for entertainment (unbeatable flexibility, it can do everything) and the get an iPad or iPad Mini.
That is it.
All your friends will be on Apple systems for communications, everything you want to buy is on iTunes, everything you can't buy or refuse to pay for is available on your Windows machines via various means.
Simple .... maybe get a Nexus 7 and a portable WiFi hotspot if you must.
I gotta say Paul, unfortunately for once I disagree completely with your premise, "Devices are temporary, but ecosystems are forever". While it's not as likely as the failure of a product, an ecosystem can crash and burn in similar ways. No ecosystem is forever, you just keep hoping that.
Ecosystems last longer than devices, that was his main point. No need to be literal.
And the common sense award goes to ... You! :)
I can't wait for a 7' inch Surface Xbox, I sure MS will be working on such a device. Google devices are a no go for me because of the unified privacy policies and want to keep them from my home.
For a PC user, their is no question about the ecosystem.
I have to agree with you Paul, I to find the mix and match approach to work for me best. I don't like the idea of ending up locked into any one particular ecosystem.
I think is important to distinguish between software (including games) and entertainment (books, music, movies) ecosystems. For example the Windows application ecosystem may no be everlasting but I still can run my DOS games in Windows 8 machines and don't see that changing anytime soon. Will I still be able to run IOs or Android or even WinRT game released today 20 years from now? time will tell how software compatibility will evolve.
As for the entertainment ecosystems I would they are not forever in fact I'm very hesitant to commit to any of them. I think the best option is not to commit and be as free as possible to move from one to another.
Movies, rental or subscription services like Netflix seem like the way to go, so you are not really committed to anyone you can change as you go because you own nothing.
Music, DRM free music is easy to buy from every service so you are not really committed but it makes you have to manage the collection, the best is either use free streaming services or subscription ones if you really care about music, again not really committed can move from one to another with not much hassle.
Has for books there is no subscription or even reasonable DRM free options, so Kindle is the best choice at the moment because it works everywhere and is really easy to strip DRM.
There are differences between the number of choices of these platform independent services but I feel that any platform can get you almost every thing you want in terms of entertainment, so to me software is more important so Windows 8 and Android are the only options I consider that have a long time support possibility in that area.
> I prefer to keep my PCs clear of entertainment content and use them for work
Xbox 360. Of course. :)
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