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The Battle for the Handhelds Heats Up

The Apple iPad is doing well in sales; selling over 300,000 on the first day seems to be a good indication of its popularity. Another good indication is how much the hackers are interested in it. The device was jailbroken in less than a day giving Apple a bittersweet experience. The positive side is that the tech community and hackers want the device and the negative side is that Apple is starting to become a bit like Microsoft, having to release fixes on a fairly regular basis.

The software used to hack the iPad seems to be a variant of “Spirit”, an application that is used to crack iPhones. Apple has not reacted to the reports of the jailbreak and it is not known if users of jailbroken iPads will be treated like some users who have jailbroken Apple products. In the past Apple has rendered devices useless and even banned some users from the Apple App Store.

While all this drama ensues, HP decided to seize the moment and release a tiny sneak peek at the new Slate Tablet. The device in the video appears to be about the same size as the Apple product but in features it differs significantly. It has two cameras, one in front and one behind, and it also has USB and SD card support. None of these features are found on the iPad. The Slate runs Windows 7 as the OS and features touch controls and supports Adobe Flash and Air. The latter software is also not supported on the iPad.

Hot & Cold iPads

With over 300,000 units being sold on the very first day, the iPad is very hot at the moment. Whether Apple will hit it big with this product is still a big mystery. The initial boom in sales can be mainly attributed to the “techies and gadget freaks” factor that have to have the newest technology available. However, the future of the iPad solely rests on how relevant it can be to users and how word of mouth spreads, especially from the initial tier of buyers.

The problem with the iPad, as perceived by many, is that it looks and functions like an iPod Touch. So the hesitation to go out and get an oversized iPod Touch is only natural. Add to this that there is still no multi-tasking support, no flash support and no camera and the appeal for Apple’s new ├╝ber gadget begins to drop.

Users need to give the product a chance. The iPad is a new approach at the Netbook and eBook reader market. What Apple is trying to do is give users a lightweight device with a large display which is uncluttered and familiar to use. The lack of certain features is, in Apple’s case, only to be expected; think about how long it took for them to include cut, copy and paste in the iPhone! While the debate runs strongly over the virtues and failures of the iPad, it is only prudent to wait and see what Apple offers us in the next iteration.

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