Charlie Sorrel at Wired’s “Gadget Lab” blog has a column on “How to make an iPad-beating tablet.” Though by and large, most of the features he describes are exactly the features that the iPad has. For instance:

The suggestions that Apple should let users install apps from anywhere ignore this fact: the App store is so successful because it is closed. Don’t agree? How’s the Android Marketplace doing?

If you want to beat it, join it?

He does point out some areas where competitors could better Apple, such as the contentious issue of app store “censorship” and lack of specific guidelines, but in the end he says that the target to beat is not really the iPad—just the PC.

Speaking of beating the iPad, Bill Gates says Microsoft isn’t out of the tablet running yet, despite killing off the two-screened Courier project.

"Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we’re pursuing," Gates said, according to a Fox Business Network transcript quoted by TechFlash. "We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also [use to] create documents at the same time."

It is interesting that Microsoft is staying with the pen-computing paradigm when most tablets have gone to touch-based. But staying pen-based means that data entry by handwriting is possible and drawing can be done at a finer resolution, which is one of the few drawbacks with the iPhone and iPad’s approach.


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