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Why No One Really Wants a Web Tablet

July 30, 2008

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is the latest to suggest how great it would be if there were a type a cheap ($200) 12" thin tablet running Linux for web browsing. Even if it were possible to build such a product that would sell for $200, this is not a product that would have widespread appeal.

Why? Because for only $300 more one could get a full fledged laptop from Dell (Vostro 1510) with 2GB of memory that runs Vista (from the Dell website this morning):

Also Included
High Definition Audio 2.0
This is a reason why the Audrey was not a commercial success and that device had an even greater relative price advantage when it debuted.
That is not to say that there aren’t advantages to running such a system in a locked down mode, I think there probably are, but that is better done using software than by building a hobbled device.
For devices this inexpensive the hardware cost is a smaller portion of the total cost of ownership. Those other costs include:
  • The space in your house to keep the device.
  • The time to keep the device updated.
  • The time to keep relevant data sync’d.
  • The time to set up the device.
  • The time and monetary cost to fix any hardware problems.

For only $300 more, I can get the following:

  • The ability to visit any web page and not by stymied by plug-ins or controls that don’t work with my device.
  • The ability to run any Windows application.
  • No worries about storage (with an 80GB HD).
  • The ability to play any music.
  • The ability to watch any video.
  • A keyboard to type in web forms.
  • The ability to play games for kids and adults that are only available on CDs.
  • The ability to easily save and print information.

Sure, many people spend much of their time on a PC using the web (let’s assume 75%), but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t pay an extra $300 not to have to find another machine every time they want to do the other 25% of things that they use a PC for.

HT: Digital Home Thoughts


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