Introducing the Competition

As always, a delay in delivery means the competition has more time to gather. Since the iPad didn’t arrive today, rather than my first article introducing the iPad in a lineup, I get to focus on what the iPad is competing against. I’m a geek through and through, so I’ve got a decent set of competitive devices in my arsenal.

Let’s take a look:

MSI Wind Sub-Notebook, HP Mini Netbook, Cowon D2 DAP
MSI Wind Sub-Notebook, HP Mini Netbook, Cowon D2 DAP

The heavyweight contender in the lineup is my personal computer. It’s a sub-notebook weighing in at a hefty 3.2 pounds and packing AMD’s mobile platform. An Athlon Neo processor, 2 GB of memory, and a good video card make this little guy ready to run Windows 7 and Solidworks for class, even though I typically run KUbuntu Linux on it. To top it off, the 4 + hour battery, 250GB hard drive, high definition screen, 3 USB ports, webcam and microphone make it an awesome little workhorse. I use it almost every day, and it serves me well.

The smaller thing next to the MSI is an HP Mini netbook. I salvaged it from the trash, and it makes a fun little thing for times when I don’t want to take a chance on anything happening to my MSI, or I want to use something lighter. It weighs in at just 2.4 pounds, but the weak Intel Atom processor, and dual USB ports make it more of a novelty to me than anything else. It still sports a web cam and, had I actually bought it from Verizon, it would come with their mobile access, albeit for some $50 a month. It does have Bluetooth, though, which makes it easily the most connected (possibly) of my little menagerie.

That tiny little thing on the right there (can you even see it?) is a Cowon D2 Digital Audio Player. One of the more unusual devices here, it’s designed to do one thing and do it well; handle media. It plays video and any audio you can throw at it, reads e-books, pictures, and plays Flash games if they’re the right size to fit on the screen. It’s not an Internet device at all, but with a 50-hour battery life, the ability to play Flash games, and the ability to be extended with an SD memory card, I’ve even used it to record important meetings, so I think it’s appropriate to include it as part of the lineup.

Now, even though I don’t own one, I have plenty of experience with the Apple iPod Touch and Apple iPhone. Mentally, especially with all the “big iPhone” jokes going around the Internet, I will be including these two devices in the lineup too.

Well, there you have it! That’s what the iPad has to deal with. Can it match the productivity of the MSI? The connectivity of the HP Mini? The media handling of the Cowon? Can it show that it’s more than a tumorous iPod?  Stay tuned!

One response on “Introducing the Competition

  1. Robert Young says:

    Saw your blog about the IPad and that you’re an engineering student so wanted to request you look at something engineering related for the IPad. If you download the free application “Remote Destop Lite” (made by MochaSoft) from ITunes it will allow you to connect to NCSU’s VCL computers ( I can do this from my IPhone and it allows me to execute engineering software on my IPhone since the software is actually running on a blade computer at the VCL site and merely displayed on my IPhone. Anyway, this should work on the IPad too but should be useable since the screen is larger. This would give you access to all of the engineering software at NCSU and allow you to choose which platform it should run on. VCL has PCs, Linux boxes, Sun Solaris machines, etc. Could you try this and write about how it works.

    Another thing. Apple sells an IPad to VGA connector that allows one to connect their IPad to a projector. This also means it allows you to connect you IPad to any monitor or TV with a VGA connector. Could you ask the library to get you one so you can see how the IPad screen appears when driving a monitor. If it works OK then this opens up some additional possibilities for the IPad and student use.

    We are trying to assess this capability but a student viewpoint would be a big help. We have IPads on order to evaluate but need as many perspectives as we can get.
    Thx, Dr. Young in Industrial & Systems Engg

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