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A Wish List For Tablets In 2013

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Android 453

timothy writes "For the last few years, I've been using Android tablets for various of the reasons that most casual tablet owners do: as a handy playback device for movies and music, a surprisingly decent interface for reading books, a good-enough camera for many purposes, and a communications terminal for instant messaging and video chat. I started out with a Motorola Xoom, which I still use around the house or as a music player in the car, but only started actually carrying a tablet very often when I got a Nexus 7. And while I have some high praise for the Nexus 7, its limitations are frustrating, too. I'll be more excited about a tablet when I can find one with (simultaneously) more of the features I want in one. So here's my wish list (not exhaustive) for the ideal tablet of the future, consisting only of features that are either currently available in some relevant form (such as in existing tablets), or should be in the foreseeable near future; I'll be on the lookout at CES for whatever choices come closest to this dream." Read below to see what's on Timothy's wish list.Here's my current mild-fantasy feature list; if you know of better ways to meet these desires, or even more compelling features you'd like to see, I'd like to hear them.

Integrated GPS navigation with built-in maps, not relying on an (always brittle, often expensive) ongoing data connection, or relying on a 3rd-party app. Even cheap standalone GPS units come loaded with maps, which means putting those maps on is possible, and (except from the standpoint of the companies who sell you data by the byte) it would be a good idea. Google's maps app provides a passable workaround, in the form of cached data, so you can load up the maps you need for a given route while you're sitting at a cheap and fast broadband connection, but in practice I'd found it iffy; sometimes the navigation refuses to recognize the maps I've loaded.

So long as you've got a data plan you don't mind dipping into, and are within cellular coverage range, that's fine, but large stretches of the Western U.S. in particular could leave you reliant on paper maps or a really good memory. If Garmin and company can put 6 million points of interest on pocket-sized GPS devices, and has been doing so for the last decade, shouldn't tablet makers do the same? (Not that freshly updated maps with handy chunks of crowd-sourced data are a bad thing; they just shouldn't be the only option. Graceful failure is reason enough to include a basic map set by default.)

(Two related pipe-dreams: 1) Future integration, too, with Gallileo and Beidou — the EU and Chinese equivalents to the U.S. made GPS constellation, and 2) integration with Open Street Maps. Every tablet should be a mapping tool, not just a map reader.)

A full sized USB port. Two of them, even better, but I'd settle for one. USB keys are the easiest way to transmit a certain size of file, close range, in particular when that's already the medium the file occupies. Things like Dropbox help, but don't pass the Mom test (at least in my family), and require extra steps if the document / podcast / video clip is right there in your pocket, just in an unusable form. The other reason I want a full-size USB port is that as impressive it is to have a tiny computer and display in a pocketable device, there is not yet a more efficient way for a sitting person to enter text than a keyboard, and tiny tablet-focused portable keyboards are a weak tool of convenience rather than actually *good,* generally. For light travel, sure. But I'd like to pop to the coffee shop to work for a while with a 1-pound tablet and a real keyboard. Workaround: There are Bluetooth keyboards, but the only true way to get a full-size USB ports for most tablets is by picking up a dongle from Amazon or Deal Extreme, but that's both an extra part to break or lose, and a hassle that it would be nice to skip.

A better "swiping" keyboard. Since I can't always carry a Model M keyboard, I want a keyboard as good as the Swype version that came with my aging but once high-end Samsung phone (Galaxy S). I've tried some Swype versions intended for tablets, but they made the mistake of making the control surface bigger (I suspect to "take advantage of all that space") rather than kept it sensibly small and fast. Being able to zip my finger around quickly is exactly why the one on the phone has totally changed my view of touch keyboards. The swiping keyboard that came with the newest versions of Android is a mixed bag: it's welcome, but at least in my experience so far suffers worse accuracy than does Swype. (On the other hand, the actual included vocabulary seems broader; I've had to customize the dictionary much less often.)

Daylight readable screen of some kind. Pixel Qi is the obvious one right now, but there's also one from Mirasol that I've seen demoed, but which seems unlikely (sorry) to see the light of day. Except for the impressive use of the same technology in the OLPC project's XO kid-centric laptops, Pixel Qi's screens have been mostly going into military and industrial displays, though, rather than into consumer tablets. There's a market waiting for daylight readable color screens!

Hardware toggles for cameras and all wireless capabilities. That is, anything which could betray privacy should be labeled and defeatable. Among other good reasons for this, it might make some devices more acceptable in workplaces with restrictive policies on personal technology. At the last CES, I saw a few Chinese Android tablets that had what looked from their icons like external Wi-Fi toggle switches, but wasn't able to quite confirm that with the vendors. Not every camera-equipped, Wi-Fi-equipped laptop has a physical toggle for either or both of these, but some do, and I'd pay a few more dollars for the capability.

HDMI out: This is common enough on recent tablets, but mostly in the form of a tiny mini-HDMI port. There are a few exceptions, but I'd like to see more. Just as with USB, I'd rather a slightly chunkier case if it means not needing a fistful of finicky cables and adapters. Being able to plug a tablet conveniently into any HDMI-equipped display would be handy; it's more computer than most of us had at all just a few years ago.

Decent in-built stereo recorder: Many tablets (and practically all smartphones as well as many feature phones) include a voice memo feature; that's handy, but it's a shame to waste the capabilities of the rest of the device on just that. Surprisingly good stereo recorders — included ones marketed as "business recorders," but severely overqualified — start at less than $100, and typical tablets have far more horsepower, not to mention a more flexible control surface for apps to control audio recording. In the iWorld, there are dozens of stereo input devices, as well as DI boxes for electric instruments, but not even Apple's devices come with a Just-Hit-Record stereo recording mic, which is too bad. Can you recommend any Android tablets with good built-in stereo mics, or third-party add-ons?

Bright LED light built in: This one, at least, is now the rule to which there are exceptions, rather than the other way 'round. It shows that sometimes the features-list game goes the right direction.

Alternative OS support. This isn't something I expect tablet makers to trumpet; they generally want you to run their choice of OS (whether the underlying tablet is from Apple, Microsoft, or the vast Google/Android conspiracy). But they don't have to; they just have to not make it impossible for others to do the work for them. In the last few months alone we've seen Linux (both Ubuntu for ARM and KDE Plasma Active) ported to the Nexus 7, and the Cyanogenmod developers have for years been making many handset and tablet makers' upgrade abilities look just plain silly. It's not just for novelty, either: right now, I'd like to be able to offload footage from my video camera to a tablet for uploading, which would mean I could stop carrying a laptop around quite so often. If I risk bricking my tablet by installing one of those Linux varieties, that might just be a practical option.

For now, don't think I'm ungrateful: I'm pleased and constantly amazed by how much has already been squeezed into a computer that takes less space than a trade paperback, and it's true that space trade-offs make it hard to squeeze in all the full-size ports I'd prefer. But most of these are features that exist in some form, and don't require anything to spring from the forehead of the Media Lab. I hope that by this time next year it'll be a smaller list of features I'm still looking for.

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Here's a nickel kid, buy yourself a real laptop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436283)

Seriously. It sounds like you're after the swiss army knife of tablets and no one tablet is *ever* going to meet all those features, because the combination you've chosen won't appeal to the mainstream. Tablet manufacturers are going to design their hardware to sell the most units - not to fulfill your fantasy feature wishlist.

Maybe you should drop Bunnie Huang a note - get him to tweak one of his hacker laptop builds. Or get a beagleboard, a plastic case, a touchscreen of your choice and go to town with all the accessories you want.

Re: Here's a nickel kid, buy yourself a real lapto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436303)

He forgot one: no Windows 8

Re:Here's a nickel kid, buy yourself a real laptop (3, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#42436637)

Just guessing from the audience; the last thing any of us here need is another thing with a keyboard to join the five or so surrounding us. Tablets are for uses like a) in confined spaces like a plane seat and b) when you don't want to pick up something heavy c) when consuming media in bed / on the couch etc. e) when walking around. In none of those situations is a laptop a solution and adding a keyboard to a tablet would just show the designer had no idea what his product was for.

These aren't the best thought out solutions, but that's not the complainant's job. He's giving us his idea of what is wrong with what he has already. I would hate the idea of the weight and space of full sized USB ports. On the other hand, direct mini/micro-USB to micro-USB cables to connect cameras to my tablet would be great and would eliminate a big pile of different adapters and mess. What is most needed is a real agreed standard for small connectors which both Apple and the Android vendors buy into together and get rid of large USB entirely. Alternately just make everything work wirelessly over some faster short range network.

Re:Here's a nickel kid, buy yourself a real laptop (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42436883)

It sounds like you're after the swiss army knife of tablets and no one tablet is *ever* going to meet all those features, because the combination you've chosen won't appeal to the mainstream.

There are lots of products available on the market that do not "appeal to the mainstream".

I can buy a 14-hole chromatic harmonica. A pair of ostrich-skin boots. A copy of Nabokov's lectures on literature. A recumbent bicycle.

Not all cars are dark-blue Camrys. There are tiny little Smart cars and behemoth Nissan Armadas. In yellow.

There's no reason every single product in the consumer electronics category has to appeal to every single consumer. We don't have to allow the tech industry to be lazy and greedy. They need us more than we need them.

Shorter List (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436291)

My list is shorter. Nexus 7 with micro HDMI out and Miracast.

my tablet wish list is simple! (1, Offtopic)

s0litaire (1205168) | about 2 years ago | (#42436295)

A tablet that will cure the raging hangover I'll be having in 12 hours time!!

Happy Hogmanay
Have a great start to 2013!! ^_^

hangovers - how damn hard is it?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436477)

hydrate & anti-inflamitories. i.e. Gatorade (errr Lucozade?!) and asprin before going bed in the morning. Or do you just pass out and fall on the floor?!

Still blown away by this new industry (1)

mozumder (178398) | about 2 years ago | (#42436301)

Really, we should all be thanking Steve Jobs for creating the entire modern tablet industry, something that wasn't even thought about 4 years ago. His vision of tablet computing was far more useful than any other predecessors... far more usable than the Newton or Windows tablets.

Re:Still blown away by this new industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436369)

Yes! All Macfans should light a candle at the alter of stevie. You remind me of the highschool girl who interrupted every conversation with lines like.. "He's so dreamy"

Steve Jobs not so right about the size (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42436523)

Not so right about the form factor though. The 7" tablet seems to have become the dominant one, without people filing down their fingers :), although attributing Everything to Steve Jobs without acknowledging the natural progression of technology, or what happened before it is ridiculous, or the other people who worked on the iPad. The most remarkable thing about the iPad at launch was its price :) something Apple seem to have forgotten.

Re:Steve Jobs not so right about the size (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436769)

Let us all know when you have any actual numbers on 7" tablets. From any vendor.

Not the old show me I can't Google (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42436815)

Let us all know when you have any actual numbers on 7" tablets. From any vendor.

This is just one story http://www.businessinsider.com/ipad-mini-sales-2012-12 [businessinsider.com] even Apples own Mini is outselling the iPad 4, and its not like the Googles and Amazon 7" tablets are particularly secret.

Re:Steve Jobs not so right about the size (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#42436803)

The most remarkable thing about the iPad at launch was its price :) something Apple seem to have forgotten.

Apple didn't forget it, it's just they have painted themselves into a corner. With no new magic products of any significance to pick up the iShiny torch there is exactly one way to grow profits for next year and thus allow the executive suite to hang onto its proverbial meal tickets for yet another year. That one way: squeeze more money out of existing products. That means: no sales, no price cuts, no deals, except on obsolete junk that might as well be binned. And naturally, that strategy ends in doom for Apple. Which is just fine with me given that Apple does not even bother to try to hide its true nature any more.

It is Off-topic, but... (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42436891)

Apple didn't forget it, it's just they have painted themselves into a corner. With no new magic products of any significance to pick up....

...seriously are you kidding me, Steve Jobs was simply wrong. Apple launched the iPad mini Late though incompetence or profit chasing [I think both]with a overpriced/underspecced product its a saturated and proven small tablet market of great innovative products [I own the Nexus 7] it was the first time I have seem news sites compare an Apple product. Apple is now just another electronics company and this product refresh was its turning point.

Re:Still blown away by this new industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436547)

Funny, seems to me there are more Android phones and tablets than iOS devices being sold. You can thank Jobs for making his stuff so overpriced that Google's Android jumped in to fill the void.

Why no iPad user "wish lists"? (-1, Redundant)

mozumder (178398) | about 2 years ago | (#42436707)

BTW notice how you never see "wish lists" from iPad users..

"Wish lists" are only for those with flawed devices.

And, does anyone actually use Android tablets? All the web usage stats show iOS devices leading by a massive margin.

What exactly are Android tablets used for? Doorstops?

They really are useless junk. Just get rid of them, replace them with iPads, so you don't have to waste everyone's bandwidth trying to fix them through more useless "wish lists"..

Re:Why no iPad user "wish lists"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436775)

lalalalalaLALALALALAI can't hear youLALALALALA

Re:Why no iPad user "wish lists"? (3, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#42436789)

"And, does anyone actually use Android tablets? All the web usage stats show iOS devices leading by a massive margin.

What exactly are Android tablets used for? Doorstops?

They really are useless junk...."

You may be interested to know that there are far more Android phones in circulation now than iPhones. Also, you have to keep in mind that the Android OS was not adapted for tablets until relatively recently... much later than the release of iOS tablets.

Given those facts, I think it is just a matter of time until Android dominates the tablet market, too.

Now, don't misunderstand me: Android does have its faults. Like its default reliance on Google for proper operation (much like iOS reliance on Apple). However, there is a difference: it is possible to disable the Google apps on Android and use 3rd-party applications instead. That is not possible for a lot of functionality in iOS.

Re:Why no iPad user "wish lists"? (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#42436827)

Because there's only one item on any true iFan's wish list: I wish I wasn't overdrawn at the bank [dailymail.co.uk] so I could put another iShiny on my credit card!

Re:Why no iPad user "wish lists"? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#42436889)

BTW notice how you never see "wish lists" from iPad users..

Nope. I work at a very MAC centric company. I'd guess that 80% of us use MAC hardware. Everyone has numerous complaints about all their hardware, including iPads.

"Wish lists" are only for those with flawed devices.

Or people who are smart enough to know what they want/need. Or higher expectations than just having an Apple logo on their device.

And, does anyone actually use Android tablets? All the web usage stats show iOS devices leading by a massive margin.

What exactly are Android tablets used for? Doorstops?

They really are useless junk. Just get rid of them, replace them with iPads, so you don't have to waste everyone's bandwidth trying to fix them through more useless "wish lists"..

Apple, Linux & Microsoft based products all have advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on what you are trying to do that decides which is the best tool. I'm sure I'm wasting my time as it's obvious you are either trolling and I fell for it, or you worship everything Apple because you are too fucking stupid to think for yourself.

But thank you for continuing to prove Maddox correct. [thebestpag...iverse.net]

Re:Why no iPad user "wish lists"? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 2 years ago | (#42436905)

Ahem? http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/search?q=wishlist&restrict_sr=on&sort=relevance&t=all [reddit.com]

Strange comment since even the newest version of iOS was largely an attempt to play catch-up with Android, since Android has more features to begin with.

Apple devices are largely for those that don't want to or need to do as much as more "nerdier" solutions, similar in a way that a Fischer-Price toy is more appropriate for a toddler than a real cell phone.

MESSAGE TO MANUFACTURERS: Phyisical Buttons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436305)

I'm not asking for a full keyboard...but a few buttons that I always want handy (like screen lock, volume keys, camera shutter), and a few that NEED to be physical like the EXIT, RETURN and SETTINGS buttons so I don't keep accidentally hitting the damn things!

Sure buttons cost money, but stop being so damn cheap manufacturers and give us some physical stuff back!

Re:MESSAGE TO MANUFACTURERS: Phyisical Buttons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436525)

I'm not asking for a full keyboard...but a few buttons that I always want handy (like screen lock, volume keys, camera shutter), and a few that NEED to be physical like the EXIT, RETURN and SETTINGS buttons so I don't keep accidentally hitting the damn things!

Yeah, where is that pesky volume button? Oh, here it is ... down, down, down, down, off.

Perfect List (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436313)

...for building a tablet that nobody will buy.

Re:Perfect List (2)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42436383)

Yes, this is the Homer of tablets.

Re:Perfect List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436435)

...for building a tablet that nobody will buy.

The implementation I'm visualizing is two tablets connected by a chain. Tablet-chucks, yo!

"I'd be like Bruce Lee meets Steve Jobs! Only better! God, I'm so brilliant!"

Re:Perfect List (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436459)

Sure if its under 200 non subsidized internet access like the kindle and etc.

Agreed (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 2 years ago | (#42436335)

Its a pretty decent list of features. I'll just add to make sure you have at least 10 hours of battery use, while actually USING the device.

Re:Agreed (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42436445)

And I'd like a Pony.

10 hours of battery life with the "Timothy Tablet' would need several Nobel Prize winning breakthroughs in battery technology and thermal management.

Re:Agreed (3, Insightful)

mobets (101759) | about 2 years ago | (#42436645)

With the physical switches and full sized USB and HDMI ports he is asking for, the case will need to be thicker. This should make plenty of room for a battery two or three times bigger. It doesn't sound like weight is an issue for him. The software requests seem reasonable.

Re:Agreed (1)

grim4593 (947789) | about 2 years ago | (#42436679)

It would be feasible if the tablet was thick enough to house full sized USB and HDMI ports as the OP wants.

Re:Agreed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436881)

The "Timothy Tablet" is very nearly the old Android powered Thinkpad Tablet. It certainly fits the "poorly executed" requirement.

Re:Agreed (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 2 years ago | (#42436885)

Oh, nonsense. Keep up with advances in battery tech. Its basically in the bag now.

One change (5, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | about 2 years ago | (#42436347)

Drop those full size USB ports, and add a (micro) SD card slot.

It is totally ridiculous that all NEXUS devices are missing that one, even the new Nexus 10.I want to watch movies in a plane, or review my pictures away from my PC (where a 2560x1600 screen really would help). So fuck the cloud and fuck the tiered pricing system that askes for $100 more for adding $20 worth of flash - while STILL limiting the total capacity to amounts that are ridiculously low for a device of that cost.

Full sized USB I can understand for missing : Those plugs are huge. They would literally be the thickest thing in the tablet.

Re:One change (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436403)

I don't own one, but the Surface, from what little I played with it, already has the full sized USB port, and an HDMI out. It has a decent camera, and you can download a swype keyboard. A significant portion of that list is on the Surface.

I think the one thing missing from the list is the UEFI/burn Linux onto it support. And for that you can run VirtualPC or some other VM.

Re:One change (1)

mea_culpa (145339) | about 2 years ago | (#42436465)

Are tablets really lacking internal space that there is no room for full sized SDCard readers and USB ports?
This has been a long standing gripe I've had with my iPad over the years.
Why can't there be removable panel on the back with access to SODIMMs that can upgrade the RAM and a bank of SDCard slots to upgrade the storage?
Single full-sized USB ports aren't tall enough to make a tablet thicker either. Granted the stupid tapered edges would have to go, but I say good riddance.
My iPad is so useless now. Every time I want to take a pic or update an app there is no storage left and no easy way to manage it without connecting it to a PC.
If I had a bank of 6 SDCards slots I would just add another 128GB card.

Re:One change (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#42436551)

My iPad Mini is 5mm thick. Take in to account the screen glass and there's space is tight. The only place you could even try to have a micro SD card slot is the top or bottom edges since the screen is so close to the sides.

Re:One change (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42436639)

Seriously? You went with 'they cant fit it in'? These guys constantly yammer on about how they are advancing the art of manufacturing devices, and yet they cant figure out an elegant way to let people use SD cards?

Re:One change (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#42436743)

If the size of the sd card slot is larger than the space they have in the device no amount of manufacturing advancements will make it possible to put the two together.

Re:One change (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42436779)

Well, at least half your name is right.

Re:One change (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42436811)

Shut up, you logic & measurements user!

Re:One change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436623)

Why can't there be removable panel on the back with access to SODIMMs that can upgrade the RAM and a bank of SDCard slots to upgrade the storage?

Because Apple doesn't care about your niche needs.

Full Sized USB (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42436475)

Drop those full size USB ports, and add a (micro) SD card slot.

I have used full sized usb on a tablet it was the buisness [Toshiba Thrive has one]. Everything I own that plugs into my computer uses Full Sized USB...I'd love the same functionality on my tablet...As well as Several SD card slots..The dimensions that matter are already fixed, 7" [The iPad mini is too big] how thin it is does not matter so much [within reason]. SD and Full sized USB are not mutually exclusive.

Re:One change (2)

pjr.cc (760528) | about 2 years ago | (#42436533)

i had the same thought... and yes i really do hate the lack of sd card on nexus devices (though for other reasons)... however, for media a better choice is actually a usb otg adaptor - you can generally get faster, cheaper and larger storage on the end of a usb stick then you will in a microsd card and while a bit larger, they're not inconveniently so (imho)...

Im loving my nexus 10, i really wasnt expecting to cause the reviews have been iffy at best, but it really is (to me) exactly what i've wanted in a tablet for a long time.

But like you, i do despise the nexus range for its "no-sd-card" policy and its been (so far) my only real gripe with the entire nexus lineup.

Re:One change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436543)

How long are your flights where you don't have enough space on a 32Gb version to keep you entertained? My guess is 32Gb holds more movies (mkv 1080p/7.1audio) measured in minuted than the battery can deliver.

Re:One change (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42436655)

This TOTALLY misses the point. I want to have a library of 32 GB cards that my DVR spits out every few weeks. So i can make choices on the go, instead of other people making choices for me to prop up their advertising model. I want HARDWARE designed to gracefully fail, not choke when there is no network.

Re:One change (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436549)

My Acer Iconia Tab A700 almost fits this description.

It doesn't have a full sized USB port, but it does come with a micro to full-sized USB adapter, which is a reasonable compromise as far as I'm concerned. The USB port supports every USB device I've tried, including keyboard and storage devices ranging from thumb drives up to a 1TB portable hard drive.

It has a micro SD card slot.

It has (micro) HDMI out.

Has built-in GPS, though no offline maps. That would be nice, I agree.

I don't know why this thing hasn't sold better - it's a fine tablet whose only major flaw seems to be "not a NEXUS".

Re:One change (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42436613)

I too am completely PISSED at the ongoing effort by manufacturers to steer us into the cloud by eliminating convenient local storage. Its ridiculously obvious.

Re:One change (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 2 years ago | (#42436619)

Bingo, we have a winner. I got a Nexus 7 for Christmas, and it's tres cool, but the wife got me the 16MB version, so a microSD slot would be welcome.
BTW, I don't even understand the FA's USB gripe; who even uses full size USB anymore? It's pretty much either micro or mini USB these days. But more importantly, the other end of the cable is standardized, so I don't get what difference it makes.

Re:One change (1)

verifine (685231) | about 2 years ago | (#42436835)

I agree with the addition of a micro SD slot. My Nexus 7 has 8 GB, which hasn't been a problem for reading books, etc.

What I *really* want is the ability, on my Android tablet, to dump any app I don't want to use. Any app. Haven't signed up for Google Wallet or Google+, don't intend to. Drop it. I'm not going to buy content on the tablet, Google, get used to it!

I also agree with the earlier poster, maps are next to useless on the N7. I can't even get the app to start unless I have a WiFi connection. How lame is that?

Love it for Netflix, and of course would play my own ripped DVDs except for the space requirements. Wait, if I had a micro SD card

Few years?! (4, Insightful)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#42436351)

For the last few years, I've been using Android tablets ... I started out with a Motorola Xoom

How can you have been using something "for the last few years" when it's been out less than 2 [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Few years?! (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42436461)

Internet years.

Or dog years. I wonder about Timothy sometimes.

Re:Few years?! (2)

mea_culpa (145339) | about 2 years ago | (#42436483)

1 mobile year = 3 earth months

The short list (1)

silvalen (673872) | about 2 years ago | (#42436357)

I'd settle for a Nexus 7 with HDMI out and SD Card support.

iPad? (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42436367)

Using an iPad I don't need any of the features above, HDMI USB et al.

--
and they are wondering if this is a joke of some kind

Re:iPad? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#42436571)

s/doesn't need/I have been convinced it doesn't need/

Of course, the simple fact that the iPad is trapped in the walled garden instantly rules it out for me.

You can check out any time you like AND leave (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#42436821)

the simple fact that the iPad is trapped in the walled garden instantly rules it out for me.

You can leave at any time by jailbreaking.

The idea that the "walled garden" is stopping you when anyone can step over the hedges was, is and always shall be laughable.

What it really means is that you have some kind of tragic flaw where you cannot ignore what company makes things, and just buy the device that would in fact work best for your needs.

google maps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436373)

Learn to use "make available offline"

Re:google maps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436575)

Did you even read what little Timmy wrote:
"Google's maps app provides a passable workaround, in the form of cached data, so you can load up the maps you need for a given route while you're sitting at a cheap and fast broadband connection, but in practice I'd found it iffy; sometimes the navigation refuses to recognize the maps I've loaded."

Also there is no navigating (atleast no rerouting or chaning destinatiosn) when offline.

Re:google maps... (1)

mobets (101759) | about 2 years ago | (#42436843)

Doesn't work for long distances. A large metroplex is about as big an area as can be selected and he was talking about driving across the Midwest.

Too Complicated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436381)

Why are you guys complicating things so much? All I wish is for my tablet not to blunt out my chisel too often.

GPS navigation with no online data? Since 2010 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436395)

You can already have stand-alone good GPS navigation without data connections. I have been using that for a while on my Android Galaxy S2 phone.
TomTom. Just pick the map and use it. No online connection needed, it stays in your card and works even if fully firewalled or data-less.

I also have an updated TomTom standalone unit and it uses exactly the same map version, always updated. So there you go, get an Android tablet and install TomTom 1.1.1+, then navigate.

Disclaimer: I live in TomTom's country but don't work there or even gife a fuck about them. Just figure'd I'd mention the obvious.

Missing: Infrared Remote Capability (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436415)

This is the most annoying feature missing on virtually all tablets...

Tablets are marketed as the "use everywhere, especially in the living room" computer, but still there's no infrared sender in most of them. And if there is, they are lousy and don't reach over two meters (Yes, Sony, i'm talking to you!)

integrate a good IR diode and make an app capable of Pronto definitions - instand perfect Remote, and even standalone a reason to buy a tablet...

Bizarro World (2, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#42436429)

Seriously. This post is like a snapshot of an alternate universe where the iPad never happened.

Re:Bizarro World (1)

rjr162 (69736) | about 2 years ago | (#42436665)

The iPad doesn't solve the issues listed. Off-line navigation integrated, swype, etc

Re:Bizarro World (1)

rjr162 (69736) | about 2 years ago | (#42436673)

Ignore my prior post, I failed to see the humor in it at first and thought it was suppose to be an actual "factual" post

Stylus/Active Digitzer (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 2 years ago | (#42436451)

Until the Galaxy Note 10.1 I did not want a tablet because 80% oi the things I wanted it for I couldn't do due to the lack of a decent stylus.
Other then that. USB port, bluetooth,.SD or microSD slot, one camera preferably two, GPS plus.

One thing that would really be nice--an exchangable battery.

Basics (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#42436455)

Good keyboard/support (there are more than a few convertibles that could do the work), ready to install another OS (webos, plasma active, ubuntu, mer or a few others are not explored enough alternatives), open in general (no secret sauce to do your own drivers or write your own code to work with the hardware), "good" hardware in general (long battery life, big capacity, expandable, good screen and camera), and cheap. If is for asking, why not everything?

Pen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436479)

A working pen so that I can annotate and highlight PDFs with something close to resembling handwriting. Instead of fingerpainting.

Re:Pen. (2)

rjr162 (69736) | about 2 years ago | (#42436689)

Galaxy Note line of "phones"/tablets have an awesome pen

Re:Pen. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42436705)

A working pen so that I can annotate and highlight PDFs with something close to resembling handwriting. Instead of fingerpainting.

Doesn't every touchscreen already work with a stylus?

Micro - normal USB adapters are dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436481)

Looking through the reviews on various USB adapters on amazon, a surprisingly large number of reviews talk about their phones and tablets being totally fried after plugging them in. I can't imagine why that would happen, as I don't know much about the USB internal voltages and power ratings, but it scares me enough that I'm not going to try plugging a keyboard into my phone through one.

Integrated maps and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436495)

"Integrated GPS navigation with built-in maps, not relying on an (always brittle, often expensive) ongoing data connection, or relying on a 3rd-party app."

I would also add, full-time integrated access to the complete English language Wikipedia, without the hassle of relying on a data connection.

Slightly Different Approach (4, Interesting)

high_rolla (1068540) | about 2 years ago | (#42436499)

I often like to think about these things in terms of activities or outcomes rather than features. The problem with thinking in terms of features is that you lock yourself into a specific implementation (which is often sub optimal).

So instead of saying "I need HDMI" I would instead say "I need a dead simple way to have my screen show up on any external screen."
Now HDMI may in fact be the answer but maybe there is a better way. For instance AppleTV works very nicely for me with all my devices to the TV. I'm not saying we should all install AppleTV's just observing that a wireless solution could be very convenient too. We should explore alternatives rather than just diving into the immediately obvious solution.

Any solution...as long as its from Apple (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42436759)

For instance AppleTV works very nicely for me with all my devices to the TV

The trouble with Apple products is the "just fail" when mixed with any technology other than their own "massively overpriced". None of it uses industry standards, which they think they can just ignore. The reality is there other solutions like uPnP/DNLA, but I wired solution gets rid of the middle man. The reality is a $1 cable works better than *ANY* Apple solution.

Re:Slightly Different Approach (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42436853)

Ok hold on cowboy. Wired and wireless are NOT directly interchangable. Airplay will never be as robust as a physical HDMI cable. It requires logins and setup and networking etc. Full disclosure: I have 3 Apple TVs fed from a 2011 mac mini using ipads and iphones and it STILL doesnt work all that well as a whole. Airplay works decent enough, but i would NEVER rely on it alone and ignore the robustness wired brings. I even have the mac mini and the appleTVs and all the iDevices on their own VLAN and it still doesnt work 100%.

Bigger size... (3, Interesting)

knisa (209732) | about 2 years ago | (#42436501)

I'd like to see a decent tablet with around a 14" screen. Something that would make reviewing documentation (or sheet music) intended for Letter/A4 sized printouts possible without shrinking it to fit a diminutive screen.

Art tablet (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#42436505)

My wish-list tablet would have an x86 CPU capable of running off-the-shelf visual-arts software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Manga Studio, and Painter. Win7, Win8, OS X... whatever. Give me wifi and Dropbox, and I'm all set for getting data on/off it. Don't bother with a keyboard; if I wanted to type I'd use a laptop. But give me a pressure-sensitive stylus (Wacom or UC-Logic digitizer), and a few buttons on the frame which can be programmed to simulate keypresses like Ctrl-Z or Alt. Give it a 14" 4:3 screen with a resolution of at least 1280x1024. This is totally feasible. I just need someone to make it.

Re:Art tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436701)

They kinda have made those for years now. I draw on an Asus EP121 12" slate with a wacom digitizer and multi-touch capacitive. 1280x800 screen, i5 processor, 4gb of ram. My other drawing tablet is an old Fujitsu T4020 convertible which I've locked in tablet mode. Lower specs (1024x768, Core 2, 2gb ram, heavier - especially with the 2nd battery) but it's 4x3, has more buttons, and the screen is unbelievable. Paint tool Sai runs on it like a dream, and I've no problems with the Gimp, either.

Now, the new fangled arm based tablets are great for media consumption, but for specialized content creation, nothing I've found has beaten the old Tablet PC design that's been around for literally DECADES. (Not kidding - I have a 486 tablet PC with an active digitizer). People act like Microsoft Tablet PCs didn't exist before Surface/RT/8/Whatever they're calling it this week, and I don't really understand that.

Call it "The Homer"... (1)

secretvampire (622660) | about 2 years ago | (#42436507)

...and charge $1232.98 for it. Add seven cupholders for good measure!

WIshlist (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#42436521)

For everyone to shut up about tablets. Just buy the tablet you like and don't brag, slam and belittle the tablet market.

Re:WIshlist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436583)

i'm still waiting for one that has the ability to fly, damn tablet market

I'd settle for a jump drive with a micro-USB jack (4, Interesting)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#42436535)

The reason you want a full sized USB jack demonstrats where the jump drive market is behind the times. I'd like to see guys like Kingston start putting micro-USB connectors on jump drives.

Chicken, meet egg. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436901)

And what reason do they have to do this?

Every laptop and PC on the planet (that was made in the last 10 years, anyways) has a USB port (or a USB connector, Macbook Air fans). A large number, but significantly less than all, have either an SD, or a mini-SD, or a micro-SD.

Very few phones or tablets have such connectors (I'm aware a number of phones use mini or micro SD as a hard drive substitute, but I'm not aware of many where those slots are accessible while the machine is running).

So, to build one of these, we build something that, instead of being basically guaranteed to go from any laptop/computer to any other laptop computer like a USB-key would, we instead have something that can go from a small fraction of computers to a small fraction of other computers, and possibly a small number of other devices. Where's the market for these, until and unless the tablet/mobile makers build usable ports to make this useful?

Maps (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#42436545)

Google's maps app provides a passable workaround, in the form of cached data, so you can load up the maps you need for a given route while you're sitting at a cheap and fast broadband connection, but in practice I'd found it iffy; sometimes the navigation refuses to recognize the maps I've loaded

I've found that if I pre-cache maps, I always end up caching only the layers I don't need, and I zoom in and out to layers that aren't cached.

My complaint is that I like marking things up. I want to draw thing on documents. And not an overlaid JPG, but OCR that is actual object recognition, in addition to character, not just word recognition. Shape recognition, connector recognition, and native integration into existing document formats. Personally, I'd like to be able to sketch something and export it into AutoCAD or Visio or a GIS format. Yes, I know how hard that would be, that doesn't mean I don't want it any less.

Meh... (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 2 years ago | (#42436587)

I'm not too thrilled with most of these ideas. Full-sized USB? That would require it to be awfully thick. I could see some kind of micro-usb port, and if you want you can use and adapter, but I don't mind going over wifi if I need to tranfer data. HDMI? I don't really care. If I want something on my TV, I'm fine with having a set-top box. Stereo recording? I mean... I have a microphone on my tablet. I'm not sure the value in recording in stereo when the two mics are right next to each other, but maybe I'm just ignorant there.

Mostly, I'd like to see more open platforms for phones and tablets. The fact that I can't just install whatever software I want grates on me a little. I'd like to be able to buy a piece of hardware based on its value, and then install the OS and apps based on their value, instead of buying into a unified platform and being stuck. Though, I can also see the value in having a unified platform. Apple provides great products across the board largely because they're able to control the whole stack. But it'd be nice if I could easily install the latest stock Android on my iPad to check it out, and continue using it if I prefer it.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436595)

Built-in maps: No. This should be an app, not something that comes built-in to the OS. These apps exist. You're trying to move backward.
Full-sized USB: not worth it. You'd have to make the device too damn big just to fit the port, and you'll waste power on the devices you plug into it.
Swiping keyboard: Good idea, but again, this is an app, not an OS feature (on Android, at least).
Pixel Qi: Maybe, but is the expense/power tradeoff worth it? Not for most people.
Hardware toggles: No. I don't need a constantly-available hardware switch for something I toggle once a month. That's madness.
HDMI out: No. We need Miracast, or whatever the open standard competitor to Apple's Airplay ends up being.
Stereo recorder: Not worth the cost for the 99.99% of users who don't care.
Bright LED: Meh, I use my phone when I need a flashlight, not my tablet.

Sorry, I'm not trying to piss on your parade, but it's not going to happen.

It's not a toaster. (2)

metrometro (1092237) | about 2 years ago | (#42436605)

[specific computing need] without relying on a 3rd-party app.

Do you want a computer or an appliance? If you want a computer, install some of that pesky "3rd-party" software and move on.

/. articles cause flashbacks (4, Funny)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#42436617)

This article reminds me of the days I would build machines for people that constantly "wanted more". They wanted to be able to stuff every drive they ever owned into it. Then they wanted to have their scanner, printer, phone, 5.25 and 3.5 floppy, and cd player/recoreder attached. Then they wanted the best graphics card for playing games, looking at pictures, watching movies, editing pictures, creating 3d graphis for games, and encoding movies. They wanted the best sound card for games, listening to music, editing music, creating music (which of course meant they needed a way to hook up another slew of midi devices). Then they wanted a web server on it. Then they wanted a database server on it. Then they needed a network card, then two, then bonded interfaces. Ah, fun times.

China Tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436709)

If you are wiling to go over to the dark side, most if not all of those features are quite easily found. Wanting things like SD and real usb guest/host are some of the reasons i gave up on the stuff that is being sold in the US. ( and cost ). About the only thing i haven't got in my tablet is GPS as i have a 6" phone ( china again ) that does that for me.

My wishlist (2)

DaChesserCat (594136) | about 2 years ago | (#42436753)

Two apps onscreen at once. You know, like they demo on the Samsung tablets? I want Android to do that on any device. I don't care how fast your software can task switch. I frequently need to pull two apps up side-by-side and compare stuff. Having one completely disappear off the screen makes a smartphone or tablet useless for such things. I don't need a full windowing GUI; two at a time is sufficient.

Cases with built-in solar cells. I want to be able to lay it on my desk (upside down is fine) or on the dash of my car on a sunny day and have the battery recover.

The ability for an app to change the device's USB profile:
  • You can get apps which will let you use your smartphone as a touchpad, but you have to run some kind of software on the other machine. I want the ability to fire up an app on my smartphone or tablet, while plugged into another machine's USB port for battery charging, and have the other machine see a USB connected mouse/touchpad without needing to install any specialized software.
  • Ditto for keyboard. I want to be able to use my smartphone's/tablet's voice recognition while connected to a desktop/laptop machine and have the connected machine think that I'm just typing really fast.
  • Ditto for audio input/ouput. I have a headset which connects to my smartphone; why should I have to have another one for my PC/laptop? Again, no special software required on the connected desktop/laptop machine.

The ability to set proxy server settings on a connection-by-connection basis. If I'm on my home wifi network, I have a caching proxy in place to reduce bandwidth usage and accelerate access. If I'm elsewhere, I don't want to try hitting that proxy server. Just add that to the wifi profile and get on with it. Neither Android nor any version of Linux I've used manages to get this right.

Array microphones on the device. I want to be able to lay my smartphone/tablet face-down on an table during a meeting and, not only record the voices clearly, but be able to map out, after the fact, who was sitting where and have the recording annotated with who said what. Can't even get an add-on device which can do this.

hmm solar panel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436761)

I don’t know if you can get enough power to recharge the tablet but maybe can help lessen the drain on the battery

7 inch tablets... (4, Interesting)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#42436805)

The larger tablets have been too big for me. I waited until the 7/8 inch ones came out. I played with a Google Nexus 7 for a while but decided for my use cases the iPad Mini would be more suitable. Using your wish-list...

1) Tomtom app for iPad - Doesn't need a network connection.

2) Open Streetmap clients are out there. An update tool is just software.

3) Why the hell do you want a full size USB. They're *HUGE*. The iPad Mini is only about 5 mm thick in total. It has lightning which is a USB host. I would like Apple to support more devices on it. SD card and USB storage devices have limited support.

4) I love the thumb keyboard you get by 'splitting' the keyboard. On the Mini it works really well with everything easily accessible. I would imaging its a bit big on a full sized iPad. I have a bluetooth apple keyboard for various uses and with the iPad it works really well. Its a bit bigger than you want to carry around normally but quite light. (http://www.cyberspice.org.uk/blog/2012/12/29/apple-bluetooth-keyboard-and-ipad/)

5) Since I live in Northern Europe. I've not really had a chance to use it outside in daylight :-D

6) "Hardware" toggles aren't really physical switches in the connection. They're still just switches that toggle GPIOs. Easily over-ridden in software if you want to. Having the slide switch on the iPad more configurable would be nice.

7) HDMI connector? Wires, how retro! Again the lightning connector supports this functionality via an adapter. Like the USB connector an HDMI connector is quite large and not everyone will want one. The current use of adapters on both IOS and Android tablets is a better solution. However I use Airplay via an AppleTV to watch movies and play games on my TV. Works nicely with Netflix, iTunes, and BBC iPlayer.

8) Stereo record is another function that not everyone needs so why build it in if you don't need it. Android tablets with a USB host should be able to support it via a dongle.

9) The bright LED is something missing from the iPad Mini. The iPhone has it but not the iPad Mini.

10) To be honest I'm not worried about supporting multiple OSes. If I wanted that I would have a laptop (which I do). The iPad is something I can carry in my handbag and pull out when I need a web browser, e-mail, to SSH in to something or what ever...

A lot of the wish list is possible now with at least one of the available tablet types. The requirement for things like full sized sockets and the like kind of defeats the whole purpose of the small, light, thin, tablet and is missing the point.

Tougher tablets are needed (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 2 years ago | (#42436819)

"Mine broke right after I started using it!" --Moses

Perfectly reasonable, for the most part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436839)

Sorry, but all you "hey, buy a laptop" crowd are on the wrong side of this one, IMO.

The OP isn't really asking for the world. He's not asking for anything that a tablet isn't perfectly capable of doing. He's pointing out some reasonable and valuable things that tablets would be a.) perfectly capable of doing and b.) would add significant value over features current functionality. I'd agree that no product is going to have everyone's perfect feature set, but really what's on this list that's unreasonable?

OK, the USB slot - others pointed out the hardware issue on this well. But his point on this still stands - a way to get files on and off a tablet that passes the "easy enough my mom can use it" test is a.) feasible b.) useful and c.) missing. I like the mini/microSD suggestion, but there are other options as well.

Re: Stereo recording. If you're recording a business meeting, it really is valuable - it's a LOT easier to follow who's who if you get a directional audio clue along with voice. That's why there are $100+ single-purpose devices on the market for this. I think this is less something I'd like to see "native" and more something I'd like to see someone build a simple adapter for (e.g. an apple dock/lighting connector dongle with 2 small directional mic's), which may well be easy/possible with current gen hardware.

I'm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436845)

...addicted to painkillers, you insensitive clod!

Onboard GPS maps (3, Informative)

subreality (157447) | about 2 years ago | (#42436847)

You can have it today. Navfree or Osmand if you want the free route; Sygic has a paid app; I'm sure there are others.

Of course you'll lose out on all the things that make Google maps nifty: good search, traffic, rich POI data, etc, but the basic functionality works fine offline.

Or at least.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42436861)

As an alternative to full-size USB, at least build cable adapters that allow you to convert full-size to mini USB and actually have the standard work like a simple conversion instead of the ridiculous one size one use type of ports that keeps being set up as a 'standard'. The devices themselves should dictate whether or not they can be used for the purpose being requested, not the specific size or shape of the port that they're using.

Browsers and fingers (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#42436897)

My tablet wishes are:

1) A browser that could keep up. If that can't be done, then one that responds to me WHILE IT'S RENDERING THE PAGE AND NOT WHEN IT'S DONE. Seriously. The browser does NOT matter. I do. If I change my mind, it can goram well stop what it's doing and say, "So sorry sir, let me drop this silly process and go do what you want done now." It's just a machine, after all.

2) A tablet that actually selects the item where my finger hit. My Samsung phone with much smaller type and links can do this wonderfully. My Acer tablet often gets it within 1/4 inch or so.

Wish list: (1)

Vrallis (33290) | about 2 years ago | (#42436899)

Wish list:

A real keyboard.

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