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#611
Originally Posted by pichlo View Post
That's it, juice, you've nailed it!

I realized a long time ago from following this thread that what we want is basically... a netbook. Perhaps a smaller one so it can be called handheld to fit the subject but that is a detail.

The netbook era has come and gone. It lasted all of what? A year? It left such a lasting legacy that most of you will possibly not even know what a netbook is.

Most netbooks that I know of came with some sort of Linux preinstalled, to push down the cost. They were designed to run Linux. They failed to make a hole in the world. Manufacturers then woke up and started offering the same models with Windows. That took off slightly better but still not good enough. When first iPad and then Android copycats emerged, that was the end of the netbook era.

I am still trying to figure out why. As far as I am concerned, something of a laptop form factor, with a general computer capabilities, but smaller is far superior to a flat slab with a glass front and no buttons. It seems that the masses disagree. Not only general masses: just look at our own community. The overall feeling that yet another iPhone wannabe is the bees knees is almost palpable. The fact that it runs something that could just about pass for Linux is often used as an argument although to me it sounds more like an excuse.

In short, no one wants a hanheld computer any more. You and I may want one but we are small individual islands surrounded by a sea of apathy. We need to wake up and realize what the manufacturers have realized a long time ago: trying to bring a handheld general computer to the market is an economic suicide. If anyone would even consider doing that, it would be only a big manufacturer like Sony, doing it on the side and subsidizing it heavily from their other businesses.

In even shorter, it ain't gonna happen. DIY or nothing.
Really agree with you on most of that, but I'd say that if marketing was better and the uses of such devices were sold as things like "portable gaming rigs you can turn on and play" instead of "narrow-niche geek/nerd toy" then it could have worked.

The GPD Win gets a lot of attention and sales. It is a small windows device that plays games and fits in a pocket - maybe not the latest, but recent enough games - and you can also do Steam games etc too.

To most of the general population, Linux just immediately hits a spot in their head that says "woah -too much work, I don't want to have to learn to code just so I can play a game" or "but that can't run anything, I'm not touching that, I need to be able to use spreadshees, and do word processing" or even "Linux, what's that - never heard of it. Must be rubbish"

The general public at large don't know/understand about things like libre office, Wine, or even emulators. And I don't think most people associate Linux with beinf able to do the things they are used to doing on a PC or Mac.

I also believe manufacturers are churning out rectangles with no vuttons because of simular false premises. It wouldn't take much for that to change.- just a couple of sucess stories that can sgow there's a profit to be made in small pocket PC's with keyboards. They are only stuck on the "tablet" idea because that was the form factor of the ipad, which was "what all the cool kids wanted" at the time when the hardware and software became good enough and affordable enough for significant amounts of people to afford.
They are scared to leave the comfort zone mostly, yet devices tgat do can be popular. The Yoga, for example, and even the GPD devices, although more indie/small scale.
Even with the likes of the MS surfaces - their big delling point is sticking a f-ing keyboard onto them. LOL - so they'll happily tell us they just don't see a market out there for buttons or keyboards - yet also love selling these as add-ons.

How many people does everyone know who has complained about "soft buttons"? I bet everyone knows more than one. I am writing this on a phone with 2 constant soft buttons. What is the f-ing point of those f-ers? LOL. The makers take away buttons to help increase screen size, then limit screen size with soft buttons. A button coyld be on the edge, taking up zero screen space. I am also always touching one when not meaning to. Almost every day I will hear someone say something about deleting the text they were trying to send etc, due to just touching one of these,

Back on track though (sorry for rambling) - I think to succeed a device needs to cone pre-installed with some public-pleasing "gimmicks" - a few games, libre office, some installer packages for various other goodies.- if peopke see a lot of apps and games for free that is a big selling point...AS long as they don't have to do any work. The more "pick up and play" the better.
Perhaps this hypothetical device would come with an OEM windows installed even, and Linux pre ibstalled on a dual boot- available for anyone that wants it.

So - couple it together like this as selling points in some sort of clamshell forn.:
"Fits in my pocket, yet screen is still decent size (6 inches?)"
"Got a full qwerty, and can't "pocket dial" anyone"
"Is pick up and play, or geeks can 'nerd out' "
"can do office tasks on the go"
Etc.
 

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#612
You're partly correct in your posting, but I disagree with this;

Originally Posted by kyllerbuzcut View Post
I also believe manufacturers are churning out rectangles with no vuttons because of simular false premises. It wouldn't take much for that to change.- just a couple of sucess stories that can sgow there's a profit to be made in small pocket PC's with keyboards. They are only stuck on the "tablet" idea because that was the form factor of the ipad, which was "what all the cool kids wanted" at the time when the hardware and software became good enough and affordable enough for significant amounts of people to afford.
The real bloody reasons for current trend of buttonless portable devices are many, first which I can think of;
  • Cost of localization; If you have a device with HWKBD you need to have dozens of different models for each corner of the world to suit the established layout and the "special characters" of each country.
  • The non-latin languages, most important being chinese! It is a real pain to input such local alphabets on a non-virtual keyboard, there is a very steep learning curve associated.
  • Cost of manufacturing, even without any localization a keyboard contains mechanical moving parts which makes it way more expensive to make than a flat seet of glass.
  • Reliability and guarantee issues; when you have moving pieces in a device it will create way more returns than a featureless box which you only can beak the front-facing glass.

The ugly truth is that there will never again exist a HWKBD device as an affordable alternative for a mobile device meant for the masses. Ever.
 

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#613
Originally Posted by juiceme View Post
The ugly truth is that there will never again exist a HWKBD device as an affordable alternative for a mobile device meant for the masses. Ever.
I was a bit late to the party, but wasn't the N900 very expensive when it came out? It was a flagship device with flagship specs & price, right?
 

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#614
Originally Posted by Feathers McGraw View Post
I was a bit late to the party, but wasn't the N900 very expensive when it came out? It was a flagship device with flagship specs & price, right?
I'm thinking, "affordable" = "costs less than a Vertu"
High-end is OK but not unreasonably prized.

Besides, for the same level of quality & functionality the "soapbox without moving parts" will always be cheaper to make, hence that's the only thing that will be made.
That's some kind of market law operating there.
 

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#615
Originally Posted by Feathers McGraw View Post
I was a bit late to the party, but wasn't the N900 very expensive when it came out? It was a flagship device with flagship specs & price, right?
No. Actuallly, most of todays "flagships" cost more SIM free. Which is riduculous.
The most expensive phone for me was P800. But at the time that phone was something, it was unique and packed with a lot of uncommon things for the time.
And as technology went forward a lot of things became 1000x cheaper and any 50 phone is way more advanced (OS on a side) than P800 which I paid over a 1000.
So asking 700-800 is ridiculous. For a POS that won't be "flagship" even in that one company for a year.
They all try to overcharge HW while the most important part of the experience, SW, is usually buggy from the beggining and stays like that till the EOL. Which also comes way to fast for something of such a high price.
 

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#616
Originally Posted by kinggo View Post
So asking 700-800 is ridiculous. For a POS that won't be "flagship" even in that one company for a year.
They all try to overcharge HW while the most important part of the experience, SW, is usually buggy from the beggining and stays like that till the EOL. Which also comes way to fast for something of such a high price.
In the US, the N900 was $650 USD upon release during a time when subsidized pricing was still ongoing. To many, it was high, but having an unlocked phone at that period of time was short-term an investment but long-term in the consumer's advantage. But many didn't see it like that. I can admit I was one of those types.

With that said, a $650 USD phone, and I quote, "that won't be a flagship for even in that one company for a year..." was a bit tough to swallow. Especially given how Nokia kept denying that the USB port had issues and they ran out of replacements rather quickly and were offering people other phones instead - N95's mostly IIRC. And carriers were unwilling in some cases to activate it on their networks unless you were talking with a savvy salesperson - which was rare then.

The N900 in the US wasn't expensive. It just wasn't really meant to be sold here it seems. Lack of training, lack of support, lack of distribution. I cannot speak about elsewhere though.
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#617
I'll just say that my operator is asking ~200 (SIM free) more for currently very interesting Xperia X then SIM free N900 was.
 

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#618
Using this calculator:

http://inflation.stephenmorley.org/

650 in 2009 ~= 800 in 2017. I know it's a different currency, but I think it says a lot.
 

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#619
Originally Posted by juiceme View Post
You're partly correct in your posting, but I disagree with this;



The real bloody reasons for current trend of buttonless portable devices are many, first which I can think of;
  • Cost of localization; If you have a device with HWKBD you need to have dozens of different models for each corner of the world to suit the established layout and the "special characters" of each country.
  • The non-latin languages, most important being chinese! It is a real pain to input such local alphabets on a non-virtual keyboard, there is a very steep learning curve associated.
  • Cost of manufacturing, even without any localization a keyboard contains mechanical moving parts which makes it way more expensive to make than a flat seet of glass.
  • Reliability and guarantee issues; when you have moving pieces in a device it will create way more returns than a featureless box which you only can beak the front-facing glass.

The ugly truth is that there will never again exist a HWKBD device as an affordable alternative for a mobile device meant for the masses. Ever.
Yes - interesting points.
Costs would quickly escalate with HWKBs, but then again they could just bump up the price....bit then that takes away some of the mass market appeal if it would cost too much.

But ... The GPD Win can do it - and is less than 300.
ok, it's not a phone, but the basic idea/shape/style of device is all there.
When people pay 700 or 800 for the latest iphone, 300 doesn't seem a lot. I don't know what sort of hardware issues (if any) have been
reported on those devices, but I vet those buttons get a lot of mashing, judging by the type f device they are suposed to be (handheld gaming devices), and I haven't seen complai ts or anything on forums. Usually people shout loudest about faults. I also think the n900 keyboard worked great, and mine still works perfectly - so it creating something with a keyboard shouldn't be as hard as the manufacturers might say.

Localised keyboards would require lits of diferent models, which, yes, is a pain in the *** - The only way around that I can think of is if the keyboard was then some kind of clip on acessory. Another pain for the manufacturers, but how do keyboard makers manage now? KBs are sold as acesories on winndows surface devices, and other tablets etc. This problen can turn into an opportunity to sell accesories.... although likely more cost to us

I still think the excuses coming from device makers are lame. They are lazily churning out flat rectangles. The business model works because people are buying them. People are buying them because there are no other options. If there were other options then they likely would give them a try.

What is the first thing a lot of people do when they get a tablet though?
...look for a case / keyboard for it.

The problem is there is no space on the bean counters' balance sheet for "likely", "might" , "possibly" etc The immediately profitable thing to do is to keep makong the cheap rectangles and selling the accesories.

Once in a while though - someone comes along with a new idea or new device. A risk is taken, it works and then 6 months later everyone is copying it and continues for the next 10 years. I am just hoping the next risk taken by a manufacturer works in our favour and produces something we can work with
 

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#620
Different keyboard layouts are not a problem if the keys are the standard size.
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