Gene Munster: Android-Based Tablets Will Be More Popular Than Apple’s iPad
- iPad-style tablets will fundamentally change the “PC industry”
- Android tablets will overtake the iPad soon
- Microsoft has missed the boat
First let’s get something straight, the interviewer says that the iPhone is “revolutionary” and that Apple invented the tablet. Both those statements are complete Apple hype. Microsoft had tablets before Apple did. Nor did Apple or Microsoft invent touchscreens. Touchscreens have been around for almost as long as the mouse, and they have always been used to lull computer users into thinking that they’re doing something “fundamentally different,” the same way Apple did in the eighties with their other invention, the WIMP GUI. Oh wait, Xerox invented that.
The idea that the iPhone is revolutionary is hype spread by people who think Steve Jobs getting a cup of coffee is revolutionary.
As to the analyst’s assertions: all I can say is “good.” Finally people will know that hardware companies other than Apple can produce a good product. I think it’s okay for tablet PCs to become more common, they look actually useful, as opposed to many laptops that are still too bulky to be portable, and still too slow to be useful. I might even want a Meego tablet, because it would save me from carrying a lot of things. I’m not going to stop using paper, but I might find a tablet useful.
If Android overtakes the iPad, again “good,” but that’s not necessarily a “great day for freedom.” We in the Free Software community need to put less stock in what business world people think about these trends. People in business care about money — they don’t care about what’s done well, what’s actually helps people get their jobs done, or about what’s ethical. We need to push software freedom where it really matters: in schools. As soon as I have kids in public school I will be at school board meetings and city council meetings telling them about Free Software. If kids start using tablets in school, then they sure as hell better have free software on them — and the schools need to enable and encourage them to use it — or we will be sending the message of “good for business, good for society,” to our kids. That is the wrong message to send to kids.
For the analyst’s last point, it’s more like “about time.” Finally people are starting to see how much Microsoft sucks. If it takes a product from Apple to show them, then so be it. I’m just glad that a sorta-free alternative (Android) is out there. There is also a mostly free alternative in Meego. I’m disappointed that it’s taken most people (including me) over twenty years to wake up and smell the coffee brewing near Seattle, but that fact that it’s finally happening is great news for everyone.
I think the best thing about Android or Meego tablets being on equal footing with the iPad — and therefore a good thing that the iPad finally created a viable market for tablets — is that it’s a step toward common knowledge and acceptance of Free Software as something usable and no longer the exclusive domain of “sandal-wearing freaks.” So “thank you” goes to the iPad and I hope this market does in Apple the same way it will to Microsoft.