Fragmentation Comes to iOS

*US price not announced. Previous price for iPhone 4S was $649, but other countries (Canada, Australia) have seen a $50 increase over iPhone 4S.
# Only the cellular (3G/4G/LTE) versions of iPads have a GPS chip.
**The iPad Mini has not been announced, all information is tentative and unsubstantiated.

While iOS will never come close to the fragmentation seen in Android with all the different versions and customizations, recent product releases and software updates and Apple’s decision to sell previous generation products at a lower price means things aren’t as streamlined as they used to be. I have prepared a chart based on published information. Any errors/omissions are mine and will be corrected asap.

I have included the iPhone 3GS here as it is one of the devices being upgraded to iOS and was only discontinued a couple of days ago. While the original iPad is not getting an upgrade to iOS 6, I have kept it in for comparison because it’s a recent product – remember it was the latest and only iPad on sale until March 2, 2011.

The iPad Mini has not been announced but numerous leaks have made it virtually certain that there isn’t long to wait. One of the questions here is where it will fit in alongside the new iPod touch, and the iPad 2, which is still on sale but misses out on some key features like Siri and Facetime over cellular. The new iPod touch gets Siri support while costing $100 less and using a similar dual-core A5 chip to the iPad 2. Another issue is that while the new iPad and iPad 2 (WiFi), and the new iPod touch get Siri and turn by turn navigation, they don’t have a GPS chip, which limits the utility of navigation and the location based features in Siri.

While some features are hardware dependent, it is clear that Apple has deliberately chosen to limit certain features on older devices. And iPhone developers will have to modify/develop their apps for two different screen sizes and resolutions. Again, this is nothing compared to the countless number of resolutions seen on Android devices, and unlike Android where app developers have taken their time to support newer versions, all popular apps will be updated very quickly to support the new screen size. However, it represents a fundamental change for Apple from the cohesive and consistent user experience offered across all iPhones so far.

Sikkim – I

While this article is about my trip to Sikkim, it won’t read like a travelogue. It is more about discovering a very unique part of India I knew absolutely nothing about before I arrived there.

Sikkim looks deceptively tiny on a map, and it is easy to underestimate the challenge of visiting Sikkim. The first problem is that Sikkim is the only Indian state with no airport  and no trains. Just getting there is a not inconsiderable challenge. And when I went there (late May), the roads were in a terrible state, and this is before the monsoon. The recent earthquake was definitely a factor in that and the damage was still very visible in the worst affected places, where the side of a mountain had collapsed, as if it had been sliced off with a giant  cleaver.

The only way to get to Sikkim is to take a train to New Jalpaiguri station or fly to Bagdogra airport in West Bengal. Which doesn’t seem too bad as they seem to be right next to Sikkim. Fortunately, driving times in Sikkim are easy to calculate. Look  at the map, come up with a rough estimate based on the distance, and then quadruple it. So the drive to the capital Gangtok is 6-8 hours from the airport or train station, depending on whether the traffic is bad, awful, or absolutely terrible. The funny thing is once you’ve been to Sikkim, you wouldn’t have it any other way. I shudder to imagine what would happen to Sikkim if it was easily accessible from a large city, or had an airport.

The most refreshing thing about Sikkim is it is absolutely nothing like the Himalayan states in North India. From pictures, I had expected Gangtok to be another overcrowded hill station precariously perched on the sides of multiple hills along the lines of Shimla or Mussoorie, a charmless place you pass through or stop at to orient yourself and then get the hell out of to reach smaller places at higher altitudes. Gangtok looks similar on the surface, but it turns out to be very different. The first thing you notice is the lack of tourists. There were tourists of course, but it was nothing like Shimla or Mussoorie in summer where it seems everyone from the plains had climbed and crammed themselves onto a handful of hills.  The city center (on MG road of course) is a plaza where vehicles aren’t allowed, immaculately paved with fountains, benches, and plants scattered around, with far more locals than tourists wandering around. Traffic is very organized for a hilly city with narrow roads, with traffic policemen and women at major intersections directing traffic. There are proper fenced pavements on all major roads so you can walk around without the fear of being run over or falling off a hill trying to avoid a bus that seems to be wider than the road. Walking around the plaza, it soon becomes clear that the culture is very different from most parts of India. The songs I hear playing are those I haven’t heard since I left Sydney a few months ago, and the way young people dress is also closer to contemporary fashion in Sydney, not ‘Indianized’ as most major Indian cities are. There are pubs everywhere and alcohol is freely available in bars, liquor shops and even tiny corner stores. There are real bakeries and cafes with several types of bread and muffins and cakes.

You soon realize that this is a place where women are safer than they could ever be in Delhi, and I even see European looking women in shorts walking around confident and undisturbed. The more fancy and expensive malls in bigger cities are of course a bit like this, but in Sikkim this isn’t the culture of an extremely rich and westernized minority, it’s the culture of the place itself. I see more signs of it throughout my trip, and the contrast is even more stark as my last trip to the mountains was to Kashmir, which remains extremely conservative. Women leave home for a few months to run shops in small tourist towns during summer, running corner shops and cafes. One of our hotel managers is an extremely competent and busy young woman.

We decide to hang around in Gangtok for an extra day, as it is fast becoming my favourite cities in India. Gangtok has arguably the ideal climate, with the annual temperature range from 5-25 degrees. It is still India of course, not Austria or Switzerland. But I haven’t been to a more pleasant city in the hills in India, and if keeping it this way means six hours on a bumpy road to get there, I don’t really mind. We see more tourists by the time we leave Gangtok, but the charm persists.

Sikkim soon begins to feel like a vast place, as we are told how it takes 6-8 hours to drive to most places we had planned to visit. You also begin to understand the insane topographical variations that are crammed into a small area. Sikkim goes all the way from a few hundred meters above sea level to 8500+ meters at the top of Kanchenjunga. West Sikkim is a land of green rolling hills, where travelling often involves going all the way down in a valley to cross a river and back up, just to reach a nearby town that is a few kilometers away as the crow flies. North Sikkim is a high altitude place with fewer people, worse roads, and stunning vistas, all worth the back breaking drive up from Gangtok. I calculated that it took us almost twenty hours of driving from the airport to reach the northernmost driveable place in Sikkim, Gurudongmar lake. It’s not a place for flying visits.

to be continued…

Android Jelly Bean and a Re-review of the Nexus S

The Nexus S is a rather unassuming smartphone at a time where the flashier Samsung Galaxy line grab headlines and eyeballs (in India, Samsung controls the market and iPhones are less common). In fact, it doesn’t even stand out among Nokia’s low end Symbian phones. And that turns out to be a very good thing on the crowded trains, where no self respecting pickpocket would go after a Nexus S when the whole Galaxy beckons.

Calling the Nexus S plasticky is unlikely to get it riled up–unlike phones that try to appear more premium by dressing up in silvery paint and kevlar armour and textured surfaces, the Nexus S is all glossy shiny cheap feeling plastic. However, that makes it more resistant to dents and minor falls, and the gently curved screen means you don’t risk scratches by putting it upside down.

It is the second device to be updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. When I first picked up the Nexus S for just $269 (this is way before the $349 Galaxy Nexus), I was somewhat disappointed with the vanilla Android 2.3 interface, which was a clear step down from the Samsung Touchwiz skin I has been using on the Galaxy S2. But the real reason I bought it was the upcoming update to 4.0, which came in soon enough, and made it feel like a new phone. The latest update reinforces my view that the Nexus phones are the only Android phones anyone should buy. The timely software updates are way more important than any clever or flashy hardware feature. So while the HTC One X, with the best screen of any smartphone, is rather tempting, the Galaxy Nexus is the only phone I would consider upgrading to. On almost any other phone the user experience would feel like a step down, despite the ageing outdated hardware in the Nexus S.

The 4.1 upgrade promises a smoother buttery UI experience. Before trying it, I had wondered if it was a misplaced priority, as Android 4.0 had made the phone much more responsive than with 2.3, and any further improvement would seem superficial. The only time the Nexus S lags is when there are too many open apps and it seems to be running out of memory to the point that it needs a couple of seconds to redraw icons on the home screen. But this is with around 15-20 ‘open’ apps on the task switching screen, and closing a few apps quickly fixes things. Well the answer is that things are butter-ier, and it is kind of cool to play around to see just how smooth the animations are even on hardware that is at least three years out of date. The improvement isn’t just superficial though, it is harder but not impossible to make the phone feel bogged down by opening many apps. The Nexus S is simply miles ahead of any comparably specced and priced smartphone in terms of user experience, and even gives more expensive multi core phones a run for their money. In fact, if the Nexus S was still available at a price similar to what the iPhone 3GS still sells for, it would be the best choice for anyone who doesn’t want to pay for a Galaxy Nexus.

Unlike Siri, which is arbitrarily restricted to the iPhone 4S, Google’s biggest innovation in 4.1 JB called Google Now runs just fine on the Nexus S. Google Now tries to learn your habits and give you information you need without even asking for it. I haven’t had a chance to test it out much, but the three cards it showed initially giving information about my location, the weather, and public transport services were pretty much spot on (which is a lot more impressive in India). Google voice search is integrated with search and Google Now, and works pretty well unless you try to pretend it’s Siri. Voice recognition is impressively accurate, and so are the answers to simple queries like ‘where can I get pizza’ and ‘where’s the closest train station’. However, it doesn’t interpret natural language like Siri does, in fact, it doesn’t even try. For example, ‘what’s on my calendar today’ just takes you to a Google search. Basically, Google Now isn’t Siri and isn’t trying to be Siri. How useful it will turn out to be isn’t clear yet, but it does look promising. If you do want a Siri like assistant on Android, you can try Dragon Go!, Friday, or Evi.

Jelly Bean represents a landmark for Android because it completes the transition from functional to captivating and enjoyable. Android has always been powerful and customizable. Now, it is intuitive, smooth, and full of little tricks that delight you. Notifications are richer and show even more information and it is often unnecessary to open the underlying app because the notification shows you all the information you need. The task switching system remains a pleasure to use. Widgets and icons are now that much easier to position and resize on your home screen. The keyboard now predicts words you may want to type next. The share and send features are seamless. If you use GMail and other Google services, Android is remarkably cohesive and seamlessly integrated. JB also comes with an improved face unlock function, but like with ICS, face unlock is missing on the Nexus S, possibly because the front camera isn’t good enough. In any case, with the amount of personal information that is on my phone I wouldn’t dare use it without a pin or password.

It’s hard not to get lured into sharing more data with Google and be tempted into using Google services. I was long past the point of no return already with my contacts and files and images all backed up to Google. Google Now was enough to tempt me into sharing location data as well. It does worry me somewhat, but at least Google hasn’t been devious and underhanded with personal data over the last eight years I have used Google services. And frankly, it’s too late to go back, once they had all my emails there isn’t much left to hide.

A significant advantage of Android is that apps aren’t restricted in what they can do, as long as you agree to the permissions. So Android has always had alternate browsers and still does, if you aren’t happy with Chrome, or the default browser. In iOS, alternate browsers are restricted to being wrapper interfaces for Safari, and can never be as fast as Safari. You can’t make a personal assistant to rival Siri. Alternate keyboards aren’t supported, whereas Android lets you play with Swype and Swiftkey and others. This creates a learning curve for new users, but most smartphone users are becoming more aware of things like software updates and alternate browsers. After all, most Windows users now choose to install non Microsoft browsers, and installing another browser on a phone is simpler, if anything. This openness has worked in Android’s favour, and will fcontinue to do so.

The downsides are well known Android issues that are unlikely to go away any time soon. Android fragmentation affects you even if you stick to Google’s Nexus line of devices. While you get updates right away, the Nexus devices comprise a minuscule percentage of the Android install base, making them a low priority. For example, the Jell Bean update broke the Time magazine app on my phone. Now if the iOS Time app stopped working on iOS 6, it would be fixed in a hurry. However Android 4.1 will be limited to less than 1% of Android devices for quite a while, which makes it much less likely that a developer will be rushing to  make sure their apps work well in Android 4.1. Note that this does not apply so much to Android 4.0, which may only appear on around 10% of Android devices, but those comprise users who have bought high end phones and are more likely to pay for apps and browse more and view ads, a demographic few developers will want to ignore. But equally, developers can’t ignore the hundreds of millions of devices on Android 2.2/2.3, which means apps will continue to have to be compatible with those versions. Thus, several Android apps continue to lack the polish of their iOS counterparts. The Nexus S is a lot less smooth within several third party apps than it is in Google apps or the main interface.

The battle between Android and iOS is at a vicious stalemate, with Apple attempting to get leading Android devices banned or severely crippled. The best thing for us consumers would be for them to keep competing in the market and continue to push each other.

 

Nexus S Ice Cream Sandwich Review

Google just released the official Android 4.0.3 update for the Nexus S, installation instructions are here. A quick review follows.

A big test for ICS is its performance on older phones that are supposed to receive the update, as well as recently released phones that do not have Galaxy Nexus features like the fast camera and soft buttons that can change or disappear as needed as they are part of the screen. The Nexus S is a single core phone based on the same hardware as Samsung’s last generation flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S.

Surprisingly, Google never got Gingerbread working smoothly on the Nexus S, and running the stock version of 2.3.6  was a painful experience. Samsung seemed to do it just fine, their Gingerbread releases for the Galaxy S were much better.

 

		
		

 
 
PERFORMANCE

Installing Ice Cream Sandwich on the Nexus S is like getting a completely new phone. The device is smoother and most responsive, which you notice from the moment you start using it. The old assumption that even a dual core Android phone is not as smooth as a single core iPhone doesn’t apply any more. Apple users will probably still notice some missed frames in animations or small amounts of lag when things are being loaded in the background, but this is no longer a serious usability issue, more a cosmetic one. List and grid scrolling is smooth as are app switching, moving to the home screen, and scrolling across home screens. There is little to complain about in terms of performance. Using the new task switching view, I was surprised to find the number of apps I had running with no performance hit.

OS IMPROVEMENTS

There are many nifty improvements which all mean that for the first time, you don’t feel like you’re losing out by using Android without the customizations offered by HTC and Samsung. The new task switcher with ‘swipe to close’ is great and like before can be opened by holding the home key (the Galaxy Nexus has a dedicated task switching button). The OS looks much much slicker overall even on the relatively old Nexus S, compared to the cartoonish primitive look of stock Gingerbread. The messaging and phone and contacts app (now called People) are all much improved. I do miss the ability to swipe left or right on the contacts screen to text/message people that Samsung offers, it is still annoying to have to open a contact before being able to interact in any way other than making a phone call. However, in ICS left and right swipes are used consistently to move across tabs, home screens, and the app grid, so they will have to find a different way.

The settings screen is improved but still a bit of a pain to scroll through, requiring too many clicks to connect to a different WiFi network for example (you can get around this by putting a shortcut on your home screen, but that needlessly occupies screen area). I still like Samsung’s integration of the widget for enabling/disabling WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS etc. under notifications. The apps screen now has a separate tab for widgets, and there are improved widgets available for many Google and third party apps. This is a unique feature of Android and extremely useful, so making widgets more accessible is definitely the right idea.

The integrated keyboard is great for a tap keyboard, but I am primarily a swype user. The Swype beta works fine after the upgrade t no longer seems to be possible to switch input methods on the fly Update: PsyberS says when entering text, you can use the keyboard icon in the notification menu to change input methods. Hopefully I am missing something here, as this is a major annoyance. I couldn’t find a face unlock option oddly enough, but I don’t consider that important.

I haven’t had time to run a battery life test, but battery life is one thing where the Nexus S has always been far superior to other Android phones, a difference that amazed me when I moved from a Galaxy S and S II to the Nexus S. I don’t see any reason to believe this has changed. The overall visual improvement is huge, ICS is attractive to look at in a way that no stock Android release has been before, and it doesn’t take a massive HD resolution AMOLED screen to see the difference.

APPS

All my existing apps appear to work fine after the upgrade. The upgrade does not modify or remove any of your data, apps settings etc. Flash player for ICS is now available and was automatically downloaded from the market. The camera app seems much snappier in lcicking photos and there is a new panorama mode. No tap to focus though, which is a shame. The improved calendar, gmail apps are all great, they have already been reviewed in other places so I won’t go into details.

The browser gets  a much needed overhaul as the stock 2.3 browser was slow and laggy. It is now much faster, smoother to use, and generally stays out of the way like a good browser should. There is a dedicated tab switch button at the top, but I still prefer the side swipe offered by the mobile version of Firefox. The request desktop site option in the menu is nice, and the copy paste functionality seems to be more accurate than before. Again, the performance improvement and ‘smoothness’ make a huge difference compared to the old 2.3 browser.

One problem is I end up having four messaging apps with different conversation histories for the same contacts: SMS, gTalk, Google+ messenger, and What’s app. There is a clear need for integration of different messaging apps, and of showing all ways of interacting and past interactions with a contact in one place; although People app does show most contact methods, rather oddly, Google+ integration seems missing. There is an option for creating groups that seems completely distinct from the Circles in Google+. This seems strange when Facebook is trying hard to be your phonebook.

I also think that SMS and Google Talk message history for one person should be in the same place (and What’s App and other third party apps as well eventually). And if Google+ messenger, which I presume integrates hangouts should be in the same place. I don’t see why Google Talk and Google+ Messenger are different.

To conclude, with no definite date for ICS upgrades for other phones, the Nexus S is a great buy. It is a great example of the importance of software over hardware in a phone, a lesson well learnt from Apple. The stock interface is great, and it would be a crying shame if Samsung insists on obscuring it completely with Touchwiz. This is a great reason to buy a Nexus phone over phones from Android OEMs who can’t leave well alone. The Nexus S is just $269 in Australia and comes fully unlocked despite Vodafone’s insistence that it’s locked. This is an absolute bargain if you don’t want to shell out 2.5 times more for the Galaxy Nexus.

The Indian ‘Akash’ $35 tablet – Cutting too many corners?

The Indian Human Resource Development minister Kabil Sibal finally launched  the $35 ‘Aakash’ tablet computer yesterday. As someone who keeps a close watch on the Android tablet landscape, it is difficult to muster the kind of enthusiasm that this launch seems to have evoked, both in India and internationally.

There seems a rather unholy obsession over the price to the point that noone knows what this device is supposed to be, or do . So we started off with talk of a ‘$10 laptop’ which expectedly ended up being a bad joke. Now it seems the $35 tablet actually costs $50 to make ,and the unsubsidized retail price will be $70. So the $35 figure represents a massively subsidized price, while the manufacturing cost of $50 isn’t all that miraculous since we can get faster, $70 tablets with many extra features. Taking out the commercial profit margin from this $70 and accounting for some economies of scale if at least a million of these are going to be made, the price doesn’t seem quite as amazing. The compromises on usability, particularly the slow processor also appear questionable. Important features like the stylus, camera and mobile connectivity are missing at launch and presumably would add to the $50 cost price. There is also vague talk of eventually bringing the price of the device down to $10 which realistically can only be accomplished by a four fold increase in government subsidy.

This tablet is very similar to tablets that retail for around $100 internationally, particularly in developed countries where $100 is considered a throwaway price, so buyers have rather modest expectations. The problem is these tablets come with severe usability compromises. And I don’t mean the things that could be called ‘first world issues’ like not supporting multi touch or poor screen colours and viewing angles or limited storage space. The problem is these devices are basically cheap poor imitations of the iPad. Now the iPad was the first successful tablet because it overcomes the limitations of previous tablets. And these cheap tablets set out to imitate the iPad, targeting buyers with iPad envy, limited budgets or the simply gullible. In any case, they are never bought as primary devices, most end up being tossed away or being gifted to less technically people.

So instead of having a device designed from ground up to be low cost and usable, we have a cheap imitation of a first world device. The iPad and all decent tablets, even the recently announced $200 Amazon Kindle Fire use capacitive touchscreens. Cheap tablets including the Aakash use a resistive touchscreen – the kind of screen most car GPS devices still inexplicably seem to use. If you have used one, think about how annoying it is to enter five letters of your destination and imagine a tablet computer where the only way to interact with it is to use such a touch screen.

The iPad doesn’t have physical buttons because it has a responsive touch screen and because Apple’s clean design demands that. There is no reason for a cheap tablet to not have physical buttons. An ideal control system would be a trackball or touchpad like system with  a tiltable or foldable physical keyboard built in, not part of a cover. Ditch the touch screen if it reduces the cost a bit, it’s practically useless. A basic working trackball will be far better, more accurate and at least equally cheap.

Now the screen – it’s still not clear what this device is supposed to be. Is it an ebook reader? Is it a portable video player? Is it a functional computer that isn’t just a consumption device but also allows for basic content creation? Somehow within the tiny budget it tries to do everything. And that’s just asking for trouble. First the screen: since they went with an LCD screen, it is going to consume most of the power, giving it a very low battery life of two to three hours. And we all know the difference between the quoted battery life and the actual battery life of a device after a few months of use.

The problem is, I am not sure the target audience needs a video playing device that badly, especially one with a tiny screen that has to be charged after every 1-2 hours of use. I also read somewhere about how this will be used to host lectures – again I am not convinced. A non video device can still play audio and I don’t see what video lectures viewed on this device will really add to that. Also, the penetration of television in India is much much higher than the penetration of the internet, and TV is and has been for a long time an effective method of delivering video content to people with limited access to information.

If this is a device for students, the ebook reader capabilities,  and the ability to browse basic websites becomes far more important. And that’s where an e-ink screen should have come in. Poor quality LCD screens are horrible to read on, for anyone. Basic ebook readers with e-ink screens are also widely available for $100 or less, with Amazon selling their latest for $79. So we can say with some assurance that the cost of an e-ink screen would not be too different from the LCD screen here.

The advantage of an e-ink screen is it literally looks like paper, so it’s excellent to read ebooks on. So the government would effectively be reducing the cost of printing textbooks and could commission or obtain rights to quality textbooks and deliver them to students everywhere wirelessly. The biggest difference is the battery life of an e-ink device when reading books is measured in weeks, some last over a month. Even with browsing over WiFi or 3G, the device can still last a couple of days. That is because e-ink screens only use power when the page is turned, they don’t use any power to show a static image. E-ink screens would also allow for a much thinner device and have less heat issues, reducing other costs. The limitations of e-ink screens are that they are greyscale, they cannot show colours and they refresh slowly, so videos are out of the question. At this price, this is probably an unavoidable compromise. And I think an audio lecture, with an accompanying animated ‘live view’ of the blackboard/whiteboard being sketched on by the teacher (which can be shown on an e-ink screen) would be a reasonable compromise.

Due to the low power consumption, solar charging for an e-ink device might actually be somewhat viable. A solar charger for Aakash will either cost more than the device itself or be completely useless.

The newest e-ink readers use infrared touch screens. I am not sure how cheaply these can be made, the cheapest such device is around $129. But if financially viable, such a touch screen might make more sense than a poor resistive one (there are decent resistive touch screens, but the cost of this device and the reports of people needing to push hard to activate the touch screen suggest that this isn’t one of them).

Such an e-ink based device, designed from ground up to serve a definite purpose, which would have a long battery life and offer true portability. It might not play video but it would be great for audio and reading and basic internet browsing. The device being sold now is basically an even slower version of a cut price imitation of a real touch screen tablet. I am not very optimistic about its usefulness and the whole project seems typical of a populist government run scheme unfortunately – I am sure the minister Kapil Sibal has good intentions but clearly this isn’t a kind of technology he knows a lot about and his advisors do not appear very competent. Perhaps he should stick to his plan of boosting electronics manufacturing in India and let competition bring us low price tablet computers, just like the fierce competition in China has brought the above mentioned $70 tablets. While it is claimed the device is manufactured in India, the reality is most parts are imported and the device is merely assembled here, which raises the question of whether assembling it locally is really reducing costs or it would have been cheaper to buy fully assembled devices from manufacturing hubs like China or Taiwan.

A device designed from ground up could also run customized software. The device seems to run plain Android 2.2 which isn’t a bad start. However, in view of the limitations of the hardware, some customization of the software would definitely have improved device performance. And the cost of development would be a one time write off for the government. And software, unlike the manufacturing of high end electronics, is something India does have some expertise in – the Notion Ink Adam tablet for example was initially praised for its user innovation innovations though it was let down by dated hardware and  much else.

The other equally important, non technical issues that I haven’t mentioned do relate to the question of what exactly this device is intended for, however I am hardly qualified to comment on those. A quote from the only critical, non weasel-worded article about this device that I can find, says “Oddly enough, a most sound rebuttal of this kind of approach to infuse technology into education was offered by Union education secretary Sudeep Banerjee in 2006 while criticizing the “One Laptop per Child” programme. He said that the technology was pedagogically suspect and that India needs “classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools”. This reminds me of an incident I learned of from someone sent to inspect government schools. They found a ramshackle, broken down school badly in need of basic repairs, which had one freshly painted air conditioned room containing an expensive computer given by the government that noone had any idea how to use and that students were forbidden to touch. While these tablets will not suffer the that fate, I do fear that they will end up being little more than toys as anyone trying to do real work will soon give up on this device.