On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM, Benjamin Horst <email@example.com> wrote:
I expect the iPad and upcoming Android tablets to become the dominant
computing platform in developing countries--they are cheaper and make a
simple upgrade path from the mobile phones that are the primary means of
internet access in many places already (India, China, Africa, etc). There is
no inertia from an installed base in this category--thus we can achieve
first-mover advantage and define expectations for the "next billion" users.
We don't have existing UIs (and brand names) to retrain users from, and we
don't have an entrenched document format they will need to be compatible
The cheapest iPad is $500, and comparable tablets are priced along the same
lines. There are "cheap" tablets more in the $99-$150 range, but they are
underpowered compared to the iPad and Galaxy Tab.
The iPad only has 512 MB of RAM, and we're talking about lesser hardware
than that. Hardware gets better and prices drop as we move forward into the
future, but if you want to be able to reach developing countries with a
tablet version within the next year, then you need a slim build.
From a broad view of future success, tablets merit a great deal of
attention on our part. As I mentioned elsewhere, a "LibreOffice Touch" for
tablets would be huge. We'd "outflank" our main opponent, capture vast new
markets and develop great momentum, and then with that increased strength,
address the initial marketplace (of PC desktops and laptops) with a much
larger arsenal at our disposal.
That sounds great. I think it could be a strong growth market, and help push
not only OSS, LibreOffice, etc. but also the ODF format. However I think the
key to that strategy is jumping out in front quickly. GoogleDocs can already
by accessed via the web on tablets, and Microsoft has their online office
LibreOffice would need a slim build with a tablet UI, and it would need one
quickly. Is there developer bandwidth for such a project? I think this would
be a good Google Summer of Code project that could get some funding and a
new developer that way, but I'm not sure the work could be handled by a
single developer over a summer.
-- T. J.
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