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On Nov 3, 2010, at 12:56 PM, Ian wrote:

On Wed, 2010-11-03 at 11:34 -0500, T. J. Brumfield wrote:

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.

I was looking more 3-5 years on. Android tablets will stimulate fierce
competition including "phone" tablets free on contracts - that is how I
have my Galaxy S and G1 before it. Its just free with my contract. Apple
is making 50% margins on i-phones and probably at least that on i-pads.
Ok while Apple enthusiasts pay premiums for new gadgets but that will
wear off. I would be surprised if in 5 years, $99 tablets, netbooks and
similar devices based on Android and possibly a Nokia free software
based platform are not common place. Say 4 gig of RAM and quad core ARM
2 GHZ processors. OOo could easily run in that now and as new devices
come on line the older ones get resold into Africa. I have a G1 here
that is virtually worthless but was state of the art less than 2 years
ago. So reduce LO to something that will run in close to to-days state
of the art phone technologies and the developing world will have devices
next to free that will run it in 3-5 years.

Yes, agreed. As tablets become standardized, more of their components will be produced in 
system-on-a-chip configurations. Prices will drop steeply and access will explode. 

OLPC is planning on a tablet for its next major system, and India's government has been talking 
about building a $35 tablet.

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

Quite so and K-office is being adopted by Nokia. If LO was the choice
for Android, odf becomes the de facto standard on mobile devices. Google
would then almost certainly beef up the odf fidelity of Docs.

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.

It's why we desperately need an alternative source of income to fund
these type of developments.

It doesn't even need to be built on the existing LibO code--it could be built using LibO's ODF 
libraries, though, for perfect file compatibility. Users won't care what the underlying code is; as 
long as the interface and branding match LibO, and documents can be seamlessly shared, then 
"LibreOffice Touch" will be the younger sibling of LibreOffice in their eyes.

It feels like a plan for a smart new startup, perhaps even backed with VC money from Apple or 
Android's development funds for their platforms.


Benjamin Horst
646-464-2314 (Eastern)

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