The Apple iPad’s Impact on Mobile, Gaming, and E-Books: Local Techies and Startups React

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computers work. We are about operating-system-as-a-service, about being extremely maintenance-free, about content, about synching. [The iPad] is more of a traditional device—an extension of the mobile platform, which we’ve seen, but at the end of the day it’s still local hardware, with local storage, and that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish.

[On the absence of an expected Apple announcement on January 27 about a cloud-based, streaming music service]: That sort of service is where we see our company going. A service like that would not only benefit Apple users but it would benefit Litl users, because everyone will be able to access their information from any device. That’s the world that Litl is moving toward. They had the opportunity to transition their operating system more toward that, but that’s not what they did…We’re actually relieved to see that Apple didn’t jump head first into the cloud. That’s where computers are going, and that’s where we are now. We’re going to use our head start to keep making our product better.

[On whether Apple’s entry into the tablet market could enhance consumer awareness of devices sized between phones and laptops]: They’ve introduced this easel-like concept, and our take on that is that, with the Litl Webbook, we’re giving you a device that is fully functional in laptop mode and in easel mode. It’s purposely designed to be a no-compromises experience, with a full keyboard. They obviously approched it with a tablet, and it will be interesting to see how successful that is. But at the end of the day, I think there is definitely going to be more choice for consumers between a plain old laptop and a cell phone, and all of that is good. The Litl vision of computing can really be put on all sorts of different devices with different form factors.

Todd Hooper, founder and CEO of Napera Networks, Seattle, who used to work for Apple (in the mid-1990s, he worked for the retail channel in Australia):

I was sort of underwhelmed. Between my iPod, Sony Reader, and laptop, do I really have room for another device? Apple’s a great company, they make awesome stuff. But this could be another Apple TV.

I don’t see it as an e-book platform, because of that display and [relatively short] battery life. Though it might be an interesting platform for the New York Times or the New Yorker [for shorter reading durations].

I think it’s more interesting as a gaming platform. If I was Sony or Nintendo, I’d be really worried. It could suck away their high-end users.

Steve Hall, managing director, Vulcan Capital, Seattle:

[Hall, an avid iPhone user, told me last week that he would buy the iPad sight unseen; when I pinged him today, I asked if he would still buy it:] Without a doubt! Have been listening to the [Apple iPad] event over twit live….

Mark Lowenstein, principal, Mobile Ecosystem, Brookline, MA:

Mobile seems a bit of an afterthought [on the iPad]. I believe the full strategy is still being developed. Even more than the iPhone, the mobile operator’s role is mainly as a “pipe”, as it does not appear that AT&T will be distributing the device in its stores.

But the iPad is a mobile device more than a wireless device. People won’t carry it and use it in the same way as the iPhone, since … Next Page »

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] Follow @gthuang

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