I confess after the past week of looking at Tablets during the occasional spare moment at home, left me very disappointed. I’m not disappointed because of what Tablets can do - for what they can do in terms of their size and cost has me excited.
No, … rather I am very disappointed at what I see as a massive divergence in Tablets from the free open source implementation that we have in PCs, Notebooks and indeed Netbooks.
Given for the upper end Tablets, one can EASILY pay a LOT more than what one will pay for many Netbooks, it was a disappointing surprise to me to learn of the SIGNIFICANT restrictions on Tablets wrt free open source, drivers, etc … in comparison to Netbooks.
One can not simply take a Linux app and expect that as an Android tablet user (with GNU/Linux background) one will be able to compile many existing GNU/Linux apps on the tablet. Also, there appears to be little organization/structure in terms of Tablet drivers being made freely available for Android for different Tablet hardware, where one can apply the latest Android or MeGo version to one’s tablet. Instead one has to rely on the Tablet manufacturer to provide the Android OS updates. IMHO THAT could mean tablets have a life time that is shorter than that of a typical openSUSE version and a LOT less timely.
From what I can see, for every Tablet that is out there today, one is forced to stick with the operating system offerings provided by the Tablet Manufacturer with no other choice. Those who manage to ‘root’ their Tablet tend to have a relatively small number of additional application offerings (for installation) available, but overall users appear to be severely constrained, where what we see with Android is not much better (for a regular user) than what we see for Apple’s iPad.
Ergo, as a user, if one is going to be ‘locked’ in, the point of supporting Android (as free open source) is severely watered down. Frankly, at the moment I can’t see the point of supporting Android as a user, … although I am willing to be educated.
Any desire that I had for purchasing an Android (or other) Tablet, which was quiet strong a desire just over a week ago, has been torpedoed and sunk. Industry appears to have no plans to help the free open source regular user here. Rather industry is heading to offer either (1) iPad, or (2) Android that is restricted for users (and NOT like a GNU/Linux distro despite its GNU/Linux heritage), (3) Windows8 (when it finally comes out) (4) miscellaneous OS (such as MeGo) which are also thinking of following the restrictive Android model.
I can NOT see spending one cent on Tablets given that industrial/commercial approach, and instead I will likely look for a Netbook/Tablet Hybrid where I can run a conventional GNU/Linux, and I will also thus very reluctantly accept the relatively poor hardware (extra size & weight) and poor software functionality (poor multi-touch implementation) that comes with a Netbook/Tablet hybrid combination in comparison to a pure tablet.
As a free open source user, this is disappointing to me.