paul skidmore andparabolos

cinematic storytelling, strategy, and advice

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab will be iPad’s first real competitor

see the commercial here. looks fun!

the connectivity will be a huge plus for buyers, if the price point is good. my friend Stephen Hackett over at forkbombr links to some great info on the device and its data plans. incidentally, if it’s tech info you want, Stephen’s your guy. you can follow his @forkbombr twitter to be updated about new posts to his very informative blog. while i often post about tech stuff, i’m mainly interested in how it pertains to the filmmaking world, so let’s dive into that.

it looks pretty cool, but nothing real innovative. Android seems like it would scale up decently. though Google has said it’s not ready for tablets (see the forkbombr article linked above), it’s clear they’ll be developing it in that direction. i don’t think you should hold things that are likely software updates against a device, even if it may take a few months (AHEM iOS 4.2).

the size is nice for a PDA, i suppose, but it’s a bit small for film production stuff. i like the size of the iPad when i’m on set. the screen is basically the size of the printable area of a piece of paper, so going through paperwork, scripts, overheads, etc. feels very natural.  but the Tab IS 16:9; the openness (read: developer opportunities and/or hackableness) of the Android OS means that someone might develop a way to use it as a monitor for ACing or playback (a 30-pin dock connector gives access to HDMI and USB). overall, i don’t think the 7-in size  is big enough to be advantageous over a smartphone.

it has some specs the iPad doesn’t. a microSD slot (takes up to 32GB) means your data could be interchangable, but if you have a 64GB iPad, it doesn’t mean more space. the obvious differences are the front and rear cameras. on set, this would be great for continuity photos, video conferencing back with this office maybe. still, i can do those with my iPhone 4. other than some references to third-party apps like Fring, i didn’t immediately find anything about what kind of videochat tech/software/protocol the Tab is using. FaceTime hasn’t caught on yet, and neither has anything else. the press release does suggest that it works over 3G, however.

but the Galaxy Tab (and Android in general) still lacks a few things that iPad (iOS) DOES have, namely apps. the following is a list of some filmmaking apps i use often which only exist on iOS (as far as i know):

there are probably some similar apps on Android i’m not aware of. and no doubt some of these developers are working on Android versions, but Chemical Wedding’s answer to this question in their FAQ for Artemis gives a bit of perspective:

Yes, we are working on an android version, but to be honest it’s a huge job. We have to almost start all over again. The problem is that on set the iPhone is king so it’s not giving us as much incentive to spend time learning new languages.

though i said before you shouldn’t hold potential software updates against a device, i don’t think this applies in the realm of apps. until developers have an incentive to go to Android, iPhone remains king of us artistech (see what i did there) filmmaker types.

so the Tab looks great, and could probably be used to do a lot of the stuff i do on set. but for now, i’ll stick with the iOS apps i rely on and the larger screen size & longer battery life of the iPad.


skidmore | administrator

believer. follower. filmmaker.

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  • PattyCakes | 10.09.21

    I’m very excited about the Tab, but that goes without saying. It has the hardware features that iPad should have and doesn’t. 512MB of RAM, expandable storage (I can opt for the less expensive model and upgrade the storage for significantly less money than price difference for the more expensive model), two cameras that allow for video conferencing over 3G, it actually fits in one’s hand, it has a 16:9 aspect ratio. It also runs a superior OS.

    Almost forgot you like spacing between your paragraphs.

    The Android OS has matured greatly, way faster than Apple’s tightly closed off iOS has. Gingerbread (Android 3.0?) is rumored to be taking care of the fact the Android is not built for a tablet sized device. Samsung has promised a Gingerbread update for the Galaxy Tab.

    I could go on, but we obviously use our tech for different reasons. I own a Mac so I can edit video (although Apple’s antagonistic attitude towards its own customers lately is making me regret that decision). I own a PC so I can do everything else (and if Apple’s money grubbing attitude towards me continues I may soon be boot camping Windows 7 to my $7,000 Mac and running Adobe Premier. Where I come from, you don’t force an upgrade on someone that intentionally removes features so you can force another $600 Final Cut Pro upgrade on them to re-enable the features that it used to have free of charge).

    And, like we say in the video game world, “Game consoles don’t win console wars. Games win console wars.” The same is true in mobile OS world. And Apple has a Wii-like grip on the applications. But just like in console world, grips can loosened. Nintendo won’t loose this generation. There are more Wiis in households than are Xbox 360s and PS3s combined. But that isn’t keeping Microsoft and Sony from slowly closing the gap, all thanks to software. The same thing is happening the mobile OS world.

    Android continues to eat into Apple’s market share. To be fare, Google is eating to everyone’s market share these days, even the market share of a company I faithfully follow, Microsoft. More Android users means more Android software. And the Android market is growing at faster pace than the Apple App Store ever has.

    But like I said, we use out tech for very different reasons. I still argue that because iOS is dependent on an external OS to even become functional out of the box, it will never replace the traditional PC. Log into your Google ID over the cloud, Android is ready to go.

    Will the Galaxy Tab over throw the iPad. Probably not. But with the help of some other tablets, Android could very well emerge the victor.

    • skidmore | 10.09.21

      your first paragraph compares the Tab to a six-month-old device that created the category the Tab finds itself in (mostly). while it’s true a lot of the specs are same or better, iPad 2 is right around the corner, expected near the end of first quarter 2011. but to compare the theoretical iPad 2 to the Tab would be comparing the iPad 2 to a six-month-old device at that point. point is, technological evolution will continue on both sides, both sides borrowing from each other as they’ve done on the desktop.

      until the iPod, Apple hadn’t been the big kid on the block, except for maybe the IIe. Android is definitely growing in marketshare and will overtake Apple at some point (i believe even eventually in the tablet market, and if Windows 7 mobile doesn’t cannibalize), due to the fact that all the different iterations of Android are available on so many different devices and so many different carriers. and yes, apps will follow. but a lot of the filmmaking world is invested in Apple products, and therefore the Apple iOS devices (and so consequently, iOS developers). changing that will take a long time, if it ever happens; just ask the guys that still cut on AVID and the film schools that still teach it (pretty much all of them).

      the physical tethering to a desktop or laptop is something even Steve admits Apple needs to do better on (again, see his D8 session). cloud sync of data would take a long time for 64GB of apps, music, and movies, but we should be doing that over wifi soon, i hope. still, that’s not keeping anyone from buying/using an iPad — or iPhone 4 for that matter. it’s dependence on non-mobile tech has less to do with OSX and more to do with data transfer rates. and except for activation, you don’t need a computer to use an iOS mobile device or stuff it with content.

      also, i have no idea what you’re talking about with the Final Cut Pro upgrade business. besides, the upgrade price is $299.

  • Florence | 10.09.21

    Do superior operating systems normally need third party apps to quit programs to save battery life and acheive normal os functionality? Just checking. If so I’d rather have the inferior OS I think. Concerns me that superior software designers wouldn’t include a way to close a program completely within it’s os or fail to address this after it’s biggest most recent update. Maybe they were to busy focusing on trying to figure out how to talk and browse the web at the same time or design graphics packages that don’t look like cheap blackberry software. Apple has it’s flaws, but I’d rather stick with a device that doesn’t take extra effort to just maintain and operate it through the day. I expect my mobile device to do that for me, even if it is inferior.

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