tufty wrote:While I agree that they don't seem to have much ofa game plan (the use of *&^%ing android shows that), it seems fairly obvious to me that the embedded market is absolutely not where these devices (or at least the apc) are headed, rather a 'desktop netbook'.
If the apc can be made to run linux (and I see no readon why it shouldn't) with a fast ui (which may be the killer), it could /destroy/ the pi in the educational market. That's not a bad thing, of course.
Netbook's market share has been gobbled up by the iPad and other tablets. I don't think the "desktop notebook" market is all that big. When you add in mouse, keyboard, display, disk, the cost goes up quite a bit. If you just use a touchpad, the device becomes just another tablet. If you use a bigger display, the cost of everything except the motherboard is roughly the same. Couple that with user's performance expectations -- even at a low price they want a quality product that performs well. And ARM performance sucks today and lags behind x86 at any given point in time. And let us face it, Linux is still not user friendly enough (and I say that in spite of having used Unix for 30+ years and I detest Windows). The low power usage matters but only so much if your display is going to eat a lot more. And finally, if Intel/M$ focus their attention long enough on this segment they can easily take it away from these 'desktop netbooks' (just like Intel whupping Transmeta). So I think these "me too" products are not going to succeed when they suffer from such a severe lack of imagination. Of course, my crystal ball is as cloudy as anyone else's and it may turn out I am completely wrong!
But I think the embedded market is potentially much bigger. People can use multiple such devices in their homes, each dedicated to some specialized service.This is where power use & cost does matter. Ability to sense/control real life things matters. This is where ARM can shine. Just look at the number of different uses people are envisioning for the Raspi! In early 20th century people bought one electric motor and attachments to put it to different uses. As the cost and variety of motors dropped, soon it became ubiquitous and new uses were devised. A modern home in a developed country can easily contain 100+ motors. This sort of transformation has already happened with computers and is now accelerating.
Finally, to me computer education is not about writing just software; it is learning how to bend computers to your will to do whatever the hell *you* want and that includes putting them to use for art, design, finance, maths, science, history, industry, whatever. And that includes learning about interfacing with real life devices or things. This is why I am more interested in devices like raspi than say Aakash. The raspi is far from perfect but IMHO it gets more things right and Eben, Liz & co have done a damned good job of grabbing people's mindshare that these me too products don't have a clue about.