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Tablets - Dead or Alive?By now you've most likely heard that Hewlett-Packard has killed its WebOS-based tablet and smartphone line. The immediate reason for this decision was that these HP devices just weren't selling. HP had bought Palm Inc. and had decided to jump into the tablet and smartphone market with both feet, even promising to put WebOS on all its PCs. But these devices simply bombed - hardly any sales. The main reason for not flying off the shelves seems to be that Android OS has captured the smartphone market and is gaining on Apple's iPad in the tablet market. The Android Market gives app developers access to tens of millions of customers, and thus HP found it nearly impossible to attract developers to write apps for WebOS.

(Along with HP's decision to kill the entire WebOS line, the company also is deciding whether to spin off its entire PC manufacturing business. This makes little sense to me, because HP is number one in PC sales... and also because I just bought a new HP laptop a few months ago. But the profit margin is rather slim in the PC business, and HP makes the largest share of its profits in its business hardware, software and consulting division.)

Give a hungry man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a hungry man to fish, and he'll
buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fishing, and you're a consultant. - Scott Adams

Now HP is liquidating its inventory by dropping their tablet prices to $99 for the 16Gb model and $149 for the 32Gb model. And now they're flying off the shelves! This suggests that all tablets are overpriced, but there are lots of people who are willing to jump into the market and buy one - even a discontinued model - if the price is right: see TouchPad's Lesson: Tablets Cost Too Much. When I could buy a very-portable 14-inch HP laptop with 4Gb of RAM, a 320Gb hard drive, and running Windows 7 Home Premium for $350, why should I pay $500 for a tablet? Apple has dropped the price of its iPhones from $600 when they first came out to under $300, even under $100 for some models. So I'm convinced prices on tablets will follow this curve.

Recently I've come across a few articles like this one: Severe Solar Storms Could Disrupt Earth This Decade: NOAA. Just think: as modern technological civilization moves more and more into "the Cloud" - Internet banking, shopping, email, social media, music, TV, movies over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G networks on your PC or smartphone, etc. - the sun may just throw a monkey wrench into the works. All these things might simply stop working. How will we pay our bills - to say nothing about surfing the 'Net or scribbling drivel on Facebook - if solar flares knock out the networks?

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The recent riots in Great Britain were blamed at least partly on Twitter and Facebook, just as the "Arab Spring" uprisings in the Middle East were. Now the "Bobbies" in England are also using Facebook to show surveillance camera movies of the unrest in an effort to "crowdsource" - ask the public to help identify the perpetrators. Facial recognition software is also helping in this task: a camera, even one small enough to fit on your glasses, can capture 400 key facial features per second and send them to a server that stores 13 million faces to look for a match. Imagine walking down the street wearing these glasses, and "recognizing" people you've never met! Brazilian police state they will be wearing such glasses at the 2014 World Cup. U.S. police departments are already snapping up such devices at $3000 a pop: see Police to begin iPhone iris scans amid privacy concerns.

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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