Thursday, January 17, 2008
I was looking forward to getting my hands on the Axiotron Modbook at MacWorld this week, as you all know I'm very interested in a Mac somewhere in the tablet/Newtoneque form factor.
That said, once I actually got to use the Modbook, I was unimpressed with the actual functioning unit. The most glaring problem was the lack of portrait orientation in the display when running OSX. Windows doesn't have a problem changing the orientation, but OSX doesn't like to change your primary display that way. Being stuck in landscape mode is a real problem for the success of the Modbook for the OSX community.
Second, its a pure tablet. I didn't think the lack of keyboard would be a problem, but it is. I was actually finding myself WANTING the iPhone's on screen keyboard when using the device, but the way the touch screen works, its impossible. See, its not a real touch screen, its a pen based touch screen. Its not working off of pressure of the stylus, its working off of reading the location of the pen against the display to do the cursor control. That in itself was problematic because if the pen was an inch or two off of the display, it would still register. This was causing the cursor to jump around the desktop and was super annoying during the demo.
So in the end, I think this product is going to end up dead meat on the OSX highway. I think they built a nice piece of hardware, but without pure OSX support, on screen keyboard, a real "touch" screen and portrait orientation, there's no longevity here.
With new multi-touch gestures on the MacBook Air, the stage is set for the forthcoming Apple tablet/Newton 2.0 which will crush the Modbook in milliseconds. (did you see how SMALL that MacBook Air motherboard is? Hell, you can put that thing in just about ANYTHING)