I’ve been enjoying the reviews of the iPad 2, which seems a fine piece of work. Also smiling at the homilies on the irrelevance and hopelessness of competing products; a particularly good example is The iPad 2 Rant.

I’m reminded of an old Go proverb.

Go is a game in which the players take turns placing “stones”, white and black and rounded and finely finished, on a beautifully-crafted wooden board. It’s not uncommon, when passions are high and the combat is hot, to slap your stone down so that the echoing wood rings out. It’s not uncommon, when your opponent has played, to take a stone from your bowl and toy with it idly while you consider your response.

It’s a long game, often extending to two or three hundred moves.

The proverb I’m thinking of applies to play at the highest levels, where the contestants are matched very evenly. These players find moves that astonish mere mortals like me, leveraging the strengths of their position, exposing the opponent’s weaknesses, and apparently tilting the balance of the whole game; for move after move after move. I sit up late some evenings enjoying matches between high-ranked professionals, broadcast live over the Internet from Asia.

The proverb says: The player with the stone in his hand always seems to be in big trouble.

And I also love, just love, the great playing board of the mobile market, resounding with echoes as the top players slap down their gleaming rounded black and white objects of desire.


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From: Jacek (Mar 10 2011, at 07:19)

In moments like this I am invariably reminded of the quote attributed to Gandhi - first they ignore you...


From: Dave (Mar 11 2011, at 04:38)

I think, at least with smartphones, we're past the Ghandi-con indicator since I already think Android has won, and onto the Kübler-Ross stages of dealing with grief and loss:

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

On Tablets, if you include Kindles and Nooks as the equivalent of Nokias and RIM smartphones (i.e. they're underpowered and not recoginized as smartphones by modern standards or they excel at only a couple of functions) or, conversely, remove all smartphones that don't look like an iPhone if you squint enough then I'd say the current tablet market looks a great deal like smartphones at the end of 2009 after the intro of the iPhone 3G (which confusingly was the second generation).

Here's a trip down memory lane for those who can't remember that far back:


I'd say the Android on Tablets ecosystem is in far better shape now than the phone ecosystem was then.

Will history repeat? People say you can't predict these things but I'm betting that common wisdom will look back and say "Of course Android won on tablets, they're just big smartphones!".


From: Kevin (Mar 11 2011, at 14:44)

The word "go" seems problematic for internet searching - or perhaps my google-fu is not strong enough. Care to share a link to the Go match live-streaming sites?


From: Tim (Mar 11 2011, at 20:53)

You need a program called Goban and an account on an Internet Go Server.


From: Eddie (Mar 12 2011, at 05:10)

Tim, please tell the Android caretakers to note how Apple is leaving some of its early tablet customers in the dust. Case in point: I have an iPod Touch 2nd generation tablet and the iOS 4.3 update (which includes important iOS security updates) is not supported on the 2nd gen touch. This means I effectively have to trade up to a new iPod touch if I want the security updates in iOS 4.3 -- this makes me sad because my 2nd gen touch is a lovely little tablet and there is no need to send it to the bit bucket the way Apple wants me to. Please Android, don't end-of-life tablets too soon, I want to keep mine for more than a few years.


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March 09, 2011
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