Home Editorials Thoughts on GBM and What We Cover

Thoughts on GBM and What We Cover

It’s time for some conversation. Yesterday some tensions that we on the GBM team think have been bubbling for awhile boiled over in the comments to this post. So, I’d like to address them. It’s not just addressing the comments, it is more about addressing the mission of GBM, how I see that mission, clearing the air a little bit (hopefully) and putting some context around some of the things that some of you may be feeling or thinking. If some of this sounds defensive, I apologize in advance. I don’t intend it to. That said, if its sounds passionate, well, that is intended. Most of the thoughts below are my own, and if it is combined thinking I’ll try to make that clear.

I, and all of us care deeply about our readers and their opinions. We always have and always will.  We even care about those who like to toss hand grenades into the mix, or those who love to live behind the anonymity that the web affords. Everyone’s opinions are valid and while that might sound a little kumbaya we believe it to be true. We only come down on someone if they violate our policies about being civil when they choose to disagree. Trust me when I say we wouldn’t be doing what we do if you weren’t reading or watching and letting us know what you think. Opinions are like, well, like certain body parts. We all have them. We know when we state our opinions in a post, we’re potentially setting ourselves up for criticism, praise, disagreement, or just plain snarky behavior. That goes with the territory. But we value those who choose to comment in any fashion and let us know what they think.

So, let’s move on to some context. Stacey’s comments, agreed to by AP, and perhaps others, point to some general dissatisfaction with the coverage here on GBM lately. Too much Apple, not enough technology, not enough Tablet PC, not enough InkShows, etc… Yesterday Sumocat, Xavier and I talked at length about the comments and about the state of GBM. Xavier asked Sumocat and I what we thought and my short answer was a simple statement: The name and the masthead says it all. GottaBeMobile.com Tablet PC, Mobile PC, and Multi-Touch News/Reviews. When Dennis Rice and Rob Bushway founded GBM they could have chosen a number of names for the site that more specifically targeted Tablet PCs. But their wisdom, insight, and experience led them to choose GottaBeMobile.com, knowing full well even then, that the Tablet PCs we all loved were only the beginning of what mobile tech might eventually evolve into. Dennis and Rob came from a Tablet PC background, and their love for that platform was shared by many, including myself. Those were heady days, but all of us we knew that to some extent what we were so passionate about during that time was not going to be the same forever. In fact, we hoped it would change. Who knew how quickly and how rapidly that change would be?

I remember distinctly the debates Rob, Dennis and I shared when the first iPhone came out. We had different opinions about how, or if to cover it. The fact that it was the device that was bringing multi-touch into a dominant mind share position won out, and Rob begin talking about what he liked and didn’t like about the device. That happened at a time when we had already seen Microsoft try its hand and fail with the UMPC, and Intel was touting Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). We took a lot of flack for saying the iPhone and the iPad Touch were better MIDs than what Intel was trying to accomplish. Quick, can you tell me what happened to the MID market? We covered all of that, just like we felt compelled to cover the industry changing disruption known as Netbooks. We would have been fools not to, because like it or not that is what the mobile tech industry was doing. Netbooks killed MIDs in much the same way that some think the iPad will kill Netbooks. (I disagree with that premise.) At the same time, each of us wrote countless editorials about how Microsoft was letting Tablet PC, especially pen and digital ink, slip away. The folks at Redmond weren’t too happy about that, but we always called them as we saw them. We still do.

We all know how the industry has evolved and how Apple, the iPhone, and the iPad  have changed things dramatically. To say Apple bested Microsoft is only a partial truth, in my opinion, because Microsoft’s missteps also contributed to the demise of Tablet PCs and pen and ink as well. Yes, Tablet PCs still exist, but only in niche markets. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I have certainly never viewed it that way, even though I think Microsoft missed the boat on consumer adoption.

There are three points that I would like to make here.

1. We still cover Tablet PCs when there are Tablet PCs or news about Tablet PCs to cover. Let’s face it, with a few exceptions nothing has advanced with the Tablet PC platform since the advent of dual touch and pen devices. But the industry around Tablet PCs has changed dramatically. So has our coverage.

2. We’ve never felt compelled to cover every mobile device that has been announced or brought to market. We’ve covered what interests us and what we think will interest our readers. If a review unit comes our way, we’ll give it our best effort. If our readers want to hear about a device, we’ll do our best to get our hands on it. Failing there, If we see good coverage somewhere else, we’ll do our best to point our readers to that coverage. We know we can’t cover everything and don’t pretend like we can, but there are also choices involved in what we do cover. In the end, what we choose not to cover says as much as what we do choose to cover. For those, like Stacey, who think we’ve evolved into a “shopping site” I’d strongly disagree. If we had, then we’d have a post about every one of the 40 or so Tablet/Slates that got put on display at Computex a week or so ago.

3. I’m still a big believer in the original Tablet PC concept, no matter how much Microsoft botched it. I also firmly believe that is not dead, but merely hibernating. I’ve said here more times than I can count that I think once we’ve gotten past the point were touch is ubiquitous that we’ll see a resurgence of pen and ink. I’ve also said that I bet Apple is the one that will make it happen for the masses. I would also offer that most of our coverage comes from the perspective of folks who love the original Tablet PC concept. And not just because of digital ink, but also because of the mobility. Quite honestly, I’m proud of the vast majority of our coverage because I think we have a slight edge in perspective and offer a viewpoint of the Tablet/Slate craze we’re in at the moment that is a little different than most of what you find out there. Keep in mind, we were reading eBooks and magazines on early Tablet PCs before most folks even knew they existed, much less thinking about saving entire industries with them. We’re also the only site during CES2010 that told you that 2010 would not be The Year of the Tablet, pointing instead to 2011. Everyone else bought the hype, but I think in the end we’ll be correct.

I hope those who follow us closely can see that we’re evolving just like our industry is evolving. By “we” I mean the bloggers who blog here, and also the site. We may not do it gracefully, but then the industry we cover doesn’t necessarily evolve with grace either. Our coverage has branched out a bit in the last few years, but in my opinion, that is because of the evolution of the mobile tech sector and what drives it. It used to be all about the devices, the software that ran them, and the tricks and hacks we discovered to make them run better. Now, mobile tech is as much about things like content, advertising, copyright, net neutrality, broadband caps, and a host of other issues that affect what we do with our mobile gadgets. And so, we cover that as well. One thing that hasn’t changed or evolved is that mobile tech is also about companies and personalities. While the predominant players and companies may have changed, the fact that companies and egos that drive it hasn’t. If you think these ecosystem issues don’t affect the gadgets we love to fondle, then you’re not paying attention.

Could we do better? Yep. And even the harshest critic isn’t as hard on us as we are on ourselves. One of the complaints that hits a bullseye is the decline in the number of InkShows. We feel that as keenly as you do. One of reasons for that is simply the lack of new devices or software to cover. It isn’t that they aren’t out there, but we’re not going to waste your time looking at another Netbook, or another Tablet with a processor refresh and nothing else of note. Tablet PC software has been scarce since the early days of GBM and it has gotten even more so. We could certainly do quite a few InkShows on iPhone or iPad apps, but that’s the domain of other sites, and the ones we do choose to do, usually relate back to Inking or Touch.

Another reason we have fewer InkShows is simply a personal one, at least in my case. My real life job has me trying to keep a small professional theatre alive in tough times and at the same time helping my Mom fight through her final journey in life. Life isn’t fair and you play the hand you’re dealt and move on accordingly, but the quantity of what I’ve done in the past has certainly suffered as I’ve altered my priorities. When I’ve shared those things with our readers, I’ve been grateful for the support many have shown, and cognizant of the fact that I might be crossing a line that some would rather I not. For those who take offense I apologize. For those who respect that kind of personal coverage, there will be more of it when I feel it is appropriate.

As to the not so subtle hint of Apple bias, let me say this. I’m platform agnostic, a phrase made popular by the late, great Marc Orchant. We all have our prejudices there’s no doubt, but mine is to find the best tool I can afford to get the job done. I’m not wedded to a particular technology or company. I use both Apple and Microsoft products every day and wish I had the resources to explore more of what Google’s Android offers currently. I’m not a Linux fan and have made that plain. To be honest, I don’t have much patience for blind fanboyism of any stripe, and I don’t think the site, or the current bloggers here do either. When I see a gadget or a technology that I think is going to improve my life, I get passionate about it and will spend time sharing that passion. When I see the opposite, well, I usually let you know that as well. By the same token when I see something that I think is going to change the industry I’ll blog about that, whether or not I find it suitable for my own personal needs. For better or worse, Apple is not only leading the market and mind share in mobile tech, at the moment it is crushing it, even with missteps and a lousy partner. Every manufacturer bet that Apple would succeed and carve out a market and then they could worm their way in. They bet correctly, but also with not enough skin in the game and are now playing catch up, and we’re all the beneficiaries (dupes?) of those events and actions.

Currently, my evolving involvement with Apple’s products is bringing me the same joy that I experienced when I first inked on a Toshiba 3505 Tablet PC back in 2003. And if something comes along tomorrow from any corner that offers me that same enjoyment, you can bet I’ll be sharing my passionate thoughts about that as well. I guess the best way to describe it is this. I was really excited about the new car my wife and I bought a few Christmases ago. I still like it very much and drive it every day. But in the end, its the car I drive every day, even when I’m looking at newer models and lusting over which one to buy next. I still Ink on a Tablet PC every day too.

What do I think we need to do better? Quite a bit actually. I think we’re behind the curve on Android and we need to work to correct that. I think we could go more in depth with some of our posts, and we’ll work to correct that. Now that Office 2010 is officially out, (although it has been on everyone’s computers for over a year) we need to do some InkShows on the Inking features and bring the ones we were first out of the chute with up to date. I also think, as do Xavier and Sumocat, that we can benefit from some guest posts from our readers, so if you’d like to give that a go, we’re game if you are.

We’re always looking to improve and we take constructive criticism to heart and incorporate thoughts and ideas as we deem appropriate. You are certainly free to disagree with this next statement and you can use the comments to do so. Maybe I’m biased, but I think in the final analysis we do a decent job of living up to the original vision as articulated in the site name by Rob and Dennis when they founded the site. Let us know your thoughts.

Load More In Editorials

50 Comments

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine

    06/17/2010 at 5:53 am

    I sympathize with the whole GBM team. The choices to be made in order to keep a site ticking over are hard and sometimes contradictory to the core mission of the site. Ipad’s start mobile and tablet conversations like no other (good for everyone) and yet some people love the productive tech talk (which is niche and never so good for building earnings needed to keep a site going)

    We have the same problem over at UMPCPortal where the core, productivity focused audience used to get more than a fair share of consumer and Apple-talk. To fix that, we broke out the ‘other stuff’ into a new website. It’s been a hard slog to work two sites with the same team and sometimes I feel that the conversations get stiffled because of the split in alternative views. Sometimes I wish I could just roll the whole lot back together again too!

    Blogging is harder than ever. Earnings are lower than ever. Time is more precious than ever. Competition is greater than ever and Twitter takes much of the wind out of the SEO sails. Anyone that manages to even survive in this environment deserves a pat on the back.

    Keep it up team GBM!

    Reply

  2. Ryan P

    06/17/2010 at 6:15 am

    I’m very pleased overall with the coverage on GBM. I’d say that at the very least you provide a unique perspective on the tech news of the day. As far as Apple coverage, I think the whole internet could do with less of that (seriously, I’m getting annoyed when people call things “magical” now), but it’s not undue. Apple is an industry leader in many areas, and they are taking a lot of bold steps where no one has gone before.

    Oh, and Warner: My Tablet PC is a Toshiba 3505.

    Reply

    • Joe

      06/19/2010 at 7:39 am

      I agree with everything that Ryan P say in his post.

      I enjoy the content here at GBM! The entire Internet has too much apple coverage in general, and although I own an I-pad, the whole “MAGICAL” thing makes me want to throw up every time I hear that in an advertisement. They’ve got to be kidding, the i-paid is neat, but MAGICAL, give me a break.

      The ink shows here are great and I’ve based most of my tablet pc purchases after seeing the ink shows:

      X41T
      M400
      P1610
      X200T

      Warren you and the GBM team are GREAT!!! I honestly believe many people just don’t like change. The reality of life is things change and so does content.

      Reply

  3. Colin Walker

    06/17/2010 at 6:21 am

    Warner,

    As I see it, there are a number of issues that have altered the efficacy of GBM over the years.

    1. As you have already said, the market has changed beyond all recognition from when the site began. This has necessitated a change in how the market is covered.

    2. Microsoft’s failings with the Tablet PC and UMPC removed the core of what the site was – no fault of GBM. After that, things just weren’t the same. As you mention, it was all about Ink hence the term InkShow but the focus was lost.

    3. With alternative offerings such as the iPhone and MIDs, portable media players etc. the appeal became much wider and, where GBM originally stood out, it is now surrounded by a myriad of other sites with more staff who can perhaps do wider and more indepth coverage. Again no fault of GBM but has to be a factor. This leads to the “me too” feeling as GBM, unfortunately, becomes “just another mobile tech site” and not one of the big boys.

    4. Dennis leaving did not have that much of an impact – truth be told – apart from a sentimental one. It was good to listen to his contributions in podcasts but Rob and yourself were always the technical drive. Rob leaving, however, was a big blow but his personal issues had been having an effect for a while and I am surprised that it took him so long to leave. He is a very passionate man and realising that he couldn’t do GBM justice would have hurt far more than finally leaving. I remember when he sent me the link to the very first beta incarnation of GBM – his enthusiasm just leaked out of the email and was infectious. As you say, those were heady days back when we were all inking on a regular basis.

    5. Ever since the failure of UMPCs mobile devices have (essentially) been “dumbing down” mobile computing. They have had to in order to make the move from geekdom to true consumer devices. There are less things to “fiddle” with, simpler UIs. A lot of what attracted us in the early days disappeared. Is it now a lot harder to write indepth, technical content because of this? Very probably.

    GBM has a hard task and there is no doubting the passion you all have but I would agree that the spark is gone and GBM (probably out of necessity) has become more like the other tech sites out there. Could it survive with a more focused, technical (geeky) subject matter? Or does it need to appeal more to the masses in order to stay alive?

    The public are not using Tablet PCs but they are using iPhones. Even some old school die hard Tablet PC fans have moved on – personally, I was never able to afford to replace my old Acer after it finally died because of the high premium for Tablet PCs.

    I think that GBM has lost its differentiator – again through no fault of your own – market forces have taken the site in a different direction. Maybe, therefore, it is time to get some of that back and more technical, indepth coverage with more InkShows may be the way to go. Get that differentiation back and maybe cover less of the the tabloid-style coverage so prevelant elsewhere.

    I remember how we all wished for the Tablet PC to really take off when we used to converse (you, me, James Kendrick, Marc Orchant, Rob, the Heiny’s, Hugo Ortega, Craig Pringle etc.) – even before GBM – but that was never to come about. Things has moved on out of necessity but maybe they have moved too far an need to back up a bit to regain focus.

    You know I have always respected everyone involved and I don’t envy you one bit trying to compete with the likes of Engadget. That may not be the desire of GBM but it’s the truth and – with a small operation – it is never going to be possible. So I say go back to what made GBM the force it was and cut out some of the generic news.

    Just my thoughts.

    Colin.

    Reply

    • GoodThings2Life

      06/17/2010 at 6:56 am

      You know, you have a good point… I’d certainly appreciate a more focused post on a particular technology or feature of the devices than the simple “OMG! DID YOU SEE APPLE’S LATEST ANNOUNCEMENT!?” tabloid style posts that other sites do. Also I love the “day in the life of” style posts.

      In fact, those are the articles I usually take the time to read thoroughly and comment on more than the short announcement types, so yeah… love to see more of those!

      Reply

      • gEEk

        06/17/2010 at 10:39 am

        I agree with the sentiment of this comment. GBM is one of the very few tech blogs I check everyday. The reason I come to GBM is the experiential insight using touch and ink in actual workflows. I want GBM to cover the entire mobile space, not just Tablet PC or Apple–anything that is useful.

        What has disappointed me lately is the amount of posts that just repeat unsubstantiated rumors. I expect GBM’s editorial process to filter and digest the rumors and provide some useful information to help guide my decision making. If I wanted to spend my time reading gossip I would read Gizmodo, not GBM.

        Reply

  4. GoodThings2Life

    06/17/2010 at 6:51 am

    Warner,

    I find myself agreeing with you far more often than not, I must admit. I think it’s a good thing, which is why I’ve always come back to the site over and over in spite of the so-called Apple shift. I appreciate that you call it the way you see it, and your honesty of opinions and viewpoints.

    I don’t think anyone that reads this site and comments regularly could mistake me as an Apple fan. I’m not. I *despise* the company because of the mindset that they portray (the whole magical/revolutionary claims)… that smug superiority they claim when I see that their product is no better and sometimes inferior to another product.

    However, in spite of that opinion, I am not blind nor stupid to the fact that they dominate the mobile market so heavily right now with iThis and iThat everywhere, and so I have not complained much about the increase in Apple-related news coverage (here, at least) BECAUSE I view this site as being honest and fair in their perceptions. I also don’t mind reading about the competition because of the whole “know thy enemy” concept.

    As you plainly stated, you are platform agnostic and look only for the technology that suits your MOBILE NEEDS. I have never viewed you as biased, and I do feel that way about the rest of the team as well (even while I find myself disagreeing with *some* of their opinions more often than I do yours). As long as that remains the case, you’ll never hear a peep from me about the number of Apple stories, especially as long as there is a steady stream of non-Apple news.

    I do think you’re missing the boat on Android… I have an EVO now and even as a die-hard Microsoft fan, I find myself really enjoying the EVO and Android. Maybe it’s the newness of it, maybe it’s the differences, but whatever it is– it’s good. Real good! I also expect to see Windows Phone 7 coverage as it becomes more available!

    The mission of this site is exactly what the name implies… Gotta Be Mobile. Any mobile technology that is interesting and useful should have its place here, especially as it relates to tablets and touch/pen interaction. Keep to that focus, and I’ll always be a loyal reader! :) I think the guest writing idea sounds fun, and I wouldn’t mind trying it sometime if you open that up in the future.

    Anyway, thanks for all you do guys!

    Reply

    • GoodThings2Life

      06/17/2010 at 10:30 am

      PS– something you may consider looking into is doing what Gizmodo does with their RSS feeds by allowing subscribers to include/exclude content tags. For example, they really ARE biased towards Apple products, so I purposely filter all Apple-related news out of my RSS subscription with the following URL:

      http://gizmodo.com/tag/not:apple/not:ipad/not:iphone/not:ipod/not:ios/index.xml

      So I’ve taken their main index feed and prefaced it with a series of not: tags to exclude the Apple tags they use. This way, I never see Apple content from that site, since the Apple news I care to see can more objectively be acquired from other sites.

      Reply

  5. sbtablet

    06/17/2010 at 6:57 am

    There is no more experienced, tech savvy, wise review team anywhere than the one that Gotta Be Mobile fields, even without Rob. Warner, Sumocat, Xavier, everybody, you all have a perspective and in-depth knowledge that I enjoy greatly. I always read your reviews with care. It’s these personal reviews and personal experiences with mobile technology that make GBM compelling to me, whether you’re covering ink or no ink devices. Long live GBM.

    Reply

  6. Mike

    06/17/2010 at 7:02 am

    Hands on reviews and ink shows are always great, be it for software or hardware. Love to see as much as possible.
    It’s the bread-and-butter for sure.

    I think you get some good mileage out of your personal experience posts – like trying to come to grips with whether the ipad could meet your needs or not and specifically how or why not.

    I certainly do not mind at all when any of the contributors notice something interesting being covered elsewhere or going on and just make a quick comment or post about it – though. Sometimes it is stuff I’ve seen elsewhere and sometimes not. It’s called, ‘life’.

    Don’t let it get you down.
    I think you are doing fine.

    Love the every-girl-esque reviews with Thomasin especially.
    That is particularly insightful to get a non-techy take on products.

    Reply

  7. Ameel

    06/17/2010 at 7:14 am

    I think you guys are doing a great job. I recognize that tablet PCs are just one part of the larger mobile computing space and I understand and appreciate the broader coverage that you do provide.

    Personally, I think that most of us are beyond the basic or even intermediate-level discussions on tablet technology and application scenarios that Stacy says she misses on the site. We’re now at the stage where we want personal, unbiased, and real-world advice on what to buy. We’ve gone from the “look at all the cool stuff you can do with tablet PCs and mobile PCs” stage to the “okay, what should I buy, what great new stuff is out there, and what devices do you guys feel passionate about?” stage. And I think everyone at GBM does the latter really well. (Thanks!)

    Indeed, it’s thanks to you guys that I finally bought my first tablet PC last month (the Lenovo ThinkPad X201t). I’ve been wanting one for a long time now but have only recently been able to afford it. Your advice and the knowledge your shared on GBM played a big part in my decision-making process.

    That said, I think I understand where Stacy is coming from. The tablet PC market has shifted quite a bit in the last couple of years and, if you’re someone who hasn’t kept up, it can get quite confusing. One of the things you guys used to do to make it less confusion was compare devices to each other and, in doing so, present a good summary of the entire tablet PC landscape (which, admittedly, was much smaller back then). The cool thing was that you’d compare not only the specs but also which device you thought would work best in which usage scenario.

    You don’t do that as much any more. That’s mainly because the mobile PC landscape is much bigger and much more diverse now. So, not only is there much more work involved in doing that analysis (because there are so many devices available now), it’s also much harder to do (in many cases, comparing two devices is like comparing apples to oranges).

    So, while personally I’m very happy with the coverage you provide on GBM, I can understand why others might want more.

    Keep up the awesome work that all of you are doing on this site.

    Reply

  8. sbtablet

    06/17/2010 at 7:21 am

    One thing to keep in mind, perhaps. Not everybody who comes to this site came in to mobile tech and on the ground floor. I remember a while ago, GBM was doing some “101” posts. I think those are still appropriate and needed. OneNote may not be doing anything new, but many here will be new to OneNote, since it is bundled in Office 2010 for the first time. I’d love to see a head-to-head comparison of what you can do on an iPad with what you can do on say, an HP 2740. Sure, new readers can search for old posts, and pick up some of this information, but will they? If it was done three years ago, but is still relevant, maybe a return can be appropriate for some things, or maybe there should be a standing post in the forums somewhere, pointing to articles of interest to the mobile tech newbie. Surprisingly, articles designed for the novice usually have one or two things in them that are news to me, as well.

    Reply

    • Sumocat

      06/17/2010 at 8:10 am

      On a similar note, putting together a FAQ was discussed yesterday, and I’ll be heading that up. My stance on FAQ pages is that they should be organic and incorporate questions that really are frequently asked, so I’ll be soliciting questions and ideas from the forum on this. Also, I do have something kind of “ground floor” in the works. BTW, OneNote was actually bundled in Office 2007, bumping Outlook in the Home and Student edition.

      Reply

      • sbtablet

        06/17/2010 at 8:23 am

        Sumocat,

        Great! Oh, and thanks for the correction on OneNote, since I had the Pro edition in mind. Nuff said.

        Reply

      • Dan

        06/17/2010 at 9:30 am

        Sumocat,
        Here is an interesting twist to think about…rather than doing a FAQ, which can be a daunting task to create and keep current, how about a Wiki and let us all contribute?

        Dan

        Reply

        • GTaylor

          06/17/2010 at 9:36 am

          Warner, you and Rob were kicking around the wiki idea a few years ago. It seems that you have a lot more readers and a lot more partner sites since then.

          Reply

        • Sumocat

          06/17/2010 at 10:48 am

          That did cross my mind, but that’s a job for Matt. One problem with an open wiki is the monitoring that would be required. There’s a compromise to be struck here.

          Reply

  9. gmich

    06/17/2010 at 8:19 am

    I haven’t been around since the beginning of GBM — I probably stumbled onto the site about 3 years ago. I didn’t even know what tablet PCs were then, but reading the site motivated me to get one, and I’ve enjoyed following the site ever since. The changes are noticeable, but truthfully, I think most of them are understandable and in some cases unavoidable. I still enjoy GBM and visit on a daily basis, and while Rob is surely missed tremendously, I appreciate the new voices as well. I think more Inkshows would be great, though I understand how time-consuming they can be, and more coverage of Anroid would be appreciated as well (I, too, have an Evo, and am loving it).

    Anyway, thanks for all the good work, guys. It is appreciated.

    Reply

  10. BSchooler

    06/17/2010 at 8:44 am

    I’ve been following this site since the Dennis days. Always a lurker but quite a follower. I occasionally check in on the NYT, the Economist, and Arts and Letters Daily. But those are hit and miss readings. Meanwhile, I always always read GBM, usually twice a day–and I’m the most un-geeky guy I know.

    I’ve never really understood why I’ve had this particular addiction–until reading Warner’s comments here. I think it’s the site’s heart…it’s a big pumper, filled with passion, huge amounts of hard work, lots of tech but also class, humanism, and literateness, esp. from Warner’s theatre side, the team’s convention wanderings (and mishaps), and the groups’ diehard hauling of ridiculous amounts of gear through airports, Asia, and camping grounds. It’s often a real pleasure to read. Granted the shifts towards more advertising haven’t been so sweet, and I liked the earlier, more wide-screen layout better than the narrower, bloggy one, but the feel remains the same–big heart, hard work, trustworthy content.

    Because of GBM I’ve bought four tablets (Lenovos) and induced hundreds of others to do the same. I would have an Ipad by now if it weren’t for the honest GBM insights (and I’m so glad I’m waiting). As a university professor the tablet has been a profession changer for me, allowing me to do all kinds of tricky things with my handy pen that would be impossible otherwise…much better than just using multitouch, shrink and wrap gestures. I’ve even begun drawing more than stick figures, a quantum leap in my world.

    So GBM team is in the soul searching phase. Fine enough. If they weren’t, the company wouldn’t have a soul to consider and, in my mind, wouldn’t be GBM (and I doubtless wouldn’t be a regular follower). Plus GBM wouldn’t last long–companies that don’t do this work from time to time invariably die. Warner has gone on at some length saying that GBM should stick to the mobility theme rather than a device theme (e.g. tablets). I’d suggest a slightly different emphasis–“experience”. Something around experience with different devices with a particular focus on cross-environment experience (e.g. from business to the bedroom). That’s where GBM seems to excel, providing deeply felt yet knowledgeable commentary on computing across the waves of life.

    If it’s not already obvious, I’m really glad you folks have continued running GBM, through all the ups and downs. It’s rare to see such dedication, and rarer yet to see such genuine yet thoughtful commentary. I’m sure you’ve helped many many thousands of users. Thank you.

    Reply

    • GTaylor

      06/17/2010 at 9:16 am

      The experience; “Ah, there’s the rub!”.
      How subtle the play as Experience the child of mother, Hardware and father, Usability. What is more important nature or nurture? How many words can we write?

      Reply

  11. GTaylor

    06/17/2010 at 9:52 am

    Warrner,

    Thank you for your post on the editorial direction of Gotttabemobile of 17 June 2010.
    I have enjoyed reading the posts at GBM and I have enjoyed writing back in response. The personal feeling that you expressed was well placed on this topic and came across as genuine.

    The discussion in the post and responses showed a lot of feeling of loss over the pen and ink interface that made the tablet PC what it is. And showed why it has been superseded by something less.

    My own experience: Based on a post here awhile back, I pulled my Motion wrecked M1400 out of the basement and had it repaired by a local shop, $350. After replacing the hard drive, the previous four from Motion all went bad, the shop told me not to put the Motion utilities back on it. Except for the unkillable “your document was saved….turn off the microphone” error message when using Word, the M1400 works better than any netbook that I have seen. And people wonder why tablet PCs are a niche market.

    When GBM began mobile was about tablet PCs, nine pound notebooks, and half pound cell phones with ‘can you hear me now?’ coverage. Now the ground has moved from beneath us. What I’d like to suggest is that GottaBeMobile be an open and ongoing discussion about what being mobile in the connected information age means and how this is changing. Ink Shows could be augmented by regular features such as “How are our mobile options crafted by marketing campaigns”, “What combinations of mobile solutions are useful”, “How can a given solution fit into real life”, a regular reality check feature for all things covered, and the “Idealists Plotting corner- If current technology allows this then why not that?”.

    Perhaps the anti-Apple complaints have a particular validation. Throughout the wide media of communication is the name dropper’s syndrome. Anything can be related to the newest trend if we try hard enough, even if it doesn’t. So people call Apple’s media viewer a “tablet” and any personal media player an iPod, any head phone plug in device is marketed to i-Pod people, a smooth interface on anything is related to Steve Jobs (although I would guess that his employees don’t think of ‘smooth interface’ when they think of Steve), and even NPR and every related local station mentions accessing streams or podcasts of their broadcasts on “your iPad, iPod, or other mobile device”.

    This peculiar method of bending reality might help a person fit in with the feelings promoted by master marketers but when they seep into technology articles on all subjects then readers who are trying to maintain objectivity object. Yes, I have read articles at GBM with such unnecessary inclusions and attributions.

    There is now more need than ever before for the kind of work all of you at Gotta Be Mobile are doing. I expect to always be happy to follow your web site. I sent this to you as an email, if you want to post it with the article I will be glad to resubmit.

    G Taylor

    Reply

    • GoodThings2Life

      06/17/2010 at 10:26 am

      Ah, touché regarding name dropper’s syndrome… indeed, that’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

      I’ve been carrying a Tablet PC around for 5 years now. Every day, all day. It’s not new, and people USED to ask me, “Wow!! What’s that?!” And I’d show them and they’d be amazed by it.

      Now, LITERALLY the same people have recently asked me, “Is that one of those iPad things?” To which my response is, “Eww! Don’t swear at me like that!” And it’s the same thing when they see my Zune and my various WinMo (and now EVO) phones in recent years.

      And yes, I have the same issue with people who use “Coke” to describe all carbonated soft drinks! It’s frustrating! I get it, of course, I understand it, but it makes me recognize how … simple minded … we are as a society. Everything is about relating to some new fad, and if you’re not part of the fad, you’re uncool or behind the times.

      Reply

  12. Andrew

    06/17/2010 at 10:49 am

    My interest in tablet pcs began a year and a half ago.

    This website really sparked my interest and helped me decide to pick up a tablet pc and an ipad.

    I don’t know what was covered before two years ago but I like the articles that the team is writing now.

    Thanks and keep it up!

    Reply

  13. Paul Harrigan

    06/17/2010 at 11:55 am

    Warner,

    Thanks for the message. It had to be difficult to see the criticism that was coming in.

    I’ve been with GBM since a few weeks after the site was founded, and it continues to be a daily read. I think you do a good job, and the passion for mobile approaches is both clear and enjoyable to experience.

    As I said in response to Stacy’s post, much of the “Appleness” that we see these days is because Apple now is defining the experience. That makes the whole subject less interesting than it will be when a serious competitor comes forward, as I am sure one will.

    Personally, my thought is for you, Xavier, and the group to “hang in there”. I think you’re in the right place, but the time sucks now for almost everything because Apple is so all by itself in the market (rather like covering a baseball race when one team is 20 games ahead in the standings.)

    All my best to you and your family.

    Reply

  14. wookash

    06/17/2010 at 12:38 pm

    I have followed from the Rob days of the first UMPC, and I think you all are doing a great job. I dont envy the position that you all are in right now. The market is/has changed right before our eyes…almost instantly…UMPC to Netbooks to IPad. Trying to find where the niche in this market is rough. I turn to to you guys when I want to know something SPECIFIC about inking and productivity on these devices. I appreciate your posts on styli, penulitmate, and smartnote. You are adapting your content to the market…but I feel you are sticking the core mission of the site…mobile device inking, productivity, and how these fit into your lives. In all honesty, Microsoft has dissappointed and is right now not doing anything exciting (courier never materialized), so why spend your time covering it?
    KUDOS for you guys for trying to adapt and thanks for communicating to your readership.

    Regarding some additional posts Id like to see:
    IAnnotate for IPAD – PDF Editor for ipad. Looks really interesting. I would like to see the product in your hands and how it works.

    Tablet Kiosk eoa7330D – this is a 7in UMPC with dual active digitizer and touchscreen. This is an interesting device and a ridiculous price tag, but I would love to see it in action.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  15. tabletenvy

    06/17/2010 at 1:46 pm

    Not much more to say, apart from my previous comments and the excellent posts above.

    Forge on, gentlemen. You have my thanks.

    Reply

  16. Mickey Segal

    06/17/2010 at 2:32 pm

    I agree the GottaBeMobile has become less exciting over the past few years, but so has http://www.jkontherun.com/. The slowdown in innovation in Tablet PCs is the main explanation, and although having Rob Bushway back would be a real plus, the switch of momentum to Apple has been the major factor explaining the drop in excitement.

    I don’t think discussion of the iPad should be considered heresy here. Indeed, I wrote an article about how the iPhone was the fulfillment of the hopes many of us had for Tablet PCs (http://www.hcplive.com/neurology/mdng-Neurology/NE_Love_for_Tablet_PCs).

    Some of us have been profoundly disappointed with the iPad. We love the form factor and the battery life, but don’t like the model of a slave device that must sync to a real computer and use only software approved by Apple. That is fine for a phone, but real computers should not be that locked down. We would have been delighted by full and open MacOS and pen support as well as touch in this format, even if it used more power. We would be delighted by a similar form factor with real Windows.

    My favorite GBM post this year has been http://www.gottabemobile.com/2010/04/09/microsoft-research-shows-off-pen-and-touch-together. My sense is that there will be many opportunities over coming years to surpass what Apple is doing with greater freedom, more power-efficient real computer OSs. I think GBM readers would like some ferment on opportunities such as those rather than just accepting whatever limitations Apple has decided we must endure.

    Reply

  17. Tomas Antila

    06/17/2010 at 3:42 pm

    I started reading this blogg three years ago since I was interested in tablet pc’s. I do realize why you don’t write as much about tablet pc’s as you used to, and frankly I don’t care that much. What I like about GBM is the good opinions and reflections you give on subjects. Everytime I see a new apple-related news I think “oh boy, people are gonna be angry about this”. But to be honest, I read two other blogs dedicated only to apple news, but I still gladly read the exact same news from you, since I know you will always have some insights and ideas about the news. For me gottabemobile represents the professional mobile lifestyle, and I think you nail it every time!

    Reply

  18. Xavier Lanier

    06/17/2010 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you again for everyone for sharing your opinions and ideas. We are already working on some site improvements based on this conversation and previous comments/emails.

    As an aside, we’ve reached an amazing milestone: We published our 10,000th article last week. Thanks to everyone here for making that possible.

    Reply

    • aj

      06/22/2010 at 8:52 am

      This article was a nice gesture: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2010/01/27/dont-like-the-ipad-but-still-want-a-tablet-here-are-some-options/

      …but doesn’t really help. Nor do all the little “on sale now” news blurbs.

      In fact, the site reads more like an RSS news feed than a home of tablet experts anymore. I know you guys still put a lot of work in, and this is going to sound harsh, but all these little new blurbs don’t really add anything of value to the blogosphere. There are still a few nuggets, but for someone who doesn’t read the site everyday, they are hard to find when you want them.

      Reply

    • aj

      06/22/2010 at 9:29 am

      This article was a nice gesture: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2010/01/27/dont-like-the-ipad-but-still-want-a-tablet-here-are-some-options/

      …but that doesn’t really cut it for someone looking for insight. Nor do all the little “on sale now” news blurbs.

      In fact, the site reads more like an RSS news feed than a home of tablet experts anymore. I know you guys still put a lot of work in, but I think you could easily cut back on the quantity and focus more on the quality.

      Reply

      • aj

        06/22/2010 at 9:36 am

        OOOPs, sorry, I thought I was adding to my own post down below. Then when I didn’t see my reply, I did it again (tried to be a little less harsh the 2nd time.)

        Reply

  19. Quentin Dewolf

    06/17/2010 at 4:43 pm

    the site is magnigicent and i love following it. the focus on apple and the lack of focus on Microsoft is not a sign of the site but of the industry in general. we (tabletpc/slate users) need more power and more adoption to fund that power. Apple has always pushed other companies to improve themselves (although now apple seems to be in a piss of the content creators mode). i too believe the tabletpc/windows slate world will wake up and show us some interesting stuff in the next 12-18 months.

    Reply

  20. Roberto

    06/17/2010 at 5:52 pm

    I guess as a new user to this site (about 5 months) I will throw in my 2 cents. Just for background, I use lots of PC, some mac, some tablet, & I have a droid phone. I like the site. I like the articles presented and if I find something that interests me more I can always investigate on my own. I personally find a good cross section of articles of stuff besides Apple. As for Apple bias, I don’t find it as bad here as other places, although in the short time I have been coming to this site there sure is a lot of Apple articles, although they have a lot of stuff coming out since I have been coming here so it would seem normal to have that amount of articles. It would be nice to see more head to head comparison between devices I think. As for Android coverage, it lacks every where I think. Most of my Android info comes from other users personally or user groups.
    Anyway its great you guys are thinking about your coverage. I think your doing well, I’ll keep visiting, and good luck to you in the future.

    Reply

  21. Warner Crocker

    06/17/2010 at 6:47 pm

    As Xavier has already said we really appreciate these comments. Not just the comments, but the breadth of the discussion within them. Keep them coming folks. We’re listening.

    Reply

  22. Ken Hinckley

    06/17/2010 at 8:32 pm

    You guys do a great job. The wide perspective and informed commentary is why even a research wonk like me keeps coming back to see what you guys are saying – even if I already have a similar opinion of the state of things, it’s a reality check for me. Believe it or not I do like to step out of our ivory tower here in research every so often.

    Multi-touch in a variety of form factors is a steamroller that is flattening many industries right now – some for the better, some for the worse. Like it or not, it is best to know the steamroller is coming before you’re roadkill.

    :-)

    Reply

  23. Brett Gilbertson

    06/18/2010 at 1:17 am

    Guys, wish I could say more but I’m on the iPad… Too slow! Still love your coverage… The comments here have inspired some thought for me too… Now I’m off to write! Where’s my tablet PC…

    Reply

  24. Medic

    06/18/2010 at 2:08 am

    I like the GBM perspective of the tablet pc and mobility. GBM has, in my experience, a unique view of how to look the modern mobile computer, but still maintaining a down to earth look of what is really the big picture. I has mentioned many times that the marketing thinking behind the tablet pc has become skewed, and lost perspective of that what is called popular trend. I still do not understand why resistive and capacative has still not been further developed. Currently, every time I hear about another capacative touch computer, I always look for, where are the inking options. It is perhaps there, but I do not consider a thick pen or sausages a proper writing tool on such a small screen. And why is N-trigg not pursuing the the fanatic road of Steve Jobs?
    Back to the subject at hand. I hope GBM continues its tablet pc evaglism en enthusiasm. Of course times change, but I think readers demands or wishes will not influence the original idea.
    Good luck! Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  25. John in Norway

    06/18/2010 at 2:47 am

    I must admit that even though I still visit your site everyday, I also feel that it’s lost some of the magic and passion that it once had.

    You say that there’s been very little movement in the Tablet space. From a personal point of view I’m very disappointed at your lack of coverage of both the HP TM2 – a consumer inking machine – and the ASUS T91MT/T101MT family. Have none of you played with these machines? I was really looking forward to you doing inkshows of these (your Inkshows are the best reviews) but alas you seem to have passed them by and it’s been up to teenagers to review them, having no idea what real inking on a computer is all about.

    Reply

    • Harry from South Africa (Aka Enthusio)

      06/18/2010 at 2:05 pm

      @John in Norway you’ve taken the words out of my mouth.

      First-off I’ve been using tablet PC’s since 2002. I was drawn in mostly by the old tabletpcbuzz.com and got to know, Dennis, Rob and Warner via that route. As the Buzz went through various down-time-for-weeks-issues GBM became my favorite DAILY Tablet PC / Mobility / productivity haunt.

      My First Tablet was the amazing NEC Versa Litepad (Please Google it if you don’t know it!)and I was hooked. Later a Motion LE 1600 and then on input from this team I bought an HP TC1100 and completely changed my lifestyle, working habits and leisure activities.

      For me GBM has been a no-bull source of mobility info just as the name implies – without the usual Microsoft / Apple / Linux etc. bias towards one particular system or brand.

      It’s difficult for me to try to capture the essence or secret sauce of GBM, why I visit here at least once a day, why I keep coming back. Maybe that’s been it’s success all along – a professional tech site with a “personal” touch, a HEART even – nope, can’t be that…

      It just occurred to me that in all this time I have never taken the time to express my gratitude expressly towards the GBM team for their continued passion and enthusiasm for what many consider a “failed” platform.

      Thank you all for for making this journey towards the ultimate mobile device/s so interesting, exciting and FUN. I don’t know if we will ever get that “magical” – cough – device but I look forward to every step of the journey with you guys – thanks again!

      PS: Just got my wife a regular Laptop again so that I can get my hands on my HP TC4400 again after my 3rd beloved TC1100 finally gave up the ghost. After a bump up to 4 Gigs of RAM, Windows 7, Office 2010 and I’m in tablet-inking heaven again.

      If only the team would do an Inkshow on those pesky HP tm2t’s that keeps whispering my name… No pressure Warner…

      Reply

  26. kadaro

    06/18/2010 at 3:35 am

    The first time i thought about Tablet Pcs , i was just thinking, there should be a way to write on a Laptop just as a PDA. So i searched Google and i came across the Tablet Pcs and the first post i read was about the Thinkpad x41t in this site i bought one followed by an x61t, i still own both, and since then i read all the posts at GBM,

    BTW that was five years ago…..

    keep it going folks you are doing a great job.

    Reply

    • Joe

      06/19/2010 at 7:44 am

      I think this is exactly how I bought my first table pc too! Looking for review I came across GBM and have been a loyal reader since my first X41T, which I still have and love. Just loaded windows 7 on my X41 and attached it to my HDTV as a media server, the first table lives on….

      Reply

  27. Ben

    06/18/2010 at 7:10 am

    I can understand the points made by Stacy because they are true to a certain extent. Has GBM been covering more Apple stories lately? Probably, but that’s because Apple is doing more in the mobile space. Are InkShows and Tablet PC news rare these days? Yea, because there’s not much news, period.

    However, GBM remains my favorite tech blog. The thing I like the most about it is not the tech news (I can read any number of other sites for “NEW GIZMO!” news), but I value the opinions, imaginings, and ramblings of the GBM team more than anything. If I were to ask for something, it would be less “news” or tech rumors, and more editorial style thought-provoking posts about the mobile space, current and future tech, and what that means for us. I love that meaty goodness that is hard to get on other tech blogs. The GBM team has a depth of experience in the mobile space that other sites can hardly match. Combine that with thoughtfulness, insight, and eloquence, and you have a winning site.

    Despite the death of “Tablet PCs”, we’re currently sitting on the very edge of an truly and extraordinarily exciting mobile computing future–much more exciting than the early Tablet PC days. MIDs are dead, but have been reborn as smartphones. Inking isn’t as popular now, but is being replaced by speech recognition (android is loaded with it, from my understanding) and touch. I find the possibilities laid before us in this new mobile space much more exciting than Tablet PCs, no matter how much I might lament the demise of inking.

    GBM can offer its readers its insight and opinions on this approaching new mobile frontier.

    Reply

  28. Gavin Miller

    06/18/2010 at 12:03 pm

    Warner.

    You’ve been a fav blogger of mine for a long time now. I think what made GBM and the, at the time similar JK on the Run sites so popular were they were very personal. You knew that if you commented it wouldn’t be lost in a sea of voices and that ensuing posts would be non trolling, reasoned thoughts from other tech enthusiasts.

    I don’t think GBM has lost that, but there is a bit of ‘filler’ that’s crept in. Also, since the meteoric rise of Apple dwarfing all other news (Not GBM but the blogosphere in general) it’s started to polarize opinions to the extent that any Apple post seems to attract the extremists from both sides of the fence, some of which we’ve seen on GBM.

    If I were you guys I wouldn’t bother trying to keep up with Giz or Engadget. Avoid the tech snippets and short posts, concentrate on less being more. I’d rather see one article of the length of this one each week from each team member rather than a dozen or so posts that are merely links to other news.

    Good luck guys. :-)

    Reply

    • aj

      06/22/2010 at 12:54 pm

      I concur 100%

      Reply

  29. ChrisRS

    06/18/2010 at 11:40 pm

    I love the TabletPCs, but am not at all impressed with the current tablet, including the iPad.

    There is more Apple vs TabletPC coverage than I likee, but that is because there is WAY MORE Apple ACTION than TabletPC ACTION. That is not GBM’s fault.

    Is there a way to allow collaboration on the news items? On the 15th there were 3 posts about iPhone ordering problems. On the 16th there were two posts on odering success and one post regading the number of orders. If the first post could have been added to (not comments) and bumped back to the top, there could have been a more concise, but complete post. The Apple emphasis would not have seemed so great.

    Reply

  30. Modnar

    06/20/2010 at 4:33 am

    As a whole I am pleased with the site but yes more in depth stuff would be great!

    Hmmm would help if I my bit with tablet software to help out with the ink shows! Kinda forget to release small apps I’ve made maybe should do so in the coming holidays.

    Reply

  31. aj

    06/22/2010 at 8:23 am

    The inkshows are what make this site unique. GBM is the one place that dedicates itself to the details that differentiate tablets/mobile devices from one another. And the only place with the hands on experience to know when a breakthrough has been made.

    Like many others, your inkshow helps us choose the right product. But over the last year and a half or so, that insight has not been available because so few non-iPad inkshows have been done. And there are many new models available.

    In fact, it’s kind of ironic that you will run ads or “deal alerts” for things, like HP TM2T, or the Lenovo convertible netbook, without having any articles about those models.

    In need of a new tablet on a budget, I’m left with no place to turn for the scoop on what is available right now. I ordered a TM2T blind, and I guess I’ll have to tell YOU guys how well it inks.

    Reply

  32. Somename

    06/26/2010 at 12:13 pm

    Thought I’d chime in while you’re at it to give my impression of the current state of GBM content vis a vis my interests.

    I’d like to see about 10% phone coverage (or lower), 2% coverage of items without a physical keyboard (in case something interesting emerges in that category that portends something for the more useful machines that have keyboards), and the rest devoted to machines with useful (touch-type) keyboards and screens of useful size (at least 7″ diagonal) and their accessories. This reflects that utility that can be had from these various classes of devices.

    I’m hard pressed to find anything useful here anymore. I understand that phones, proprietary Apple systems, and tablets/slates/e-readers hold some hotness for some people and are selling, while the portable fully functional computer category has languished while awaiting better processors from Intel, but May/June is the announcement period for the latest ULV machines and they are finally on the verge of realizing their potential.

    Reply

  33. aj

    06/29/2010 at 10:13 am

    The recent posts have been great, thank you. Good Fujitsu coverage and Engadget finally ended the TM2 drought.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *