BumpTop has an uphill climb to make an iPad killer

When I got my copy of the BumpTop announcement email a couple nights ago, there was no indication that they had been purchased by Google:

First of all, we’d like to thank you for your past purchase of BumpTop
Pro. Our mission is to revolutionize the way people use computers, and
your support has helped us continue working towards that goal.

Today, we have a big announcement to make: we’re going to be taking BumpTop in an exciting new direction, which means that BumpTop (for both Windows and Mac) will no longer be available for sale. Additionally, no updates to the products are planned.

What does this mean for BumpTop Pro users? Rest assured you will be
able to continue running the latest version of BumpTop with Pro
features indefinitely. However, downloads and support for BumpTop Pro
will end on June 1, 2010, and we will not be issuing any further
updates. We recommend you save a copy of the latest installer at
http://bumptop.com/pro in case you wish to reinstall BumpTop in the
future. For your reference, your invite code is cac16c67.

We want you be completely satisfied with the purchase you made. Our
customers constantly tell us how much they love BumpTop and how it’s
completely changed the way they use their desktop, and you will be
able to run BumpTop Pro for as long as you want. If the end-of-life announcement still leaves you dissatisfied, however, contact us for a refund at http://refund.bumptop.com/refund, regardless of purchase date. All requests must be made by June 1, 2010.

Thanks again for your support of BumpTop and for helping make
computing more natural and fun. Despite our change in strategy, we remain as passionate as ever about helping shape the future of computing!

The Bumps

It wasn’t until today that I learned what the big deal was:

(wow guys, way to be creative with a headline)

Ah, so the guys behind BumpTop (which I did have and use for a short bit, but I couldn’t get into) are going to Google to lend their breakthrough UI to…something.

Hmm, most curious.

Well, if Apple changed everything with the iPhone OS, then it might logically follow that Google would take parts from BumpTop for Android to make something to go head to head with the iPad. The open question is can they?

It’s interesting that Apple, in terms of Mac OS and Macs is a computing underdog, but in the world of smartphones and app stores they are the ones to beat. A rather dual identity thing. Use a Mac because you’d rather not use Windows, but avoid an iPhone for similar reasons. Regardless, I think the more pertinent question is whether Google could create an iPad killer.

Yes, but only if they fight on their own terms.

Look, going up against the iPod didn’t do very well for Microsoft. They tried to launch then play catch up. That didn’t work out so well. Any iPad competitor has to be slick, fast, flexible, affordable. You have to be able to everything the iPad does, with just a little bit more polish. To my mind I think the secret is making a really powerful Internet device, that can read pretty much any ebook thrown at it, import music from iTunes (as best as it can), and serve as a stable platform for lots of other apps. You can’t take the iPad head on. The App Store and the inertia from the iPhone and iPod Touch is too much. You have to offer something that is a compelling, and cheaper, alternative instead.

There is something to be said for new ebook readers like the Kobo. A focus on just being a really good ereader for a good price. Oh and backed by a really solid bookstore—pity they don’t have my books in there—where Canadians can buy ebooks (of course you have to strip the DRM from them to put on the iPad).

As for BumpTop? Well considering I don’t think it’s going to be an iPad app (though maybe for a jailbroken iPad), I wonder what a slick Andriod-powered tablet would be like.

I think we’ll have to just have to keep wondering.

For a while at least.

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