Alpha Notebook vs Mathematica :
- Mathematica, despite the sometimes painful syntax, works reliably;
in my experience, Alpha Notebook does not (see below)
Things in common:
- both (supposedly) run and can process input locally on your PC
(see below--Alpha Notebook does not seem to do this, however)
On paper, the summaries from others above seem right. However, after I subscribed to Alpha Notebook and installed the app on my Win10 PC, I had problems almost right out of the box, both with the software and with Wolfram "tech support" (available 9-5 Champaign-Urbana time...which isn't super duper for those of us in not in North America, btw).
After starting the app and checking that I was registered/activated, I tried a few arithmetic evaluations--these worked, happily. Then tried to plot a simple 2d function...and was treated to 1-2 minute pause with message amounting to, "Waiting to connect to servers". This product isn't supposed to require constant internet connectivity, and supposedly can run relatively simple math problems locally on my PC, right?
Called Wolfram "tech support" about this at the tel# on their site, and got a guy who, while polite, had no idea about the product (though this only became evident after wasting 5-10 minutes), then insisted, "Oh, Alpha Notebook is produced by our sister company, not Wolfram; you should call them." He promised to send me an email w/tel# for their mysterious sister company...but this email never arrived.
Gave up and asked cust. support to cancel subscription. They were polite, and aghast that their own tech support team had little clue about the product (Alpha Notebook), and that they invented this bizarre story about a "sister company" to close the ticket. They processed my refund and cancellation, whereupon I thanked them and deleted Wolfram stuff from my system.
Bottom line: from my experience, Alpha Notebook does not seem "ready for prime time" (that is, as paying customer, get ready to put in your time a product tester, too), and the organization seems to be in a state of disorganization. Too bad, since the product sounded good on paper.