Tuesday, January 8, 2013
2013 Prediction: The death of the laptop
If you are using a Windows machine, you probably spend several hours every month simply waiting for your computer to boot up or shut down. Or just generally waiting for it to respond.
If you travel at all with your laptop, you've come up against your laptop's battery limitations on a daily basis. I would be surprised if - under real world conditions - your laptop's battery lasts longer than 3 hours. If it's a desktop, you relocate yourself to your computer just to use it. If it's a laptop, you have to lug at least 5 pounds with you (charger, mouse, etc.) everywhere you want to do some computing.
Most of the tablets on the market today (iPad, Microsoft Surface, or dozens of Android models) easily beat a laptop in the main frustration areas of startup, battery life and weight. Tablets turn on and off with the press of a button. Most have at least triple (10 hours) the battery life of a typical laptop, at a fraction of the weight, with 95% of the functionality. Bring on a 10 hour flight in Economy class!
"Ah but I need the a mouse and keyboard, and the bigger keyboard!"
Ok, really? A mouse - better than touch? For some things, perhaps you might want to use a pen stylus. As for that keyboard - all tablets accept wireless Bluetooth keyboards of various shapes - choose one you like instead of the one that comes hinged to your screen. As for a bigger screen - most can be plugged into a monitor or projector with a VGA adapter to get a 'bigger' screen. Next?
"Ok, fine, but my tablet can't..."
...Edit Word documents? Stay tuned - Microsoft is putting the Office suite on a variety of tablet operating systems including the Surface - the iPad gets its turn in March. There are already a host of Office substitutes including GoogleDrive (formerly known as Google Docs) that allow you to edit Word documents on a tablet, with "good enough" results in most cases. But Microsoft Office on the Apple ecosystem will be a game-changer for those needing to edit documents on the move.
...Edit photos? There are lots of apps for Android and iOS devices that do a decent job at most photo editing tasks like cropping, resizing, colour correction, and so forth. No, you couldn't layout Vogue magazine on an iPad, but you can't do that with most laptops either.
...Edit videos? Again, hefty hardware has some advantages, but iMovie on the iPad is surprisingly usable.
I have contended for some time that most laptop users cart around way more processing power than they ever use, like someone who buys a full-size SUV just to pick up groceries. Mark my words - organisations that are swift to make the shift to tablets for their staff will find them happier and more productive. Did I mention tablets are cheaper than laptops?
Your tech world traveller...