Ah, the inevitable march of technology. Instead of typing on my desktop, I’m actually sitting in a booth at Chili’s typing this on a combination of my new iPad Mini and a tiny Bluetooth keyboard. It’s an interesting experience to say the least. It’s not a complete replacement for a laptop at this point – the WiFi is a bit spotty, it’s lacking in programs, and the keyboard is a bit small for my large hands – but it’s definitely “good enough”.
I could see this being a firm part of my Convention Warrior kit, alongside whatever will replace my horrible 14-inch Lenovo ultrabook (seriously, 2.5 hour battery life?). When I want to get deep into the flow, I can’t see myself typing on this keyboard, but if I need to jot down a quick post in-between interview or demo sessions? This could do the job.
I always imagined picking up a tablet/laptop hybrid. Back in 2012, when Microsoft was first throwing around Windows 8, I figured manufacturers would step up and provide the perfect hybrid platform. The closest I’ve gotten to saying “That’s it” was maybe Asus’s Transformer line of products. The Surface Pro is powerful enough for my purposes – and the Wacom digitizer is snazzy – but it is not a “laptop” per se. Despite what Microsoft may think, I actually do need something that I can keep stable in my lap. The Yoga Pro is a great laptop, but not really the best of tablets.
Not really a laptop form factor. Lack of battery life. Wrong operating system. Too expensive. Yeah, I’m probably a bit too picky. This year’s CES had what’s looks to be the closest to my ideal. The new Intel Core lineup (code-named Broadwell) means a decent amount of power, great battery life, and a small form factor. It’s probably the biggest refresh intel has done in a long time. Asus is the frontrunner again, with a new set of Transformer laptops, but there’s more on the horizon. Apple apparently has the new 12-inch Macbook Air and the Dell XPS 13 (Image via The Verge) is looking pretty sweet in the Ultrabook category. (Hey, Apple, if you want to make the ‘iPadbook’, I’m down.)
So I’m taking baby steps into the cross-section between playfulness and productivity. A device small enough that I can carry it around like a book, but big enough that it operates like a real laptop. Yes, I guess I’m old enough that I can’t touch-type or Swype my way through an entire article like my nieces and nephews probably can. Touch and keyboard together is something I’m big on right now.
Whoever gets to this magical product that does everything gets my money. Well, I guess whoever gets close enough get my money too, seeing as I’m flailing through it all with a Nexus 7, an iPad Mini/Bluetooth keyboard, an ultrabook, and a desktop PC. So here’s my challenge to you, tech industry: help me consolidate. I want less products that do more. Tall order, huh?
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