Market analysts and talking heads have been predicting a paradigm shift in the world of computing – that the era of laptop computing would soon abdicate to the new, exciting world of tablet PCs, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appears to be unconvinced. At the Microsoft Build Developer Conference on Wednesday, he criticized the “tablets-only” ideal:
“How many of us have gone to a meeting with someone who brought a tablet, and then when it comes time to actually take notes, writes them down on pencil and paper… or can’t get at the spreadsheet… or try to use it in terminal emulator mode… or take [a long time] to set up and turn their tablet into something that approximates a PC.”
The solution, Ballmer proposes, is a hybrid or “convertible”: a machine which can act as either a tablet or a laptop, e.g. by separating keyboard and screen. As an example, he brought forth the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, which he claimed to be both a “powerful PC” and a “powerful, capable… tablet”. Microsoft’s Surface, with its physical keyboard, is another striking example of this concept coming to life in yet another product.
Microsoft appears to be banking hard on the 2-in-1 paradigm, with several upcoming machines being designed to take advantage of Windows 8.1′s features. Is your tablet PC all that it’s cracked up to be? Does it improve your work flow, or hinder it?
While your tablet comes in handy when you’re out of shoulder room, as a business owner, you may want to consider which will work better for you and your employees, and exploring options may be beneficial. In addition, while Ballmer made no indication that he was planning on pulling Windows out of the tablet market, you may want to keep an eye out for more “convertible” options coming from Microsoft in the coming months.