I have blogged about the recent flood of 2 in 1 devices to the PC/Tablet market, this appears to be an attempt to be all things to all kinds of device owners (sometimes work, sometimes play). Before I jumped on that moving bandwagon I did give serious consideration to the various ways in which IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) can transforms a simple tablet into a very powerful productivity tool. Take the newly introduced Amazon WorkSpaces for example:
Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.
I really think this is a compelling idea for those who have committed to a competing OS and need to work in a virtual Windows desktop environment. I think the most important thing here is that the pricing structure is very simple, that is, $35-$75 fixed per month, dependent on the hardware resources and software required.
Windows Azure IaaS cloud has a similar, but much more comprehensive offerings for a software developer, like myself. For example I can create VM with Visual Studio installed and immediately take advantage of Visual Studio Online. I could work approximately 10 hours a day on a medium size VM for about $2 a day, this would barely put a dent in my MSDN monthly credits.
My one concern remains that a standard tablet does not necessarily support a mouse, and that kind of precision device remains an important ally in pure productivity. If you have ever tried using the Windows 7 OS with a touch screen you will immediately recognize how incredibly futile and frustrating that endeavor can be.