Two Devices or Two in One?

The consumer PC market appears to be bifurcating into ultra portable devices (like tablets) and the more conventional PC\Ultrabooks. According to Canalys tablets could be as much as 50% of the PC market in 2014, and I tend to agree with them. The biggest obstacle to the PC is that its greatest strength (versatility) is simultaneously its greatest weakness. The PC design strategy has happily moved forward with an insatiable appetite for more RAM and greater speed without ever considering mobility, connectivity and simplicity.

The PC has become the working elephant happily flattening forests and taking on the heavily lifting in the corporate world, with with precision and productivity being the most vital attributes. The problem with PCs (and elephants) is that it can take years to gain complete mastery over them (programming, security and support). Tablets, on the other hand, have marketed themselves as the pet that every member of your family deserves to own, ready to cheer you up immediately with the promise of inexhaustible supply of apps.

Most consumers are then left to decide what kind of device(s) they want to consider purchasing. Most people (including myself) have opted to support both a Ultrabook and a tablet. It makes for an interesting choice every time I leave the house, what combination of devices do I really need for this trip? What real work am I expected to complete? What connectivity can I expect to get at my destination?

The new 2-in-1 devices that sport Windows 8.1 are attempting redress the balance between work and play. In this regard, the new breed of devices have become more akin to working dogs adept at completing “office” related tasks but also ready to transform into a docile stress free companion.

Check them out, they are pretty cool, I also think there are plenty more coming, the PC market needs to respond to tablets increasing market share aside from simply producing competing tablets, this may be one way to aggressively stake a claim in both branches of device. Ultimately we are watching either the transformation or the marginalization of the PC in real time. Interesting times for a software engineer like myself.

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