Tablets/Hybrids/Notebooks - The "Portable" Form Factor Going Forward

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Dorkington, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Dorkington macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2010
    Hopefully this is the right place to put this... I contemplated putting it in the iPad forum, but often times it spirals into flame wars, which I'd rather not see. This is a discussion about form factors, usage scenarios and hardware preferences... please be respectful of people's software preferences, we all know there are many OS choices and they all have pros and cons. :)

    As we all know, the tablet market is here, and Apple is pretty much to thank for that (or if you hate tablets, to blame ;)). This is threatening the netbook market for those who need a light weight, portable and long lasting device. But at the same time, there are many who simply reject tablets, for a variety of obvious reasons.

    There are many form factors going forward. The straight forward mobile os tablet, with no hardware input other than your hands. The hybrid form factor based on mobile, with detachable tablet and keyboard. The convertible tablet/laptop with a desktop OS (usually Windows), and last but definitely not least, the netbook/laptop.

    Which sort of form factor do you prefer to use for your portable needs?


    Personally I'm excited to see such form factors as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and the upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. (Pictures of each below)



    I think this form factor, for me, personally is perfect. And it's something I've attempted to replicate with the iPad and ZAGGmate case, which I've very much enjoyed so far.


    I think I'm preferring the mobile os base over a desktop base, for the fact that they are built from ground up for touch, and to run on mobile parts that give a super light weight and extremely long battery life. I have an iMac for when I need to do "real" work such as photo retouching. Everything else a tablet/hybrid can handle my needs.

    I'm pretty excited going forward, because for my uses, this seems wonderful. A lot of times I simply lounge back and read in a portrait style mode. Whether it be the news, books, comics, whatever. Even browsing the internet, this is how I use it. I find this to be more comfortable than hunching over a laptop to do any of the above. That being said, touch screen input isn't spectacular for creating content, such as long emails and the what not. So I love having the *option* of a hardware keyboard to type on when needed.

    What say you? How do you see your "Portable" needs/wants?
  2. ChazUK, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

    ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    First of all, great post. :)

    Apple have started a wonderful computing era with the release of the iPad imo. Even tho I was skeptical at first it seems that everyone I know who uses them for basic computing is thrlled with its performance and features. The really did set a high bar for the inevitable competition which has now started to emerge.

    I'm really pleased to see things like the EEETransformer and Lenovo's roumoured effort alongside this tablet era as netbook replacements. My experience with netbooks wasn't that great, mainly due to performance of the hardware and shoehorning desktop operating systems onto the tiny things but OS's like iOS and Honeycomb could easily replace a netbook for me within the netbook form factor.

    We still haven't seen what HP will have on offer with WebOS powered machines so there may be even more to look forwad to.

    I'm loving the tablet form factor of my Xoom but a part of me wishes I'd have waited as the ability to swap between laptop and tablet with the eeetransformer would suit me better. Loking at things like the transformer takes me back to my days of using the HP TC1100 as my main laptop/tablet. That thing was very cool to use back then.

    I really hope these hybrids succeed. :)
  3. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    I'd like to see a standalone tablet with a haptic touchscreen so I wouldn't ever think about needing a keyboard.

    I don't get the appeal of retrofitting a mobile device to look like a desktop/latpop when everything from the OS to tech specs dictate it'll be a crappy desktop/laptop.
  4. oakie, Apr 26, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011

    oakie macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2008
    i think the iPad is great as a consumption device, as first described when it was released, but it can never be taken seriously as a true work device, especially when typing really requires a keyboard one can feel, especially for those of us who touch-type.

    but the iPad was never designed to replace the notebook, merely fill (or create) a niche between the notebook and smartphone... an appliance that's more convenient than the notebook but more usable than a smartphone. and as such, i think it's the best compromise device to come out since the tablet form factor first began in earnest a decade ago. it succeeds by being more of an appliance that emphasizes simplicity and a lot less like a touchscreen notebook.

    i think it'll finally solidify a position that provides an easy to use, fast on, fast off device for the majority of people who just surf the internet, consume media, and light communication. it will never supplant the notebook for most who need a real keyboard to assist those who do a lot of typing and/or require the powerful applications unavailable on the iPad or the precise controls offered by the myriad of input devices available for a full-fledged computer.

    even for those who need the keyboard can still get it for the tablet form factor without having to step into the complexity of a PC by way of docking stations and wireless add-ons, especially if they truly dont need anything powerful software-wise beyond word processing and communications.

    it was truly a non-existent niche based on it's poor ergonomics by design, but it's one that can continue to grow only if they stay simple and the price stays fixed and doesnt encroach into the realm of notebooks, otherwise buyers will obviously overlook the tablet and just go for the better value proposition. it's this kind of fixed pricing structure that Apple has that truly helps build value well beyond just the actual pricing of the iPad. the netbook clearly helped realize this sector of the market; there were consumers ready to buy a more portable computing solution at a ~$500 pricepoint that featured specs and expectations that matched the middling pricepoint.

    there are a lot of factors at play, but pricing seems to be the most influential while providing just enough power for ~75% of the people considering a notebook computer lately anyways, again what's essentially the definition of the netbook when it first arrived on the scene. but unlike the netbook, it removes all of the associated complexities the modern OS currently has, making it more accessible with none of the caveats like bootup, shorter battery life, compromised ergonomics. it's the "unscary" computer for everyone.

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