Laptop mode : real work, developing
Tablet mode: showing things to customers
To hear Intel tell it, the Next Big Thing™ in mobile computing will be the "2-in-1" (née "convertible"), which combines a traditional clamshell laptop form factor with a tablet that detaches from the keyboard, or flips, twists, or slides over it. "The innovators at Intel and our partners have come up with the 2-in-1 – it's the …
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Suppose for instance the guts of an MBA 11 are placed into the screen section and a detachable keyboard section contains extra battery, extra functions, and the two sum to the same weight as at present. What is lost from the 2 in 1 version compared to the current version? Zero. Suppose the screen is touch enabled so it can also operate as a tablet. You then have a flexible multifunction device with no loss of original function. If it runs OS X and iOS why would you need a full size iPad?
Some people take the view that the MBA is the best small clamshell and iPad the best larger tablet. In which case if they could be combined as a 2 in 1 those people would regard the combination as better than either.
Why do you feel differently about the 2 in 1 concept? Substitute Chrome OS/Android, Win8 or a Linux distro you favour if you prefer.
"Suppose for instance the guts of an MBA 11 are placed into the screen section and a detachable keyboard section contains extra battery, extra functions, and the two sum to the same weight as at present. What is lost from the 2 in 1 version compared to the current version? Zero."
I'll tell you exactly what is lost: strength, robustness. Heck - even hinges on normal laptops sometimes give up. Those attach-me-dettach-me latches will give out just past the one year warranty. No thanks - I like my portable machines to be able to cope with being "ported" about.
Actually, you're right. But most people don't need best, or else can't afford it, and settle for 'good enough', which is what my Transformer Pad is. I think Intel's problem here is that what they are trying to do is not possible in Windows; compact, light weight, long battery life, fully featured apps etc - at the moment, you have to choose a couple of those things. A lot of people are choosing to have Windows PC at home (and the office) and an Android or iPad device for everything else.
I had a Toshiba Lifebook P1610 from 2006 for notetaking, it was an awesome 10" convertible with better build quality, processor, battery life and screen than any netbook trash on the market five years later.
If they could make one thinner and lighter, with a bay trail processor, I'd gladly pay Surface Pro money for it.
First, they've been around much longer than your chronology. IBM was making the ThinkPad X41 in 2005 and I don't think it was the first.
Second, they can be great or awful depending on what you are expecting. Forgetting cost, they add an inking capability to a notebook. This is great for taking notes and annotating documents while retaining the ability to switch to a traditional laptop configuration. It can also be used as a tablet when filling forms in some vertical markets. However, they are heavy. This defeats their use in other vertical markets where you want something you can carry and use for extended periods. In these cases a Windows slate type tablet would do better. And, of course, they do tend to cost more than comparable laptops or slates.
For a student, they might be a good option allowing (for example) the use of the keyboard mode for notes in English and the tablet mode for notes in Math. For a consumer, a slate is probably a better choice to get the inking capability and lightness. You can always add a keyboard. For a business, it depends on the business. Some would be well served by them, others would be better served by a traditional laptop or by an even more specialized tablet (e.g. Motion Computing makes a disinfectable slate for the medical market).
Intel's 2-N-1 is hardly new, Asus has their Trio coming out in a month or 2 that runs Android in tablet mode then can switch to run Windows 8 when attached to the base... Intel just like recycling used ideas, they're getting as bad as Microsoft and their 5 year Apple idea recycling program, in which they recycle Apples ideas 5 years later....
Aren't they trying to clear these off the shelves RIGHT NOW? The "Windows RT" versions of course ran a crippled Windows that only runs a subset of apps specially rebuild for ARM, as opposed to running Android or Linux. But I thought they had churned out some x86 versions too -- which are also not selling.
A lot of people aren't interested in having a touch screen on what is otherwise a portable desktop computer. (I know I'm not!) The rest who are interested, when they find out what it costs compared to a computer without touchscreen, all of a sudden most of them lose interest too.
Intel, what are you thinking?!
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