Monday, November 19, 2012

A Look at Windows 8 Part 3: The new "hybrid" devices

In Part 2 of this post I took a look at some of the early Windows 8 touchscreen laptops to hit the market. While the touch function is interesting, I really do not see how these devices will excite people enough to go out an buy Windows 8 laptops by the millions. Windows 8 was built with tablets in mind, and new devices which bridge the gap between laptops and tablets is what Microsoft is counting on to make the Windows 8 family a success. 

Microsoft's own take on the matter was its 10.1-inch and 11.6-inch surface tablets. Pretty much conventional tablets which integrate a keyboard in the tablets protective case. Essentially, this is a Windows RT tablet that can serve as a laptop. The concept of plugging a keyboard into a tablet is nothing new. The Surface's innovation is being able to do it in a way that the keyboard accessory is not a burden to carry around.  

Microsoft Surface

I have seen the US$699 Surface 64 GB version, with touch cover for sale here, a bit overpriced at Php37,999. The 32 GB version, with the touch cover should be priced at about 30K would be a more competitive offering. With "Type" keyboard instead of the "Touch" keyboard it makes a very compelling laptop weighing in at less than two pounds.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga in laptop mode

Other concepts like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga do the reverse. The Yoga comes in two sizes. One with a 11.6-inch display. The other with a 13.3-inch display. The Yoga is essentially a Ultrabook that can serve as a tablet. 


With prices starting at US$799 for the 11.6-inch version, it does seem to be one of the more interesting Windows 8 designs. 

But the Philippines is a developing country. I do not see the new hybrid Windows 8 devices ending the growing dominance of the growing number of Android and Apple tablets which inhabit the below Php20,000 price point to be slowed by devices costing Php30,000 or more. These days, access to a computer can be had for less than Php5,000 via one of the low cost "China" tablets. I do not expect any Windows 8 devices that will compete in the lower price ranges for the foreseeable future.

Your next laptop is still likely to run Windows. MacBooks are expensive, and Linux lacks the software. But I suspect you will be keeping your current laptop for a very long time. Before you replace it, you probably would have bought two smartphones and two tablets... and this is bad news for Micrsosoft's OEM partners.

A Look at Windows 8 Part 4: The tip of the iceberg

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