Wednesday, January 9, 2013

CES 2013 and the New WIndows 8 Form Factor

Looking at the coverage of the Consumer Electronics show, one of the main drivers this year is Windows 8. Intel has made touchscreen as a standard requirement for a laptop to be called an Ultrabook. For 2013, whether Ultrabook, Sleekbook or by whatever other name they are called, what you should expect more and more are touchscreen laptops. The question really is, what new form factor will be dominant.

Removal display.  One common solution is to have a display, that can be removed from the keyboard. This seems like a reasonable enough solution. But I think this suits the desk-bound office worker more. In the morning, drag the tablet and keyboard dock with you. When in the office, you can pull out the tablet component and bring the tablet part of it with you to meetings. At home, the keyboard dock will sit on your desk while you browse the web with your tablet while resting comfortably on your couch. 

Swivels, sliders and the like. The other solution is to find a way to rotate, swivel open the lid or having a sliding keyboard in such a way that it lies flat with the keyboard. When you use the device in tablet mode, you have the keyboard laying under it. This all sounds well and good, till you realize that you have a 2.8 pound tablet.

Keyboard integrated into the carry case. The solution of Microsoft, with its surface was to integrate a keyboard into the carry case. The good part is that in tablet mode, the device is as light as a tablet. The bad part is, even with the "Type" keyboard cover, tactile feedback is limited. This is my "favorite" solution among the three, but I have not bought one of these yet, which does tell you something. 

Leave well enough alone. The other option is just to replace the laptop display with a touchscreen display and not do anything else. Most likely, when I pick-up my next laptop, I will go with one of these. Really, I am happy with a keyboard and trackpad (an will be running Linux on it anyway).

Which of these solutions pans out as the new default, I do not know. What is your favorite hybrid solution?

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