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All posts tagged Tablet

Buying A New Windows Laptop Is An Investment…

…the idea is this will be your engine of mobile productivity for the next 3 plus years. So you want to make all the right decisions and invest wisely.

This is one of the big three questions that techies continually get asked: –

Windows Laptop - Techie Questions

Buying A New Laptop

Let’s start by asking ourselves, do we need a laptop?

This really feeds into rule 1: what are you going to use your computer to do?

  • Your use cases will define the form factor of the computer you choose. Filter from here.
  • If the answer is work from home only then why not look at a desktop. These are still more robust and allow for hardware upgrades easier than a laptop.
  • If you are only interested in email, some documentation, web surfing, video conferencing on the go then a tablet or tablet / laptop hybrid night be for you.
  • If you are mobile then screen-size, weight and battery life are all issues for you.
  • If you work with graphics intensive applications e.g. video post processing then you will probably want a computer with GPU (graphics card).
  • If you are mobile but perform keyboard intensive work then you need to find a laptop with a keyboard that works for you.

These feed into rule 2: try to go hands on with whatever you want to buy.

  • UX and how the keyboard feels or the screen looks is subjective.
  • Go to a store that allows you to try different models without too much of a hard sell.
  • Keep in mind what your uses cases are for the computer and if need be ask a salesperson to let you see a movie or go to your most used web app.

Rule 3: Only consider Windows 8.1 not Windows 8.

  • Windows 8 is great but why force yourself to do more Windows Updates than you have to?
  • Windows 8.1 was the last major update for Windows (akin to a Service Pack) and it carried with it vast improvements.
  • When you buy a Windows 8.1 computer you are insuring that not only is the OS in a newer state but also the hardware is at least as new as the OS.
  • There will still be Updates but these will be hotfixes and security patches and it should be a relatively speedy process (when I unboxed my new Windows 8 laptop, it took over 200 updates to get me to Windows 8.1 and the process was not seamless).

Rule 4: Touch.

  • The touch vs non-touch debate deserves a post all of its own (a work in progress, stay tuned) but suffice it to say that touch enabled Windows 8.1 will rock your world.
  • If you don’t go for touch then this is the next best reason to opt for Windows 8.1 as the improvements for mouse / keyboard oriented work are seriously good.
  • Since getting my touch enabled laptop, I have not needed to use a mouse once.
    I let my fingers do the working…
Windows 8.1 Touch: Let your fingers do the working

Windows 8.1 Touch: Let your fingers do the wOrking (thanks to Yellow Pages)

The Warptest POV

At the end of the day the rules above are a tried and tested guide for making objective choices. Choices that don’t factor in brand loyalty or prejudice, online reviews or the experience of your friends. All of these are valid factors but involve subjective evaluation.

The bottom line is actually the bottom line, start with a budget and work from there and keep in mind you are investing in your productivity.

If you have anything to add or a question then hit the comments and I’ll be certain to reply.

Windows Phone 8 Is Updating…

Currently the update is only if you have a Windows Phone Developers account (as part of the new Developers Preview Program) however the contents of the release are worth noting.

The Windows Phone blog cites the three main engineering objectives of Update 3 as: –

  1. Enable incredible new Windows Phone devices.
  2. Enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners.
  3. Improve overall quality.
    (Quoted verbatim from the post)

Windows Phone intends to achieve this with the following new features: –

  • Support for bigger, hi-res screens.
    • 5 or 6″ displays are mentioned with 1080p HD
    • This is going to allow room for 6 Live Tiles instead of the existing 4.
    • This means greater customization of the Start Screen (or Windows Phone’s desktop)

    Windows Phone 8 Big Screen

    A really, really big Windows Phone: courtesy of Windows Phone Blog

  • More power.
    • Support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor; are you ready for Windows Phone on high octane?
  • Driving Mode.
    • Microsoft have decided to implement a socially responsible feature set that affects how your phone behaves when you are driving in relation to Bluetooth devices, calls and SMS.
    • If you have a Bluetooth speaker paired with your phone in your car then this can automatically trigger Driving Mode for you where you can opt to block the distraction of calls / SMS whilst driving.
  • All this and a slew of other features…

The Warptest POV

As a standalone OS update this delivers serious improvements, clearly some of which came from user feedback. However, the ramifications and intent behind this update is way more interesting.

With the announcement of a Nokia Phablet / Tablet running Windows Phone expected to occur at the October 22 Nokia World, Abu Dhabi Event the Windows Phone is evolving onwards

Windows Phone 8 - Nokia World Event

Microsoft had a choice to deliver Phablets /mini-tablets with Windows RT on or upscale Windows Phone OS.

windows phone rip windows rt

The big question I’ve touched on in previous posts is where does this leave Windows RT? ? What do you think?

microsoft surface

Surface is out there RT and Pro

Microsoft has a beautifully designed product line and right now, after going hands-on at Microsoft’s Build 2012 event, only Asus has tempted me with their Windows 8 touch enabled alternatives. In fact I defy you to go hands-on with the Surface and not be impressed by the look and feel from materials to UX.

Even so I haven’t made the leap and bought a Surface yet. If I was going to buy one of the existing alternatives it would have to be the Surface Pro and I’m a sucker for larger hard drives but I’m hesitating and not just because of budgetary concerns.

microsoft surface

What Am I Waiting For?

The truth is my 14″ Dell Laptop is still working and as important as it is to me to actively use new technology like touch enabled Windows tablets or laptops I can get a quick fix for now at the local computer stores.

The real reason though is that I (like many others) am speculating that it’s worth the wait to see newer and smaller Windows 8 Pro Tablets arrive on the scene. Even Acer whose CEO, JT Wang ripped into Microsoft last August over Windows 8 and Surface is fully onboard with smaller Windows Tablets. Earlier this month Amazon accidentally leaked an out of stock Acer Iconia W3 8.1 inch Windows Tablet.

acer iconia w3

The expectation is that a slew of 7 to 10 inch Windows Tablets are coming later this year.

What Is It Good For?

In a nutshell ask anyone with a pocket tablet like the iPad Mini or a Nexus. Which brings us to an important question, which mini Tablet would I choose?

The Warptest POV

I’m expecting (and I have no hard evidence to support this) to see amongst these a mini Surface Tablet and that would be my choice. The question though is will it be a pure Tablet or a Phablet? More important, if there is a mini Surface Phablet which flavor of Windows will it run?

Can we expect a full blown Windows 8 Pro Phab with phone functionality built in? I asked Microsoft if there was phone functionality coded into Windows 8 Pro or RT via Twitter but didn’t get an answer yet.

Perhaps the only conceivable alternative for me would be if Asus made a version of their Padphone with Windows onboard.

Asus padphone

Regardless of which of these we get to see I’m hoping the boffins at Redmond work hard to find competitive prices for these devices.

What do you think?

What were they thinking?

Earlier today all the big tech blogs reported that Acer CEO JT Wang gave Microsoft a direct warning not to move ahead with the October 26th release of the ARM based Windows Surface RT (Intel Pro version to follow 90 days after).

 The original article was on the Financial Times but to link to it would be to cause undue pain and suffering through excessive FT popup notices so I’m linking to Engadget who reference the original article.

 

Acer CEO

Acer have a history of being the OEM who isn’t afraid to tell Microsoft how to run its business however I find myself asking,

 Why did they wait so long to speak out in this fashion?

More to the point does the CEO actually think that with less than two months to go before launch Microsoft are going to roll over and say,

 “Hey guys, that Surface thing well we decided in the end that Tablets and our own hardware line just isn’t our thing”

 Who the heck is this company anyway?

Acer were back in the day just another white box OEM in the game but progressively from 2000 they have managed to both rebrand themselves and take an increasingly larger bite out of the PC market.

In fairness, this was done with some smart acquisitions along the way; the Acer Group counts amongst its product line the following PC brands:

Acer group

 

Gartner are quoted on Wikipedia Market Share of PC Vendors as indicating that Acer over the last 5 years alone begun clawing its way to 4th position behind HP, Lenovo and  Dell.

What Have Acer Ever Done For Me?

 

With thanks to Youtube User Klute2006

 

You are probably scratching your head right now and trying to remember those noticeable products in the PC world that they delivered.

In the past few years only two come to mind:

* The Acer Iconia W series – Windows 7 tablets with a dockable keyboard

* The Acer Iconia A series – Android tablets with a lighter, smaller form factor

 The rest of their product line on their site does nothing for me personally the way Asus, Toshiba or Samsung’s product lines do. The words generic or bleh comes to mind.

 

The Warptest Perspective

Besides the obvious linkbait and free PR from poking a stick at the Microsoft Bear prior to the Surface release it is clear that as an OEM Acer have always been less than happy with their relationship with Redmond.

I’m convinced that Acer believe they need to drop Windows as their tablet OS. Currently they are producing and supporting two tablet OS platforms Windows 7 and Android. Along comes Microsoft and springs Surface on them. Now as I mentioned in my post in June: “Does the Surface mean no more OEMs?” The OEMs should be using the Surface as a guiding light for inspiration and new innovation.

I believe they always intended to drop Windows for their tablets and reduce overhead in production and support. The Surface affords them a reason to justify this and lay the blame at Microsoft’s door.

I believe they are missing the point and have chosen to remain generic and mundane.

They are assuming that should only the Acer brand of PCs and tablets leave Windows they will continue to maintain their market share. They are also assuming that what has worked with Windows will work (forgive me, you know who you are) in the very much fragmented Android market.

At this time they do not have a competitive tablet for the Samsung Note, Asus series or Google Nexus 7, all of whom Acer will have to compete with.

The big question is will other OEMs choose to follow Acer’s lead or will they rise to the challenge and design innovative Windows 8 based competitors for the Surface? What’s your point of view?

del.icio.us Tags: ,,,,

Blinkered by a brand-name:

I find myself once again awed at the ability of some people to be blinded by the Microsoft brand. Many people are once again indulging in Redmond bashing over Microsoft’s Surface.

Thanks to YouTube poster Maherbars for the Frankenstein clip.

We are seeing comments and blog posts more focused on who invented tablets Apple or Microsoft and the subsequent “typical Redmond for copying Apple not innovating”.

I have one thing to say on this,

It doesn’t really matter where the concept came from Apple, Microsoft, Gene Roddenberry or Isaac Asimov. This is the milestone we stand at in terms of technological development and should be embraced.

Did Microsoft just burn every OEM bridge they had?

Microsoft went ahead and made the Surface themselves and apparently left their OEMs behind on this. I was watching twit.tv last night commenting about the Windows Phone 8 news. They believed that Microsoft didn’t clue in the OEMs simply because they didn’t want leaks prior to the news. On one level you could say this holds true for the Surface on another this generated a frenzy of predictions online, all that was missing was for Microsoft to open a betting pool or have a competition with the person with best prediction could win a Surface.

I don’t believe Microsoft has trashed their relationship with their OEMs…

The Warptest prediction…

Microsoft knew that the Surface is a radical departure from everything they have done with the PC ecosystem until now and they decided to lead the way rather than pushing the OEMs to shoulder the risk of developing the first of these devices. This is sound leadership and will probably pay off in terms of seeing an inspired bunch of OEMs creating some amazing devices in the vein of Surface.

So if you are looking at the picture of the Surface and grinding your teeth remember this: –

  1. You are going to need those teeth unless you are a huge fan of eating apple sauce so count to ten.
  2. Remember when there is competition like this then the consumer always benefits.
  3. Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates gave us the first tablets …

image

image thanks to IMDB.com

I’m convinced that my next laptop like device will probably be the Windows 8 Surface and I would love it Microsoft if you’re reading this, if I could go hands on before that to blog about the experience.

How about you then?