There is no doubt that we have been experiencing a massive shift in our tech realities when it comes to the various form factors that computing devices now come in – tablets, laptops, desktops, convertibles, etc.
No doubt that the Apple iPad has established the norm for what a tablet is. Follow that with Android based devices and a majority of the purchasing public has their perception of what a tablet is to them.
Now here comes all these new form factors many of which we saw at CES 2013 just a couple of weeks ago. Some of them still look like laptops but have modes they can be contorted into by twisting, flipping or removing the screen to create a tablet form factor. Just because they can do that does not make them a tablet in the general perception of the word because in reality they are still full blown PC’s.
Microsoft will enter the foray of new form factor PC’s with their soon to be released Surface Pro on 09 February 2013. Many refer to it as a tablet because of its form factor but in reality it is full blown PC running Windows 8 Pro version of the new Microsoft OS.
Back in the days of desktop machines and laptop computers with spinning platter drives for the operating system and storage there was space taken up by the initial OS install. You know I do not recall ever having a discussion about the fact that my 320GB drive in a new desktop only had 285GB available on it?
So why is every major tech blog having this discussion about the upcoming Surface Pro and the fact that the 64GB version will have 23Gb of storage on it and the 128GB model will have 83GB?
Well the reason why is that, based on the form factor of the Microsoft Surface Pro which makes it look like a tablet, most folks are going to see it as such and therefore place their expectations on that device based on that.
Unfair? Yes. Unexpected? No.
We have entered a phase of technology development that sees our devices getting smaller and infinitely portable.
Maybe the post PC era is upon us. PC’s are no longer going to always look like their traditional desktop or laptop ancestors. They are already out in all kinds of form factors that have blurred the lines between what we know as devices that are in the form of a tablet or a PC.
Is it time to start labeling all these various machines computing devices instead of tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.? I do not know the answer to that right now but it just might be time for a monumental shift in our perceptions and thought processes in this area.