With the current mobile tablet craze, the advent of Windows 8 in the fall of 2012 and the launch of the new “Haswell” Intel processors in June, 2013 will be the year of the PC (desktop/laptop/tablet) renewal. The purpose of this Blog is to bring readers up to date as to what they can expect. I will also provide my own experiences and comments on what I consider will become leading trends.
From an end-user point of view, Windows 8 represents the most significant change since Windows original launch in the early 1980’s. A totally new user interface!
Most computer users know that Windows runs more than 90% of the world PCs. Meanwhile, Microsoft has rarely been the innovator, but with its clout it commands respect. This is why Windows 8 will succeed. It may take time, but there is no way the corporate world will retrain all their personnel on a different technology, such as Apple iOS for example. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time for Windows 8 to succeed.
New Intel Processors
Intel is another mammoth of the PC industry. Just as Microsoft, Intel has been caught short by the sudden popularity of the Apple iPad and later all the other tablets running on low power consumption ARM processors. This has negatively affected the laptop sales and has hurt the whole PC industry.
In reaction to this new trend Intel has come out with a new generation of low power consumption processors under the code name “Haswell” which are now available to PC makers. This means that these manufacturers are now capable of producing powerful computers (Desktops, All-in-ones, Laptops, Ultrabooks, Tablets, Phablets and Smart Phones) with lower power consumption to extend battery life when required.
Android & Google
Android has become the leading mobile computing platform. Millions of people are familiar with its power and ease of use. Many current Android users do not own or use traditional computers. Meanwhile, Google has become the leading provider of on-line services: Search, Gmail, Calendar, Maps,… This is not about to go away.
Apple “the innovator”: iPod, iPhone, iPad,… Apple has been the band leader of this mobile technology revolution. Since Apple was originally two years ahead of everyone else at one time, no wonder it was the driving force of this technology revolution. The sad thing for Apple is that it is once again trying to battle the rest of the industry by themselves.
The battle of the titans
With all the above referenced “titans” in the battlefield, Microsoft + Intel + Google + Samsung + Dell + All other the PC & phone makers against Apple, unless Apple can come up with similar technology breakthrough as it did in the past, it’s going to be rough for Apple. The first thing I learned, in military studies at the military academy, is that most of the time not the best but the largest army wins. This time around it looks like history will again repeat itself.
Innovation at a good price always wins
The race is on between hardware makers. One of the early innovators leading this race is ASUS. At Computex, in June 2013, ASUS has presented, what is in my opinion, the most innovative product to date: ASUS Transformer Book Trio: a hybrid laptop running Windows and Android. It is a touch screen Desktop PC and Notebook running Windows 8, and a tablet running Android. This represents in my opinion the best of all worlds. It has an Intel Haswell 4th generation processor running Windows 8 plus an Intel Atom processor running Android. Below are two hyperlinks , pictures and some reproduced text presenting the product.
ASUS Transformer Book Trio: a hybrid laptop running Windows and Android
“If you thought ASUS was done announcing new products here at Computex, get ready for at least one more surprise. The company just unveiled the Transformer Book Trio, a dockable tablet that can run Windows and Android. At first glance, it’s visually quite similar to the Transformer Book we just reviewed, except this time it has 11.6-inch, 1080p screen. And, you know, twice as many operating systems. If you’re wondering how that works, there’s a physical hotkey allowing you to switch OSs, similar to the setup on the Transformer AiO, which was announced last year at this same show. It’s important to note, though, that that hotkey will only work if you have the tablet latched into the keyboard dock; once you unplug the tablet it will only run Android Jelly Bean.
Spec-wise, dual operating systems amounts to dual processors, with a fourth-generation Core i7-4500U processor powering the Windows 8 experience, and a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 chip handling Android Jelly Bean. In fact, Intel EVP Tom Kilroy made an appearance at ASUS’ press event in Taipei to help formally introduce the product. Continuing on, dual OSs also means multiple batteries: the package includes a 33Wh cell as well as a 19Wh one. As for storage, you’ve got a 1TB HDD inside the dock, and 64GB of flash storage inside the tablet proper. If you’re looking for a price, ASUS isn’t planning on announcing that today, but a company rep did confirm the Trio is slated for a Q3 launch. For now, you’ll find a hands-on video and few first impressions after the break.
Not one to do things by halves, ASUS has unleashed (arguably) a new product category here at Computex. We just managed to touch (and admittedly do not much more) with the Transformer Trio and it’s unmistakably ASUS-designed. You get the familiar switch-lock mechanism in the hinge to house the tablet component, and the moody metallic finish is the same we’ve seen on the rest of the Transformer range. We saw the demonstrator flip between Windows 8 and Android with a key press, although it offered no glimpse into how Android will look on the hybrid. Its 11.6-inch 1080p screen was also decent, at first blush; we had no trouble making out the screen underneath the heavy glare of showfloor lighting. Following a brief play on the keyboard, we noted the keys had the same degree of travel that we’ve seen on the Transformer docks before, but we’re assuming we’ll get to see more of the software side at a later date — and hopefully before it launches in Q3 this year.”
ASUS Transformer AiO (All-in-One)
On the ASUS web site, we can see that the concept is not new for ASUS. It currently offers a comparable larger product the Transformer AiO (All-in-One) referenced above. The following hyperlink brings you to the ASUS web site. http://www.asus.com/microsite/2013/aio/transformeraio/
Samsung ATIV Q
While writing this Blog, Samsung announced numerous mobile devices including a similar product to the ASUS Transformer Book Trio: the Samsung ATIV Q. http://www.informationweek.com/hardware/handheld/samsung-unleashes-new-mobile-devices-vis/240157128?cid=nl_IW_daily_2013-06-25_html&elq=b921fba9208a4b9d845dfbe5456228f2
“With the Ativ Q, users can switch between Windows 8 and Android at the touch of a button, without rebooting the device. Users will also be able to transfer files and share folders between Windows 8 and Android.
The Ativ Q features what Samsung says is the world’s highest resolution, a 13.3-inch screen that has a QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) display and is bright enough to be used outdoors in sunlight. In terms of convenience, its 13.9-mm frame and 1.29-kg (2.84 lbs.) weight make the Ativ Q easy to tote around.
The device comes equipped with a Samsung S Pen and attached keyboard so users can switch among laptop, notebook and tablet functions. With the convertible design, users can lay the screen flat over the keyboard, prop it up for laptop use or float it to comfortably view while standing.
The Ativ Q and Tab 3, a tablet which runs Windows 8, both feature SideSync, which enables users to switch between working on a PC and an Android-based Samsung smartphone. They can use the PC keyboard to answer a text message or drag photos from the phone to edit on a larger screen.”
The immediate future
I truly believe that the above products represent the way of the future, at least for the next few years. It is simple to understand why: “Humans do not like being constraint to one thing or another. They want the most freedom to take advantage of all that is available!”
Since a great number (most of the new generation growing up) has learned Android on their phone or tablet before they learn traditional Windows like computing, they will not want to lose that knowhow and have to learn the less evolved Windows 8 for their mobile applications. On the other hand, they will have to learn Windows 8 business applications for work.
Since it takes years and millions to develop new operating systems and catching up is very difficult, most of us will not want to give away what we love on Android, but we do need the power of Windows for our business applications.
At least that’s what I think will happen initially. What happens next, a few years down the road, will depend of the product evolution of each major supplier. The only thing that is sure is that Windows will continue to be the dominant operating system in the business world for quite a while.
How will Cloud computing evolve? How will Google Chrome and Android evolve? Will Chrome become able to run business applications? How will Windows 8 evolve? And, what new will come out of Apple will all influence the evolution of these technologies. For the time being, my plans are to try and consolidate all my computing environments on something similar to the products presented above running both Android and Windows 8.