Tag Archives: tablet

Acer Iconia two screened laptop

Dual touch ScreenI had a go on an Acer Iconia twin screened laptop whilst ambling through an HMV the other day, and it inspired me to make this comment – this should be in contention for one of the worst pieces of computer design ever. Admittedly I played with it for all of three minutes so take my comments with a pinch of salt, but, in brief: it’s just terrible.

It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the stylings or construction of the device itself – it looked and felt sturdy. But a screen as an input device and a second screen as a screen? What were they thinking?

Here’s a few reasons why this concept will suck totally for a while.

  1. Battery life must be terrible. Laptopmag worked it out at around 2.5 hours but I’m dubious – given that my 7 hour rated Macbook Air gets 3.5 hours the way I use it I can’t see anything like this working for anyone for any period of time.
  2. It’s big, heavy and too bulky for any normal work surface, at home or in the office – unless maybe you’re a designer.
  3. The form factor and the OS make no sense. I’ve commented before about Windows 7 and touch – not there yet. But even if it did (as Windows 8 looks to do), what, would you occasionally hold this thing like a giant book? Stretch it flat and look at it sideways? What? Why? How?

It’s too expensive a novelty. People, if you’re trying to beat out Apple the iPad you’ve got to try harder and come up with better ideas than expensive novelty props.

Should Microsoft use the same OS on tablets as on PCs?

Jason Snell has a slightly pre-emptive pop at Windows 8 in his blog post ‘Why Windows 8 fails to learn the iPad’s lesson‘ over on Macworld. He writes:

The problem with the announcement is that Microsoft has failed to commit to the tablet as a unique type of device. The company that spent a decade trying to push Windows tablets on a market that just didn’t want them is still convinced that it’s a selling point that Windows 8 tablets will run Microsoft Excel for Windows and if you hook up a keyboard and mouse to them, you can get an arrow cursor and click to your heart’s content.

I’m a little confused. Isn’t Apple’s announcement at WWDC about bringing OSX and iOS closer together (something Jason comments on later in his piece)? Isn’t a single platform exactly what Jobs wants – one, big market for Apps (where the money will be, if it isn’t already?), one consistent experience for users? Also, as an aside, if you’ve read my post on iPad for commuting – if it is to be a knowledge workers’ machine, it does need a keyboard – which is why there’s a burgeoning market for those sorts of iPad accessories.

Secondly – Microsoft has a history of providing multiple (admittedly occasionally ill-considered) flavours of its OS – so I suspect there will be a Windows 8 – Slate Edition – with a few features stripped out, and a few other features brought to the fore.

Uniformity of experience across the different Microsoft platforms makes sense. Users will expect that a Windows Phone and a Windows slate and a Windows PC behave in broadly the same way. The most sensible way to do this – I would guess – is not through superficial similarities, but commonalities in the underlying platform.

The lesson from Apple, IMHO – and not just the iPad, but Apple everything – that Microsoft is beginning to learn (as is Google, as I’ve noted before) is that uniformity and consistency of the experience is a vital part of keeping consumers happy. The single chip / yearly refresh / totally consistent experience across iOS (and to a lesser extent, OSX) forms part of the premium appeal of the brand. This is what Microsoft has done with its hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7, and the controls on customising the platform. The problem for Microsoft is that it can’t take this lesson completely to heart in the desktop/slate market – that would prevent it from reaching the lower end of the market, who want to buy machines with cheaper processors, less RAM and everything else you can save on.

I’m not defending Microsoft or Windows 8 here – it’s far too early to tell if or how they’ll screw up this particular product/platform launch – but this specific lesson didn’t chime with me.