In the future, all computers will be tablets!

(Kevin P. Fleming) #1

Continuing the discussion from Cluttered interface, progressive reduction, ideas:

Maybe not this computer, although having a tablet interface on the front of it would be quite nice.

(Nicholas Perry) #2

Tablet. Are. Awesome.

I’m getting my Hyper-V cluster to do remoteFX. My goal is to play supreme commander on an android/ios/win8 tablet or any other computer in the house.

I can’t wait for the Lenovo Helix to come out , I need to replace my HP tm2t. It is feeling it’s age with windows 8 running on it, and it is far too heavy for its own good. I can’t change my brightness and the 720p resolution is limiting. I had a gateway cx back in college (~2006), running go-binder. And have since graduated to OneNote, and absolutely love OneNote MX.

The Lenovo Helix is orgasmic. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to take just the tm2t’s screen with me. I"ve been waiting for lenovo to come out with something like it since they released their android tablets.

OneNote is the Killer App for tablets.

It is my opinion that Windows has been going down the tablet path for a while (c. 1999). Windows XP tablet edition was little more than an add-in like media center. Windows 7 integrated all the nice features from tablet-edition and made the interface more touch friendly, and windows 8 brought them to the forefront and made touch the focus.

(Luke S) #3

Maybe. When they have the guts of a real computer. But by then, we’ll need more power. They will also need a better interface. Touch is OK for browsing around. Don’t make me type on a screen.

All in all, I can see stuff getting smaller and more compact, but I think that there will always be a line between mobile access devices (niche now filled by smartphones and tablets like iPad and Galaxy) and real mobile computers (stuff more like my current notebook - (ThinkPad w510, 1080p 15in. screen. Having tried it, I will not go back to something smaller)

You can make it thinner. Improve power useage. Add touch as standard. If you try to take away my keyboard, some fingers will get broke.

(Gweebz) #4

I have ZERO desire to own a tablet. I just don’t have any use case for one in my life.

My mobile needs are fulfilled by my smartphone which I like to keep below the 5 inch size. I do have a very powerful 15" Laptop with ubunutu on it but it is not a touch screen and I have no need for it to be. I also don’t want it to be any smaller. My main computer is my development and gaming PC with a high-end mouse and large, advanced keyboard. I also have a joystick and smaller normal keyboard for pair programming. I use two 27" IPS monitors that sit 3 feet away from me so I don’t want them to be touch either.

I have several issue with touch interfaces…

  • The motions are inconsistent between apps & OSs
  • I have to be within reaching distance of the device
  • No “shortcuts” (e.g. I could keep swiping to scroll but I wish I could just press PageDown)
  • Dirty/greasy fingers make me hesitant to use the device, mice… not so much because I can easily buy a new one

And Tablets bring a whole new set of problems, even without considering their touch interfaces…

  • Like laptops, they are not modular and difficult to upgrade or repair
  • I have to give up a hand just to hold the device, often leaving only a single hand for using it
  • To do anything advanced on it, I need to carry around a mouse and keyboard with it which make the bag as big as my laptop bag

To say that all computers will be tablets is just silly. In two years, someone might also claim that all computers will be glasses which would be equally ridiculous. There will always be a use-case for PCs and many users (like me) will simply avoid using touch interfaces because of their limitations.

Yes, tablets and touch devices are becoming more mainstream but they will never become the be-all-end-all.


What will computer interfaces look like in the future?
(Jeff Atwood) #5

Well, here are some forecasts from IDC:

Another graph from Forrester

They have laptops holding steady against tablets in both cases, but I’m … not so sure. I think that’s them being conservative wusses, afraid to predict. But I’m not afraid!

I’d make a strong bet on powerful tablets replacing laptops and eating a lot of market share. Anyway, the desktop is already a minority, laptops first outsold desktops in 2008 and haven’t looked back since.

I’d expect the same trend with tablets vs. laptops: erosion. Tablets are simpler, cheaper (less parts), and already in the ballpark performance wise with the iPad 4 and beyond.

(wojciechka) #6

My bet is on convertibles. Either Android becomes a real OS (i.e. by allowing a normal Linux+X11 session) or Windows will take up a lot of space in there.

I have a Lenovo S230U and it just rocks. Helix or ATIV PC Pro are also interesting, especially that they can detach keyboard and be much lighter. It is awesome that I can use a nice touch interface when I just need to read news or check things and can easily switch to full keyboard and full OS.

I think a lot of such hardware will come up - there are plenty of tablets with keyboard, but I bet on more Windows 8 based devices and Android getting more serious as replacement for Windows/Linux/Mac OS X on high-end devices with more RAM.

I also run BlueStacks on top of Windows and that also made me drop the idea of another Android based tablet. Aside from some autorotate glitches, I have pretty much a full Android 2.3 (with Google Play) on that machine as well - and a lot of 3D games work pretty smooth.

(Luke S) #7

That convertible looks cool. My one concern would be structural: How tough is that joint? I like the idea of a multi-configuration device, but it needs to take a pounding.

(wojciechka) #8

It looks quite solid to me. Did not try to see what happens when it falls from the table or anything, but I would say it is not something that will just break by regular use.

(Luke S) #9

Well that sounds like something to keep in mind for the next time I need to upgrade. One of the things that I like about my Thinkpad is that it is so solid. I need to use both hands to open the lid, and the screen stays where i put it.

(wojciechka) #10

The lid stays in its place pretty ok. You can open and rotate it with one hand, but if you move it only slightly, it goes back to where it was.

The laptop is probably less solid than T60 I used to have, but I consider this a price to pay for being smaller and 2x lighter. It was a pain to carry it around at the airports or use on flight because it was just too big.

(Nicholas Perry) #11

The lenovo Helix is themed after what they learned with their android tablet line. If anything, the androids were too tough for their own good and hard to use. The helix looks like it is both more durable, and easier to remove from the keyboard.

My only concern I have is where the detach mechanism is located. Its not a good idea to pick laptops up by their screen, but I could see that use case for a removable tablet.

(Luke S) #12

Thanks for the comment. To be clear here, anything that has a removable keyboard is a little too far on the tablet side of the line for me. I do not need something with more parts.

My ultimate mobile computer:

  • 15 inch notebook
  • 1080p HD or better, high gamut ~95% (try it. You will never go back)
  • Solid Keyboard
  • Thinkpad style trackpoint. (Why oh why does anyone put one of those swipe and swipe and swipe pads on any computer?)
  • Hot swapable ultrabay
  • Convertible screen w/touch, so I can use it as an (oversize) reader.
  • Better battery life, and a bit thinner than my W510.
  • SSD and dedicated graphics of course.

(Gweebz) #13

Any stats on computer sales is skewed. New tablets are sold each year to people who already own 1 (or more). People who invest in laptops and desktops tend to use the hardware for longer and upgrade it when needed, as opposed to going out and buying a brand new system.

A more sensible stat on hardware usage is websites’ OS statistics:

Those stats show that over 70% of of the users of those sites (which are admittedly techy) use Windows 7, XP, or MacOSX, presumably on a desktop. Apple and other tablet manufacturers can try to push the sales all they want but don’t be naive: 1 table sales != 1 user

(Chris DeKonink) #14

Has any one heard of Ubuntu Touch, I have it running on my Nexus 10 and it screams. Its still in development but the release will have full ubuntu on it.

I like ubuntu touch so much I created a forum for it called, There are some other phablets on their too not just ubuntu touch. I am hoping to get more touch users to join my site.

My first impression is that ubuntu touch blows android away.

What I woud really like if for FreeBSD to follow ubuntus lead and make a BSD OS for tablets.

(Jeff Atwood) #15

Did not quite work out this way:

Looks like phablets ate their breakfast, plus, people rarely replace tablets as often as phones. Heck, even phones aren’t getting replaced much these days…

Apple tablet sales are growing a bit (10%) as of the very latest news.