Price is main obstacle for 2-in-1 devicesMegan Kelly ▼ | September 8, 2014
One of the recent trends in, most clearly shown at this year's IFA, are convertible notebook, is a mix of laptops and tablets. This is a promising trend that can bring very lucrative products if executed well.
Analysis Mixing tablets and laptops
The first limitation is app. There are plenty of them but you must search hard to find those that can be compared to full applications for desktop computers. This is understandable because tablets are young invention and big software companies are still trying to figure out how to use touch screens to the max. For that to happen it take only time, so this is not of a big problem.
However, the nature of tablets is a bit more of a problem. Since they are essentially just displays, if you use on-screen keyboard you are losing valuable space for work. And there's no doubt that keyboard is one of the best, if not the best, input methods we are using for communicating with computers. Then, keyboards with no moving keys are very stressful for fingers and not well suited for longer work. That's why combinations of notebook and tablets have a potential to be accepted in a business world.
Let's see some examples. Lenovo introduced the Helix 2. This a 11.6-inch tablet that can be converted to a laptop. It offers 12 hours of battery life of battery life, and this is very nice, it has Core M processor which means it doesn't need an immense amount of power, and the price starts at $999.
Dell announced the Latitude 13 7000, a laptop that can be transformed into a tablet. It has a 13-inch screen, again with an Intel Core M processor; it also features solid-state drive, and a keyboard. The starting price is $1,199.99.
HP Envy x2 will be available as a 13.6-inch model with an SSD and a 15.6-inch model with a mechanical hard drive. The SSD model will have a starting price of $1050 and the 15.6-inch $950. The processor is again Core M that Intel has designed with 2-in-1 devices in mind.
Acer launched the Aspire R13 and R14 Series convertible notebooks. They are slightly different, and they are using Core i5 or Core i7 processors. Aspire R 14 series will have prices starting at $599.
Those devices are very similar by technical specifications and it will come down to personal preferences which one to buy. Of course, Microsoft has its Surface, a good device in its new reincarnation, and many corporate users will choose it because they want an environment they are familiar with.
It is obvious the prices must be fixed first. The problem is that $1000 is just too much for such a device. Until the price is not under $500, there will be no significant acceptance of those devices. Of course, there should some changes in software which must use best of both worlds, but the price is an obstacle No1.
2-in-1, or convertible devices, that sounds like a very attractive idea. Small mass, great power, touch or type as you like, and processing power is enough to start to think about those devices seriously. If companies find the way to lower down their prices and offer software that works seamlessly in corporate networks, we can say old-fashioned laptops good-bye. ■