Sorry for the overly dramatic title. This is about a surprising recent experience that demonstrates how Microsoft’s vision might just be the right one.
Last weekend my wife and I went into Best Buy to look at cordless phones (you remember those, don’t you?). She stopped to look for a new case for her iPhone so I wandered over to see what the latest was in the PC section of the store. A few minutes later I spotted my wife checking out notebooks. Seriously checking them out.
My wife’s current computing technology portfolio consists of an iPhone 5, an iPad 2, and an HP TouchSmart 520 All-In-One running Windows 7. The iPhone and iPad are always with her, making IOS her most used operating system. So imagine my surprise when I walked over and she said “I miss my notebook”! And yes, she was seriously thinking about getting a new one.
We talked over her usage scenarios. The iPad would remain her primary mobile data device. Obviously she wanted Office, including Outlook. She wanted to really be able to type. It was going to be used mostly on her lap rather than on a table. Mostly at home actually, but it would be nice to be able to take it on a trip. Her iPad can’t hold our entire ripped music collection, it would be nice if this could. Her iPad (32GB) also can’t hold much in the way of TV shows and movies. It would be nice if this could, again for the travel scenario. The form factor should work well on an airplane seat. And it had to have touch.
The touch point came about rather interestingly. Because this was a secondary or even tertiary device for her she didn’t want to spend a lot. She took me over to a line of sub-$500 notebooks and I pointed out they didn’t have touch. To which she responded “That’s stupid”. So it was back to the pricier devices.
She asked about the Surface. I explained that since she was going for more of a notebook, and was keeping the iPad, that the Surface RT probably didn’t make sense. The Surface Pro made good sense except for two things. With her key requirement of being able to use it (as a notebook) on her lap, it wasn’t really a good design. You can do it in a pinch, but I wouldn’t buy one knowing that was a frequent usage scenario. The other was that even with the recent price cut she’d be pushing $1000 with the Type Cover.
But a little more playing around and things did narrow down to a convertible of some form. That offered the best option for covering all of her usage scenarios. We kept coming back to the Lenovo Yoga 11s. It offers the most positions for matching up with the various scenarios. She liked the keyboard. She liked the weight. She liked the price of $799 (really $750 since you get a $50 Best Buy gift card). It was more than she wanted, but hundreds less than she had feared she’d need, to spend. It comes with 128GB, and of course can take an SD card. So plenty of space for music, movies, etc. It came with a Core i5 and 4GB, so plenty of horsepower for her needs.
We talked about waiting a few months for the next crop of devices but decided to act now for one reason. What if Lenovo abandoned the Yoga design? Again the point that this wasn’t her primary device meant some of the benefits of waiting didn’t really hold that much weight.
We ran over to the Microsoft Store to see if they had any other options, but there was nothing more compelling. They did carry the Yoga 13, but that was bigger than my wife wanted. So it was back to Best Buy to purchase the Yoga 11s.
I know of another tablet (this time Android) user who gave their Samsung 10.1″ to the kids and is now carrying around a Surface Pro (and loving it). He wanted a tablet but missed having the full capabilities of a PC. Now he has both.
Obviously two data points does not make a trend. And neither data point suggests that Windows RT has a role to play. But as people need to replace their existing notebooks, or decide iPad or Android tablets can’t meet all their needs, has Microsoft’s focus on moving the PC platform to a variety of touch-based form factors positioned them for success?