Can the enterprise popularize notebook, tablet touch hybrids?

Can the enterprise popularize notebook, tablet touch hybrids?

Summary: The market for tablet/laptop hybrids may ultimately be determined by emerging markets and enterprises.


Intel CEO Paul Otellini stumped for a blend of touch enabled ultrabooks that would combine laptops and tablet features and ultimately be that consolidation device so maybe you can leave a few gadgets at home.

The problem: Consumers are buying tablets and PCs. Not the combination of the two. Otellini said:

Typically the enterprise SKUs particularly in notebooks tend to be about a third of the business. That's been true sort of year in and year out for a long time. The trend that is underlying that is that more and more businesses are allowing their employees to bring any kind of computer they want into the office. And so you're seeing a bit less rigidity around that number than we've seen in the past.

One wrinkle to ponder is whether corporations may find use for the tablet-laptop hybrids built on the Windows 8 and Intel platforms. OK, you can stop laughing now. But I'll step up to the confessional: I'd love a notebook/tablet crossover at around 3 pounds. What's unclear is whether I represent a larger market since I churn out a lot of words a day and need a keyboard.

The market for tablet/laptop hybrids may ultimately be determined by emerging markets. Here's a look at Lenovo's Yoga hybrid.

Otellini was asked if emerging markets go toward ultrabooks or tablets. He said:

I don't think anyone in the world knows the answer to that question. If you look at people buying tablets today, particularly in the iPad arena, they're people that have started out with PCs and very often still use PCs and it's a complementary device. How that unfolds two, three years from now I don't think anyone knows. What I am very excited about is this notion of bringing convenience combined with the productivity, the compatibility and the usefulness of a keyboard into the same device. And you'll see a number of these (hybrids) shipping second half of this year, as the energies of our OEMs and the ODMs gets unleashed. I think that it's way too early to have a debate on ultrabook versus tablet because in fact in my view, the long-term form factor is probably somewhere in between those two devices.

Bottom line: If tweeners take off, the enterprise may push them along. The jury is way out on whether there's a big market for hybrid notebooks and tablets beyond me.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • I would ...

    Go for a well designed hybrid. I often have considered a tablet, but the limitations just leave me wanting. But I would seriously contmplate and most likley pull the trigger on that type of setup.
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  • Virtue is not at the ends, productivity is not.

    A tablet is not productive for my company. At home, a laptop is not always the best solution. [b]A hybrid product, would be fantastic[/b].
  • Try Try Again

    Hybrids are the worst of both worlds. Too big, too heavy, too clunky for ideal tablet use and too small and limited for my primary productivity PC (I need at least 15" screen).
  • Tablets and Hybrids

    I know our company will definetly look into both of these devices once we get some solid Windows 8 devices out. I have been testing Win 8 now for a while and I really like it on my laptop. If I could get a 13" tablet with a decent amount of processing power and memory I would jump on that bandwagon in a heartbeat.
  • Confirmation bias

    There's a problem with your analysis about hybrid tablets. There isn't one that is worth much. The ASUS Transformer is a nice device, but Android still isn't a cohesive operating system in order to perform the way consumers want a hybrid to operate. I sincerely hope that Windows 8 addresses the issues of performance and computing power that Android and iOS seem to be lacking. I would enjoy a hybrid system that ran full versions of software suites and other applications on which people rely. I think MS has a real opportunity here and that is to actually marry the tablet experience with the PC (for lack of a better term) experience. We'll see how it all plays out.
  • What about the power supply?

    It's not just about the weight of the notebook/hybrid/tablet. The advantage of a tablet is that the charging end doesn't weigh a ton. Lighten up and I'll go for the physical keyboard any day.
  • Android hybrid tablets are Indeed the solution

    In reply to haoxoner's assessment of the tablet situation, I would reply that Andoid and (to give due credit) iOS are fully capable of doing business computing requirements at the tablet level. Once one gets away from the built-in bias in favor of MS products at the enterprise level, there are plenty of enterprise level apps available for both OS's. Both are Unix based, both have extensive support for their apps and both have suitable hardware. I, personally, prefer Android, but Apple does make a good product. I have a Transformer Prime. As a tablet, it's fantastic. Lock into the keyboard dock and you have a perfect netbook. If you look at the hardware build, not long ago this would have been a bleeding edge desktop. In my line of work, aviation maintenance, my Prime would be perfect for accessing maintenance instructions while on the aircraft, executing parts orders and recording compliance with work orders. In addition, it would make a perfect electronic flight book for recording responding to discrepancies, logging usage (flight and ground operating hours) and such other information as is normally recorded. Some of our pilots are already using them as electronic knee boards to access charts, record discrepancies and even file flight plans. I can't see a reason why such portability would not be a force multiplier in other industries.
  • Interested? Absolutely.

    I'm the IT manager for an enterprise, and we're DEFINITELY interested in hybrids running Windows 8.

    My users want tablets for walking around, but when it comes to getting work done they need a real keyboard and a real operating system that runs real applications. If executed correctly, Win8 hybrids would be just what the doctor ordered.

    Of course, if executed incorrectly...
    • Interested? Absolutely.

      Indeed. "If executed correctly...".
      I've noticed an increase in the number of laptops being used as desktop replacements in the docking stations. The only user-noticable difference between a netbook and a notebook appears to be speed and optical drive.
      A 10" hybrid could dock in the station for external keyboard, mouse and monitor use and then travel as a laptop/tablet.
      I can see potential in the idea, but the hybrids will need really good speed to compete with notebooks and tablets
  • I'm not sure....

    Sounds good in theory, but the enterprise market isn't very fast at adopting new technology. Could it happen 3-5 years down the line? Absolutely. But by that time, I'm not sure Windows 8 will be relevant.
    • Enterprise Adoption

      Enterprises tend not to be on the cutting edge, but there's still a market. The iPad is creeping into the enterprise, so there's clearly a demand for tablets--but iOS doesn't provide the kind of Active Directory integration many enterprises need. If a tablet comes out that does, many enterprises will buy it right now.
  • Day to day tasks are for coprorate are done on PCs mobile or not.

    ultra books are fine alternative to carrying a large laptop around. The problem is there already are farily light 13 to 14 inch laptops availible right now to warrant the switch. Then there are other issues, such as trying to veiw that large spread sheet on an ultrabook. The problem is that like tablets it will have trouble with day to day work loads for corporate expecialy when people only know the PC way of doing things. It will take some time and evolution before every day productivity duties are done on post pcs. PC does have almot 20 years behind it. Ipad has only been around for 3 years.