My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

Summary: My dream tablet could be used as my only system if properly configured. Here is what I need in a dream tablet.

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The recent statement by Intel that future Ultrabooks will have swivel screens and attached keyboards got me thinking about what I want. That's a dangerous pastime for me, and it drove home what I want in a tablet that can serve all of my needs. The most surprising realization was that my dream tablet needs to run Windows 8, or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it.

By way of background I have been using Tablet PCs since they first hit the scene. I used one Tablet PC or another for years, all day every day in my consulting work. I used the pen, I used the keyboard, I was the poster boy for the tablet in the workplace.

My work no longer requires a tablet, but I still find them useful. I probably have a tablet in my hands almost as much as I am sitting at a "real" computer. I like the freedom and convenience that tablets provide for a lot of my work and play.

What I need

  • My dream tablet needs to have a 9-inch or 10-inch screen with a good resolution (1280x800 or higher). It needs to be as close to a pound in weight as possible, and extremely thin. The size and weight is important, as I expect to be using the tablet in my hands for hours at a stretch. Every ounce over a pound makes that less comfortable.
  • The tablet must offer the real web without compromise. A lot of my work involves using web interfaces, and I absolutely cannot compromise on this. The surest way to get that is if my dream tablet has a full desktop browser, or better yet the ability to run any browser I want.
  • I occasionally have to use office documents, so the ability to work with those is a must. These are the standard office fare-- word docs, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • The tablet will be my primary (or only) system, so in addition to the work stuff it needs to handle the fun stuff too. This means my music collection (cloud-based and local), video entertainment (online and movies), and especially my ebook reading.
  • I must be able to use my dream tablet for at least 10 hours a day, so battery life is key. I really use my tablets, so I'm not just talking pick it up, do a few things and put it down. I need to be able to actually use it for 10 hours. More is better, but 10 hours is mandatory.
  • I don't need mobile broadband, Wi-Fi is sufficient for my needs. I have a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot and that's good enough for me.
  • I am a writer so a keyboard is critical for my primary system. I would like my thin and light dream tablet to have a separate wireless keyboard that can be easily used. I particularly like the Zagg keyboard/case for the iPad, and this is what I need for my dream tablet.
  • While not as important to me as a good interface operated by touch, also incorporating pen input would be beneficial. This means system-wide handwriting input that can be used either as a markup system for some apps, and as a text conversion option in others. It must be totally integrated in the system to be useful, not as an afterthought thrown on top like previous Tablet PCs.
  • This tablet must have a mobile processor to have true instant-on and standby. I don't want Intel to be anywhere inside my dream tablet, as the company has so far fallen short of what I need. Give me good ARM technology in my tablet and I'll be happy.
  • I need a good stable of apps that are designed from the ground up for tablet use, but that can also handle use as a laptop with the wireless keyboard. Office apps are required, as is a good email solution for working with Gmail.

How to get that

  • The best way to get what I need as a tablet is with a full OS that also does the tablet stuff well. That probably means Windows 8, as Microsoft intends to make it handle regular PCs and tablets equally well. I have my doubts it can be done as they intend, but if they can pull it off it's what my dream tablet needs to run.
  • Win8 is being ported to the ARM platform so it meets my requirement for a mobile processor in my dream tablet. It must not be compromised over the standard build of Win8, however, or it won't meet my desire for the tablet to be my primary system.
  • Microsoft must obviously support its own cloud services and email, but my tablet can't be limited to that. Like millions of prospective buyers for this tablet, I am entrenched in the Google services. My dream tablet must handle Gmail, Google Docs and hopefully other cloud services. If this requires getting Google onboard with app development, then it must be done. Throw patent licenses on the tablet, Microsoft, and I guarantee you can get Google to support Win8, probably better than Android.

Recap

So my dream tablet needs to have the form equivalent to that of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and its long battery life. I want a keyboard like the Zagg keyboard/case for the iPad, for those times when I need to enter lots of text. I need a full desktop OS that is optimized for a mobile device. I need apps that allow me to do all of my work.

I believe such a tablet could be produced today, and at a reasonable cost. Ideally my dream tablet and keyboard should cost me around $700. I don't want much.

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Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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150 comments
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  • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

    Has hell just frozen over???

    JK wants a Windows8 tablet? Seriously? Windows ... y'know, from Microsoft?

    Wow. Perhaps their is hope left in this world ;)
    bitcrazed
    • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

      @JK: All joking aside though, I agree with every word you typed here.

      I'm also fascinated by the form-factor of Asus' Eee Transformer - a laptop you can disattach the screen from to carry around as a tablet. Re-attach the screen and you have a laptop (with extra battery and IO under the keyboard).

      I wonder if this might end up being the primary form-factor for business PCs in the future?
      bitcrazed
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @bitcrazed
        Wait. You can what??!? Where do I get one of these!
        x I'm tc
      • No Accident...

        ... that it is the second best selling tablet. The form factor alone sets it so far above the competition.

        I have accidentally sold a number of these (I'm not in sales) just by informing people in the market that it exists. So many people want to have the tablet but really love that add-on keyboard for blogging and writing long emails. It's brilliant.

        Anyway, I expect next year Asus will have Win8 and Android versions selling side by side.
        kwabinalars
      • Until everyone starts losing one peice or the other

        sure!
        @bitcrazed
        GoPower
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        Aren't there detachable (bluetooth) keyboards for virtually every tablet out there? Other than a clever name, what makes Asus' offering better than others?
        Robert Hahn
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @jdakula Go buy one, $550 with the keyboard dock.
        slickjim
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @Robert Hahn No, the Transformer has a physical connector and it is locked onto the Tablet like a real laptop, not a screen with a detached keyboard.
        slickjim
      • Yeah baby!

        @bitcrazed
        And mine works great!
        When docked to the keyboard I get a whole days use plus.
        Charge overnight and both are ready to go.

        This does seem like the current best designed set up.

        Btw, the Zagg is not bad but I do at times get quirky results with mu ipad2. Transformer set up is much better.
        rhonin
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @Robert Hahn what about the same Asus's keyboard that also charges the tablet and gives you additional 9 hrs of battery life?(or about 16 hrs total running time) <br>Still think its just a clever name?
        Samic
      • step out of the mainstream for a moment while dreaming:

        @bitcrazed

        http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/products/

        :)
        .
        wessonjoe
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @bitcrazed

        That could be, but the keyboard on the Transformer is too small to be really usable for anyone larger than a gnome.
        AudeKhatru
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @bitcrazed Oh yeah that day is not far, when the laptop cases will have specialized space for your detachable keyboard.
        zd baron
    • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

      Got my Asus Eee Transformer a couple months ago after lots of research. It not only met my expectations, but has exceeded them. I find new uses for it all the time and it is slowly replacing the use of my laptop in a large # of situations.

      But enough of the commercial. I can see the interest in a Win8 tablet, but to be honest, the tablet form factor with detachable screen opens up new use-cases that regular PC users aren't used it, and one of those is the "fun" factor. And it's only "fun" if there are apps to support the fun side. One of the pleasant surprises for my Asus Transformer was playing all the Android apps and games in addition to doing real work. All that high performance and portability won't count as much in a Win8 tablet unless they can make the entire experience fun.
      jeffsmallwood
  • Asus Transformer

    Put Ubuntu on it and call it good. $550 delivered, with keyboard.

    Was there anything else? A pony perhaps? The standard allotment is three wishes.
    symbolset
    • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

      @symbolset
      Biggest problem is Office Doc compatability. OO and LO both still suck at this. Its usable, but usually breaks most docs on the push back. Not to mention that touch/pen support in Ubuntu is non-existant. (yes, you can touch it, but thats about it...). Oh, and Ubuntu doesnt run ARM.
      mjlaverty@...
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @mjlaverty@... The other way to look at this is that Word is not compatible with the open format. As Word took the open format, made changes to it, and closed the code. Now if they want full compatibility, the free versions will have to pay MS fees. I agree that Word is better than OO or LO... but I fail to see where putting an expensive OS on a supposedly inexpensive piece of tech is the more rational option. How much formatting and writing do you want to do with something like a tablet? For that, you should get one of those hybrid tablet/notebooks like the one mentioned above.
        Ale82
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @mjlaverty Softmaker Office. For everyday writing, I've been using Atlantis for years: cheap, superfast and superreliable, free updates, and they added Docx compatibility a while back (although MS can just shove that stupid, made-up format up their dumb butts), but it's a Win-only program.

        Softmaker Office, though, has versions for both Windows and Linux, and offers much better Word, Excel and Powerpoint compatibility than OO and its variants and is vastly faster to boot (so to speak.) If I'm not using Atlantis, I'm using Softmaker Textmaker. The current version, 2010, is not free but it's cheap enough, $80, and you can get it much cheaper via one of their periodic sales or through an academic discount. They do offer their 2008 version for free, which is also very good, but lacks Docx capability (fortunately I'm not friends with anyone dumb enough to send me a document in that misbegotten format.)
        JustCallMeBC
      • RE: My dream tablet will likely have a Windows sticker on it

        @mjlaverty@... Where did you get that idea? Ubuntu has an ARM based distribution. I don't believe it runs Unity but it certainly exists.
        slickjim
      • Office Doc compatibility

        @mjlaverty@... For that you don't even need to put Ubuntu on it. It comes with an office suite that handles Office docs just fine.

        Ubuntu does have a version that runs on ARM.

        And pen? Get serious. That ship has sailed.
        symbolset