PC industry pushes 2-in-1 hybrid devices: You buying?

PC industry pushes 2-in-1 hybrid devices: You buying?

Summary: What's notable about Intel's take is that it is convinced that 2-in-1 devices will ultimately sell. The jury is still out.

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"Today's announcement accelerates a new category of 2-in-1 computing devices delivering the best of a notebook and a tablet in amazing new form factors. This year is the perfect time for consumers to refresh their old tablet or PC with these new 2-in-1 devices." — Intel PC Client Group general manager Kirk Skaugen

Skaugen's quote, delivered at Computex as Intel launched its 4th generation Core processors, highlights what may turn out to be profitable persistence of the PC industry, or pure folly. For good measure, Intel also touted 2-in-1 devices as it outlined its latest Atom chips

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Let's face it: The first round of PC/tablet hybrid devices didn't turn out so well. If Windows 8 didn't get you down, the battery life did. And if the battery life didn't do it perhaps, the barrage of 1.0 designs did. In the end, most hybrid notebook/tablet designs gave you the mediocrity of both worlds at best.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly said hybrids don't quite work. Sure, Cook has been talking Apple's game, but so far he's right.

More: Inside Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3, an Intel chip | Could price be Haswell's Achilles' heel? | Intel bets on better battery life as the killer next-gen Core feature | Intel announces Haswell for 2-in-1 devices, fanless Core-powered convertibles | Dell boosts laptop battery life by two hours with Haswell | Intel aims to reboot PC market with Haswell, ultrabooks and two-in-one devices

What's notable about Intel's take is that it is convinced that 2-in-1 devices will ultimately sell. Battery life is better, Windows 8.1 will be an improvement and ultimately 140 million aging laptops or so will have to be replaced.

Indeed, these new laptops will have 9 hours of active use battery life or 10 to 13 days of standby on a single charge. That improvement is important, but it's table stakes.

Ultimately, hardware makers need to figure out how to make these hybrids light enough to be a reputable tablet. These ultrabooks are nice and light for laptops and most check in under 3 pounds. When a tablet is detached, however, it often feels like the slate Moses had to lug up the mountain.

In the end, software makers and Intel can do a lot, but the hardware designs have to be there. The 2-in-1 market is unproven to say the least.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Intel, Processors, PCs

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88 comments
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  • Yes, I am buying...

    ...just not yet. The second half of this year should bring more compelling devices at better price points. I think they will sell well.
    toph36
    • I'm with this guy

      I want a device that's small and light enough to use as a tablet (even if it's a bit cumbersome) and robust enough to do some Photoshop work and play games at even low to moderate settings at acceptable framerates. It seems that Haswell will deliver on this promise, at least better than current architecture. Hoping for more compelling device designs though, as toph36 said.
      bccasteel
      • Me too

        I got an ASUS Transformer. Better than a netbook, no compromises* as a tablet. And I find switching between the 2 modes while keeping the programs running is a frequent and necessary ability that makes it far more useful to me than a dedicated tablet or netbook.

        * I don't notice any compromises when I use it. For uther users there may be disadvantages specific to that persons needs, such as lack of Temple Run 2, or no Lightning adapter.
        Sacr
      • Agreed.

        I'm waiting for Valley View, not Haswell however.

        The Atom chips could really use the extra horsepower.
        ForeverCookie
        • Agree with ForeverCookie

          I agree. Haswell is not what people are expecting it to be. Very marginal improvements across the board. I would not delay a purchasing decision due to Haswell. As a matter of fact, skipping Haswell may make the most sense since it runs hotter and will cost more.
          ryork272
      • I wonder if Larry D. has ever used a Hybrid...

        ...I've used several and have been astounded at how good they really are. He speaks authoritatively about hybrids, but I doubt he has ever used the Lenovo Helix, or even the Samsung ATIV machines. The Helix is probably the best of the bunch, but the ATIV machines are pretty impressive too, especially for the price.
        gomigomijunk
        • Agree!

          I recently purchased a 13" Lenovo Yoga. Really good hybrid. And another thing, why is everyone making such a fuss about the "Start" button? Anyone can install a free app that will give you the Start button (its called "Classic Shell"). Its so laughable that people make a big deal out of nothing.


          And another thing, you can boot right to the desktop if you wish (which I do) and completely skip the Metro interface. It looks no different than Win 7 with the Start button and all. I go to Metro for some apps (Netflix, Kindle, etc.) otherwise I use the standard desktop 95% of the the time.
          ryork272
      • They are out there now!

        toph36 & bccasteel: For what you want it to do, the devices are out there now. I have a Lenovo Yoga 13 with 3rd gen i7 chip, 8gb memory and 256gb SSD. Tell me, please, what the newer devices with Haswell are going to provide that the current 3rd gen Ivy Bridge lacks? Processing will improve marginally (5-10%), same with battery life (although any improvement in battery life is welcome). I have Photoshop and a few games installed and they all work flawlessly. Same with MS Office. I also have data mining tools that kick butt. I think you people believe Haswell is the panacea. Its not. Its a marginal upgrade that most will not notice the difference from its predecessor. Also, it reportedly runs very "hot"... not good for a tablet or mobile device. In addition, they will NOT be cheaper with Haswell, quite the opposite. You people need to be realistic in your expectations.
        ryork272
        • Haswell (gen 4) is better than Ivy Bridge (gen 3), in every way

          I'm glad you like your Yoga 13. It sounds good, except I'd like a bigger screen (I think).
          But, Intel has put a lot of work into Haswell, making it more power efficient, with better graphics. There's no downside, including price. I'm not sure where this "hot" nonsense is coming from. Haswell uses less power, it must produce less heat (laws of physics). If you like Ivy Bridge, you'll like Haswell better.
          MarvinDouma
    • Haswell

      Will introduce an amazing new line of devices. I already enjoy the 2 in 1 design for work and play. Is it perfect no it was version 1 of a completely new take on mobile. The benefits can't be argued...productivity and multimedia in a powerful small form factor is what I prefer. Tim Cook will be eating crow if he thinks a shiny new itoy will continue to drive sales. Windows 8.1 will be a major improvement over v. 1 and this coupled with Haswell performance and battery life make a force to be reckoned with.
      Rob.sharp
      • Yes

        Pls look at the features of the new Sony line of laptops and the Duo 13 slider, 16 hour battery life and incomparable features. Expensive at 1300+ but it is does sound like a gem.
        primartcloud
  • "mediocrity of both worlds at best"

    That's always been the case with Windoze swiveldom. Ever since the first XP tablet came out 10 years ago, it's been nothing but slapped-on band-aided junk that poorly delivers.

    Give it up, M$. You'll never get it right.
    CaviarRed
    • And the Apple Newton came out 20 years ago.

      Remember how that ended up?

      Most milestones are the results of mistakes.

      Without them, no one would accomplish anything.
      ForeverCookie
      • Making the same kinds of mistakes you made 10 years ago

        ...means you aren't accomplishing anything.

        Stating the obvious....
        CaviarRed
        • It wasn't a matter of mistakes back then

          It was a matter of cost. They were expensive for most people, so only certain vertical markets used them. Now that the cost of touch screens is coming down and with the push for touch by Microsoft with Windows 8, even more devices will be made.
          grayknight
          • Making the same kinds of excuses you made 10 years ago

            ...also means you aren't accomplishing anything.

            Stating another obvious....
            CaviarRed
          • the cost of touchscreens

            If it was for Microsoft, those should remain pretty expensive. In general, if you ask Microsoft, computers should be very expensive, so that their software can be 'bargain'.
            danbi
          • That's kind of funny

            Since the reality (sometimes) is the other way around.
            CaviarRed
        • Than it looks like you have acomplished nothing. At all around here.

          Ive been noticing your posts pop up from time to time CaviarRed, and they are now perhaps getting close to becoming the most prolific batch of "nonresponsive, insulting, one or two liner, pointless, incorrect, vacuous, and biased” comments to grace these message boards.

          Its clear you don’t like Microsoft or Windows. Fine. I think we got that awhile back. If that’s your true message; “I CaviarRed really hate Microsoft and Windows”, and you feel compelled to remind everyone here of that now and then, then save the crap and nonsense you love to spew about with your message, just simply remind us you hate MS and Windows, in case we forgot, and move on. Please.

          You never really actually say anything intelligible or fact based beyond that so why bother wasting yourself with the pointless commentary.

          Your comments are always of the ilk of “Give it up, M$. You'll never get it right”, “M$ is finished”, “M$ fails again”, “M$ never gets it right”, M$ loses again”, M$ is done”, “M$ blows it again”.

          You see, according to you, Microsoft is a company that has never gotten anything right, never will get anything right and will always get everything wrong as they always have gotten everything wrong and as a result they are about to collapse at any moment.

          And the whole world knows that pure nonsense and just crybaby talk. Just pure waa waa waa crybaby talk without so much as a single ounce of fact or truth behind it. Just good old fashioned plain whining about nothing.

          Even the ones who would never admit it know its pure nonsense and only let it go because they are whining maggots themselves.

          Is that what you want to be known as? A whining little maggot who has no use for facts, truth or reality? If so, then keep it up.

          Otherwise, just try for once to use your head for something besides a hat rack and make a reasonable well thought out non biased comment about something for once. Talk like a grown man, or woman, not like someone who is only typing as fast as they can between bites of their Shreddies because they have to run off to grade 4 in a few minutes.

          If you simply continue to make the same error over and over and over again, your simply going to prove you not only didnt learn anything, you never knew anything.
          Cayble
          • Negativity + repetition = a truism?

            Does anyone actually believe negative untruths if they are repeated often enough? Or, does someone like Caviar Red become irrelevant over time?
            primartcloud