Ultrabooks And/Or Tablets

Posted on February 28, 2013

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As I’m writing this blog I can’t help but glance down at the far corner of the room where a Dell Latitude Netbook sits in the corner looking sad and neglected.  I haven’t touched that device in almost two years and I would sell it on Ebay if I thought someone would pay money for it.  It was only a couple of years ago that people were heralding the Netbook as the hot portable device that everyone was looking for.  In truth, the Netbook is a reminder to us, that like the infamous Iomega Zip Drive of the late 90’s, tech products can fall from grace as quickly as their overnight sensation like entry into the marketplace.

It is good to keep in mind the fickleness of consumers when one attempts to predict the long range viability of a computer device.  The Internet is full of journal articles and blogs touting the current battle between the Ultrabook and the Tablet as industry analysts try to predict who the winner will be.  Interestingly enough, when one compares Ultrabooks versus Tablets, it’s easy to see why the Netbook fell from grace so quickly as it is comprised of the worst features of each of today’s titans.

In the left corner is the tablet, also known as the PC Killer.  It is a device that treats the cloud not as an accessory, but as its infrastructure.  The tablet is everywhere.  Take it on vacation so the kids can use it in the backseat to amuse themselves with games.  Take it to the beach and read the latest best selling novel as you bake in the sun.  Take it to bed and catch up with your friends on Facebook.  Take it to the office so you can check your emails while on the run or read the latest news on your ESPN app.  It’s the everywhere device that is portable, trendy and robust for such a small size.

But the tablet has its shortcomings.  Though it performs wonderfully in the cloud, the tablet is still very much hit and miss within the Enterprise.  Some tablets cannot find the cloud through an enterprise wireless infrastructure based around RADIUS authentication. Though the optional keyboard is great on vacation, it hinders productivity for tasks such as document creating and editing.  Not only can’t it run business enterprise applications, up until the recent release of the new Surface tablet from Microsoft, no tablet hosted the Microsoft Office Suite which just happens to be the most popular business productivity application suite in the world.  Thanks to the limitations of the RT operating system which is the only current option for the Surface, Outlook is left out of the picture which makes it challenging to check your Exchange based email at work.

Which is why there is a contender in the right corner, the Ultrabook, a sleek new rendition of its stoic relative, the PC.  Forbes Magazine recently reffered to it as the Ultrabook Revolution.  Just as recent smart phone releases are boasting larger screens, Ultrabooks, thanks to their innovative designs and high grade materials, are offering users larger screens to view videos, games or spreadsheets.  They offer far greater security and processing power than its tablet rival.  They also have local storage which is still valued by those today that don’t yet trust the cloud to host sensitive data and some models even offer optical drives.  Of course all of these features make the Ultrabook a more costly contender as well.

So which device is better?  It depends on who you ask and how you plan on using each of them.  There are many comparative articles out there which analyze the two alternatives feature by feature such as an article in Information Week that offers 10 ways to choose between the two.  In a world in which a picture speaks a thousand words, the high definition picture quality of tablets is superior to that of Ultrabooks.  On the other hand, people have to work in order to pay for all of these devices which means sometimes they have to roll up their sleeves and work on something more than a tablet.  Perhaps as the title of this blog indicates, its not an either or decision, but a complimentary pair of devices that are ideal at different times for different tasks.

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Posted in: The PC User