From the horse’s mouth
Sony recently released the VAIO Tap 20 (a computer I am hoping to review on this site) which was effectively a bridge between an all-in-one desktop computer and a tablet computer and had defined this form factor. This was about an alternative to a regular all-in-one computer but was able to lie flat as a tablet computer. Promotional images that existed of this computer had shown family members sharing the large-screen computer by looking at the same screen to browse material.
I even followed this up by commenting on a Microsoft Windows Experience blog post about it being brought around by the post’s author to their parents’ house as part of a family visit. Here, the comments were about the VAIO Tap 20 being used by people of different ages and with different computer-familiarity levels. I cited the Tap 20 as being one of a few computers that would work well in the “family house” – the retired parents’ home that is visited by their children and grandchildren.
Now Dell have answered Sony by releasing a tablet/all-in-one computer that is similar to the VAIO Tap 20. This one uses a smaller screen size – 18 inches but has the same tablet abilities including short-term battery operation. There are plans for it to have a dual-core Intel processor and 320Gb on the hard disk with better configurations having the likes of i7 processors and 512Gb solid-state disks. The battery was rated for 5 hours run time.
What I see of this is that Sony’s and Dell’s effort could see the start of a new form-factor being defined – a desktop tablet computer. Here, this would implement a screen greater than 18” and have a wireless keyboard and mouse, but have full computing credentials like high-capacity hard disks and RAM. There would be a battery but it would be rated for around five hours or less while the computer is equipped with a collapsible kickstand. I am not sure whether these would come with integrated optical drives or not and this may depend on the model.
As I have said before, they would play well with formal and informal computing tasks especially with people who have different computing skill levels.