The Lenovo keeps the same look for the ThinkPad laptops
There is something about classic industrial design that never dies. This has been augmented by a lot of items like the Mini, the Fiat 500, the AGA cooker, the Wurlitzer 1015 juke box amongst other things. These examples have been evolved and reworked over longer times with newer technological improvements but have maintained their shape.
Now the IBM ThinkPad has entered this line of classic designs. Here, it was about the black housing, the blue ENTER key, the red thumbstick to move the pointer around and the 7-row keyboard. These computers became a statement for what is expected of the corporate laptop that carries through the business sense of an office in New York or Chicago..
This has been carried through even when IBM sold their personal-computing business to Lenovo as part of their computing-hardware-business divestment effort and has been shown as a way to convey the bloodline that is underscored by the ThinkPad name.
The AGA cooker always had conveyed that same homely feel always underscored with the dog in front of it
A very strong analogy that comes to my mind is the AGA cooker which for many decades kept a particular design but had many technical improvements such as being able to use oil, gas or electricity as a fuel or work under timer control. There were still the two hotplates with the distinct insulated metal lids sitting on the black top and two or four ovens with the distinctly-shaped insulated doors, the chrome towel rail on the top front edge (with many tea-towels hanging on it) and the thermometer above the top oven door. The AGA stove still carried through the homely feel in the kitchen, consistently warm and comfortable and has often been associated with the British farm houses and cottages and the cosy lifestyle endemic to them.
One of the machines that was being celebrated and is being considered by Lenovo for a “One More Time” treatment is the highly-portable IBM ThinkPad 700c which was issued in 1992. I use the expression “One More Time” to allude to what Wurlitzer had done with the 1015 jukebox. The original design could only make 10 78-rpm records for play through its valve amplifier. But Wurlitzer issued a newer machine with the same arch shape and decorations as the original unit, but was able to have 50 45-rpm records available to play via a solid-state amplifier and used microprocessor technology to fetch the records to be played. This newer model was called the 1015 “One More Time” to reference the preservation of the same industrial design but having newer improvemts.
The IBM ThinkPad 700c had a “cigar-box” look with the black housing, the red thumbstick and the distinct keyboard layout. But it had a 4:3 display that had a resolution low by today’s standards along with the processor power, memory and storage that was okay to 1992 standards for a secondary machine. It also had a 3.5” floppy-disk drive as its removeable storage. Here, they would revise this computer with a 16:9 widescreen display with Full-HD resolution at least, a few USB 3.0 ports as the main connectivity option, current-spec horsepower like Intel Core M or i-Series processors, 4Gb RAM and 128Gb SSD secondary storage at least, and more to suit today’s expectations.
What I like of this idea put up in Lenovo’s blog is to revisit a classic design and look at how it can be made relevant to today’s requirements rather than tossing it away.
Laptops could be benefiting from external battery packs like this one
Just after Apple had premiered their latest iteration of the MacBook laptop, the computer press have been focusing on this computer being equipped with a USB Type-C connector as its only connector. Subsequently, Google premiered their latest iteration of the Chromebook i.e. the Chromebook Pixel which also has this connection and were making murmurs about this for the Android platform.
Both these computers use the USB Type-C socket as a data / video / power socket and it is an example of things to come for ultraportable notebook computers, because of the low-profile design of these sockets. What is to be the advantage of this connection and the associated USB Power Delivery device class?
USB power via a Type C connector to be the norm for ultraportable computers
Look at what has happened with the smartphones which have come with USB-ended power cables and battery chargers having USB sockets on them. It has led to innovation in how the battery charger is designed because there isn’t any worry about different voltages needed for different smartphones or other gadgets.
For that matter, a highly popular charger type for smartphones especially is the external battery pack which connects to the smartphone’s charging socket. Most of them can be connected to another charger that plugs in to AC power or a car’s cigar-lighter socket to charge up, then they can either charge up the phone’ onboard batteries or provide extra runtime power for that device.
This kind of power universality hadn’t reached laptops yet but, thanks to USB Type C and Power Delivery, it will. These designs will call for a standard fitment and set of power specifications which will open up a common requirement for power supply devices.
The article highlighted the possibility of manufacturers supplying power-supply devices that work with a large number of laptop computers without having consumers worry about whether the power device will work properly and safely with their laptop. They even extended the possibility of external battery packs that are terminated with the USB Type C connector so that one can benefit from longer running time from these batteries.
They also highlighted the fact that Apple would be moving away from its MagSafe power connections just like they have with their Apple Desktop Bus connections. What I see of this as well is that it’s not all about keeping within their own universe but “working beyond” with everyone else. The billion-dollar question yet to be asked is whether Apple will dump the Lightning device-side connection on their iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices when they release subsequent generations of these devices, or are this considered by Apple and their fanbois as the “crown jewels” and have to have Apple’s own connections?
This is an updated version of the article I had published in February 2012
Most small organisations such as micro-businesses and other small businesses will place an expectation on desktop-style computer printers to be used as an “organisational short-run printing press”.
HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Series – a desktop multifunction printer that has been pitched as something that can turn out flyers and brochures
This expectation has been brought around through the availability of software with varying levels of desktop-publishing functionality at prices most people and small business can afford. This ranges from software in a typical office-software package offering elementary desktop publishing functionality like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, through to dedicated mid-tier desktop publishing software of the Microsoft Publisher class that is at a price most people can afford and is easy to understand.
The same expectation has been underscored by the various printer manufacturers with their recent desktop-printer designs, especially with the high-end business models of their product range like HP’s OfficeJet Pro lineup. Here, they are bringing printing abilities, output speeds and document quality associated with workgroup-grade freestanding printers to this class of printer with such examples as Brother offering business-grade desktop inkjet multifunctions that can turn out A3 documents.
It has been underscored in the advertising that these printer manufacturers provide and is more evident with Websites and, especially, TV commercials that are run on prime-time TV which reaches most consumers more easily. Examples include a recent Canon TV commercial for their PIXMA printers, HP’s website for their OfficeJet Pro inkjet printers highlighting their prowess with turning out brochures, or Brother underscoring their business printers’ prowess with desktop publishing through a series of TV commercials.
What features does it need to have?
The printer should have separate colour ink cartridges and be able to accept high-yield cartridges
It should be feasible for customers to purchase high-yield ink or toner cartridges as an option for the printer alongside the standard-yield cartridges. Some vendors like Brother are known to offer “super-high-yield” cartridges for some of their printers alongside the high-yield and standard-yield cartridges. This is more important for inkjet machines because the ink cartridges are typically very small and aren’t able to hold a lot of ink.
It is worth noting that most of the equipment pitched at business users like the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 will typically have the larger-capacity ink or toner cartridges even for their standard-yield variants and have a higher duty cycle therefore being able to do this kind of work.
Another direction that high-yield ink or toner supply is taking is in the form of tank-equipped printers instantiated by the Epson EcoTank approach. Here, the printers are equipped with high-capacity tanks and the user manually adds ink to these printers’ tanks to replenish them. Brother even uses the tank approach with very high-capacity cartridges in order to combine the best of both worlds and simplify how you manage your printer.
As well, you should prefer to use an inkjet printer that uses individually-replaceable ink tanks for each colour. These printers also become more cost-effective to run because you only need to replace the colours that you run out of when you run out of them.
The print mechanism has to be able to support large print runs without failing mid-job. This includes having it perform advanced printing functionalities like auto-duplex or use of anciliary trays. It also has to work reliably with jobs that are based around media other than regular paper.
This brings me to automatic duplexing. An increasing number of home-office printers and small-business printers are being equipped with an automatic duplex mechanism so that the unit can print on both sides of the paper. This is usually to permit you to save paper but people may find this function useful for turning out booklets, brochures, greeting cards and the like where they want to print on both sides of the paper. For that matter, most of these printers have a “booklet printing” function built in to their driver software where they can use the duplex functionality to turn out booklets such as a four-page booklet on one sheet of paper. Similarly, automatic duplexing may come in handy for making flyers and signage that is to be seen on both sides such as a sign that is fixed to a window, or a sign used in a freestanding sign holder.
A Brother desktop printer that can print on A3 paper
A common problem with some of these mechanisms is that they don’t print to the narrow edge of Letter or A4 paper during a duplex print run especially if the paper size determined in the driver software or print job doesn’t match the paper in the printer. The problem has been more so with most Hewlett-Packard inkjet printers except the OfficeJet Pro 8600, which was pitched as a brochure-printing machine. This can cause problems with registration shifting or a requirement to have large margins on the document. Some Canon printers such as the PIXMA MX-870 have improved automatic duplex mechanisms that can work to the edge of the paper.
In the same case, you may find that some automatic duplexers in the home or small-business printer class may have problems with page registration. That is where the page is lined up properly on both sides of the paper and can be of concern if you are turning out work like luggage tags, door hangers or bookmarks where it is critical to have the back of the document lined up with the front of the document. You can work around this by allowing a margin on both sides of the design.
Another problem is that there is a time penalty of up to 15 seconds per page with inkjet printers when they use automatic duplexing with this happening when the front side of the document is being printed. This is to allow the ink to dry on the front side of the paper before the printer draws the paper in to print on the back and is being reduced with newer equipment that uses quick-drying ink. As well, the automatic duplexing cycle is even being optimised to slowly retract the document in to the printer after the first side is printed so the printer can start the other side sooner.
Another limitation that I have found with automatic duplexers is that they don’t handle card stock or similar paper easily because they have to turn the paper around one or more rollers. Here, you may have to use manual duplexing where you reinsert the work in the machine with the other side facing the print head to print it double-sided.
Something yet to be seen for automatic duplexing in the context of desktop publishing and presentation-grade printing is the availability of coated paper that is coated on both sides of the sheet alongside duplexer mechanisms that can handle such paper.
Issues concerning use of the printer
Special printing media requirements
Plastic-based media like overhead-projector transparencies, back-print film and vinyl stickers / decals have special requirements when it comes to printing them on your printer.
They range from being able to “hold” ink that is sprayed on to them by the inkjet process or passing through a heat-based printing process such as the xerographic process used in laser and LED printers.
Laser printers and special media
Brother HL-L8350CDW colour laser printer
If you use a laser printer, you need to use laser-optimised media for plastic-based media and stickers. This is because the printed documents have to pass through “fuser rollers” that are heated at a very high temperature in order to melt the toner on to the media. This can be a problem with the adhesive and plastic backing associated with stickers or the plastic media melting inside the machine and causing damage that is costly in both money and serviceability terms.
It also can extend to glossy or silk-look “presentation / brochure” paper which uses some form of glazing to provide the sheen, and this can cause problems with different printers.
So you have to use special media that is designed for laser-printer or xerographic photocopier use. This media is designed to work at very high temperatures so it can pass through the hot fuser rollers without damaging the printer. Some of the media that is made by particular printer manufacturers is designed for the printers made by that manufacturer and, in some cases, printers based on a certain print-engine type. This is due to the manufacturer knowing the operating temperature for the printers in question.
But there are some kinds of special media that is made by third parties and pitched at a range of printers offered by many different manufacturers. Some of these also may be available under the private labels that different stationers and office-supply stores use. For example, Avery make a large range of laser labels that are compatible with most laser printers that are in circulation nowadays.
Inkjet-compliant plastic media
To get best results out of inkjet printers with plastic media, you have to use inkjet-optimised plastic media that has a rough surface on the printed side. This is to catch the droplets left by the inkjet printer as part of its printing process and avoid the ink smearing over the medium as it passes through the printer or is handled by the user.
As well, you will need to set the printer’s driver software to work with “overhead transparencies” or “back print film” when you print to plastic media. This is to allow the printer to optimise its printing process for the media such as slowing the print-head action so as to make sure the ink ends up properly on the medium.
When you load the media, you have to make sure that the rough “printing” side faces the print head as it feeds through the printer. This may be harder to understand with Hewlett-Packard and Brother printers because they use a U-shaped paper-feed path and eject the printed document above the paper storage trays. Here, you would have to put the media in with the rough side facing down when loading the printer.
Card stock, art board and similarly-thick media
“Manual-bypass” special media tray in a colour laser printer
Another medium that may prove itself to be difficult for desktop printers is art board, card stock and similarly-thick papers. Most of these papers can cause problems with printers that implement any paper path that has a U-turn in it like most desktop printers.
Here, you may have to use a “straight-through” paper path on them for these papers to work properly and use manual duplexing if you are printing on both sides. Most inkjet multifunction printers have a rear-mounted multifunction tray where you load this paper while laser printers will require you to use a “manual bypass” tray or slot at the front as the loading tray and have a drop-down door at the rear as the output tray.
Increasingly, budget and some midrange printers will have a limit on the number of sheets of paper that you can load through this way with some of them even requiring you to load one sheet at a time in to the printer. This can be an inconvenience to you if you are turning out multiple copies of the same document.
Use your printer or outsource your printing for that print run
HP LaserJet Pro 400 Series colour laser printer
The main question that a lot of users will end up asking will be whether to have the print runs made by an outside printing house or print the documents with their printer. Some of you may prefer to outsource your printing rather than use your printer especially with public-facing documents like brochures and flyers. This is because the print shop that you use has better equipment than what you would have and it is increasingly true of large office-supply chains like Office Depot, Officeworks or Staples who provide on-site printing and copying facilities.
I have talked with two men who pastor churches with medium-sized congregations about this issue through the time I was reviewing the Brother MFC-J5720DW desktop inkjet multifunction printer. This is a class of user who could be tempted to use one of these printers to turn out flyers and tracts as a way to make the offering dollar go further. One of these men, who happens to be my pastor, raised the issue of output quality from outsourced work versus work turned out on one of these printers and remarked that the outsourced work is of much better quality. The other pastor raised the fact that these printers wouldn’t work well for turning out large print runs like what would be expected for promoting an upcoming special event at the church.
One factor to consider is how many copies you will be eventually needing for your design. If you are turning out up to 20 to 40 copies of your design at a time, you can get by with using your machine. If you end up running more than that, you would need to outsource your printing. This is because of the cost of ink and paper involved in the large print runs, the costs associated with the wear and tear on your machine and the time it takes to run the large print jobs on the typical home-office or small-business printer. This last factor will be of importance with fax-enabled printers serving as fax machines that have to be ready to receive faxes or printers that are required to turn out hard copy as part of business processes.
Another factor worth considering is how often your design is likely to change. This also includes situations where you want to adopt a “print-as-needed” policy such as to run a small-enough quantity of flyers for an appearance like a house inspection. If the design is likely to change frequently or be suited to an occasion, you may have to use your printer for the short runs or outsource larger runs to a print shop that supports quick-turnaround printing such as a copy shop that relies on inkjet or xerographic technology or a printing house that uses digital presses.
Examples of this may include a café, restaurant or bar turning out menus or drinks lists that are centred around particular food and drink specials, a church or funeral home turning out an order-of-service for a particular occasion or an estate agent or auctioneer running flyers about the property that they are auctionning to hand out to customers.
Other factors worth considering include the printing cost per copy if you are intending to use a premium paper stock like coated paper, glossy paper or art board when you are wanting that special look for your public-facing documents.It also includes using finished-document page sizes and forms that are out of the ordinary document-paper sizes like A4 or Letter. Here, you may have to factor in any extra handling that you our your staff may have to do for manual duplexing or cutting to small sizes.
It is worth knowing that your machine would keep its worth in the equation as part of the design-approval process before you commit to having them printed. This is where you would be turning out proofs so you are sure they are what you want them to be; or to turn out short “test-runs” to assess the effectiveness of a design.
Your printer can also complement the print shop you use for outsourced printing by being able to provide short supplementary print runs of the final document on request. Here, you may want to:
do a preview run which you would give to special customers or partners while the main print run is being turned out;
turn out a short “infill run” of the documents when you find that you have run short of copies and you don’t want to commit to another large print run due to cost or turnaround-time reasons; or
want to keep some copies on hand and ready to distribute so you can get your campaign off the ground without waiting for the printing to be finished especially if you find that your print job has been delayed for some reason.
Here, small businesses can consider the use of a desktop printer as the “small-business printing press” if they know what their machine is capable of and they are using the right media for the job. This includes whether to work it hard on a large print job or assign the job to the local print shop.
7 February 2020: This document has been updated to cater for the high-capacity tank-based inkjet printers that are now on the market.
Windows 10 will play properly with these computers what way you fold them
A problem that was often echoed with Windows 8 was the Start Screen and the Modern user interface that was optimised just for touch interfaces. This is although there are computing setups that can work between a touch interface and / or a regular mouse / keyboard interface.
These range from the so-called “2-in-1” computers of the Microsoft Surface, HP x2 and Lenovo Yoga i which can be known as convertibles or detachables and change between a regular laptop and a tablet, through people connecting keyboards and mice to tablets, including the “Adaptive All-In-One” computers of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 ilk, to touchscreen-enabled regular laptops or regular desktop computers that are kitted out with touchscreen-capable monitors.
But Windows 8 didn’t perform well for the regular mouse / keyboard interface. Here, you didn’t have the “comfort zone” of the Start Menu or desktop interface elements most of us are used to for over the last 20 years of Windows-platform regular computing. Windows 8.1 performed a few upgrades to try to bridge the gap but Windows 10 has approached this more sincerely.
Here they have a new Start Menu that also has active Tiles for Windows Store apps and this can be “shoehorned” to suit your screen layout. It is also optimised for touch-enabled setups like a “2-in-1” set up as a laptop, a touch-screen-equipped regular laptop or a desktop computing setup equipped with a touch-enabled monitor. This is part of a desktop user experience optimised still for the keyboard and mouse.
But if you detach the keyboard from an HP x2 detachable, fold over a Lenovo Yoga or slide the keyboard under a Sony VAIO Duo, the display adapts to a full-screen-optimised “tablet” mode. The same thing happens if you turn off your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that you have connected to your Windows tablet. This has a reduced clutter view and program selection is through the Start Screen “dashboard” that was par for the course on Windows 8. There is the ability to bring this on manually if you like to, at times, mouse around an uncluttered workspace or simply have that “dashboard view”.
At least the folks at Redmond have made the effort to cater for multiple-interface computer users, especially the 2-in-1 users or people who have touch-capable laptops. Let’s not forget that a touch-capable monitor for a desktop computer setup or a touch-enabled laptop doesn’t have to be considered an unnecessary luxury.
Speakers mostly turn electrical currents to sound using an electrical coil and a magnet or a piezoelectric ceramic transducer for higher frequencies and these vibrate a cone or dome to make the sound. But another method where a thin panel vibrated using an electrostatic field is used but this remains in the realm of esoteric audiophile hi-fi due to its high cost. Here, it has been valued for reproducing midrange and treble content clearly and distinctly and would play in to the hands of those of us who like jazz, acoustic pop, the classics or a lot of “new-age” and “chill-out” music.
The typical implementation has been a large floor-standing speaker that is connected to a special power supply connected to AC power. Some of these situations were of a design similar to an active speaker and required the use of a control amplifier connected between the source components whereas others required full amplification, usually with an integrated amplifier or a power amplifier connected to a control amplifier. These were setups you couldn’t take with you or have as a single-piece sound system.
There have been a few attempts at implementing electrostatic speaker technology in a product form that isn’t about esoteric hi-fi. During the early 1960s, Kriesler which was one of the Australian radio manufacturers that was strong at the time offered a line of furniture-piece stereo radiograms (often known desirably as stereograms or in North America as stereo consoles) which implemented electrostatic speaker technology. These valve (tube-driven) stereograms, known as the Multi Sonic range, were equipped with a regular midrange and woofer but used an electrostatic tweeter for each channel. This approach would have been considered abnormal for a “furniture-piece” stereo unit but it was an attempt to bring hi-fi towards something that didn’t necessarily dominate the average suburban living room.
But BenQ, along with in2uit, have offered portable single-piece electrostatic speakers that can work from a battery supply. These work with Bluetooth technology for playing audio from your phone or you could directly connect them to another sound system’s or playback device’s line-level audio output. The BenQ treVolo can also serve as USB computer speakers, offering a nicer way to dodge the crummy speakers that are part and parcel of portable computers. They are also optimised to handle different usage environments such as what the weather throws at us, something that a lot of the esoteric speakers wouldn’t handle.
The review pitched them as being suitable for those of us who value Mozart or Miles Davis over popular music and you have had your ears spoilt by you owning an esoteric audio setup with electrostatic speakers or hearing one of these setups in full flight at a boutique hi-fi shop or a hi-fi show like the Australian Audio And AV Shows.
UPDATE: I have added some information about an earlier effort to use electrostatic speaker technology in commodity audio equipment through subsequent knowledge of the early-60s Kriesler Multi Sonic furniture piece stereograms.
As people see competing manufacturers offer larger mobile devices, Apple is finding it difficult to keep their fanbois loyal to their brand and wanting to flock to their stores at midnight on the day that an iOS product is launched.
They are doing this by showing intent to launch iPhones with larger screens but now they have to achieve this same goal with the iPad. Here, the rumour mills are starting to come alive with talk of a 12.9” iPad which would be close to the size of a small laptop. Part of the game is to court the enterprise market by working with IBM to provide line-of-business apps on devices that are delivered in to large organisations as corporate-owned fleet devices.
Personally, I could see this behaviour replicating what had happened in the early 90s when Apple deprecated the Apple II platform and focused on the Macintosh platform. Here, they could put more energy in to the iOS mobile platform by courting the enterprise market with the “sealed-secure-device” angle that this platform stands for.
It is difficult to determine what role Apple will have for the Macintosh desktop platform as they add larger screens, and improved processing to the iPad to give it some “desktop” abilities and users pair up their iPads with Bluetooth keyboards. This also is true and is symptomatic of a trend where IT device manufacturers “blend” regular-computing and mobile computing abilities in their current and future computing-device designs such as through dual-boot laptops and tablets that run Android or Windows or the race to provide highly-strung processors and graphics chipsets on mobile devices.
Intel Broadwell chipset compared to current Haswell chipset
Intel is marching on with chipsets and processors that effectively put a pint in to a teapot when it comes to computing power.
They had done it with the Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and Haswell chipsets based around the Core I series of CPUs and are increasing the power density and ability with the Broadwell Core M series of processors. The goal they are achieving now is to work on a 9mm-thick fanless portable computer design that has the lower power needs and the ability to run cool for a long time without needing a fan while also having improved battery runtime. This is without sacrificing real computing power. These goals have been satisfied using a new microarchitecture along with newer manufacturing processes and is although the fanless goal has been achieved with the Bay Trail and other tablet-specific processors.
9mm fanless tablet concept with regular computing power
This activity is shown up with the latest crop of mobile workstations and gaming laptops like the Dell Precision mobile workstations and the Lenovo ThinkPad W Series mobile workstations, or the Razer Blade and the Alienware gaming laptop that can handle intense graphics, multimedia and gaming tasks, that wouldn’t be traditionally associated with a laptop.
This could effectively mainstream the concept of the ultraportable such as the convertible or detachable tablet and have it as being fit for a lot more computing tasks. Even product classes like the larger Adaptive All-In-One tablets can also benefit from having effectively “more grunt” and those portable computers that are engineered from the outset for performance like mobile workstations or gaming laptops may become lighter or be able to run longer on their own batteries.
A recent US District Court (New Jersey) ruling was handed down requiring Avaya to expose maintenance commands for their business phone systems after the jury who heard an antitrust case concerning this company found that they unlawfully prevented maintenance access to these systems for their owners or independent third-party service contractors.
This case was about who can perform repair or maintenance work on IT systems especially where they are becoming more software-defined. The article even mentioned that this is heading out beyond the IT scene towards the maintenance of cars, “white-goods” and similar products especially as more of them have their functionality driven by software.
For example, I know of two friends who have had technicians look at their 30-plus-year-old ovens and the technicians have preferred to keep them going rather than replace them with newer ovens. This is because of issues like continual availability of parts for these stoves and the way that they can be repaired.
Here, it was about who can continue to perform service on the equipment concerned and the availability of the equipment’s owner to gain access to independent experts to keep it going. I see this also opening up doors for third-parties to continue to offer innovative software or other solutions that enhance the equipment or shape it to a user’s needs. This will extend to encouraging the implementation of “open-frame” designs for hardware and software which will push forward a culture of a level playing field and, in some cases, a longer service life for equipment.
SanDisk has raised the bar with flash-memory storage by releasing the ultra-small 128Gb microSD card at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. This is seen as providing increased removable secondary-storage for Android or Windows phones and tablets due to its small footprint and is something I would see as important if we carry high-grade music and video files or complicated games on these devices and value the ability to “swap them out” as we see fit.
Tablets and Ultrabooks could also benefit from increased solid-state storage capacity
But I also see this as being suitable for more than the smartphone or tablet. This capacity is very much equivalent to what is available as a baseline all-SSD storage capacity for Ultrabooks and similar low-profile ultraportable notebook computers which typically run a full Windows deployment. Here, I could see this capacity appeal for smaller Wi-Fi portable NAS devices or it could be an encouragement to increase storage capacity in most dedicated-function devices like printers due to its small size and high capacity. This factor will be underscored for anyone who is working towards an extremely-low-profile design for a device rich in functionality such as the idea of a desktop multifunction printer having the same level of document control as a freestanding enterprise-grade multifunction printer.
Could raise the capacity of these low-profile NAS units very significantly
It also shows that the storage density for flash-based storage applications is increasing which could be a benefit for both fixed and removeable solid-state storage applications. For example, an Ultrabook or tablet could be ending up with 512Gb storage capacity furnished by flash memory rather than the mechanical hard disk as a product option. Or the low-profile Wi-Fi portable “media server” NAS that you take with you could carry your media library with you and serve it to your tablet, Ultrabook or car stereo from a 512Gb solid-state storage.
I would expect a lot more for high-capacity ultra-quick solid-state storage to become the norm for “there-and-then” data storage applications.
A computer that slides to become a tablet or laptop
Previously, a computer with a screen greater than 11”, having a physical QWERTY keyboard and running a desktop operating system like Windows, MacOS X or Linux was a separate class of computer from something that had a smaller screen, no physical keyboard and running a mobile operating system.
Now we are starting to see these classes become blurred by the arrival of 7” and 10” tablets running Windows 8.1 on Intel x86 microarchitecture, along with a plethora of ultra-portable laptops with integrated physical keyboards that convert to tablets whether by folding the keyboard under the screen or detaching the keyboard. This is now augmented with a new trend where computers can boot between Windows 8.1 and Android or run both operating systems concurrently; and Android is being ported to work on the classic Intel microarchitecture.
The HP X2 family – showcasing the trend for a detachable-keyboard tablet computer
What is happening for both consumers and business users is that they will find it hard to determine which kind of computer is exactly the right one for them to use for their needs. Operating systems and baseline hardware configurations may lose their position as a factor for determining a computer’s suitability to a particular task.
Rather I see factors like the screen size which typically affects the computer’s size and form factor; the graphics or audio chipsets; the existence of a physical keyboard and its actual size; as well as the unit’s connectivity, primary RAM and secondary-storage capacity along with the presence and runtime of an integrated battery being what determines the computer’s suitability for particular tasks and operating conditions that a user may put it to.
The 15″ mainstream laptop will still earn its keep as an option for one’s “digital hub”
For example, if you are creating a lot of documents and other textual content, a full-sized physical keyboard would be considered important. Similarly the size of the screen along with the computer’s form factor and the battery integrated in the computer would also affect its portability and suitability to certain tasks.
In a lot of cases, you may end up with multiple devices where each device suits a particular task or activity. For example a 7”-8” tablet that you can stuff in to a coat pocket may come in to its own when you want something that has material you refer to when you are on the road. This is while you keep a 10”-14” ultraportable computer for when you are “doing a bit more” like taking notes or creating content “on the road”; or you may keep a 15”-17” laptop or a larger-screen desktop computer as your “main digital hub”.
Desktops of a sessile nature like traditional 3-piece desktops and “all-in-one” desktops will typically end up just for applications where the computer is used in one place only. Whereas the “adaptive all-in-one” computers of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 ilk, along with 15”-17” high-end laptops will end up for those situations where the computer will be shifted as required.
What will become of this is to look at particular features and the size and form-factor of a computer to rate its suitability for a task you are targeting it at rather than thinking that one computer would suit all your needs.
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Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.