Business-Strategie, Management, Konvergente Infrastruktur

Converging the tablet and PC - is it viable? Desirable? The FridgeToaster?

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Apple's eye-popping quarterly results tell many stories, but none more telling than the tablet becoming a fact of life in enterprises.

With just a moderately interesting third rev in the iPad, Apple sold 11.8 iPads (a mere 35.1 million iPhones, too) in the first quarter. And a lot of them to CIOs handing them out to their end users.

To wit this quote from a story in the Wall Street Journal:

'Thousands of iPads are being used as mobile sales tools by large companies, including Roche, Amgen and Bayer," said Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer."

Certainly we'd like to see the evolution of tablets and PCs speeded up with some stiff competition for Apple. So far something to seriously rival the iPad has been fleeting.

But as Apple basked in its off-the-charts quarterly results, some interesting discussions about converging PCs and tablets cropped up. That's what expected with the advent of Windows 8. That would mean a touch screen and other tablet features in a notebook much sexier in appearance than what we are accustomed to. Apple CEO today dissed the idea, saying it's akin  to converging a refrigerator and toaster, giving rise to the instantly popular Twitter term #FridgeToaster."

But Apple's been wrong before, points out PC World blogger Jared Newman, who quoted the late Steve Jobs as saying the 7-inch tablet would never take off.

Granted, Apple has tremendous momentum, but the PC passed a billion users almost four years ago. Let me put it another way: I could not be writing and posting to this blog  without a personal computer. Pure tablets are limited in what they can do and solving the keyboard issue is as vexing as smart phones makers trying to make inherently small displays larger. 

What do you think? Converged PC and tablet or not?

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Mark Grindle 4 Punkte | Do, 05/03/2012 - 12:53

Nice article John  and I think we are a long way from tablets becoming the defacto device.  When I got my tablet, I purchased a Asus because it had an optional keyboard that turned it into an "ultralight".  It also appears ultra portable/ultra light devices are becoming very popular and I think that's because although tablets are fun and convienent they are mostly a "consumption" device.  Unless you are willing to become dependent on cloud storage for all your files (professional and personal), it's tough to work entirely from a tablet.  I rarely travel without my tablet but I still haven't started to leave my laptop at home all the time either.

But maybe I'm still stuck in an older generation!  :-)

John Dodge 1534 Punkte | Do, 05/03/2012 - 13:25

Hi Mark, Well, I grew up on a keyboard, nee typewriter! Smith and Corona before it was Smith-Corona, Underwood and the Selectric. I have an external keyboard with my iPad, but never use it because it's awkward and lacks the solid feel of a built-in keyboard. Keyboard and tablet have to be designed together. Can't be a throw on....

I am anxious to see Windows 8 "FridgeToasters" if you will. At the end of the day, they could pose the stiffest competition to the iPad. But some big PC company, ahem, has to really get it right! If it's good enough, they could actually name it the "FridgeToaster." Wouldn't that be the tweak of all tweaks?   


Doug Goddard 123 Punkte | Di, 05/01/2012 - 15:25

I welcome tablets to the list of hardware options IT has at it's disposal and love how much more horsepower and capacity I can get from laptops, at the same or a lower price.


(note: I have supplied software and services to HP for 10 years so I may be prejudice.)

Stephen Van Vreede 2 Punkte | Mo, 04/30/2012 - 13:19

I hope that Apple is wrong on this one. I love my tablet, and it has expanded my ability--and, I'll admit, my willingness--to do certain things well. But I would love to be able to do more "real" work with my tablet, using it like a netbook when I want and using it like a fun device when it suits too. In fact, I'm one of those that likes the idea of the phablet (see, Samsung Galaxy Note) if only the bluetooth headsets were smaller, more comfortable, and actually stayed in my ear so that I didn't have to lift a phone to my head the size of those they made in the 80's =)

Only time will tell. Who knows, what actually happens in the next 7 years may be completely different than what we expect.

John Dodge 1534 Punkte | Mo, 04/30/2012 - 13:26

I sort of agree. I think for Apple it may be the right keep innovating without too much of an eye to the past. But for PC makers, merging the PC and tablet may also be the right thing for just the market you describe. 

Paul Calento 255 Punkte | Mo, 04/30/2012 - 00:28

There is a process revolution going on towards simplification, as embracing consumerization, as Joel Dobbs points out (in a separate video), is "absolutely critical". As part of that process, input devices may change, applications will evolve and organizations will adapt. But this change probably will drive some fundamental changes in the devices we use (both front office and back office). Hybrid approach (public, private, traditional in a converged environment) may make sense for cloud, but for productivity devices, we may be best served by looking out of the box.

--Paul Calento

(note: I work on projects sponsored by and HP)

Christian Verstraete 429 Punkte | Fr, 04/27/2012 - 14:28

John, maybe I'm old fashion, but I don't see any of that any time soon. There are in my mind three reasons for that. You are mentioning the first one, the input mechanisms available to do actual work. I cannot design a presentation on an iPAD, it's cumbersome typing a large document, and I could go on like that. The second is related to the information at your fingertips. Sure everybody tells me to just put all the data in the cloud, well, that implies you have a reliable internet access everywhere at an affordable price, and as I could experience no later than last night, this is not the case. So, I need to cary a bunch of stuff with me. Now, the 32GB of my tablet is music and books, where would I put the 23 GB of files, documents etc. I have on my PC, not talking about the programs I'm using. The third has to do with security. It has taken 10 years at least to more or less have the PC under control and secured. It's known the iPAD isn't at the moment. And as the numbers keep growing, don't worry the hackers will come sooner than later. It is going to take long for the tablet to be secured.  So, for the forcible future we will carry 3 devices (phone, tablet, PC). If they could at least share the same powersupply, wouldn't that be easier. I found a small one that powers my PC and had a USB port, that helps getting me on the way.

John Dodge 1534 Punkte | Fr, 04/27/2012 - 16:26

It's never a zero sum game. PCs, which will, of course, evolve, will be with us for decades. They just might not look anything like they do today.