So I’ve been writing this blog on a Surface Book the past three weeks. Why would I note that? Well first off because I was one of the pundits that said MS should get out of the hardware business with the release of the first Surface products. Now, well they have really improved the product, to the point where I have to say it is actually more than good.
I had been writing my blog on the iPad Pro. Now overall the iPad Pro remains my go to carry around media device. I can play my music or listen to XM anywhere. I don’t have a SIM card in the Book so it is limited to Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connectivity. That got me thinking about tablets.
First off, I am a fan of the tablet format. Mostly because I have been a fan of electronic note taking for a long time. I have been seeking the perfect tool to transition from pen to electronic and back.
Tablets are the perfect size. About the same size as a notebook. Now, my children prefer smaller tablets. I like the slightly larger iPad Pro, Surface Book or Samsung. I also find for quick note taking the Chrome book works very well. The problem with the devices is that I am still better at typing than I am at writing legible notes so converting my handwriting is an adventure at times. Still the tablet format is improving. Lighter, faster and more and more useful. So enter the Surface Book.
Microsoft got that one right. Like the Xbox One (and Office 2016) the product integrates with Windows 10 well. It is a highly functional tablet. Now, battery life is not as good as the iPad today. But expandability make it a very useful tablet. What is most impressive to me is the integration with the Pen and giving me a second meeting device that I can quickly use on the online whiteboard the same way I use the offline (connected) whiteboard. I just don’t have to hold all the bulky pens!
Tablets are also however expanding into many others areas. Some are mounted on walls. If you do a home automation project you can mount tablets on the wall that both control your home but also offer many other services (music, intercom etc.). The quest for me started with replacing pen and paper. The reality now is I am replacing servers with tablets now. I use my iPad Pro to connect to various VM’s I have running on a box at home. But with the Surface Book I can pop into Hyper-V and quickly bring up a virtual machine. I have an external hard drive full of disk images so I can quickly bring up something.
It used to be that in order to run a VM effectively I had to carry around a massive notebook. One that weight 8 or more pounds. Now with the Surface Book I can spin up a VM in Hyper-V and interact with it, live on the screen. I had hoped that this would become a great meeting device. It truly has. I withdraw my earlier statement that MS should get out of the hardware business. They have learned from Apple, margin the Surface Book a platform for creative and professional expression.
Tablets are the new today tech. I wonder though how much longer that market exists. Again the home automation world will have a place for tablets for awhile. Static and mounted they are effective tools for that solution. But long run how much longer do tablets last?