On Laptabs, In Re: Microsoft v. Google

I bought Nook HD Tablet last year. It is a fabulous Tablet for reading books, watching videos and surfing internet — I have been writing my blogs as well from the same Tablet, but not that comfortably; keyboards are important. I have actually forgotten the last time I seriously surfed internet on the Desktop. At the most I surf Internet on the Desktop for taking printouts of case laws. I have never had a Laptop, so I am not sure how handy it is for surfing Internet, but certainly it can’t replace a book reader Tablet like Nook, Kindle, I-Pad, Nexus, Galaxy Tab or Mi Pad. And interestingly all these tablets run on Android. So surely Google has snatched a pie from Microsoft as far as the Tablet PCs are concerned. But, now a new baby Laptab has arrived in the gadget arena — I personally feel Laptabs will soon replace Tablets and to a great extent also the Laptops, especially for the low-end portable office jobs. Unfortunately, my Nook Tablet broke down, and I bought a Windows Tablet this time, which was accidental. I bought this Tablet as an experimental Laptab. By adding a low-budget USB keyboard to the Tablet, I have converted it into an 8″ Laptab — the Tablet is Notion Ink Cain 8″ Tablet.

I bought this Tablet just last week, and, starting this week, the prices of Tablets and Laptabs have fallen suddenly. Nexian Chromebook and Xolo Chromebook running Chrome OS with 11.9″ screen are selling for Rs. 9,999/- flat on Amazon and Snapdeal respectively. Incredible — a laptop under Rs. 10,000/-! Mi Pad is selling for Rs. 9,999/- on Amazon and Snapdeal. Mi Pad is a cool alternative to I-Pad and the best android Tablet presently available, but Mi Pad can’t be used like a PC. The Chromebooks above-mentioned are not Laptabs, for the screen can’t be detached, and even otherwise 11.9″ screen is a bit too big for a Tablet. I am surprised why Google has not prodded sellers to come up with a Chrome Laptab. Lenovo and Asus convertibles are the only things from the Google stable which come close to being called a Laptab; actually they are not; they are just convertibles, which can be folded to give the feeling of a Tablet. The only Laptab, introduced with the namesake, is Micromax Laptab, which is a 10″ Windows Laptab with detachable screen, and was selling for Rs. 12,999/- on Snapdeal when I last checked. Others still prefer to call themselves Notebook PCs. The next cheapest option after Micromax is Notion Ink’s 2-in-1 selling for around Rs. 18,000/- Rest all are above 20,000/- price point, which I find a bit too expensive, for Tablets sell much cheaper these days.

I have been using my Laptab for a few days now and have come to the conclusion that nothing should qualify as a Tablet or a Laptab which has pixel density of less than 200 PPI. My Nook Tablet had PPI density of around245 PPI and was a treat for the eyes. A tablet has to run HD videos, and it has to be bright enough to not to strain eyes while reading books, news and more. I use internet mainly for reading books, news and articles, and for watching videos. My limited experience with 186 PPI in my new Tablet has made me feel deprived, and I am longing for a proper Tablet. Unfortunately, at present, neither Google nor Microsoft has provided a proper option for a Laptab. Micromax Laptab is even lesser PPI. In fact, I have not come across a single Laptab with high density pixel resolution. Is this a limitation of technology? Or is it a limitation of politics? Anyways, this is such a wide open opportunity that I am sure someone will soon exploit it and bid good buy to the Tablets forever.

With the above perspective, let’s analyse the impending competition between Google and Microsoft. Microsoft’s strategy is straightforward: they are offering Laptabs as an extension of Desktop PCs, both running Windows OS. And, they have an amazing advantage there. However, at the same time, Google has a completely confused strategy. They have Androids for Tablets and Chrome OS for Laptops/Chromebooks, and now because of this self created artificial distinction, they are unable to see the merger of the two technologies. I am surprised that an enterprise considered to be so innovative has failed to apply this basic a common sense and have escalated their commitment to Android. Indeed, computing is moving into the Cloud and the Google has a clear first mover advantage there, but…

Disclaimer: I have generated a return request for my newly bought Tablet because of hardware related problems, not low screen resolution, and have generated a purchase request for Mi Pad, but now I am having second thoughts. Will have to sleep over it.

© 2015 Ankur Mutreja


About the Author

Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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