It turns out that I am in the market to buy a second PC for our household and businesses. We’ve tried for just about a year to function with one PC and various mobile devices, and we’ve found that there’s just enough overlap between our need to use the PC that sometimes it gets annoying. Add to that annoyance the fact that our PC right now is an all-in-one and I actually need a machine I can use elsewhere, and suddenly we need a second machine.
Enter the world of buying a computer in 2014.
It seems like it should be so simple. Once upon a time, it was. Most people didn’t have a lot of real choices. So, you picked a price point and a company and hoped for the best. If you were really savvy, you built a machine yourself. But in the end, they were mostly the same thing: riffs on processor types and memory and whatnot.
Not so today. Today, it’s sometimes difficult to even know what everyone means by a PC. To some people, a PC is not a Mac. To others, a PC is not a desktop. To still others, a PC is not a tablet or smartphone.
Even the machines themselves are kind of confused. There are machines the size of my all-in-one you can use as a tablet, sort of. There are laptops that detach from their keyboards. There are machines that fold in half. There are machines that run both Windows and Android.
How’s a guy to choose?
Ultimately, the same way he always did: by deciding what he wants that machine to do and picking the best set of features that can do it. Now, it’s just a matter of picking from a larger set of variables.
And it’s complicated.
For those who don’t follow tech news like I do, the 2010 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show is going on right now in Las Vegas. CES is like the technology version of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit but much, much cooler.
Today at CES, ASUSTeK, one of my favorite PC technology companies, unveiled a prototype for a dual-9 inch LCD netbook/tablet hybrid that has finally got me looking at the tablet PC market a little more seriously.
I think ASUS’s idea comes closer to the mark of what the prototypical netbook/tablet needs to be, but someone still needs to figure out the tactile keyboard angle in order for them to be machines serious computer users will look at. I have hope, however, based on their innovation with their Eee PC T91, that ASUS may be the first company to figure out what the machine should look like and be able to do.
I think the company that could end up giving ASUS a run for its money is the smartphone manufacturer HTC. While HTC comes at the problem from a completely different perspective, their innovation with form factor and design place them in a perfect position to take advantage of the upcoming tablet PC revolution.