Home / Opinions / Why Windows 8 will kill the Laptop / Why the laptop as we know it is outdated

Why the laptop as we know it is outdated

Of course, it’s not just Microsoft that will be launching new devices. There will be Windows 8 convertible laptops and tablets at every price, from every major manufacturer. Windows RT for ARM devices will go head-to-head with the new iPad and Android tablets such as the Asus Transformer Infinity, while x86 tablets with Windows 8 Pro will take on everything from cheap laptops to Ultrabooks.

For the netbook crowd who still want an x86 device for backwards compatibility or other reasons, there’s the Atom-based convertible tablet, like a lower-end version of the Asus Vivo or Samsung ATIV. Machines like these and the similarly Atom CPU-based HP Envy x2 and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 will cover a lot of the mid-range too.

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If you want ‘proper’ power, meanwhile, there are the top-end convertible hybrid tablets with Full HD screens and Core i3-i7 processors, like the Asus Transformer Book, Surface Pro, Sony VAIO Duo or Samsung ATIV Pro.

What advantages do these hybrids offer over regular laptops aside from the obvious tablet usage? Well, the ones with extra batteries in their keyboard bases will kick the rear ends of your average laptop when it comes to battery life. High-quality IPS screens give a much more enjoyable viewing experience with better colour reproduction and viewing angles than the TN type displays still found on nearly all laptops. 3G, or mobile broadband, is an option on most of these machines, where on laptops it’s an expensive rarity. And last but not least, the majority will offer Wacom styluses for pressure-sensitive handwriting, drawing, doodling and more.

And of course you can't overstate the advantages touch brings too. For instance it can be much nicer than using a touchpad when browsing the web, playing certain games, or flicking through your family photos.

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Mind you, the laptop won’t start 'dying out' overnight. Initially hybrid/convertible laptops/tablets are likely to demand a premium. Meanwhile, large desktop replacement laptops, especially the models geared towards gamers, are likely to be the longest-holding bastion. But otherwise, aside from reflective glassy screens and of course the extra materials cost for the manufacturer, convertible tablets done right usually make a traditional laptop somewhat irrelevant.

Even the glossy screens could potentially be avoided by using techniques similar to the matt glass finish of the Wacom Cintiq 24HD, and when a screen goes as bright as that of the Asus Transformer Infinity, it’s much less of an issue anyway.

Why Windows 8 will kill the Laptop

With a base station providing game-worthy graphics and extra connectivity via Thunderbolt, I could even see the next generation of Windows 8 hybrids taking over from those aforementioned gaming desktops. The laptop is dead, long live the (hybrid) laptop.


September 18, 2012, 11:53 pm

I am not buying into this theory. There are certain things I do on a laptop which I am not able to do on a tablet/hybrid. And it's got nothing to do with specs, it's more about the medium. Not everything works better with a touch screen. I often put down my iPad and reach for a Macbook Air (as close as it gets between the two and hoping that illustrates my point).
It's like digital print. My kindle has replaced most books but it will not be replacing magazines any time soon. The very nature of magazines make reading it off a screen quite difficult. I'm just glad we have so many choices.


September 19, 2012, 3:54 pm

Simply put hybrid tablets will never replace laptops because the screen is prohibitively small for extended periods of work. You would need a dock and monitor which rather negates the need for a touch screen. In my opinion a separate tablet and laptop works better and I never have to queue for my turn on the laptop as I have to with the ipad.


September 19, 2012, 7:28 pm

Hey guys, thanks for the comments. Just going to answer in a general comment as you've made some good points which others may raise too.

What exactly could a Windows 8 laptop do that a Windows 8 convertible laptop could not? If you don't want to use the touchscreen for something, just stick to the touchpad and keyboard like with a regular laptop.

Your comparison of iPad vs MacBook is talking about two completely different devices with different interaction methods, capabilities and software.

They're not limited in size. There have been lots of 13-inch hybrids/convertibles announced already, and even a few models as large as 14 and 15 inches. This will only increase with time, and we may see 17in laptops joining soon.

"and I never have to queue for my turn on the laptop as I have to with the ipad." LOL. That just proves my point that combining both would make devices more desirable ;)


September 26, 2012, 5:50 pm

in a word...No! The touchscreen laptop will kill the tablet :)


September 27, 2012, 3:41 pm

Hey thanks for the comment!

Really, you would rather browse the web or view pics on the couch with a laptop on your lap than a tablet which can be a laptop when you need it to? Honest question.

Lon Bailey

September 27, 2012, 9:23 pm

I think if the Windows 8 tablet does Office effectively (which it should, unlike the Android machines), then it will probably take over the business market segment that does not only work via social media or emails. I found the transformer prime is not exactly well-tuned for business. Its diary synchronization, for example, is not automatic and you need to set start and end dates (which my HTC Android phone does not require), emails does not contain an automatic bcc field. Furthermore, I also agree with the other correspondent who mentioned screen size. I use a dual screen system giving me about 32" of diagonal space - not likely on a tablet.


October 1, 2012, 7:39 pm

Indeed, Office should be a great strength for Microsoft Win8 ARM tablets.

"Furthermore, I also agree with the other correspondent who mentioned screen size. I use a dual screen system giving me about 32" of diagonal space - not likely on a tablet." Since there are already 22-inch and 15-inch 'tablets' on the market, surely that comment applies just as much to laptops?

Mark Bailey

January 26, 2013, 5:51 pm

I wont buy one until the MS based systems start to build something of QUALITY instead of the cheap, flimsy, penny pinching designs. Say what you want about Apple, they are about the ONLY manufacture that builds a QUALITY based hardware. Name ONE MS based unit that even comes close to Apples quality. I can see all the hybrids bodies breaking, pure JUNK, like cheap China toys.

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