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Why the laptop as we know it is outdated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.

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