hybrid

In yesterday’s post, we referenced the interview with Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly:

The tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it’s becoming more versatile. So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular. So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be.

The line between tablet and laptop have indeed blurred. People are increasingly using tablets and laptops for both work and play. Going forward, I believe the most meaningful market segmentation is not one based on devices (phones, tablets, laptops, desktops), as we tend to do today, but by screen size (2-inches and below, 3- to 6-inches, 7- to 9-inches, 10- to 13-inches, 14- to 17-inches, and above).

From those lens, the positions of the three incumbents — Apple, Microsoft and Google — look different. Apple doesn’t seem as strong; Microsoft still has a chance; and Google just needs to extend its disruption upwards.

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There was an interesting interview recently on Re/code with Best Buy CEO, Hubert Joly.  Joly says all the right things about Best Buy and also had some insights on the PC and tablet market.  Highlights on the latter:

  • PCs are experiencing a revival, partly due to no more Windows XP support
  • Tablet sales are “crashing” and now a replacement market
  • Hybrid 2-in-1s are competitive with tablets
  • PC prices have declined a lot

My hypothesis based on the above is this — the tablet market is about light computing needs and those needs have been mostly addressed.  What do people use tablets for?  Browsing the Internet, reading books, watching movies, playing casual games and perhaps a bit of emailing.  An iPad 2 is sufficiently adequate for those requirements; there’s no pressing need to get an iPad Air.  We often talk about Chromebooks being good enough; so are the earliest iPads and most Android tablets.  Perhaps the only reason to upgrade is to play the latest 3D games but that is more niche than mass market.

Add it all up, and people with tablets are in no hurry to get another.  We saw explosive growth because tablets initially fulfilled an unmet need; but now that need is mostly met, growth is levelling off.

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Windows 8 is smart enough to know when a user is typing from a physical keyboard or an on-screen one, so why oh why can’t the OS turn off auto-correct for physical keyboards while keeping auto-correct on for the on-screen one?

Auto-correct makes sense for the on-screen keyboard.  Without it, touch typing is frustrating.

But for most decent typists, you don’t need auto-correct with a physical keyboard.  Plus, I  prefer the freedom of typing words that aren’t entirely kosher, like fark or kekeke or lol.  No auto-correct also comes in handy when typing in a different language.

Currently, on Windows 8 for Modern side programs, auto-correct is either on or off for both keyboard types and that doesn’t make much sense.  For hybrid devices to transition smoothly from tablet to laptop and vice versa, auto-correct should also automatically turn on or off.

Microsoft will hold an event on May 20 to debut the mini version of the Surface. Rumor has it that in addition to the Surface mini, Microsoft will reveal a new SKU. CNET reports that SKU to be Intel-based.

A true Windows experience on a Surface 2 form factor would be ideal for many who need the OS. However, I echo Paul Thurrot in hoping that the screen size of this new SKU is 13-inch and upwards. In fact, I think the entire tablet industry should go in this direction.

Usage for tablets can be divided into two categories: one-handed and two-handed.

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