Tablets vs Chromebooks: an unexpected year

in hardware on (#2TNS)
So much for the Post-PC Revolution! Despite all the hype of tablets and their obvious benefits and use scenarios, the demise of traditional computing form factors seems to have been exaggerated. Never mind that 2014 will probably see over 250 million tablets shipped and sold, tablet sales are actually slowing. Analysts predict that Apple will probably face a year-long ipad sales dip, though it's hard to say what the effect of the most newly-released models will have.

But just as surprising, sales of Chromebooks have actually surged over the last two quarters. Gavin Clarke at the Register points out recent research that projects a doubling of the Chromebook market year on year, with HP, Samsung and Acer taking the lion's share of the market. They still represent a small share of the market, with only 4 million units shipped (of 300m convential PCs in total), so it's too soon to say the Chromebook revolution is here.

But it does show surprising potential in the traditional laptop form factor, and give some reason to wonder if, despite all the hype about tablets, phablets, and smart phones, consumers still find themselves reaching for a portable device with a great keyboard.

Re: Keyboards & other thoughts. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-10-25 04:38 (#2TPN)

I wouldn't call laptop keyboards "great". Ever. Anybody ever found one that isn't terrible for programming?
The keyboard I prefer to use on my desktop is smaller than many laptop keyboards:

Only thing I really regret is that it only has one CTRL key, but altwin:ctrl_win takes care of that under X11 just fine.

But it would be necessary for the wrist-wrest to be 0.5" lower than the keyboard, which I haven't seen any laptop ever do. That might make the difference between comfortable easy typing, and horrible laptop keyboards...

I also prefer a trackball for faster pointing, which is a similarly good fit for laptops, though sadly haven't seen them on portables since the 486 days. Their pointless and unnecessary demise makes it clear that whatever laptop manufacturers are looking for, it isn't good input devices.
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