Smaller Form Factor Tablets, Ultrabooks and Laptops are Here to Stay

We just returned to our offices from the Microsoft SharePoint Conference, 2012. This annual conference was held in Las Vegas, NV at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Attending this conference afforded us an opportunity to observe, first hand, the pervasive extent to which very small form factor ultrabooks, and tablets have penetrated the mobile work force for enterprise business.

Of course, it makes sense for these mobile workers to opt for smaller devices. After all, who wants to struggle with a bulky laptop and A/C Charger? These two devices, alone, can weigh over 5 lbs. When one adds in the weight of promotional materials, and other mobile worker essentials, the load can amount to 10 lbs or more. Carrying this weight disproportionately (meaning over one sholder) can result in severe back strain. Therefore, opting for an ultrabook that can weigh 2 lbs less than traditional lap top alternatives makes a lot of sense.

When lots of mobile enterprise knowledge workers arrive at this same conclusion, it becomes an issue for businesses like Dell. In contrast to Apple, Dell had to substantially revamp its laptop product line very quickly, and, in all likelihood, at considerable expense to come up with a product like the XPS 10, which carries a competitive $499.00 price tag to the Apple iPad with Retina Display. Naturally, the task of thoroughly renovating a product line like the Dell Laptop line required a substantial amount of capital and human effort. Perhaps more of this same type of “catch up” cost runs through the type of poor business quarter that Dell just reported, which caught us largely by surprise.

We plan to wade through this quarterly return from Dell, in detail, shortly. We will publish thoughts on the impact of Dell’s results on likely trends over the next near term on enterprise IT software sales, as we come to our own conclusions. Nevertheless, the point we are after is that the kind of wholesale migration over to lighter, more portable computing devices, by enterprise mobile workers, in large numbers, represents a second order shift in office automation with lots of likely impact on computing standards, going forward.

Getting back to our SharePoint conference attendance, we saw lots of iPad tablets and ultrabooks everywhere. Further, we had several discussions with technical architects about their own preferences for mobile computing. What we heard, consistently, was that flash (SSD) drives are preferred as the fastest way to boot O/S, not to mention the quickest entry point to comfortable mobile computing with light weight devices with manageable shape.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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