What’s an example of a modern tablet (what God gave to Moses doesn’t count here)? iPad? Sure. Kindle? Not quite. Microsoft Surface tablet notebook hybrids? They may fit the definition but they do not work like an iPad.
The generally accepted definition of a tablet is a device which resembles a smartphone but with a much larger screen, no phone, of course, with touch navigation, and perhaps stylus support. Even the new $349 iPad fits that description.
What makes the Surface tablet notebook hybrids more PC than iPad is Windows. While having Windows applications is something of a plus, using the device as a tablet– as an iPad is used– is full of compromises. Ask almost anyone who owns a Surface hybrid and they’ll tell you it gets used more as a notebook, and Microsoft just hasn’t had much success at selling Surface models as tablets.
Word on the streets is this– Microsoft plans to try again, this time with a sub-$400 Surface tablet notebook hybrid that runs Windows, sans keyboard, trackpad, and mouse. No matter, some of those can be found already at Best Buy, Amazon, and wherever finely crafted plastic wannabe computing devices are sold.
Conversely, the iPad is not a Windows 10 notebook. It’s not even a Mac, and still not a personal computer even if you add a keyboard. Until Apple realizes that a few more keyboard shortcuts and perhaps mouse or trackpad support would be useful in iOS, iPads will always be crippled personal computers.
Still, Microsoft presses on. Why? Pride? It’s not money. JC Torres:
Windows 10’s touch interface, to put it bluntly, sucks. Let’s forget for a while the state of UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps, which seem to be being replaced by PWAs (Progressive Web Apps).
TV commercials notwithstanding, Apple and iPad have nothing to worry about from Microsoft’s anemic tablet efforts. However, there might be some growing competition with the aforementioned Progressive Web Apps.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that are regular web pages or websites, but can appear to the user like traditional applications or native mobile applications.
Think Gmail in a browser tab. Open up iCloud and your account in Safari and you’ll see the same thing.
These are useful, albeit lightweight, tools that can do what a growing number of personal computer users need to do. There is much to like with PWAs, and with a few extra touch controls, Microsoft’s tablet notebook hybrids– especially at sub-$400 price tags– start to look pretty good. Google’s Chrome notebooks have apps, new ones can run Android apps, but PWAs start to bring personal functionality down to a dirt cheap level that can run on dirt cheap hardware about as well as they do on expensive iPads and Macs.
PWAs in inexpensive devices could begin to erode App Store sales, and push cheap hardware onto the masses– as long as those great unwashed masses do not have great expectations.