13″: The next big thing?

So, we are a month into 2017 and the CES just went by. There were lots of gadgets to look out for but the most interesting point to note is that this year will see the rise of commercial drones. Putting that aside, we know that tech giants are fighting to bring about a “singularity” in the commercial device space. Microsoft has taken the biggest strive towards bringing the mobile and laptop space together. But it is not the only company to be pushing it, other companies are into it too. Except that Microsoft is being open to the world about its future projects as compared to Google, or even Apple who is just the opposite (we all know that quite well) in business strategy.

My father is a normal service man and he is quite content with his “TV”. Even I was invested in TV for all the Pokémon, Doraemon and Tom and Jerry in my childhood days. But you know that TV is not a thing for the next generation. I mean even with Android TVs, you may be able to watch YouTube Videos, share likes and do “Netflix and Chill” but (and it’s a big but) TV’s are only a device to see and experience, that’s all. We cannot do stuff there. It qualifies for a device of the rich if it wants to stand out. I mean unless you take a 3D AMOLED 4K TV with a 4K subscription and android functionalities, it doesn’t qualify for the “WOW” factor. I mean you do not want to take a normal LED TV in which you subscribe to normal channels, all the functions which can be done in laptops nowadays. And the best thing, the VR and AR are also converging to a point called Mixed Reality. Once out there, TVs will be the gadget of the past. But that is a topic for another day.

 

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Samsung’s Quantum Dot Display. Pretty much LCD.

 

So, that leaves us with mobiles, desktops, and laptops (normal laptops and the 12.5” to 13.5” laptops). Well, for further reference let’s name the 13” laptops as “Heather”. All these three devices have established strong roots in this world and each has their own strengths and quirks. Here, we can without question strike out the TV because with the advent of the optical fiber, Wi-Fi, and online companies, we can bring TV to the desktop but the reverse is not true. Desktops are a workforce in large organizations and mostly used for professional work. Laptops can be anywhere and with anyone because it is a scaled-down portable desktop which is so convenient. Mobiles, as we all know, don’t need a prologue to earn attention.

Now, let us talk about desktops. The rise of desktops started with a very robust computer language known as BASIC in the 80s. This was the time when IBM PC rose to prominence and then came the Apple Macintosh in 1984. They had their own powerful applications. Macintosh had their very own application for all the basic calculations done by accountants and finance at that time. This took them literally by storm. Later in the 90s, it was the Windows 3.0 which changed the market for desktops drastically and made it a global phenomenon. You see, Macintosh was expensive and no way could it have gained the primary desktop market. Then came the Windows 95 with the added power of Intel Pentium chips and the rest is history. In the beginning of the 21st century, desktops were the prime workforce for anyone who wanted to do something great with technology. The idea of online services was just a new idea for many of the entrepreneurs back then. In the 2000’s laptop existed but they were bulky and powerless. So, desktops didn’t get the competition they required.

 

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The Macintosh (1984). First product of its kind.

 

To be true, desktops were really good but the thing is that it was an object you had to approach to. It had no beauty to attract just any person out there without the knowledge of complex coding. The only time people approached desktops were in the time of need. For example, “I need a picture of this. Let’s go to the café.” “I need to make a school project. Please let me use the computer, Dad.” Games had played a pretty revolutionizing role in bringing a large mass of people from the whole world to show interest in desktops. In fact, games were the true heir of desktops. Applications like Office and programming languages required something more inspiring to work with, they don’t really require all that fancy graphics card and big screen to work with, just the security and the network. So, desktops had to see its downfall.

This led to the rise of the next big thing “LAPTOPS”. 2008 could be called the year for the laptops since it was the time when the laptops turned the market trends and were ahead of desktop sales for the first time. Laptops had grown in power and feel at that time. Windows XP was already the frontrunner in the software market but with the introduction of Windows 7, power was at our hands. It was the best GUI at that time and nobody could challenge it out. Heck, now also its so popular. But Windows 10 defeated it before the beginning of 2017. With the introduction of chips like Core 2 Duo and the sizes decreasing, laptops became the perfect partners for everyday tasks. With the advent of laptops, so many things started to popularize. Think about it, blogging every time sitting in front of a desktop and typing is boring when you can just sit in the garden to do so. How fun it was for all the coders out there to redistribute their digital time to make their day more efficient. Students also started to have access to the power anywhere they went with the introduction of cheaper and cheaper laptops over the years. The introduction of laptops like HP Spectre showed how far can we reach in the development of laptops.

 

 

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The MacBook Pro with its TouchBar. Pretty neat and handy but not that impressive.

 

 

Fast forward into 2017, and we can see laptops with just about anyone. We have also reached under 10mm designs. This shows that we need a new angle to creating these laptops and the angle was the convertible notebooks. I have personally used the HP Spectre 360 and it feels just so awesome in the hands. The Surface Pro 4 is also one of those defining things in the modern day. I have no problem with the MacBook Pro or the iPad but they are just like a laptop and a Tablet with just one of the two tasks. You really will not do Adobe Photoshop on iPad and you cannot really draw in a MacBook Pro with the Apple Pencil. So, considering their prices I will pretty much put them behind convertibles as of now. To mention, I would definitely say that the iPad totally changed how we educate children on a daily basis. I cannot deny that. iPads are great but they have become pretty much become a very concentrated device aiming at students. Unfortunately, they are the only prominent things adding value to a very slowly adapting educational system all over the world in terms of technology.

Mobiles were a totally different market. It had nothing to do with desktops or laptops till now. Martin Cooper was the first person to make a phone call from his Motorola. Since then, millions of calls have traveled billions of kilometers around the Earth. Nokia became the world’s largest manufacturer in the world in 1998. It was a company that really pushed us to the wireless world. But in 2007, with the introduction of the iPhone, Nokia had a setback but it was not a major setback since iPhones were costly and not everyone could afford that. But Google acquired Android in 2009 and made it an open-source platform. This took the world by storm and Android became the primary software in everyone’s hand after the release of Android 4.0 (Jellybean). Jellybean was the first stable version of Android in the mobile market. It’s hard to imagine somebody without a mobile phone in today’s world. Apps are the one thing that has changed the way we use our mobile phones. Apps are the one thing that has made us a power user. Pretty much anything from tweeting your thoughts to the world, to sharing your best moments with friends and family, discussing your business, is done with the help of apps.

 

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We all know the Pixel. Google Assistant proves itself in this phone.

 

In 2017, you may say that pretty much anything can be handled by the phones of today. With the introduction of fingerprint scanners in the budget phones, we can pretty much say that mobile phones have become one of the most powerful objects in a person’s hand. More than half of our daily transactions are through apps or online portals like Amazon, ticket booking, seat reception or taking an appointment in the hospital. Mobiles are sure to stay there in the long run for the good of the people, even more so than laptops or to be more clear laptops with large screens and non-detachable keyboards. Mobiles are just missing the one thing and that thing is the silver lining. You can post a comment in Facebook as soon as you think but to write a book in mobile just doesn’t feel so much. It may come in handy to write a thought that just went through your mind to add in your story but the medium is just not right for writing a whole story. The same can be said for digital artists. Mobiles may give the professional tools for drawing with great apps like Sketch, Autodesk Sketchbook and so on but the size of the screen is not compelling for professional drawing and that too with bare hands when you can get a hand on the Apple Pencil or the Surface Pen.

 

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The Apple Pencil. Power to the wielder.

 

It can be taken in consideration that mobiles are pretty much for any task that can be done quickly and laptops and for those tasks which require patience like Photoshops and Projects. But most people don’t have the patience to be the professional they want to be and many of them don’t want to waste time on simple applications which cannot make you a professional. Here comes the concept of blurring the lines between the two devices and creating an authentic experience for each and every person who owns the device. And here comes the concept of 13”.

Why only 13”?

Well, take for example a device in between 6.5” to 9”. Well, first of all these devices are too large to fit in your pockets and yet too small to be of any professional use. Now, let us consider devices that are between 9” to 11”. These are quite good sizes in the perspective but still, we have to cut out the experience on entertainment like watching movies and playing PC games. The iPad Pro is one of the best devices for school students and individual aspiring people but it feels kind of out of power and size for professional use even for Apple users. So, how could it be an example for users of another OS. Well, here we have to sacrifice on one thing and that is the back and front cameras but as I said, mobiles are not going anywhere.

 

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The Surface Pro 4. A Glimpse into the Future.

 

One more thing is approaching fast in our world and that is the use of assistants. A dozen of assistants are existing in our ecosystem as of now but people are looking to increase them. Assistants will take over the app space since pretty much anything can be done by them. Even the things that apps cannot do. It is Google who reminds you of your flight time and not any app that you have installed for that specific purpose. Google Assistant knows how much you have walked that day and where were the places you visited. It knows your preferences, the restaurant you would generally visit and the theater you would go to enjoy movies.

Assistants have not come to disrupt the mobile industry by playing best in the 13” devices because counting distance will still be best in mobile and so is will be the camera shots and so will the calls. It is just that collaboration will become complete with assistants in the new devices. Think how much more you can do. You can do a primitive photoshop and then take the help of PicsArt to tweak your design. You can write your story in the 13” screen with your pencil and tell your assistant to do OCR and convert it into a word document. You can take photos through CamSanner and the Assistant helps you stack those documents according to your needs in specifics files on its own, be it online or offline.

 

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When is your voice coming back?

 

Even when not considering the Assistant, you would be able to play Asphalt 8 in the same device in which you play The Last of Us (IRONY!!! I hope you understand). There will be no meaning of low-level or high-level. Doing projects just got a lot easier as I don’t have to always carry my 15.5” laptop of 1.5kgs wherever I go. Doing homework or making art, learning calligraphy or marking documents, all of this is a smart pencil away. You may be the student who loves to read novels but not textbooks. These will be there for you. You may be the one who wants to code but it is a drag to open and work with laptops in such a busy schedule filled with classes and labs. Reading research papers in a sleeping position. You got it. And many other things which I cannot imagine as of now. But the thing is that it will give you the power you need to be more creative and free in your thoughts. It will help motivate more people to realize their own dreams and execute them with more certainty, power and beauty.

Finally, I would say that it is not about the big changes that happen in someone’s life but the small changes that happen in everyone’s life that matters. Gadgets are the only thing that has helped us become more and more free in our thoughts and now I believe that this will be the gadget that will help each and every person in the world become a professional in their own respect. Companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple are taking it to the next level but other companies like Amazon, Samsung are also striving to achieve a similar future.