The end of the PC is nigh.

Firstly, I do apologise about the hideous colour scheme on the last theme, the green made me see yellow.

As one who browses the internet for hours upon hours a day, it didn’t take long to realise how much buzz there was a couple of years ago about ‘cloud computing’, and after kicking my feet up for those past years saying to myself ‘That’ll never happen’ – and before I knew it the world overtook me and I was bombarded with adverts for cloud hosting and it was all quite frustrating.

But since then, a new threat has cropped up. The tablet. A lightweight, easy to use and very portable system, which got me scratching my head. It didn’t have a keyboard.

Now I know I’m meant to be a ‘computer boffin’ or what have you, but I really couldn’t get my head around the idea that a computer is now this touch screen with a battery, a pretty solid mobile processor, a long -ish life battery and a hard casing on the back. It was like someone had decided that the laptop was too easy to break, and so they broke off the lid, and went ‘Hey, I could make money out of this idea!’.

Windows for Pen Computing kicked off Microsoft's tablet efforts back in 1991.

Windows for Pen Computing kicked off Microsoft’s tablet efforts back in 1992.

If I’m honest. I should have seen this coming. Tablets have sort of been around since before I was born. Take Windows for Pen Computing. It was an application that could be bought for Windows 3.1 (I know, right? 3.1 was like April ’92). It allowed 3.1 to be used on these primitive plastic tablets, which at the time, could run an Intel processor, but not for a day’s work.

Since WfPC Microsoft made a whole load more mistakes, right up to the point of a ‘touch screen table‘ in 2008. With no hardware or software developers, virtually no buyer market and the fact that they were only available after filing a request with Microsoft, and going through a screening process and having a swarm of checks made on you/your company, it was clear this product was not to make money, it was simply to prove that Microsoft knew what they were doing when it came to tablets. and they do, with the exception of hardware.

Microsoft have always done an amazing job when it comes to writing software, but they’ve always been a bit, well, crap when it comes to their hardware. Remember the snapped off lid I mentioned earlier? They took that a step further by allowing you to attach the keyboard back on. And take it off again.

I really shouldn’t be giving Microsoft Surface all this hate. It follows on an idea which Apple have dropped altogether. I said I don’t understand tablets, and it’s true. But what I do understand is the idea of Tablet PC’s.

My First Tablet PC - A Toshiba Portégé M200

My First Tablet PC – A Toshiba Portégé M200

I used to have a tablet PC, if I remember rightly it was a Toshiba Portégé M200-16M. Lightweight and rugged, with a screen which twisted round and locked down, it was a brilliant first laptop and tablet PC.

SIDE NOTE: I spent so many hours on that thing, I could swear the screen got a few millimetres thinner!

It is thanks to Microsoft that the Tablet PC is being dug out of its grave, with the release of Windows 8, everyone has been scrambling to get their lines of portable computers stocked up with tablet PC’s once more. The Microsoft Surface is to be disliked in my opinion, however it it designed to keep Microsoft revenues rolling in, because Microsoft and Bill Gates made their fortune on the Software, and with Entry Level Windows 7 Home Premium rolling off the shelves at £80, and the OS line going up to their top end Windows 7 Ultimate at £150, it’s no suprise that Windows needed a financial solution now that their Windows 8 lineup is cheap as dirt, and so came up with the idea of a tablet / tablet PC hybrid. Yes that’s right, tablet AND tablet PC, that’s the removable keyboard that stirs that one up.

Quite frankly the iPad is a disaster, and Apple have messed up their pricing, so they get a minimal mention in this post. Does this mean I’m a Microsoft kinda guy? I’m writing this from Windows 7, installed on a Mac. Hmm.

It’s now just a wait until the guys in Cupertino (Yes, that means Apple) come up with a comeback for the tablet PC hybrid.

So, to sum this up, Microsoft have been toying with this tablet idea for far longer than Apple have been even thinking about it, I used to have a laptop with a French name, Mobile devices are going to take over the world, and Windows 8 is pretty rubbish. Thank you for reading!

Ben Wilkinson

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