Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Predictions for hardware devices for 2016-2017

When I wanted to buy my first laptop in 2010, two screen sizes were popular during that time - 11" and 14". I really wanted to buy a Dell 13" Vostro laptop as it was the perfect size for portability and office use though I felt it was bit small for software development. But 13" laptops were very very expensive in 2010 and I bought  a 15.6" for more screen space than 14". But today, 13.3" laptops have become mainstream, thanks to Apple Macbook Air, and lot of companies are launching laptops with 13.3" size.

When I bought my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in December 2012, almost everyone went aghast at the 5.5" screen size of the Android phone. iPhone fans obviously revolted at the phone and many thought it was insensible to walk with such a huge phone in your pocket. Before Note 2 I had Sony Xperia X10 Mini Pro - a 2.5" phone. I was convinced that we could do a lot with Android or iOS Having used Sony for 2 years  and hence more screen space was required to get basic tasks done like typing, viewing videos and use the phone throughout the day (good battery life). Plus I didn't want to carry a phone and tablet everywhere so I bought a phablet. After 2014, almost every phone is more than 4.8". Even Apple launched iPhone 6 and 6 plus. Currently phablet has become a phone now.

Having been successful twice in the past in selecting devices, I write this blog to make my current selection and the prediction for next two years. I might be wrong, but I sincerely feel that these are the devices I would like to own for the next two years:

1. Laptop - I would definitely buy  a 13.3" laptop now. 11" Macbook is still very small and 15.6" are too heavy. We are now used to getting lot of stuff done in tablets and phones and we need a laptop which can start quickly and get the job done. In past 5 years, there was lot of innovation happening in tablets and mobiles but now laptops are fast catching up. Intel has launched 5th Generation Core-i processors and also Core M processors for Chromebooks. Companies have figured out to reduce the weight of the laptop by using good alloys for the body. Lenovo is launching a laptop in May which will weigh only 800 gms! You don't really need 500 GB space as most of the stuff today can be put on Google drive, Dropbox, S3 etc. Hence a  laptop that is 13.3" screen, 128 GB SSD, 4-8 GB RAM, weight of less than 4 pounds is perfect to buy at a price of around USD 800 to 1000. I don't care if its touch screen or the 2-in-1 types (laptop + tablet).

2. Mobile -  I would use a 4" to 5" mobile phone now instead of my current 5.5" phone. I would only use it for calling, whatsapp and doing a quick search on Google. I don't really play many games and I am not very active on social media now. Hence I think that 5 to 6" phones are good for daily use and many companies are pushing boundaries to make it thinner and more usable in your hands. A phone with less than USD 500 (unlocked) will be good enough. I would also consider  Firefox OS or Blackberry, apart from Android/iOS/Windows.

3. Tablet - I don't own a tablet yet and would not buy one. I think tablets are of little use today unless you are a kid under 10 or senior citizen above 60. Other age groups can use a good ultraportable laptop for reasons mentioned above. No one wants to carry a laptop, tablet and mobile with them everywhere. Lets face it, you can't really type documents or make presentations or do programming on a tablet.  If you only want to access content - watch videos, read news, check mails, play games, learn something - tablet is perfect for you. But creating content isn't easy on tablets. The hardware for tablet is ready but the software still isn't. Hence the need for laptops. And since laptops are becoming fast and ultra portable, then you can access and create content on laptop  better than you would do on tablet. Plus most of the content can be accessed on a good 5" mobile phone too - play games, watch videos, check mails, be connected etc.

I see less innovation happening in tablets in next two years. Apple launched iPad mini 3 with only one small feature upgrade. Or probably companies could come up with a new OS for tablets and not keep the same OS for mobiles and tablets.

Buy a 11-13.3" laptop and a 5" phone. Tablet if you have kids or elder people at home. I would also buy a Kindle e-reader to read books if you love reading.

So, in short - these are my predictions for next two years - return of the laptop, mobile phones getting thinner and better, and tablets being just tablets!

No comments: