How Many Devices Do You Need?

Attendees of the TechEd North America 2013 conference were offered the sale of a Surface RT or Surface Pro tablet. After looking over the RT specs, $99 was too good of a deal to pass on. I went for the RT even though I already had a Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II, a new Nook HD, and a two year old HP laptop.

Are 4 devices too many?

I suppose some people of a certain age might not think about this much; and I would not have either way back when. When I was starting in electronics in the 70’s, I would have given anything for any one of these devices.

From a personal use and work perspective, here are a few good and bad points of each.

The Samsung phone is of course small and light and almost always can access the web in addition to my email accounts, calendar, maps, etc. It is a pretty good phone with Ice Cream Sandwich on it; it was just OK with Gingerbread IMO.

The Nook HD is lightweight and large enough to read for extended periods of time. I find the Nook is easy on my eyes and it performs very well. I previously had a Kindle Fire and liked it, but it was heavy.

The Surface RT is fast, relatively light (1.5 lbs), has a 16:9 format display and has or can run most of the apps one would use say 95% of the time. The touch keypad did not take long to get used to, but I think it’s better on a hard surface than on your lap – but it’s supposed to be :-) It can also do remote desktop, which is a major plus. This device has the best battery life of all the ones I own. Outlook and other apps are coming with the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

The HP laptop weighs in at about 5 lbs, is a quad core unit with 16 GB of RAM and a 630 GB hard drive. It can run Visual Studio 2012, run any server under visualization software, and has a full keyboard and 15″ 16:9 format display. This guys has the worst battery life, but not terrible or out of spec. This is the 3rd HP laptop I have owned, and have liked all of them.

Considering my work has taken me to powerful servers, Azure and Office 365 + SharePoint Online, and other Cloud platforms, the laptop is the one device I could actually get along without. I can see where a 13″ Surface device, with its software keyboard, could be one of the last nails in the coffin of laptops; though the ultra-books are kind of there already.

For a guy that started in IBM mainframe product development, this feels like a pretty post-PC era to me.


About generation12

I am a SharePoint/.NET consultant in the twin cities.
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