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What the phablet?

November 23, 2014

2011 to 2013 to 2014

There’s been some more device churn in my life since I last blogged about this topic a year ago. Actually, since I last blogged full-stop, but let’s not get into that. So I’m going to take you on a bit of a journey with this post… bear with me.

2011 was the year of Apple for me. MacBook Pro, iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS (and soon after iPhone 4s). The rationale was simple back then: the iPhone was great but too slow and small for heavy browsing or videos (particularly when travelling) so the iPad was required. But the iPad was no computer (and still isn’t) so the MacBook Pro was needed (and MacBook Air’s weren’t quite there yet).

But why all Apple? In my opinion there just wasn’t a better smartphone or tablet on the market at the time and MacBooks seemed fresh, new, innovative and interesting. I wanted to give it a try and every Windows laptop I looked at seemed boring and ugly in comparison (Apple marketing at it’s best!).

By 2013 I’d upgraded my iPhone from the 4s to the 5s and I blogged about why. But a Google Nexus 7 bumped the iPad 2 as my tablet of choice and the MacBook Pro was replaced by a Dell XPS 12 – a hybrid Windows 8 laptop/tablet.

Why?

Simple. Windows 8 was exciting and the Dell hardware they packed it in was interesting (kind of like why I went MacBook before, huh?). And there’s no arguing with the fact that Windows just makes more sense for my needs (something I conveniently disregarded to justify the Mac back then). So then the iPad 2 suddenly felt needlessly bulky and I couldn’t justify lugging it around as well as my Dell. And next to the iPhone 5s, which has a better screen and punchier processor, the iPad 2 just seemed unnecessary. But I still longed for light, compact device for reading and videos when commuting and travelling that could slip unobtrusively into my laptop bag. Enter the Nexus 7.

Now, just a year later, the Surface Pro 3 has come out and answered all my prayers. It succeeds where the Dell failed – it can actually be used as a tablet, has excellent battery life, has a great pen that’s functional and, as a laptop, it doesn’t miss a beat. This is just a natural progression from the Dell for me, really.

The real surprise is my new phone.

I’ve finally ditched the iPhone after 5 loyal years, which shocked many of my friends and family in itself, but replaced it with a Nokia Lumia 930. A Windows Phone. Wow. Bold.

Nokia-Lumia-930

Why?

I truly believe in Windows as an operating system and that Microsoft is the future once again.

No, really! Why does everyone chuckle or roll their eyes when I deliver that line??

Microsoft sets itself apart from all the other players out there with the Windows Phone OS and I think they’re onto something. It wasn’t until the OS matured into Windows Phone 8.1 and then Microsoft acquired Nokia that they got my attention but they certainly have.  And it felt like it was finally time to give it a shot because nothing else was really inspiring me out there. (For the record, I did rock a Windows Mobile 5 smartphone back in the day so I’ve also had some interest).

What do I think so far? Well, let’s just say that this is a topic that can stand as a blog post all on its own… and I will endeavour to write it (and within a year 🙂 ).

You’ll notice the omission of a tablet in 2014 as well. This is, perhaps, unfair to my Nexus 7 because I still have it and I still love it. But the portability and battery life of the Surface Pro 3 plus the large Lumia 930 screen has resulted in the poor Nexus 7 suffering the same fate as my iPad 2: I can’t justify carrying it around any more. It now lives on my bedside table for reading and light browsing. Incidentally, my iPad 2 actually lives on the kitchen counter where my wife uses it for recipes, music and entertaining (or distracting) the little one with kids games.

Through this latest device shuffle I’ve realised some things about how I like to use devices and what makes sense for someone with my lifestyle and habits. I used to want big computers with large screens because I wanted power over portability – maybe that was more necessary for my job in the past (and “portable” used to be synonymous with “under-powered”). I used to want a small compact phone – maybe it was more important for it to fit comfortably in my pocket because I used to go out a lot more outside of work and without a bag (yeah, I’m getting old!). So I used to need something in between.

Today, I think a laptop/tablet like the Surface Pro 3 nails it in that end of the spectrum. And on the other end – could Apple, with their larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, or Google, with the monstrous Nexus 6, be on to something?

Microsoft; how do you respond? Please don’t disappoint.

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  1. The Apple Of My Eye | Amit's JARB

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