Imagine a world where you have a phone and a tablet, that is all, no dedicated laptop or desktop machine. The catch is that the tablet is a powerhouse that attaches to inexpensive docking stations. If you need a laptop attach it to the laptop dock before you leave the house. This turns the tablet into a productivity machine, making typing easy, giving you the ability to use a trackpad, and expanding the battery.
Then after your day out, working on the move, you return home and slide your tablet into a desktop docking station. The large display on your desk comes to life, your tablet has just transformed into a desktop. All of the ports you would need are included in the docking station: USB 3.0, HDMI, SD Card slots, thus expanding the functionality of this seemingly small 10-12 inch tablet.
Also when connected to the desktop dock, it begins to charge, the storage capacity expands as the media volume built into the docking station connects to the tablet. But what happens when your listening to music and you need to bring your tablet to another room? It just continues streaming seamlessly. This future world, with one tablet powering most of your form factors would be a seamless experience that takes away some of the headaches when using technology. It all just works.
That future is on it's way. The laptop dock concept is here. It is something that is arriving Friday, Oct. 26th, but I am not talking about Microsoft's Surface tablet. I am talking about the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T and others like it. This device runs the full version of Windows 8. But this current device is definitely not a powerful machine, the concepts are what excite me.
Here is the thing that I don't get about Microsoft, this concept of the hybrid PC should have been a focus of theirs, but they left the hybrid experimentation to their OEM's. Microsoft needed to change the game, not introduce another player. That's what the Surface Tablet is, another player, one that was introduced to go against Apple's dominate iPad. There is no way Microsoft can surpass the iPad, unless they change the game and truly innovate. I feel that this hybrid idea could be the thing that pushes them forward. What Microsoft decided to release was a Windows tablet that can't run any x86 apps; a device that wasn't a true hybrid. This limits productivity and seems a little like it was rushed out of the door. The future is the hybrid. When the Windows 8 pro version of the Surface Tablet comes out, hopefully they see the light.
Now when thinking about the desktop docking station, there is another device coming out that shows the beginning stages of this concept. That device is the Acer Iconia W700-6465 11.6-Inch Tablet. While it isn't connected to a large display that powers on when you attach it, or there is no media volume built into it, there are 3 extra USB 3.0 ports included on the dock. This, like the laptop dock, is the beginning of the concepts for this hybrid and seamless world.
If only Microsoft can realize they need to push forward with this initiative they may be able to push past Apple and Google. There is an enormous appeal to this type of device. It would be a true all-in-one PC. This is the future I am hoping for, I only wish Microsoft, Apple, or Google realize this and truly get behind the idea.
The only one who is behind an idea like this is Canonical, the guys who head the Ubuntu distro of Linux. They have been working on a phone to desktop dock.
While docking your phone to the desktop seems like an interesting concept, I think a tablet to desktop dock works better. The interesting thing is that these ideas are being explored, the concepts tested. I think the future will be very interesting indeed, and whoever sees the future first will find themselves ahead of the game.