Question by : Do the “netbook” and “tablet” form factors fit well into the long term evolution of home computing technology?
First off, just a forwarning: This is an opinion question, therefore I don’t think it’s right to pick a “Best Answer”. This question will be going to vote.

I just read an article saying that the sale of netbooks are slowing now that people have more money for traditional notebook PCs, and it got me thinking: do netbooks and tablets really fit in with where computers are heading?

My personal views are that computers are moving towards a three-tiered form factor: A stationary tier, a semi-portable tier, and a fully-portable tier.
The stationary tier is currently fulfilled by what we call Desktops. Computers in the stationary tier hold the most processing power and data storage capacity, and act as a central server for the home. It is my belief that as computers evolve, the “Desktop” as we know it will cease to exist, and that it will merge with televisions to form a single, do-all flat panel unit that gets hung up on our walls.
The semi-portable tier is handled by notebooks (aka laptops). Not quite as much processing power or storage capacity as your stationary tier, but still has a decent visual display and keyboard, so it is comfortable for doing lengthy tasks while away from home. It has a little bit of storage space itself, but is able to link up to your first-tier computer and stream movies/documents/whatever that it doesn’t have room to hold locally. The current clamshell design I think is most efficient, and will likely stay for quite a long time, much in the same way the pedal+steering wheel design has stayed with cars pretty much since inception. I do not feel that netbooks really fit in to this category, because their displays/keyboards are too small to make performing long tasks (like writing a paper) comfortable. Likewise, I feel tablets don’t quite fit either due to their complete lack of keyboard.
Lastly, the fully-portable tier is taken up by our mobile devices, our cell phones. With this tier portability is the key component, with processing power, data storage, and efficient interfacing taking a back seat. These are always on your person and always at the ready to perform quick tasks such as sending messages or updating a calendar, but doing something lengthy like writing a report is uncomfortable and better suited for a second or first tier computer. Can link up to the data stores on your first-tier machine to stream movies, documents, and other media that it doesn’t have room to store itself.

So there is my opinion. I think that netbooks and tablets may continue to fill niche markets where there are special needs, but for the broad scope of the computer-using population, I don’t really think they’ll ever be common place. I would love everyone’s views on the netbooks/tablet’s longevity as a form factor, and while your at it your opinion on my three-tiered idea of computer evolution would be great too.

Again, all of this, and all of the answers, is nothing but conjecture and opinion. Feel free to answer and get your two points, but do not expect a “best answer” selection from me. Everyone is entitled to their views.

Best answer:

Answer by Colanth
For me a netbook is too small. I have big fingers and, at almost 68, less than perfect vision.

A tablet is a solution looking for a problem. I have no need to use a computer where I can’t sit and type on a keyboard. (I don’t even like using a notebook keyboard.) If I need fast mobile access (internet or to take a short note) I have a cellphone with a little keyboard. If I need the power of a tablet, I have a pretty powerful notebook, but I’ll find a place to sit. Maybe if I were a salesman and the company used electronic order forms (I’ve designed more than one system that works that way), but not for my own use.

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