Slewis: you've taken to posting my thoughts for me, and I appreciate that. Saves time
I guess I'll dredge up my old form factor rant, haven't used it for a while now....
There are things that fit in your pocket, like the iPhone. They are great, because you can literally have them on you at all times.
Then there are laptops. They're great, because they provide a full computing experience in a portable form factor.
And then there is the endlessly championed "in-between" something something that never seems to go anywhere. Why is that?
Because as soon as you get bigger than pocket size, you've left behind the "always have it on you" advantage, and you might as well go straight to the "full computing experience" level, AKA a sub-portable laptop.
I don't want to carry around a 5x7 thing that has all of the compromises of a handheld without being pocket sized, anymore than I want to carry around a 8x10 thing that has most of the bulk of a sub-notebook without having all the functionality.
That's the reason there isn't any natural "middle ground" between pocket sized and sub-notebook sized: either it fits in my shirt pocket, or it doesn't, in which case the next logical size is "big enough to accommodate a keyboard."
So, OK, you say, I want a sub-notebook sized tablet. And I say, once I have a form factor that accommodates a more-or-less full sized keyboard, why do I want to leave that off?
Because a keyboard is so incredibly heavy and massive? It just isn't. And what do you get in trade-off (and it's always
about trade-offs) for your slightly thicker, slightly heavier has-a-real-keyboard sub-laptop? Much, much, much more functionality.
For a pure tablet to justify jettisoning a physical keyboard, it would have to offer a great deal of size or weight advantages in order to offset all that functionality, and it doesn't.
But, you say, iPhone shows us the wonders of a virtual keyboard! But what iPhone shows us is how smart UI designers can make a virtue of a limitation and cram functionality in that all-important "fits in my pocket" segment. Once we leave that behind, that's pointless.
I'm with Slewis-- I would be interested in a tablet/sub-notebook hybrid that lets me carry around a tablet if I just want to look at the internet or watch a movie, but provides a proper keyboard when I want to use a real computer. For that huge improvement in convenience, I am willing to add a few ounces and .25" of thickness. Who wouldn't-- it's basically a win-win.
Just fixating on the "coolness" of a pure tablet doesn't take into account some pretty basic truths about how people use computers.