Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A plea to the Dells and HPs

Dear PC laptop manufacturers, it must suck becoming obsolete. Dell, your two-year stock chart is atrocious. HP, yours isn't much better. (Laptop manufacturers like Toshiba and Fujitsu are sufficiently diversified that I don't care about their stock for this post.)

However, Apple, which makes a laptop or two, is doing mighty swell.

What a conundrum. How could this possibly be explained? I am no CEO, but I can take a crack at it.

These days tablets are the growth market. A huge chunk of computer usage is content consumption. Watching a movie. Reading a book. Playing a game. Listening to some tunes. For these scenarios, tablets are marvelous.
But laptops retain their edge for content producers. Editing photo, video, or audio. Typing a document. Creating a presentation. Developing software. These scenarios require a decent keyboard, a precise mouse, plenty of USB ports, and decent heat dissipation. But there's something else. And it's something that no one but Apple seems to realize.

Michael and Meg, as CEOs of Dell and HP, I want you to listen and to try to understand. The examples I just listed of producing content require a large screen resolution. The larger the better. At work I use two monitors side by side in portrait mode -- and even with that, I am often desperately moving and resizing windows to make more room. The craptops that you peddle, with their standard resolution of 1366x768, are an embarrassment.

Google's 7" tablet, which I threw money at, has a resolution of 1280x800, at one-fourth the physical size of your screen. The new 10" tablet is 2560x1600 pixels, which is significantly larger than your screen, at half the size and weight. I could see myself doing real work on it.

Apple understands that laptops are for producers. A 13" screen on a MacBook Pro is 2560x1600, and a 15" screen goes all the way up to 2880x1800! I can be happy with that.

But say I have plenty of money and want a PC instead of a Mac. No one is prepared to meet the demand! Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, and probably all others max out at 1920x1080. Without any hyperbole, what choice do I have but to buy an Apple?

Whether this is due to a failure to adapt to the market, or due to a fear of investment, it's a sign of a dying industry.

I can only hope that Microsoft's Surface (running Windows 8 Pro) will have a good resolution. If it does, I plan to buy it.

If you're a PC laptop manufacturer: For the love of all that is holy, build a portable computer with a 2012-worthy resolution. Despite your fervent wishes, watching an HD movie in full-screen is not the epitome of my computing experience. Meet the demands of content producers, or die.