Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

iOS and Android turn tablets into oversized phones, so no surprise they lose against phones - they have the same (or usually worse, at a given price point) capabilities while being larger, thus less convenient to carry and more fragile.

These days I'm not using much Windows for desktop (HN took over the time I had for games), but I do sincerely hope this OS will live on for at least couple more years, because Microsoft is the only company that knows how to do tablets. Seriously. A proper operating system, with real capabilities and proper user interface that can make use of the tablet form, makes a world of a difference. And I say that as someone who owned a decent Android tablet in the past. As someone who's friends and family with people owning currently decent Android tablets. My little Windows 10 el-cheapo tablet/netbook I picked up second-hand for ~$130 is much more useful than the top-of-the-line Samsung tablet offering. Hell, it already earned me many times more than its own value back, as it's good enough to do some meaningful dev work on the bus/train.




Windows did try the same as Android and iOS with Windows RT, thankfully that was a disaster. Netbooks are ridiculously useful, I used to have a 15 minute bus ride to work with an Asus EEE and would manage to fill that 15 minutes with active moonlighting development time every day. The work I did on that bus became the frontend for what now 10 years later is a $50m company.

I realise I'm making a slightly different point as I'm purely talking about netbooks/laptops. But having the full power of an OS on a tablet is definitely the way to go.

Certainly that's one of the bad points about iOS and Android they are so locked down that you have to jump through hoops if you wanted to use them as a work machine.

For my current job I bought myself a $350 refurbished Thinkpad (T430 8GB SSD core i5), this brings me in all my income. You can compare this to my nephew that is paying $1000 for an iPhone X because he got bored of his iPhone 8.

Further to that I bought exactly the same spec Thinkpad for my 5 year old daughter. The Thinkpad T-series are great because you can pour a litre of liquid over them without problem [0] plus they're built like a brick, so basically perfect for kids. My daughter immediately covered the grey brick with shiny stickers and gave it a name (she has an iPad, but that's always just called 'iPad'). It has the full capability to do everything she'll ever need in theory for the rest of her life/career. Further to that it's got Ubuntu installed and I can then install Sugar [1] for her to use (the same used for One Laptop Per Child).

The possible drawback is that it doesn't have a touchscreen. But with my experiment of buying a laptop with a touch screen I found I pretty much never wanted to use the touch screen, it's a slower interface than keyboard and mouse. You want the screen in front of you at arms length but then you have to reach with your arm to touch the screen.

I can now teach her over the years what it means to have real freedom with your software and hardware.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U5n2WaMMHo

[1]: https://sugarlabs.org/


Sadly, netbooks seem to be gone. Even chromebooks are full-size, full-weight.

Do you know of termux.com, for linux without rooting? It's basically a linux distribution, adjusted for android's slightly odd filesystem. The app itself is tiny, and you install from its repository. e.g. there's latex, youtube-dl, curl, vim, clang, ecj, python, ruby, perl, lua, erlang etc.

A bluetooth keyboard completes the DIY linux netbook... sadly, bluetooth keyboards are also almost gone, presumably as people adjust themselves to "touch" typing.


I have both a recent iPad and a Dell 2-1. For "consumption" I find my iPad far more usable. The 4/3 screen is preferable to the 16:9 screen on my laptop and of course it's a lot lighter. The battery life of my iPad is amazing.

For the occasional typing, I use my same mini Bluetooth keyboard for my computer and my iPad.

I had an original iPad bought in mid 2011 but it didn't get much use - it was no more than a "big iPhone".

But a lot changed since then.

- Cellular connectivity is a lot cheaper. I pay $20 a month for unlimited data with T-Mobile.

- I got rid of cable and use Netflix/Hulu/DirecTv and Plex.

- PluralSight is available and I use that for watching technical videos.

- The screen resolution is a lot better for ebooks. - better productivity software from Apple, Microsoft and Google.

- iOS has made iPad specific improvements - split screen, picture in picture, and drag and drop.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: