If you are a grand overseer of networks, people or objects then you’ll need lots of screens, a huge keyboard and a tower of PC power. Assuming you are not trying to control the world, or your company’s IT infrastructure then you probably don’t need a PC.
Or even a laptop.
There are very few business and personal tasks that can’t be accomplished better, easier and cheaper on a small tablet device. Your company probably has you using an intel-based big-box PC, they also provide you a desk to put it on. If you didn’t have a whacking great PC then you might not need a desk, or even office space. Now that’s a thought.
What else do you have around your desk that can be replaced by a tablet device or simply thrown away?
- Desk phone. That’s a bit old fashioned these days – everyone has a mobile, most have smartphones so why not those devices instead. There are lots of low-cost VOIP apps and IVR systems to better manage work telephony, done properly and it becomes location independent too.
- Printer. If you still need to print in the modern age then Internet printing works a treats, as does Wi-Fi and offices networks.
- Stationery. Do you really need it, or is your own stapler a badge of power? Thought not!.
- Drawers full of important paperwork. That you hardly ever refer to? Archive it by scanning and dump it onto a cloud drive
- You. Do you actually need to be there, 9 to 5 to do your work? Can you work from home, or both, or a desert island (just like Richard Branson does), or your Granny’s house on Wednesday afternoon before you take her to the shops?
Is your company supplied, and locked-down PC, then greatly restricting how and when you work? Probably more than you realise. But asking your company to buy you a tablet is not going to work, is it. That will cost them money, besides you probably already own a tablet – use that one instead.
Set yourself free. I last used a PC about 10 years ago. I could afford, and my title allowed me, to have fancy laptops. However, fancy laptops are not the ideal solution, they may be thin and light and some even have decent connectivity but they lack the features that make tablets the giant killers they have become.
- Ridiculously long battery life. Most go 10hrs plus (which takes it over the critical 1 day) and a small backup battery gives you another 10 hrs. Or charge it from any USB port, no need to take brick AC adapters with you.
- Hyper connected. Many tablets have super-fast Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 4.0 as standard. Not many laptops are that well connected.
- Single handed operation. Small form factor tablets really are “hand-sized” and can easily be used on the move (actually walking). This greatly increases the opportunity to interact, and therefore work
- Cheap. Lose one and you can buy another. I know it’s not ideal but a £100 Google Nexus 7 is infinitely more replaceable in terms of cost than a £1400 Google Chromebook.
- Clouded. With everything on the cloud, sharing between devices and setting up new devices is built-in. A “note” on your iPad Mini is automatically synced to your phone (and even your old legacy laptop)
- Easier to use. The tablet (and phone) operating systems around today have not had to pander to the legacy world of networked drives, duplex laser printers, cable connections, mice and 130 keys on a keyboard. They are based around touch and gesture, an altogether simpler and more intuitive approach.
I do 95% of my work on an iPad Mini, albeit with a Logitech Ultrathin keyboard for the volume I type is quite high. I have a couple of old laptops kicking around, a MacAir from 2011 and an even older MacBook Pro from 2009.
They are hardly ever used, I should donate them to a worthwhile cause. Any suggestions?
By Martin Dower, Digital Nomad