Look what happened to Apple back in the mid-1990s. One of today’s buzzwords is ‘hybrid.’ Toyota made a success with hybrid automobiles; electric engines, batteries, and a small gasoline engine to achieve higher gas mileage.
What about the hybrid notebook tablets?
By far, Toyota has the most success selling Prius hybrids, though other manufacturers have tried to compete, some with larger cars and better mileage.
What is Toyota’s secret in the Prius? I think it’s a combination of the hybrid’s name and the looks of the vehicle.
It’s not a Corolla or Camry with hybrid components bolted on. The Prius is a whole new design built to get the highest mileage possible, be eco-friendly, still look like an attractive and modern vehicle, yet distinct from the competition.
Why haven’t hybrid notebook tablets caught on? It’s not for lack of trying. Microsoft just launched the third version in Surface Pro 3, yet sales continue to lag. Why?
People don’t buy a drill because they want a drill. They buy a drill because they want a hole. People don’t buy a hybrid because they want a hybrid. They buy a Prius because they want a modern, eco-friendly car with high mileage.
That’s why competing hybrids have not sold as well as the Prius. Likewise, hybrid notebook tablets haven’t sold well compared to Apple’s iPad and it’s supposedly diminishing share of the tablet market.
Apple has sold nearly 200-million iPads, a non-hybrid device that doesn’t try to be a luxury car with high gas mileage. It’s a tablet. A tablet so good that after three years the best copycat Samsung can do is make a slightly thinner, slightly lighter competing tablet at the same price.
The iPad, like the Mac, iPod, and iPhone before it, has a distinct personality; a purpose. It knows what it is and what it is not.
The Surface Pro 3, along with other hybrid Windows notebook tablets, doesn’t sell well because it’s not a good tablet (have you seen the size of that thing?), and though it’s a great notebook, it’s competing at the high end of the spectrum where Apple rules with the MacBook; hence, lower sales numbers.
Maybe some day in the future technology will catch up to the premise of notebook tablets; the everything device. Maybe one day there’ll be a hybrid device which is smaller and lighter and more powerful than an iPad Air which acts perfectly like a tablet but also runs Windows.
For now, notebook hybrids remain a novelty, and everything device that doesn’t do anything really well; a Frankendevice which comes across more as a notebook sans keyboard in an era when traditional PC sales– notebook and desktop– are taking a much deserved dive.
The future is mobile, with small, light, highly capable devices with a millions apps from which to choose. A notebook tablet doesn’t fit in that world.