Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Feb 2014 23:10 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

So, convertibles. Laptop/tablet hybrids. I think their popularity started with early Asus Transformers, but since then, they've become a pretty big staple in the device landscape. Since I'm in the market for a replacement for my dreadful ARM Surface RT, I've been looking at this market segment again, and have noted that there's a lot of choice out there.

After the dreadful experience with the Surface RT, I'm steering clear of anything Windows RT-related. An x86-based convertible Windows 8.1 machine, however, still has some major appeal due to its excellent desktop application support that fits in nicely with my existing workstation. The tablet side of Windows 8.1, however, is still woefully underserved, with very few applications, and even those that do exist are of abysmal quality.

As far as hardware goes, the Lenovo Miix 2 10" (not to be confused with the older Miix 2!) has really grabbed by attention. It's supposed to end up at around EUR 400-500, which is acceptable. The Surface 2 Pro is also interesting, but quite expensive - although it does have a far better processor than the 10" Miix 2. There's also an 11" Miix 2 which sports the same processor as the Surface 2 Pro, but 11" seems a bit large in my view.

I've also been looking at Android convertibles, and here I run into a bit of trouble - most of them tend to run outdated versions of Android, and I'm really not looking forward to figuring out which of them have the best AOSP support. Do any of you have any suggestions here? Any models to look for? Experiences with custom, AOSP-like ROMs?

An even bigger question regarding Android on convertibles is just how well Android handles laptop-like computing. Does it do a good job of it, considering where Android comes from? It seems like to me that where Windows has the upper hand on the laptop side of the convertible, Android rules on the tablet side of it. Am I right in thinking this is so?

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A fried of mine has an Asus Transformer. For reasons that I cannot understand Asus delivers these with old Android versions. Once he rooted it and put a fresh Cyanogenmod ROM on it, the machine became fast & fluent.

I think the OEMs reasoning is "Hey, let's put an older Android version on this machine, plus some bloatware. So that the machine is s l o w. Then our customers will run to the shop and buy our latest model, which we market as 'much faster'. But which isn't really because........of our "cunning plan" heh heh.....Rinse and repeat." Of course this is pure stupidiy of the OEMs. Sell a crippled machine and expect to keep customers? What have they been smoking? Anyway - just buy a convertible and put your own hardware on it.

BTW, a nice alternative would be (as mentioned before) a 10-12" netbook. Put a light linux version on it and you have a very nice gadget.

Edited 2014-02-19 11:39 UTC

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