Tech Tuesday
Laptop Decisions? Waiting Might be Good

Laptop Decisions? Waiting Might be Good

Windows 8 reliance on touch screens can be a challenge.

Blogger note: Yes the column is Tech Tuesday, and I know it's Thursday…ever have one of those weeks? Let's just call this the rain-delayed version.

Every spring and fall computer writers roundup their thoughts on new computers, and this year the rise of the tablet is being keenly felt across laptop land. Moving to a laptop is a great decision because it's easy to cart your info and programs where you need them. However, tablet computers are changing this market considerably and it's starting to show in product development too.

TOUCH ENABLED: The new Windows 8 interface begs you to touch the screen. Laptop makers are running a bit behind.

Remember when glyphosate-tolerant soybeans were so popular that some crop chem companies started developing products elsewhere? Well the same could be happening with laptops. With more consumers buying tablets instead, laptop sales are in the dumper. Note: I'm writing this on a laptop (not my iPad).

What does it mean? Well it apparently means that laptop makers are a little slow on the uptake in developing new, value-priced laptops that can take full advantage of Windows 8. Walt Mossberg, at the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD page noted recently that Windows 8 is so touch-screen savvy that it makes sense to buy a laptop with a touch screen.

Here's the kicker - those laptops come in at more than $1,000 most times - which puts you in Mac land. Given that the launch of Windows 8 has been so lackluster, while consumers are buying tablets rather than laptops and you see a perfect storm. Laptop makers aren't investing a lot in development of lower-cost, touch screen enabled machines to sell.

I've often advised here that if your tech is working, there's no rush to replace. If your laptop or computer is doing fine, then this may be a good time to wait. The market needs a sub-$600 touch screen laptop with a solid processor (not some netbook with a mobile chip) that can process the maps and graphics you need to use for your farm. That doesn't exist yet.

Mossberg advises waiting until fall for a replacement and I agree. If the machine you need isn't out there - make the market come to you. It should be worth the wait. We'll let you know more as we learn about the newer laptops.

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