Forrester: Microsoft's New Surface Makes A Strong Case For Device Consolidation

InsightaaS: Forrester Research is one of the world’s leading IT analyst firms — it is generally thought to be a key source of insight into and influence over use of new technologies. The company’s blog page contains commentary from its analysts, and we frequently highlight Forrester's insights in Across the Net.

Today's post is different from previous posts, though, in that we are using Forrester's "Microsoft's New Surface Makes A Strong Case For Device Consolidation" as an example of a perspective that we have heard from several quarters (including Microsoft itself), to the effect that tablets are becoming capable enough to replace laptops and reduce the number of devices employed by an individual user. Truth be told, in the research we worked on with Techaisle, we saw no evidence that users are demanding this type of consolidation. Indeed, we found (and continue to see) strength at the extremes of the "endpoint continuum" shown below: smartphones are everywhere, tablet penetration is poised to increased by almost 50%, and desktops are surging, while notebooks - the device closest to the point at which requirements for both content creation and consumption can be addressed - are slumping. We see plenty of evidence suggesting that suppliers would like to create a category at this centrepoint - in addition to the new Surface, 2-in-1s and Android PCs are targeted here - but we see little evidence of demand-side pull for these products. Users seem content to use the best device for the task, and to manage across multiple OSes. Our quarrel here isn't really with Forrester's observation that the new Surface can consolidate multiple devices - but we do take some issue with the assumption (again, not just Forrester's) that there is a burning need for a device of this type.

Yesterday, Microsoft released the Surface Pro 3, a 12" touchscreen device billed as "the tablet that can replace your laptop." Sporting some hard-core computing bona fides (including Intel processors and Windows 8.1) and new innovations (like an active stylus that activates note-taking outside of the lock screen), the device in its third generation offers a new level of mobility despite having a larger screen than its predecessors in the Surface line. It's worth taking a look at...

Microsoft designed the Surface Pro 3 with a variety of seemingly incremental improvements that, once assembled in the same device, make it surprisingly innovative. In fact, you should think about it as quite a departure from the earlier Surface models. With this product, Microsoft makes its best yet argument for device consolidation for the workforce, potentially allowing some workers to stop carrying separate laptop and tablet devices in favor of Pro 3. For consumers, the Surface Pro 3 doesn't act as a substitute for popular 8" form factor tablets, but it might make for a good laptop replacement.

That's not to say it's (to quote the cliche) any sort of "iPad killer"...

Read the entire post:

Edit: here's the graphic I referred to in the post: