What about R2D2? He showed us the way. Or maybe not.
He was a computing unit which got plugged into an X Wing.
I see the possibility that I could have a tablet (or smartphone) which is capable of running Netbeans, Libre Office, The Gimp, Emacs, bash and have plenty of storage. Then, when I get to the office I plug it into a base station which gives me a 24inch screen, nice old IBM Keyboard and Trackman mouse, Altec speakers. Lovely.
OK - So basically I'm asking for a phone running a full OS - maybe Ubuntu ... which ... err ... hang on a minute! For those of us who like to walk any reduction in the weight of my primary device as low as possible is important.
But, there's a problem here - what if I need to work where there is no base station? (By work I mean such things many people do such as coding, Netbeans, spreadsheets, Photoshop, Indesign, data entry, accounts, review writing, creating documents, adding comments to El Reg, etc etc etc ) Or what if I want to work on my lap on the sofa? I find a laptop with a 12inch screen to be just about fine for all day work use (in my case an HP Elitebook 2540p). And this would need to run a non-touch interface (Xbuntu in my case). At that size and propped up by a book or similar I can happily work all day if necessary. (Luckily, most times when I go to a client's site to work there are usually spare monitors and keyboards around which I borrow).
Also, in fact, I prefer my (12inch) laptop (on a laptray) for sofa browsing (i.e. consuming) to our Nexus 10. Middle click to open tabs, much faster typing, much more accurate mouse, multiple desktops etc. So, I prefer my little laptop for consuming information rather than our tablet.
So I don't see everything going to touch and tablets only.
My view is that on the client side there will be:
1. Tablets, Phablets, Smart mobes; touch based, always connected, loads of apps etc.
2. Lightweight (but powerful) laptops; half kilo weight, portable, long battery life, fast slick OS, easily downloadable apps, easy connections, decent keyboard, ethernet port for sorting out network stuff. And cheap! Who likes carrying around 2k's worth of laptop when they are stopping off at the bar on the way home.
3. Much better base stations. One that greets you when your device gets within Bluetooth range - 'Hiya, let me adjust your chair and connect your device to my 30inch monitor, etc'
Thinking about it - Apple have 1 and 2 with iOS and Mac OS and their various form factors (except the price). Most (especially young) coders I see these days seem to have MacBook Airs.
Otherwise (in my case) we have Android on tablets and Ubuntu/Xubuntu on the laptop.
Conclusions from this rambling...
* Chromebook - possibly a better tablet than a tablet - i.e. a better device for consuming. Great in office/schools if all the content is web based or apps are available.
* Chromebook with Xubuntu/Debian installed might be nice.
* Apple - might be doing things right - apart from the price thing.
* You can possibly see what MS with Win8.1 laptops are aiming at. Two buttons on the start up/login screen of hybrid devices might be an idea - Do you want tablet or desktop mode? My anecdotal evidence is that users are returning Win8 PC's/laptops cos they can't get on with tablet mode.
* Maybe MS should have kept to two OS's; Windows 7 and Windows Phone/Tablet. And make devices either one or the other. Trying to combine the OS's was brave - but maybe not feasible.