Road Warrior Computing Gear — I keep hearing we are in the “Post-PC” era. There are as many opinions on what that means as there are people who present them. Have the tablet and smartphone really killed the PC?

IDC expects 2012 desktop and laptops PC sales to increase 5% year over year; an increase over the 2011 year over year increase of 1.8%. Gartner has similar expectations, predicting 4.4% increase in 2011-2012 year over year.

Do these stats really matter to a true road warrior? I’m not totally convinced that there is a one-size-fits-all answer. I say this because there are many different types of road warriors. I fit into at least two versions as I have two very different jobs. By day I’m a sales rep for a technology company and by night I’m a technology writer. This article looks at the tech needs for my two diverse jobs.

The Sales Rep
As a sales rep, communication is my number one priority. To do my job, I need:

  • Telephone
  • E-mail
  • Social media
  • MS Lync for corporate communication
  • Skype or Google Hangout for personal chatting

    Coffee and tablet

    Image credit: Isaac Kendall

Presentations are a vital piece of my job as a sales rep. My must-haves are:

  • A slideshow presentation capability
  • Ability to make changes to the presentation in the field

The modern tablet satisfies these requirements. Most tablets have the ability to connect out to an office projector allowing me to run a full PowerPoint from my tablet of choice. I can edit on the tablet; this does, however, take some getting used to if the mouse and keyboard are what you have grown up with.

Remote access applications like LogMeIn or GoToMyPC can be combined with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to give the tablet user a desktop-like experience.
Travelling with just a smartphone and tablet bring the awesome advantage of light packing. (Just don’t forget to pack your tablet’s HDMI adapter for the projector.)

The Journalist/Writer
Like the sales rep, communication tools are critical to the job of a tech writer. I need to carry a light load when working an event like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and walking the 3.2 million square feet several times per day for an entire week. I can tell you with great authority, the lighter the load the better.

Unfortunately a tablet-smartphone tag-team isn’t enough. A more traditional computer experience is required for activities like Photoshop or video editing. More Ultrabooks are coming into the market that offer the power needed to process video.

Another practical reason for a notebook is Internet access. At a show like CES the Wi-Fi can get crowded and a hard-line Internet connection is still the most reliable way to work. Tablets don’t easily support a hardwire Internet connection.

The Future is Promising
There is no doubt that the touch interface offered by a tablet is very attractive and provides many advantages; up to this point any device that attempted to offer a laptop and touchscreen experience have come up very short. I have tried many convertibles over the last 12 years and have never found one that was close to good.

XPS Duo 12 Notebook

Image courtesy of Dell

Recently I had an opportunity to use a Dell XPS12 running Windows 8. It has given me hope for the future of tablet Ultrabooks. There is hope and anticipation for a Macbook Air with touchscreen. The Air has really set the bar for the Ultrabook line of computers and it is the next logical step for that product.

Everyone has unique requirements and should examine their specific hierarchy of needs when deciding on what tech they require for their particular situation. Do you want to travel light at the expense of a wider range of abilities? Or are you so tied to a full computing experience you don’t care how much it weighs?

Personally, I’ve settled in with a 7” tablet and an Ultrabook. If you see me walking the floor at CES, that is what I’ll have in my backpack.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Isaac Kendall is a wireless industry specialist and senior contributor at Email him at [email protected] and follow him @isaackendall. He is +Isaac Kendall on Google Plus.

Isaac Kendall
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Isaac Kendall is a wireless industry specialist and senior contributor at Email him at [email protected]
Isaac Kendall
Isaac Kendall
Tags: BYOD,Gadgets & Devices,Productivity