The arrival of the ASD–One size doesn’t fit all—never did, never will

Posted: 08.20.12

I have a 13-inch common screwdriver, and an 11-inch, an 8-inch, a 6-inch, and a 4-inch Phillips. I can’t use the 13-inch for jobs the 4-inch can do, nor can the 6-inch handle jobs designed for the 11-inch.

I have a 4.6-inch superphone, a 7-inch tablet, a 10.5-inch transformer, a 13.5-inch Ultrabook, a 15-inch laptop, and a combo three-monitor 50-inch system—and each one does a different job. I don’t use any one of them all the time, and many times I can’t use one or more of them for what I want to do, just like the screwdrivers.

Screwdrivers, good ones, cost from $4 to $20; you can actually spend more if you’re really particular. Computers cost from free (with a service plan) to $1,200 or more. Not everyone can afford to have a half dozen. But most people have at least two (a smartphone and something else), and many people have three (a smartphone, a notebook, and either a desktop or a tablet). Very few people only have one, because no one machine can really do an adequate job for all the functions that all the others can do specifically, or at least they can’t do it very well.


I read an editorial the other day by a writer who bought a 7-inch tablet. He took it home, and after a week or so lost track of it, assuming it was buried under some books or papers. He wasn’t concerned except for the self loathing of having made what he now considers an expensive impulse purchase. His main lament was the reason it was under something was because he didn’t have a use for it.

I have tool kit that has every conceivable tip there is (see photo)—I use, occasionally, one or two of them. I don’t have a use for the other ones (although I do like having them if for no other reason than to admire them). There are also tools in the kitchen, and I have no idea what they’re for, or how to use them, but they sure look neat.

Tablets are like that—they have questionable functionality, but they sure look neat. My Nexus 7 is one of the coolest looking devices I have. It actually fits in the back pocket of my jeans. It goes with me on all my trips, and is with me every night at home or away. Why? Because it has replaced the last Kindle I lost (that would be number three)—it’s my eReader. Other than doing the initial testing of the device, I haven’t done very much email or web surfing, or game playing, or listened to music or watched a video, but it’s comforting to know I could.

But I don’t need to do email on the Nexus; it’s not comfortable for that, my Ultrabook is much better. Moreover, I’m not going to read my science fiction novels at night or on the airport bus on my Ultrabook. And unlike some folks, I’m not taking pictures with my transformer, Nexus, or Ultrabook, even though they all have cameras, but I do take a lot of them with my Galaxy II if my DSC isn’t handy.

They’re all ASDs, and we’re training each other on when and where they should be used.

I just finished my portion of our quarterly report, Market Watch, and was thinking about how so many pundits want tablets to kill notebooks, and notebooks to kill desktops, and smartphones to kill them all. Why? That’d be like Jeeps killing motorcycles, and SUVs killing trucks, and, well I think you get the idea.


We need them all, and no single one can do everything we need done for us. Rather than being so anxious to forecast the doom and death of one species, wouldn’t it be better to be happy that we now have so many opportunities and choices? They’re not replacements, they’re partners. I’m happy as hell to have them.