Laptop vs Mobile

I took a two day trip Thursday and Friday of this past week. When packing for the trip I debated about bringing my laptop (an 11" macbook air) with me. In the end, I decided to bring it.

I didn't use the laptop on the trip except to write yesterday's blog post. I do a lot of cutting and pasting of links, quotes, etc when I blog and I find that it is still pretty inconvenient to do that on a mobile.

But other than that, I used my android phone for everything else over the course of two days and I was fairly productive.

My friend Bijan wrote a similar post recently about his new iPad3. I have not been able to wrap my head around using an iPad outside my home and office. I don't travel with it the way many do.

But regardless of whether its an iPad, an iPhone, or an Android, it is clear that many of us are starting to leave our laptops home when we travel and rely entirely on mobile devices.

It would be interesting to think about the things that are still inconvenient to do on mobile (like long form blogging) and figure out if there were ways to make it more convenient to do that on a mobile device. It seems like there could be some interesting startup opportunities in solving these remaining hurdles to ditching the laptop entirely.


Comments (Archived):

  1. kidmercury

    stylus. jobs said if you’re thinking stylus you lost already, although i’m a believer. how else are you going to get input on a touch screen? i don’t think keyboard is the answer. maybe some UX genius will figure out something else. but as for now i think a stylus is still needed. the trick is designing it the right way. lots of opportunities here. 

    1. Modernist

      stylus + Glass?

    2. Shyam Subramanyan

      I’d have to pack 30 of them for a one week trip if I need to find one towards the end of the trip.

      1. kidmercury

        assuming there is no UX innovation that prevents loss of stylus…..

        1. Shyam Subramanyan

          Nope. Just the generous me leaving stuff behind for others to find

    3. Luke Chamberlin

      As a good conspiracy theorist you know that once we make the switch to Newspeak a keyboard will hardly be necessary anymore! The language and grammar will be so simple that we’ll be able to communicate by tapping on brightly colored shapes.

      1. kidmercury

        but as any true kook knows the biggest conspiracy of all is that the world is always conspiring in our favor…..and so i think forward progress towards greater productivity and information will continue!

  2. Timothy Meade

    Let me propose a UX:paste all the links at the top – the app grabs the title with a crawler and maybe a summaryall the links get added either with title or keywords as autocomplete entries in the editor.

    1. fredwilson

      seems too automated

  3. LE

    Email (and having shell access to systems) is critical to me so when I travel I bring two 15″ laptops Macbook Pro’s in addition to my wife’s laptop 13″ Macbook. As well as a clone of the hard drive.  And also a mifi in case there is no wifi. At work I have a 30″ Apple display next to a 24″ Apple display. So even using  a laptop slows down my efficiency. For me it is both keyboard and size of screen that matters.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      I agree:  Now we are well on the way to having the computer, with several cores, several TB of mass storage, etc., in something the size of a pocket watch, but so far for many people a regular keyboard is crucial and, for a screen, either need special glasses or a real screen of reasonable size, e.g., 17″, hopefully larger, often much larger.It’s amazing that as desktops have moved to multiple screens of over a square foot each, mobile devices with screens the size of an index card have become popular!For more, as usual, there are transportation analogies: We have walking around in the house in socks or slippers. Then we have skate boards, tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles, ridiculous, absurd, nearly useless, too expensive, too small ‘cars’ (e.g., electrics before sufficiently good batteries or capacitors), small cars, large cars, SUVs, light trucks, heavy trucks, various airplanes, trains, coal trains, cargo container ships, whatever Rutan and Musk can get into orbit, etc. So, tough to expect to have one computer to rule them all. So, for> It seems like there could be some interesting startup opportunities in solving these remaining hurdles to ditching the laptop entirely.seems to me to be a bit premature. Any hope at all? For the display, sure, use some funny glasses. For the keyboard, hmm, …. Maybe some data gloves or RFID finger tip position sensors with an image of a virtual keyboard visible on the funny glasses. Maybe have a keyboard on flexible plastic that can roll up for travel.But for now my goals are something easier: I’d like a better, real, physical keyboard! First, the feel of the keys should be better. Second, a big waste of time is getting my right hand back to ‘home’ position after I use the mouse; I’d like it to be easier for my hands to find ‘home’ position without my looking. Third, there was an old keyboard by Anykey that had a second copy of the function keys on the left of the keyboard. Terrific! I had my editor programmed to recognize all those keys, Shift and the keys, Ctrl and the keys, and Alt and the keys, so had lots of nice single keystroke options (each keystroke fired off a particular editor macro)! My left hand was nicely programmed to use all those options! I wore out three of those keyboards. When I converted to a more ordinary keyboard, I lost some productivity. Last, my keyboard does not easily tilt toward me. Using a piece of 2 x 4 is not so good! Some adjustable legs on the back side would be good. Also better rubber feet to keep the keyboard from moving around too much would help. I’d like a better keyboard!I can see why some people like mobile devices for some things, but, for me, to heck with ‘mobile’! Instead, I want much better system and software documentation, installation, management, administration, backup, recovery, and security, especially security. For the security problems, there’s been no excuse for any serious security problems at least since the MIT Project MAC system Multics. Now the tech news is awash with stories about a serious virus on Macs. I have to believe that there are or will be security problems on mobile devices.There’s a fundamental problem with mobile devices that can too easily be lost, stolen, or confiscated and that have a lot of data and security problems.

  4. Guest

    Yep, lots of opportunity and as you may have guessed I’m about to discuss my way of thinking. Which is usually different than everyone else’s way of thinking. Will I ever fit in?Don’t think of each device by name, like iPhone, iPad, etc., it’s bad thinking. Why? Well look at how some people use an iPad with a cover that can be closed to protect the screen. That’s just like a laptop. In fact, an iPad with closable cover is missing out on the opportunity to put a keyboard where that cover is.Think of devices by features and then think of what features fit you best. If you don’t like having a keyboard than use a device without one. If you want a keyboard use a device that has one. It doesn’t matter what “category” each device has been put into by someone else. What’s important is how the device affects your productivity (just as you mentioned).In the end get one device that does it all (your way) and stop having to figure out which one to take along.

  5. Dale Allyn

    This is always an interesting topic to me. I’m on the opposite end of the scale on this topic, in that I don’t like the limitations imposed by mobile options. Even the iPad makes me a little nuts. I always travel with laptop, but this is because I sit in front of two 27″ monitors all day (and then retire to a 13″ laptop late at night). Anything smaller for work makes me a bit cranky. 😉 Portable devices (i.e. phones and tablets) are fine for consuming for me, but I’m not a fan of using them for production – even blog posting or commenting. 

    1. fredwilson

      Im commenting from my android

      1. Dale Allyn

        I know that that is common practice for you (and many others). I just spend so much time on a full-size keyboard that I don’t like it. And I prefer larger viewports for reading as well. E.g. I read AVC in chronological order and enjoy refreshing occasionally to maintain context of the conversation. I always sort “oldest first”. (Sure, I can follow it otherwise, but prefer the corrected context.) It’s just not (as) enjoyable on mobile for me. If I’m not at my computer working (or reading) I’m probably purposefully not engaged.  

        1. fredwilson

          It wasnt meant as anything other than an observation

          1. Dale Allyn

            No, no, I didn’t take it as anything other that. Just a conversation comparing preferences and habits. I’m currently glued to bigger devices right now to accomplish what I’m working on, and that may change at some point where mobile devices will be more comfortable for me. I did not intend any judgement or attitude in my comments whatsoever. Just a fun chat.

  6. testtest

    google glasses for viewing and the mobile as the input device…

    1. fredwilson


  7. LIAD

    I’ve learnt my lesson about leaving the laptop at home and travelling with just an ipad.Invariably something unexpected crops up, the iPad can’t handle it, and you find yourself in some expensive hotel business lounge or decrepit Internet cafe cursing yourself for making a bad decision.It’s like the old adage – ” it’s better to have a gun and not need one, then need a gun and not have one”.

  8. Rohan

    I like the big screen!Man. I’m so old school…900 years old thinking, that is.. Like it, I do.

  9. Dan Lewis

    This is going to sound obnoxious, perhaps. If it does, I apologize in advance, that’s not my intent.The short version: Sometimes the tools matter. “Inconvenience” is part of the process, and not, really, inconvenience. In this case, I’m referring to the fact that it’s easier and better to write long-form content on a laptop than it is a mobile device.Like you Fred, I write long-form content (as in, more than a few sentences long) on a regular, basically daily basis. It’s a much different experience — writing it, not reading it — than say, writing a tweet or a quick email or a (short) blog comment. I can do it easily on my laptop with full keyboard, mouse pad, copy/pasting tools, multiple tabs, etc. I’ve actually found significant success drafting articles on the blackberry, but not anywhere near the point where they’re ready for publication. I bet I’d find the same on the iPad.A robust tool set is required for this, and unfortunately, it’s not likely to become more mobile. Those who try and write such things on smartphones do so in a way which is obvious to the reader — there’s less depth. Smartphones (and tablets) have huge advantages — portability, obviously — but those advantages simply aren’t always worth the tradeoff.I think that, as smartphones and tables evolve, allowing us to do more and more of this long-form writing, long-form writing is going to suffer. I think, in fact, we’re already seeing that in other regards. Those of us who eschew these adaptations and stick with laptops and, yes, desktops, are going to come out with a better product.

  10. Jerome Camblain

    Still can’t work an Excel sheet on mobile; Got caught the other day reading a contract and could not see the outlined changes from each party on  Word on Ipad.Not convinced I can leave/live without a laptop for business usage; mostly to work during the trip.

    1. fredwilson


    2. William Mougayar

      We should be able to rip the screen off a notebook and use it as a Tablet. And by the same token, we should be able to bolt the notebook’s base that has the keyboard into a smart phone.Plug and play, or plug and go. We need that.

      1. Brad

         you can already do that with an ipad and a keyboard.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Do you see an advantage to an iPad with keyboard over an 11″ MacBook Air? The ability to separate is an obvious difference, but I have a friend who uses this combo in a leather folio and the result is larger than a nude 11″ MBA. For me, the latter allows much more work to be accomplished (no comparison). I like all the gadgets, gear and goodies, but feel that sometimes “the old way” still works great.  

          1. LE

            I bought the first ipad and then sold it.I’m actually going to buy the new one now and test exactly that. To see how productive I can be with that setup. The only issue is that I really don’t know what it’s going to replace in my workflow. That’s why I’ve been putting off making the purchase.I did find out that if I get the wifi + 4g model and I get Verizon where I am they have LTE. And they will allow you to tether for no additional charge (with iphone there is an extra cost if you don’t jailbrake and you want to tether).So by doing that I can pay $20/month and get rid of the $50/month I am paying for the mifi that I don’t really even use.

          2. Dale Allyn

            Larry, you add an interesting layer by bringing in the 4g/LTE elements. My wife uses the iPad and loves it, and a keyboard would be a bit more convenient for her. It’s interesting that her number one issue is that she’d like to prop it up with more control to read from it… kinda like a laptop hinge. 😉 I’m an applications guy, i.e. I use a wide range of software (there are 50 icons across my dock and I use all of them regularly, often several at once) so other than reading AVC while eating mango in the hotel coffee shop at breakfast, the iPad is not great for me. It is fun though. I think if I were more in “vacation mode” and less in “work-aholic mode” I’d have a different view to this whole topic. 

        2. William Mougayar

          But it’s only a partial solution. True, you can use a wireless keyboard, but how about the screen? Or using a keyboard with a smartphone perhaps.

          1. Timothy Meade

            The closest I’ve seen so far is the Transformer and Transformer Prime by ASUS. The with Ubuntu using X or Wayland on the tegra, or something like my AndroiX would seem to be the perfect tradeoff. Android isn’t quite usable as a desktop laptop but it’s getting there.

          2. William Mougayar

            I’ll check these out. Thanks!

  11. William Mougayar

    I often think why we need 3 devices: a pc notebook, a tablet and a smartphone. And Apple has got me at the $1000 range (macbook air 13), the $500 range (iPad) and $150 (iPhone subsidized by carrier).Like you, I’m finding less usage for the iPad, as it’s getting squeezed between the smartphone and the MB Air which I love now since I switched to Mac a month ago.What we need is total modularity between screen, keyboard and processing unit. I wonder why portable keyboards haven’t taken off.

  12. William Mougayar

    If you could bolt a decent keyboard to your smartphone and a flat screen, then mobile becomes like a full PC. Wouldn’t you like that?

    1. Jerome Camblain

      and I would find a name for this great device such as…a macbook air.

      1. William Mougayar

        I love my macbook air, but I can’t use its screen on my iphone, nor its keyboard on an iPad.

        1. panterosa,

          sounds like you want something like my friend’s combo – iPhone, iPad and keyboard. She’s a writer and now travels that way and swears by it.

          1. William Mougayar

            But also need the power of a pc with that.

  13. Guest

    In other words it’s back to modular. Buy a CPU and plug in a keyboard and monitor of choice. If the CPU is small enough to carry in your pocket then you plug in a small monitor and go. If you’re at home you plug in the big monitor and big keyboard at your desk.

  14. Luke Chamberlin

    For me the biggest advantage to a laptop is the keyboard.Not just for typing, but for all of the keyboard shortcuts to open new windows and tabs, copy and paste text, or find words on a page that make navigating the web much, much quicker on a laptop.

  15. RichardF

    Since I have had my galaxy 10.1 I have dropped taking my laptop if I know all I will be doing is email or web based. I really like swipely so don’t miss the keyboard.A mobile phone screen is just too small for me to do anything but very light email.For anything technical, presentations or spreadsheets a laptop is essential for me. I have considered getting a bluetooth keyboard for my tablet but then do not see that much benefit in weight and size over a laptop, so would prefer the power of a laptop.

  16. Frugal Banker

    Work requires I a blackberry and laptop, but for personal use, I just use Zagg Folio + iPad.  Light, cheap and does pretty much everything I need.

    1. Christopher Herbert

      I use the Zagg keyboard with iPad and it makes content creation super easy.  Typing notes in Evernote, saving everything to the cloud, posting to the web via the WordPress app.  iPad also makes downloading and editing pics super easy.The only downside is that ppt and xls files are still hard to manipulate on the iPad. I opted to wait for the next gen MacBook Air this summer.  I laid it all out here:…

      1. Frugal Banker

        Nice review.  However, another factor to consider is resale value.  iPads hold it very well. With a Zagg (or other) case protecting it, i’d imagine it would stay in mint condition. You could buy iPad now and option to upgrade to air when next gen is released. I find that less is more and you may be surprised what you can survive with (especially given the cost)!  Mrs. FB used the same logic to buy iPhone 4S + otterbox (aka iBrick)@wmoug:disqus you should try zagg/logitech case + Bluetooth keyboard.  May be the best $100 you spend this year!

  17. Shyam Subramanyan

    Consumption via mobile devices work just fine, but creation is the issue.  For example, I saw this post via email on my iPhone, but had to go to my laptop to comment.  Apps on mobile devices are walled gardens and switching between apps to get things done is inefficient, especially without a keyboard and keyboard shortcuts.  Better voice recognition software can potentially help – “switch to browser and log into Disqus” would be cool, but we are not there yet.The challenge is to allow more complex, compound interactions, while still keeping the interface simple.

  18. Tom Labus

    Some kind of call up screen that people like lawyers can use to work on long legal docs that can be called from a mobile. Big monitor in the cloud.It will take awhile for productivity workers to make this change. Not many will add more difficulty to their task load.

  19. brisbourne

    I just got back from a week long family ski trip where I took my Android phone and laptop. In the end I only used my laptop twice, and on both occasions while the laptop was a little faster (checking email) and better (catching football highlights on YouTube) the phone would have done.The killer for me is that viewing PDFs and Powerpoints on the phone now works fine. In times gone past the challenges with using Excel on the phone would have been an issue, but I don’t work with Spreadsheets much anymore.The one app I really miss is a good Android blog editor. It sounds like you have the same issue, but if you find a solution I’d love to hear about it.

    1. fredwilson

      We are in the same place

  20. Reykjavik

    If I’m traveling for personal reasons and won’t need to do presentations, spreadsheets or heavy emailing, then I’ll take my Xoom or iPad. But text manipulation and particularly cursor control on tablets is like brain surgery with boxing gloves — drives me crazy. When they fix that, I may ditch my laptop more often.

  21. Mitchell

    Consider devices coming out, for instance the Asus Padfone. It’s a regular android smartphone, that can be plugged in to a tablet ‘shell’, and instantly becomes a tablet (still running off the small phone though), and you can then plug in a keyboard shell to the tablet shell, and have a full laptop.I think this will be the ultimate for portability, because the tablet and keyboard extensions can be very light, since they are powered by the phone. I’m also interested in Ubuntu for Android, where your phone plugs into a screen and Ubuntu takes control of the device, turning it into a full fledged linux desktop. When you realize that phones have been given dual and quad core processors, that Intel is entering the market for an x86 smartphone, its not so far-fetched an idea to see OSX or Windows in place of Ubuntu. 

  22. leigh

    I”m more a mobile to air combo girl.  I get frustrated with mobile browsing and even in the car, when we are looking for something specific I’ll tether from my phone to my air and find what i need through a larger browser. (of course when i’m the passenger ;)I’m sure this will change as people design for multi-platform … and most big redesigns i know about right now are doing just that.

  23. Mike Emms

    I’d love to see collaboration between something like dragon dictation and a Soundcloud or even Gdocs.  First, you get to remove the keyboard requirement.  Second, you have an instant publish of both speech and written word directly by the author.Third, the implied bizdev partnership could result in new tools that allow for audio-command-based editing using your mobile device (e.g.  the vim approach: everything spoken is converted to text, but if your finger is on the screen, then audio is interpreted as command).  

  24. jason wright

     I’d like to see panes of glass (which are everywhere in urban environments) became smart.

  25. Scott Barnett

    I agree. I’m on vacation now and have my laptop, tablet and phone… I’ve used my laptop 0%, Android tablet 10%, and Android phone 90%. Very little content creation, mostly consumption. Totally agree about editing and a solution is badly needed.

  26. << Work at home, $60/h, link

     It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

  27. ShanaC

    By this point I’ve read through all the comments -The number one issue that I am picking up on is that there needs to be an interface change. (Ignore the irony for now)I feel half blind (and I do have bad vision) so for me having a larger/more detailed screen is a great thing. A phone often doesn’t cut it when I need to write an email. There are some situations where I can use voice manipulations, and some where I can’t. Further, there are some situations where I am processing a lot of text (both reading and writing)/other sorts of imput and I need a much better input device. And on top of that, I don’t tend to be one of those people who like desks very much.All of this points to me that devices need to bea) more interconnected – moving from device to device regardless of interface should be fluidb) more program interfaces that are designed to shut on and off features based on context/device – It’s different to read a spreadsheet and to manipulate one, and it’s different based on the size and input type.c) more devices designed around the ergonomics of life situations at different (and lower) price points.I think this would resolve a lot of the issues around if my technology is designed to me rather me being designed to technology.

    1. Yaniv Tal

      You’re onto something, this interconnectedness is being worked on. In 5 years TV’s, computers, tablets, and phones will all be tightly interconnected.There will be general purpose PCs everywhere that you can just tap your phone to and start using right away as an extension of your phone. When you walk into your living room whatever you’re looking at on your phone will seamlessly transition to your TV. Some hotels will probably adopt these systems in the next few years, they can be made today. Your hotel room will have a TV and a wireless keyboard and mouse. You’ll be able to run off of your phone but use the hotel’s I/O for productivity.

  28. William Mougayar

    Why can’t One device Rule them all?It’s about time for that.The best of a smartphone, a tablet and a PC, all-in-one. Portable, foldable, lightweight, durable, powerful, modular.

    1. Dan

      Sheesh William, the future is now…how could you overlook the galaxy note?!? Especially with that expensive marketing campaign.

      1. William Mougayar

        But it doesn’t fit in the pocket.

    2. Modernist

      A strip that contains: video projector, camera, battery, microphone, accelerometer, and the rest is SAAS. I would tape it under the brim of a hat and walk around in the sun.

  29. awaldstein

    The more ubiquitous WiFi becomes the less I think about this.Out and about in NYC, phone and small MacBook Air do everything.Work, careful commenting, posting…I can do from a park bench to a coffee shop on my Mac.The biggest change for me is that with WiFi everywhere I almost never take my iPad with me.

  30. Suzan B

    Between traveling for work, pleasure and between client offices I’m “on the road” all the time with at least one big bag in tow. As a blogger and marketer I could not travel with just my phone–my 13 inch macbook pro is a must. Perhaps this is because I create as well as consume information all day every day. One thing I’m considering is switching to a macbook Air. With everything moving to the cloud I’m hoping this will be a lighter alternative. Fred–is your macbook Air your main computer? 

    1. awaldstein

      With a small MacBook Air, phone and a Kindle for reading, there is nothing I ever lack for.Hard drive space in Air necessitates a tiny brick for rich media. Not a big deal for me.

    2. fredwilson

      I use four macs. Two iMacs (desktop home and office). A macbook pro in the kitchen. And an 11″ air for traveling.I only use web apps and have eliminated files and desktop software from my life so i literally dont care which one i am using.But i find myself using my android more and more, often when i am at my desk looking at my imac

      1. John Revay

        When did you leave WinTel platform?

  31. Leon Zilber

    What’s mobile? Wouldn’t connected laptop be classified as mobile device? Lines are blurry to say the least

  32. BillSeitz

    I used to love the folding Stowaway keyboard, even used it in meetings sometimes with my PalmV. There are bluetooth versions now.The big challenge with writing is the single-window mentality of the mobile OSs. It’s like going back to DOS and depending on SideKick for context-switching.

  33. Dennis Carlson

    I recently spent seven days in Thailand and Hong Kong and took a netbook (don’t judge me) and my iPhone.  I worked every day and opened my netbook exactly once and that was just so I could see my kids better on Skype.  The one concern I have in regards to travelling (which usually compels me to bring a laptop) is that I’ll have to do some web updates, FTP, or design work (I use Adobe CS to create elements for websites I run).  I find myself opening my laptop less and less on longer trips and I’m excited for the day I can break free from the irrational laptop compulsion.

  34. goldwerger

    This is an iOS specific comment, but I was reflecting only this morning that if my iPhone only had an “attach file” feature it would probably have tipped me over the edge to not take my laptop on my current trip.My bet is that a tiny rollout keyboard would be the final nail…

  35. matthughes

    I travel with my iPad (and iPhone) almost exclusively now.I recently spent ten days in Europe and definitely missed my laptop a couple times when trying to do some heavy editing but mostly I was fine w/o.I’m considering one of the aftermarket keyboards like Zagg…It seemed counterintuitive before but now it seems pretty practical:Use the iPad as the lightweight, simple tool that it is most of the time. Break out the relatively simple keyboard as needed for heavy editing, etc.

  36. Bob Struble

    I have not traveled with a laptop at all in 2012, first time in 10 years at least. I use an iPad with a great compact Logitech keyboard. The only thing that is less than perfect is hard core editing of office docs, baut docs to go is tolerable. Wouldn’t go back.

    1. Jeff Camaro

      Thats a great keyboard. Have you seen the Adonit? Let’s you flex the angle, been hearing it’s even better than the Logitech.

    2. fredwilson

      it seems like a lot of people are making the iPad work on the road. i need to work harder at that.

  37. bijan

    adding links is the single hardest thing to do on the ipad (vs macbook)i don’t have a good answer to that. some folks use markdown but i haven’t been able to get used to it.if i do happen to write a long post then I just skip the links altogether. not as interesting and rich but better than nothing.

    1. Christopher Herbert

      It does take longer on an iPad to add a link. It would seem to be easily fixable if when you tapped in the url field on safari, it would default to picking up the whole link. Who types in a url anymore?

    2. John Revay

      Nice iPad3 review

    3. fredwilson

      links are the one thing that mobile doesn’t do welland they are so important

  38. Liberty Auction House

    My wrists hurt more on a laptop. The macbook pro almost cuts you 😉

  39. 7 Inch Tablets

    I think both are very helpful. They are both portable and we can bring them anywhere. Laptops are good and Mobile are excellent especially when we go on travel.

  40. John Revay

    In a different life I worked for a company called PORT > we did mobile computing accessories, namely carrying cases for Notebooks (including a license arrangement w/ IBM and their ThinkPad brand of notebooks). We were subsequently acquired by our largest competitor – a company called Targus ( strong retail brand).10-15 years ago people carried notebooks, you especially noticed it while traveling ( airplane and even commuting via train, then about 5-7+ years ago people stopped taking their notebooks and started carrying BlackBerry/RIm – you could notice it a lot on planes…maybe people still traveled w/ these, they just did not take them out while in flight.Now w/ smart phone, cloud at tablet – no need to bring PC w/ you any more.

  41. ITStrategy2012

    It’s weight and function. First can be overcome by HW evolution, second is an opportunity for start ups or even some consulting engagements. E.g., have you apps to use in your job, that run on your PC / Mac but do not on your iPad? We should stick into this…

  42. Jan Schultink

    A broader theme than just cutting/pasting URL issues:management of multiple windows, fast app switchingUltimately I think we will end up with a mobile device without a fixed keyboard, but with the opportunity to move app windows around with your finger.As to copy/paste: Maybe the screen interface technology can be extended to include recognizing of a sharp (Palm III stylus) type object (your finger nail for example) for highly precise definition of a selection object (URL for example)We also need handwriting recognitionI am not sure whether a startup can fix this, or these are fundamental OS changes

  43. Lars-Erik

    I think phones and tablets are great for consuming content but pretty useless for producing content due to the lack of a physical keyboard. Hopefully hybrid devices will get more common so we can go from 3 devices (phone, tablet/e-reader, PC) to 2 devices (phone, PC & tablet).

  44. giffc

    I am looking forward to productization of the tech that projects the keyboard onto any surface and can read you hand movements.

  45. Stuart Campbell

    As a developer my laptop is my security blanket, I need to know that if I get the urge to code I can! The MacBook Air is so portable and (almost) instant on that in my opinion is superior to an iPad in every way except for reading books.

  46. Dan G

    Out and about, it’s just so convenient to just pull my Verizon Galaxy Nexus, grandfathered into unlimited 4G LTE, out of my pocket. When I’m at home, I’m on my big-screen Windows XP desktop. Away from home, if I have to bring a bag, in goes my really useful XP netbook. For extensive web browsing and work, I prefer a bigger screen than my Nexus, keyboard and mouse.

  47. Laurie Barlev

    I find the iPad is great for reading and playing and as long as that is all I need to do, it suffices. However, if I have to type, take notes, copy anything and place it in a different application, nothing beats my laptop. Net net until I can do “work”, I’ll keep my laptop.

  48. Youssef Rahoui

    IMO, it is battery life. The startup that will come up with a way to significantly improve the usual 4h capacity will laugh all the way to the bank.

    1. Yaniv Tal

      The biggest battery consumers are 1) the display backlight and 2) Intel processors.We’ll see ARM based microprocessors running Windows 8 soon which will bring huge battery life gains. To really get over the hump with battery consumption we’ll need to do away with the display backlight. Companies like Qualcomm are working on color e-ink displays. They won’t look as nice as LEDs but laptops with those displays and ARM based microprocessors will be able to last at at least 30-50 hours.

      1. Youssef Rahoui

        Very interesting, thanks.

  49. paramendra

    A laptop like the “11” macbook air” falls in the mobile category, I think. Don’t begrudge the keyboard.

  50. JamesHRH

    To paraphrase one of the best movie lines from the 1980’s….’ I am sick & tired of people reading my work on the john. ‘ says Jeff Goldblum’s PEOPLE columnist character.’People read War & Peace on the john’. says Tom Berenger character.’Yeah, but they don’t finish it.’Any use of a device that requires a keyboard for longer than being in the john is a laptop use. That amount of data input on a mobile device is not doable.

    1. Max Yoder

      The Big Chill is one of my all-time favorites.

  51. Pete Griffiths

    I have a 13″ air, an iphone, an ipad and a galaxy note (and others)my feeling is that the air is a great compromise but for travel I would (like you) get the 11″. If you are going to create rather than just consume media it much better than anything else. The interesting device is the note – it is so big and with such a gorgeous screen that it is way better than the iphone for consuming media and is much easier to input (bigger keyboard). My feeling is that we still have a lot to learn about ideal form factors, that there isn’t going to be one answer and that each person may well have a preferred portfolio of devices because needs vary so much. Fortunately, it is now so easy to carry multiple devices why wouldn’t you?

  52. Pete Griffiths

    I am very struck by the number of comments from people who (like me) need a proper keyboard. I suspect that the death of the ‘pc’ has been exaggerated. I will file this away with the ‘death of the web.’

  53. Underwater Digital Camera

    Laptop is bigger but it provides more features then mobile phone. You should think about what you really need and then decide if the laptop or the mobile phone is better solution for you.

  54. Seth

    Love my iPad for reading in bed, some email, a movie, etc.  But when I travel, the Macbook Air is always with me.  There’s always something I need “full power” for.  I know some folks love the keyboard/iPad combo, but I can’t get used to it.  The Air is so light anyway….

  55. Yaniv Tal

    Let me throw some ideas out there. The problem with mobile is the lack of a keyboard/productive input system and the smaller display size. Here are some ways that could be solved:- Enhanced paradigm for speech input. The problem with speech is that you have to speak in real time, and time is an unforgiving b* that will keep on going with or without you. It’s difficult to go back and correct a mistake and generally jump around a document. I could imagine a smart system for using voice / eye detection / touch which would solve this problem and make it feasible to do long form writing primarily through voice.- Foldable or rollable (read scroll) keyboard and/or screen. The foldable keyboard could provide tactile feedback and be superimposed onto the screen or be used separately. The scroll LCD will be coming out in the next 5 years so this may be a game changer.- A miniature projector would let you carry a large “screen” in your pocket. You could project onto anything (a table or a wall) and do multitouch gestures on that surface using a range of available technologies. I could imagine that projecting a large spacious keyboard would make typing on a table, even without tactile feedback, natural and fast.

  56. Shadowlounge

    I’ve been trying for years to leave the laptop behind while traveling but, for me, it comes down to photography.  I travel with a high-end digital camera setup and keep a daily travel blog ( http://www.wherearetheynow.typepad... ).  At the end of the day, I’m looking to empty the camera’s memory card and to back up the day’s shots.  That’s simply not possible without the laptop.  It’s also impossible to do a decent job of blogging with my iPad or Android phone.

  57. Jean Z. Poh

    I have been mulling over the same conundrum for my past few trips.  I have an 11′ Macbook Air, an iPad3, a Kindle Keyboard 3G and an iPhone 4S.  I find that I used to travel with only my iPhone and Kindle until I started my blog and now I have to travel with iPhone, laptop and Kindle.  I also find that certain apps work better on iPad and others on mobile.  Pinterest, for example has a great mobile app but an infuriating iPad app.  Some streamlining and consistency across platforms would be very welcome indeed.

  58. CassaAcustica

    – Who says that the PC is dead wants to sell you a tablet.- Who says that a smartphone is enough when you travel, evidently he/she goes ony for grocery shop.- Who says that a smartphone can replace a laptop, it is evident that he/she plays only games.- Who says that Apple can replace PCs evidently he/she writes only letters and assemble a couple of presentations

  59. Elie Seidman

    I think that using the iPad for things it was not designed for is all too common. Apple’s brand is cool so people use their products to be cool. Just like fashion. But all too often I see people using an iPad or mobile phone for things it simply does not do well and that a laptop – with a keyboard, mouse, file system and high res screen – does really well. Honestly, I kind of laugh to myself as I see those folks struggle with using the iPad to do things that it simply can’t do well. Different problems – different tools. The keyboard and mouse are not dead nor should they be. 

  60. LE

    I’m always amazed at how people respond to the issue of weight. I spend time exercising every day which takes effort and has benefits. So my feeling is it doesn’t pay to be lazy and potentially not have something you need because  having to carry something “heavy”. I think I’ve told the story about when I first went on a cruise ship about 10 years ago and spoke to the company that operated the satellite for the cruise line to make sure that they didn’t block any ports (like ssh port or some other ports that I need access to) . Because I didn’t want to be out at sea, have to fix something that broke and not be able to have access. (And that’s in addition to the people that worked for me. I was backup to them.). 

  61. Guest

    I don’t pay any attention to weight. But, productivity is on the top of the list. I want things that help me be more productive. Switching between devices puts a bit of overhead into my process and overhead decreses productivity.I’ve been waiting to switch to an SSD only laptop to cut down on size and I don’t like spinning a HD if I don’t need to. Laptops are about as small as they can get but they could be a bit thinner.

  62. Guest

    Excellent. I’ve travel a bunch in the past and it all came down to “How can I get everything into one bag?”Have you every washed clothes in a hotel bath tub with hand soap?

  63. fredwilson

    Please do. Im headed to Japan at year end with my family. Any thoughts?

  64. ShanaC

    Beyond underwear – what was in your bag?

  65. Luke Chamberlin

    Do what the Japanese do and use the “takkyubin” (tak-cue-bean) delivery service to send your bags ahead of you for a very reasonable rate. They have takkyubin at every airport, hotel and even 7-Eleven in Japan.You’ll notice that no one on any of the trains or buses has luggage, and it’s because almost everyone uses this service.

  66. Brad

    Lived in Japan for three years, depending on what you want to do I can tell you where to go. Great country, and if you are going to travel for the sights there are great things to see.

  67. leigh

    Went to Australia and the rule was it had to remain carry on.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Can’t do it now with a toddler sadly.  i mean, doing a 20+ hr flight without an entire thomas the tank engine set would be mother suicide.  

  68. Conor

    Free public wifi is not that common in Japan and the mobile networks are not very friendly to foreign phones in terms of allowing access to 3G. Even SMS can be hit and miss depending on what network you’re with. I’m not sure about American phones, but I’ve found Japanese networks to be very useless (except for phone calls) for European and Asian phones.Someone told me recently that their (foreign) blackberry works fine in Japan though, so maybe it does depend on your plan and/or network.Basically, assume that you won’t have much wifi/3G access when you’re out and about.I’d love to be correct as I’ve only been in Japan 9 months now, but my experience is that it’s a very different ballgame to just about everywhere else. I was in Hanoi for a week a couple months back and was blown away how just about every second shop/restaurant/cafe had its own free public wifi (or free to customers). I was never less than a couple minutes walk from a useable wifi spot! Japan definitely pales in comparison.

  69. JamesHRH

    If you travel more than once a month for business, you go all carry on all the time.And if you are CDN and travel to the US more than once a year, you get a NEXUS card.My wife is our frequent flyer and she is a total carry on person – she never, ever allows any airline the opportunity to steal time from her life.She claims carry on packing centres on shoes.We are RIMOWA Salsa Air fans. Super lightweight w the best rolling wheels we have ever pushed.

  70. Conor

    I don’t know how to reply to your reply to my reply.. am a bit new to Disqus :o) Anyway, you can apparently rent handsets at the airport, you should look into that. In my experience the telcos here don’t like to let foreign handsets onto their networks with Japan sims. It may work, but you may end up with horrendous data charges. PuPuRu ( apparently is one of the companies renting handsets at the airport.Apparently the reason you can’t just put a sim in an unlocked phone is that selling handsets is a big enough part of the telco business model here that they want to discourage the import of unlocked foreign handsets. The concept of allowing unlocked _Japanese_ phones apparently only started in the last year or two. When I moved here last year I couldn’t just sign up for a data plan and get a sim for my unlocked (foreign) Galaxy S, I was told I had to buy a phone with my plan and that my data cap would not apply if I tried the sim on my foreign phone. It worked out well in that it gave me the justification I needed to treat myself to a Galaxy S 2 though :oPLike I said (albeit with a typo) in my previous post, I’d like to be corrected if anyone knows otherwise, but that’s my newbie experience with phones in Japan.

  71. LE

    Look it works for you.From my perspective though I’d rather check a bag with extra items that I might need because I don’t have any issue with checking a bag at all. And even if the bag is lost I have the essentials (and tend to obviously split things between bags anyway).   So the upside is I have what I need and don’t have to send wash out (I’ve had it come back smelling like cigarette smoke).  I also have used woolite to wash things in the sink if needed. I don’t like to depend on others if I don’t have to. I exercise everyday also even when traveling so I would tend to need more clothes.For minimalism I’ve done that with respect to everyday dress for the longest time. While it definitely simplifies things (I tend to buy multiples of what I like) I also do it because I don’t care about dress (and actually have found that works strangely to my advantage).  (I got my first big contract back in 1981 selling against Xerox XRC professional salesmen in suits when I was wearing a down vest and dungarees.)As far as Andrew Hyde I guess that proves it can be done although I don’t know the relevance of someone who travels for 18 months with 30 items other than to prove you can travel which is not representative of real life to me.

  72. ShanaC

    I just can’t figure out how to translate that into women’s clothing…

  73. matthughes

    That MLC is an awesome bag – I’ve been using one off and on for years.I recently purchased an MLC Burrito – it’s my new favorite bag, hands down.

  74. fredwilson

    Sweet. Great idea

  75. fredwilson

    Maybe i will do a fun friday post on japan

  76. ShanaC

    Personal note: switch to Forever New – less harsh than Woolite, and comes in packets of powder, so no liquid problems

  77. Pete Griffiths

    The first time you check your bag and it doesn’t arrive and you have something important in it is the time you start carrying on. :)I HATE checking bags.

  78. LE

    Great idea. Just added it to my amazon cart. (Easiest way to remember to buy it..)

  79. Ruth BT

    Shana, one word for you…. dresses. Actually make that two. Dresses and Accessories.

  80. Anne Libby

    Did you follow Sheena Matheikin’s “The Uniform Project”? A young woman raised money for charity and promoted sustainability by wearing one basic dress every day for a year. You can definitely do the same thing with a good basic suit…great for travel.

  81. ShanaC

    I do own lots of skirts (and dresses, though less of those) – I find it sometimes give me the secretary look though, or so I’ve been told (I’m thin but curvy at the same time)Either way, it still is harder to pack!

  82. Pete Griffiths

    I have a lot of Rimowa luggage.Was a big fan until I had a problem with one bag and their customer service absolutely sucked ass. Truly appalling attitude. Never again.

  83. fredwilson

    If i bring a couple old unlocked iphones do you think i can get sim cards from japanese carriers so we can use them while we are there?

  84. fredwilson

    this is super helpful. thanks

  85. Kate Huyett

    Totally agree on desktop – would almost rather have phone + that than laptop.

  86. ShanaC

    You may also want to look into lush shampoo bars also because of the liquid problem.As to why I know these things *shrug*