Rethinking My Hardware Setup

I have had my Windows Phone for almost a month now and it has completely changed my life. Ok, maybe not completely, but I do find myself doing a lot more “computing on the go” than I did a month ago. Thanks to the big screen on the HTC HD7, 3G coverage in my area and my data flat-rate I can now read the news on my way home from work, check email and Twitter between meetings, play a little Flowerz or just browse the web. Quite a few things that I would have needed to sit in front of my computer at home for in the past, I can now do on my phone when I have a couple of minutes of free time. As I will probably be getting a new computer next quarter, I have been pondering what kind of machine I wanted to get given this change in my computing situation.

The way I see it, there are currently the following categories of computers or computer-like devices such as phones:

HardwareCategories

In the absence of any budget constraints, I would probably just get a device in every category, so I always had the right kind of computer handy; maybe with the exception of the feature phone category, because those are dead anyway. However, since I have to make do with finite resources, I have to find the right balance of what kind of devices to get.

Until last month I have been doing fairly well with a simple Windows Mobile Phone, a Windows 7-powered laptop and a Windows Home Server-based server. Had the Microsoft Courier come out, I would probably bought one, meaning I would have had a nice balanced distribution in every other of the aforementioned categories.

Now that I have a large-screen smartphone, there isn’t really a need to get a tablet anymore, because many of the things that I would have done with one, I can now do on my phone. There are a few things, however, like writing longer texts that are extremely painful without a real keyboard (even on an iPad, believe me, I tried). So as my laptop approaches the end of its useful live, I think I will not get another laptop, but opt for a desktop PC and a netbook instead.

I originally bought this laptop when I was in college, because I needed a computer it in class and on the train when traveling. Today, I don’t have these use-cases anymore and my laptop sits on my desk almost 100% of the time. For my current situation it would therefore be cheaper and also better in terms of performance and expandability to get a desktop PC; Core i5 based machines are looking pretty good right now. Also, as the laptop has almost all my data on it, I am hesitant to take it with me on vacation. This role could be better filled by a netbook that is also cheaper to replace should it get stolen or lost. Furthermore, it would be lighter, so I could use it more easily sitting in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, for instance. After I seeing the Dell Inspiron Duo the other day I think, I might be getting one of these when they come out. It’s not just a netbook, but can also (sort of) double as a tablet. Such a device would nicely cover the center of the hardware-continuum outlined above.

There you have it: a complete Windows-based setup to cover all my computing needs. All the way from a nice little Windows Phone 7 based smartphone, to a Windows 7 Home Premium based netbook, to a Windows Home 7 Ultimate powered desktop and to a Windows Home Server machine; with all my contacts, calendar, mail and select data kept in sync by Windows Live in the cloud. All that’s missing from this in order to get the full dose of Microsoft goodness would be an Xbox. However, in spite of how awesome Kinect looks, this isn’t going to happen, unless I somehow got a bigger apartment with a living room large enough to set up the Kinect.

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