A laplet is a portmanteau of the words laptop and tablet and it is a crossover of these device classes. Different variants of the term exists, a 2-in-1 tablet, 2-in-1 laptop, a hybrid tablet, hybrid laptop, a taplet, a tabtop and a notelet, although the latter is less suitable, because it has a more widely used homonym.
The person who coined the laplet term is not known. The term appeared on the internet in the early 2012 and according to Google Trends it gained mass attention in news headlines in October 2012.
Reasons for a new device class
The reason of the creating a new mobile device type is an endeavor of manufacturers to combine a mobility of a tablet with a power and versatility of a laptop. A tablet is a highly portable device, being primarily used for internet browsing and media consumption, and a laptop is capable of content creation, but lack of a mobility of a tablet. The call of a laplet is to be a converged device, gaining the best from the both worlds, combining these device classes' features in a brand new device type.
Distinction from a tablet
When being considered a tablet, a laplet falls in the category of hybrid tablet, but distinct from other members of this group in the following ways: laplet have an x86-architecture CPU (typically low- or ultra-low-voltage model), such as Intel Core i5, run a full-featured OS like Windows 8.1, and have a number of typical laptop I/O ports, such as USB and Mini DisplayPort. The final and most prominent distinctive part is an attachable keyboard, which transforms a laplet into a full-fledged laptop.
Distinction from a laptop
If a laplet is being classified as a laptop, it loosely falls in the Ultrabook group, sharing with it such traits as a light and thin chassis, a power efficient CPU and a long battery life. A laplet is distinctive from a traditional Ultrabook by a presence of a touchscreen display and a detachable keyboard.
The laplet device class is a relatively new, so a few devices exist on the market, although the laptop manufacturers are showing signs of adding more laplet models to their existing laptop product portfolios.
One of the first laplets introduced to the audience is Asus Transformer Book T100, featuring 10.1-inch touchscreen display, Intel Atom CPU, Windows 8 OS and a detachable keyboard. The laplet arrived in stores in October 2013.
Microsoft started Surface Pro-series of its own laplets in the February 2013. The first member of this family featured 10.6-inch touchscreen display, Intel Core i5 CPU, Windows 8 Pro and a detachable keyboard, which also can be a protective screen cover.
In April 2012 Apple's CEO Tim Cook, answering to the question of the researcher Anthony Sacconaghi about a possible hybrid of iPad and MacBook Air, called a laplet a "hybrid of a toaster and a refrigerator":
|“||I think, Tony, anything can be forced to converge. But the problem is that products are about trade-offs, and you begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user <…> you wouldn’t want to put these things together because you wind up compromising in both and not pleasing either user. Some people will prefer to own both, and that’s great, too. But I think to make the compromises of convergence, so — we’re not going to that party. Others might. Others might from a defensive point of view, particularly. But we’re going to play in both.||”|
As of 2014, there are no other operating system options available for laplets, other than Microsoft Windows. A touch-oriented, tablet part of the Windows 8.1 — the apps and the whole ecosystem with the Windows Store in the center of it, is often criticized as a less convenient, less easy to use and offering a significantly lesser amount of quality apps, compared to more mature ecosystems of Google Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems.
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