An annoying rhetorical fallacy

Many criticisms of Windows 8 echo this tired canard: the OS is "neither fish nor fowl", begetting compromised hybrid devices that are bad tablets and bad laptops. Jakob Nielsen even referenced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Invoking this argument makes you sound like you have high standards, but it's really nonsense. The fallacy is that all computing activities are optimally addressed by either a touch-oriented tablet or a keyboard-oriented laptop. This is true of some activities: for example, media consumption is the purview of tablets, whereas extensive multitasking is only feasible on a laptop.

However, many activities demand *both* input modalities. Even if both are individually compromised on a hybrid device, it is nonetheless superior to a laptop + tablet. For example, consider mathematics/engineering: while learning, one wants to lean back and read, while experimenting with a computer algebra system. While writing, one wants to jot down equations (preferably by hand), then typeset them in LaTeX. Other examples include drawing/design, proofing & drafting, and note taking.

Segmenting your creative process according to the limited input modality of your device is very irritating - far more than an unusual aspect ratio, 50 grams of additional weight, or a somewhat bipolar GUI. Tech journalists should recognize the range of useful activities enabled by Windows 8 hybrids, rather than endlessly harp upon minor quibbles. But this is an unsexy position, so I won't hold my breath.