Every week or two lately, another Windows laptop, tablet, or laptop-tablet is being launched. It's confusing. Since most advisors don't keep up with all the latest changes in computer hardware, here's a list of 10 reasons why a Windows 8 ultraportable makes sense for financial advisors.
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1. A Good Way To Try Out Windows 8. Most advisors move slowly on technology adoption, and with good reason. Run what you know works well. An ultrportable is a great way to try out Windows 8 and Microsoft's touch interface. Before replacing or upgrading systems, try out one PC-tablet using Windows 8.
2. If you like the iPad, you’ll like this. The Windows touch interface is as good as the iOS interface on Apple’s iPad and other Apple touch products. If you like that easy interface, why not extend it to Microsoft products? Whatever you do on your iPad now, you’ll be able to on your Widows touch device. But you’ll have the added convenience of integration with Microsoft Office and other Microsoft-only apps you use.
3. One Less Device At Risk.
Say you can eliminate your tablet by buying one of the new Windows ultraportables debuting nearly every week lately. It will be a laptop and a tablet for you. You may be able to do away with one of those devices by replacing it with a ThinkPad Helix
from Lenovo, which is expected in the next three weeks. Security risk is lowered with one less device to manage and you benefit from integration of your mobile apps with your desktop apps.
4. Runs Desktop Apps. Professional software for financial advisors is made by small companies catering to a small audience, and older desktop programs that have no Web version may never get a web version or run on an operating system other than Microsoft. Examples include large programs like Advent Axys and Schwab PortfolioCenter as well as little known apps used for analytics, IRA distribution planning, and tax management. You’ll be able to continue to run those vintage programs, some of which are very powerful, by sticking with a Microsoft PC.
5. Lighter Than A Laptop. An ultraportable could weighs half as much or less than your current laptop.
6. Battery Life. The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, which is expected to debut by the end of this month, will have a six-hour battery-life in tablet mode and a 10-hour battery-life in laptop mode. That’s with an i7 2GHz processor that runs at a 3.2 GHz top speed, which in laptop mode is fast enough and powerful enough for a user who regularly creates spreadsheets or runs desktop portfolio management software. So you get better battery life than on most laptops and the option to use the device as a tablet. At the end of 2013, new processors in ultraportables will significantly improve battery life.
7. Inexpensive. Knowing advisors, this should be at the top of the list of requirements. Ultraportables cost half as much as your last laptop but give you as much professor power, RAM and storage or more.
8. Live Tiles. The main page of the Windows 8 operating system (OS) is comprised of 30, 50 or 60 square and rectangular tiles. Each tile is a window into information in your life and business. Some tiles are “live,” streaming Web news from your social networks and displaying news feeds from your favorite sources. That’s nice. Your portfolio management app can create a live tile showing you prices of your largest holding. Your financial planning app can write a live tile displaying how many clients are off plan or have seen a lower net worth than last year. It’s a great way of streaming information.
9. Cooler Presentations And Videos. Since Windows 8 operates on a touch interface as well as mouse navigation, you can use a stylus or your finger to draw on presentations. Dr. Craig Israelsen this past Friday was speaking at a webinar when he circled some key statistics using his mouse to make his point. The circle was crooked because he did it with a mouse. With touch computer, you can draw on slides during a presentation.
10. SkyDrive. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s answer to Dropbox and Google Drive. You could use Dropbox, Google Drive, or some other online storage center, but Skydrive will be better integrated than any other document storage system you’ll choose.
11. The Enemy You Know. We all grew up hating Microsoft for its dominance and, at times, incompetence. It’s the enemy you know. If you’ve stuck it out with Microsoft this far, switching to Apple’s iOS operating system at this stage makes little sense. While iOS is great, Windows 8 is about as good and merges touch interface with a mouse-driven one. Google’s operating system, Chrome, and its ChromeBook devices, simply do not offer the Office suite and off-line capabilities most businesses demand—not yet, at least. While Microsoft is far from perfect, you know how to use it, you know its limitations.