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Quickly, name the three most important specifications for an electronic device.
If you said "battery life," "processing power," and "price," the words "Bay Trail" may be the most important tech terms you'll hear this year. For years, Intel's budget Atom processor served as its "good enough" solution for those on a shoestring, netbook-toting budget. You could take notes, answer emails, surf the web, and make on-the-road edits to your legal briefs, albeit with the occasional lag or hiccup.
With the new Atom processors, codenamed "Bay Trail," Intel focused on two things: battery life and going beyond "good enough." And if the initial reviews of these $300 machines are any indication, Bay Trail could be your next on the road or for the kids machine.
iPads ... That Actually Do Stuff
Sure, you can write a novel or a SCOTUS brief on an iPad. Heck, you can build a house with a hatchet, some nails and the trees in the forest, but what's the freaking point? We used to tell our LSAT students to "Work smarter, not harder." The phrase is a bit cliché now, but it applies here.
If you want maximum productivity, you choose full desktop Windows, with its support for Microsoft Office, Outlook, and every piece of software your "regular" work computers run (because this is a regular computer -- wedged into a tablet form factor).
iPads and Android tablets are great consumption devices that can be made to produce work product. These Windows 8.1 (no, not the abomination that is Windows RT) tablets are production devices.
The Power! And THE POWER!
Okay, so the new Intel Atom processors aren't anywhere near the same league as those Haswell chips that we lusted over mightily earlier this year, but for $300 computers, the performance is astounding. We wouldn't recommend handing video encoding with a Bay Trail processor, but for anything an ordinary lawyer might do, these chips will handle it well.
You've heard of HD video, right? The next "innovation" by television companies is Ultra-HD, or 4k video, which is four times the resolution as your current top-of-the-line 1080p television. Needless to say, all those pixels in the Ultra-HD displays require quite a bit of power to play flawlessly. Tests done by The Verve show just that: smooth 4k video playback.
The geekiness behind the power includes updated processor cores and the same Intel HD video processing you'll see on the high-end Haswell chips. Previous Atom processors used PowerVR SGX graphics, which according to the Verge, are the same as one might find in an iPhone.
One more note on power: 10 hours of battery life and three weeks of standby time.
Cheap. Really, Really Cheap.
Intel earlier quoted prices as low as $199 for a Bay Trail tablet. According to PC World, the first batch of tablets are on their way next week, with prices starting at $299. The one we're most excited about, so far, is the Asus Transformer Book T100, which has an 11-hour battery, comes with a keyboard dock, and starts at $349 with 32GB of storage.
Are you planning on tapping into Bay Trail for your next tablet? Think we are fools for straying from Apple's fine products? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.