This season, the Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan was the place for major tech manufacturers to showcase their upcoming products. Jim Wong, chairman of Acer, said “the next couple of years will see continual refinement of products running Microsoft’s new operating system. This will be particularly noticeable in the market for convertibles — a relatively new form factor that attempts to combine the best of tablets and laptops into one product.” (PCWorld, 2012).
A few new gadgets really stood out from the rest. Most of them take advantage of evolving touch technologies due to hit the market with Microsoft’s Windows 8 later this year.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Asus Taichi Dual-Screen Ultrabook
This inventive device pairs much of the functionality of a tablet with the productivity of a laptop. It is designed like a typical laptop – but with a screen on the back of the other screen. The outside screen is touch-responsive and allows you to use it like a tablet when it is closed. When you open it, the outer screen either mirrors the display or shows something different entirely, making it useful for presentations.
Asus Transformer AiO (All-in-One)
The Transformer AiO from Asus is a giant multi-touch monitor that can be disconnected from the included PC base to in order to function as a giant tablet. The display has a processor running the Android operating system and the base has an Intel processor running Windows. If you want to use your computer without sitting at your desk, just remove the monitor from the base and work elsewhere, as long as both devices are on the same wireless network. This device is scheduled to release in the 4th quarter of 2012, but no prices have been announced.
Asus Vivo Tab RT
This is one of the first tablets to be announced for the tablet-centric operating system Windows 8 that is scheduled to come out later this year. It has an NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which means that applications will be quick to launch and load and to switch between. Because of this processor and the Windows 8 framework, you can do true multi-tasking on this tablet, like watching a video while working on a Word document. This device is still in development, and no release date or pricing has been confirmed.
Acer Aspire S7 Touchscreen Ultrabook
If you’re looking for a touch-screen ultrabook that you can buy soon, the Aspire S7 might fit your needs. It comes with either an 11.6 or 13.3 inch touchscreen, and is supposed to be available in stores at the end of September. It will initially come with Windows 7 with an upgrade to Windows 8 a month later. It will cost about $1500, but you can upgrade it to fit your needs, at a cost, of course.
MSI Slider S20 Ultrabook
This is another Ultrabook that’s still in development. It converts between a tablet and an ultrabook by sliding the screen parallel to the keyboard, which lies under the screen in tablet mode. It has all the connectivity of an ultrabook, but can still be used as a fully functioning tablet when circumstances necessitate.
Samsung Series 7 27-Inch Touch Screen All-In-One
This is a behemoth of a computer that has a 27-inch touch screen display and has no tower – think giant iMac, but with touch and Windows 8. It has a powerful processor, responds to voice commands as well as hand gestures, and has a terabyte of storage and 8 gigabytes of RAM. It is expected to be available at the end of October, when Windows 8 comes out.
The one caveat… this will be the first generation, so computer makers will be learning about user behavior, so I expect in the next 18 months or so the convertible form factor will continue to change. Thus becoming more user friendly, later.