Computex 2012 officially kicked off today in Taipei following a round of pre-announcements and tech-teases from most of the big players in the IT industry. As expected, one of the biggest stars of the show has been Window's new OS and the way it has been utilised on a range of tablets, Ultrabooks and desktops. Read on for a recap of the most intriguing Windows 8 hardware coming your way...
Asus debuts new form factors and tablets
Asus announced an assortment of intriguing hardware at Computex 2012, including the Asus AiO Pad -- a monster 18.4in tablet that transforms into an all-in-one iMac-style desktop.
Asus AiO desktop/tablet hybrid
If the curious form factor wasn't enough, the Asus AiO Pad distinguishes itself further with dual operating systems -- Android and Windows 8. The inclusion of the Android OS is intended for tablet use, which is a bit odd given Windows 8's strong tablet/touch screen focus. (We're guessing it was included for ICS smartphone owners who want to converge their devices.)
In addition to the AiO, Asus also revealed the "Taichi" ultraportable laptop which boasts a touchscreen lid. When the laptop is opened, both screens can be switched on, allowing two people to use the device simultaneously (presumably while sitting on opposite sides of a desk). The Taichi runs on Windows 8 and will come in 11.6 and 13.3-inch varieties. To be honest, we're still scratching our heads about this one.
Asus Taich dual-screen laptop
Other products unveiled by Asus at Computex thus far include the Transformer-esque 11.6in Tablet 810 (which boasts a “Clover Trail” Intel Atom processor running Windows 8), the Tegra 3-equipped 10.1in Tablet 600 and the Asus Transformer Book; a Windows 8 laptop with a removeable touchscreen that boasts an Ivy Bridge CPU and a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.
Pricing or availability have yet to be announced, but we'll endevour to get our hands on these models while roaming the Computex showroom floor.
MSI unveils Slider S20 Ultrabook/tablet hybrid
If the above Asus announcements didn't convince you that Windows 8 devices are hugely varied, here's another form factor to consider. The Acer Slider S20 is an 11.6in touchscreen Ultrabook with an unusual fold-out keyboard. This allows the device to be quickly transformed into a laptop or tablet, depending on the task at hand. (The concept is similar to the ‘Letexo’ hybrid prototype which Intel revealed at IDF 2012.)
Product highlights include USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI-out and an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU. Pricing and availability remains a mystery for now. Watch this space.
Acer unleashes Windows 8 avalanche
This year's Computex has ushered in a veritable army of Acer laptops, tablets and desktops. Two of the most visually arresting announcements were the Acer Aspire 7600U and Acer Aspire 5600U; two all-in-one PCs running Windows 8 on mammoth touch screen displays.
Acer Aspire 5600U and Acer Aspire 7600U
The 7600U has a 27in, 64-point multi touch Full HD display and comes with Dolby surround sound and a highly versatile flexible stand. The 5600U, meanwhile, boasts a smaller 23in display and is being billed as the world's thinnest all-in-one. Other specifications are currently under wraps.
The Acer Iconia W510 in laptop mode.
Also unveiled by Acer was the Iconia W510; a Windows 8 tablet/laptop hybrid with a highly distinctive docking hinge that allows the 10.1in touchscreen display to be rotated 295 degrees. We've seen similar hinges on netbooks, but the Iconia W510's added grunt means it can be used as a presentation device. The tablet can also be detached from its keyboard, giving you three modes in one.
According to Acer, the W510's battery lasts for up to 18 hours. It is expected to sell for between $599 and $799 in the US.
Acer Aspire S7: a Windows 8 Ultrabook for the fashionista set.
If you're not a fan of these unfamiliar form factors, perhaps the Acer Aspire S7 will be more your speed. It's a 13.3in Windows 8 Ultrabook without any fancy transforming components. It does, however, come with a Full HD touchscreen. Style is very much at the fore with this Ultrabook, with its aluminium lid covered in an eye-catching layer of glass. The words "trendy" and "elegant" featured prominently in Acer's Computex unveiling. A 11.6in version of the S7 is also on the cards which is a mere 12mm thick. Pricing is expected to start at US$999.
Acer also announced the plus-sized Iconia W700 Windows 8 tablet. While not quite as huge as the Asus AiO (see above), the Iconia W700 is still a lot of tablet, measuring 11.6 inches. The device comes with 10-finger multitouch, Dolby Home Theater surround sound and a trio of USB 3.0 ports. It will also offer a swivelling cradle dock and keyboard accessory. Pricing is expected to fall somewhere between $799 and $999.
What's your take on the plethora of innovative Windows 8 devices from Computex 2012? Are we looking at gimmicks or the future of computing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.