8 Hot Windows Hybrids At Computex 2014 - InformationWeek

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6/5/2014
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8 Hot Windows Hybrids At Computex 2014

After years of weak sales, will the PC industry finally bounce back with new Windows 8.1 hybrid devices?

and Android. Otherwise, the Transformer Book V functions like a typical Windows 2-in-1.

The tablet portion offers a 12.5-inch 1366x768-pixel IPS display, 128 GB of storage, and 4 GB of RAM. It runs a next-gen Intel Core processor, presumably a Broadwell Core M model. Asus completes the Transformer Book V with a keyboard dock that contains 1 TB of additional storage and an extra battery.

Asus calls the Transformer Book V a 'five mode' device. It's an Android tablet, laptop, and smartphone and a Windows 8.1 tablet and laptop.
Asus calls the Transformer Book V a "five mode" device. It's an Android tablet, laptop, and smartphone and a Windows 8.1 tablet and laptop.

Asus also dropped jaws with the Transformer Book T300 Chi, which supplanted Microsoft's just-announced Surface Pro 3 as the thinnest device built around an Intel Core processor. Only 7.3mm thick thanks to a new Intel Core M chip, the 2-in-1 tablet likely won't hit the market until the end of the year. It boasts a 12.5-inch 2560x1440-pixel display, fanless design, and LTE support. When connected to its keyboard case, the T300 Chi is still thinner than a MacBook Air.

The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi speaks to the slim, light designs manufacturers can pursue with Intel's next-generation Core chips.
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi speaks to the slim, light designs manufacturers can pursue with Intel's next-generation Core chips.

Dell
While Asus explored new designs with next-gen chips, many of Dell's new products bring existing tech to new price points. The Inspiron 11 3000 series comes in both Intel Celeron and Pentium-based configurations and starts shipping June 19. The base model with 500 GB hard drive and 4 GB of RAM checks in at $449.99. Its selling points is a highly flexible hinge, like the one first popularized by the Lenovo Yoga, that lets the user shift among laptop, stand, tent, and tablet modes. The 11.6-inch hybrid laptop isn't the thinnest or lightest device. Its 1366x768-pixel screen feels a bit miserly, but it's an IPS screen, so it will be better than yesteryear's faded laptop display with the same resolution. Plus, Dell even offers a version that runs Ubuntu instead of Windows.

Dell's Inspiron 11.
Dell's Inspiron 11.

Dell also introduced the Inspiron 13 7000 series, a 13.3-inch, 3.68-pound version of the Inspiron 11. It offers a 1366x768-pixel screen, but users can step up to a 1920x1080 display. The Inspiron 13 also offers options for faster fourth-generation Intel Core processors and up to 8 GB of RAM. The device will include a stylus and be available in both Windows and Ubuntu configurations. It will hit the market in December for an undisclosed price.

HP
HP focused on professionals with its Pro x2 612, as 12.5-inch 2-in-1 tablet. The device comes equipped with a 1920x1080-pixel screen, Core i3 and Core i5 processor configurations, dual HD cameras, and optional 4G LTE connectivity. As an enterprise-oriented device, the Pro x2 612 will also be available with various business-oriented upgrades, such as Intel vPro Core chips and a fingerprint reader for authentication. HP claims the battery life of a little more than eight hours in tablet mode, and just over 14 hours when docked with the keyboard, which includes an extra battery and various ports. The Pro x2 612 will be available in September, though HP has not yet set pricing.

HP's Pro x2 612.
HP's Pro x2 612.

Several of HP's other new hybrid devices are aimed at budget-conscious students. Like Dell's Inspiron models, HP's ENVY x360 and Pavilion x360 both feature

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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ANON1250793525637
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ANON1250793525637,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/24/2014 | 3:54:31 PM
Re: Windows usage has peaked
Let's not forget that Windows 8.1 sucks so badly that a lot of folks are probably waiting for Windows 9.

 

I have Windows 8.1 on my laptop (SSD, expensive) and Windows 7 on my desktop (3 years old, slow), switching back and forth Windows 8.1 is just plain annoying in so many respects with 5 extra clicks here, and 3 extra clicks there.


As a home/entertainment device, Windows 8.1 is pure garbage.  Refuses to play movies unless they fit in a narrow range of formats, forces users to hunt for a video player and confuses them with choices.


ALL of the metro apps are embarrassing on a laptop, every single one of them.
AsokS489
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AsokS489,
User Rank: Strategist
6/7/2014 | 12:13:25 PM
A Rose by any other name ...
"But the diversity of course included Windows machines, which now come in all shapes and sizes"

But here's the problem: they can change the shape and size all they want, but those devices all still run Windows 8, which is crap. Changing the shape and size isn't fooling anyone: Windows 8 is still garbage.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 1:35:24 AM
Re: Windows usage has peaked
"I think device-makers might finally launch some devices that appeal aesthetically and functionally."

It seems that they are already doing that or they will pretty soon. In any case, I believe even though the new tablets and hybrids are beautiful, as long as the price tag is so high, it won't be enough to "boost Windows hybrids to mainstream popularity", even with the up coming Core M and Windows 9.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 12:14:59 PM
Re: Windows usage has peaked
@asksqn... I agree about the economic piece but disagree that windows 8.x will not go any further. MS has improved alot since 8 and you simply cannot do everything from a droid tablet that you can from a windows one. In my eyes they are not even comparable.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/6/2014 | 10:53:12 AM
Re: Windows usage has peaked
I recently helped a family member select a tablet. Didn't consider the $300 price range. As you say, many compromises.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/6/2014 | 10:20:35 AM
Re: A Tablet that is a phone
The Transformer V markets itself well -- all those device and OS options in-one look great together. But I wonder if people will bother to dock the phone to get the Android experience on the tablet/laptop screen. It's a nice option but probably a novelty that'll wear off. The user experience on a 5-inch phone is compelling enough to stand on its own for most people. But even if you find no reason to dock the Android phone, you still end up with a Windows 8 hybrid and an Asus Android Phone, which if the price is right is still an appealing purchase.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 1:46:55 AM
Re: A Tablet that is a phone
Nowdays the burder between tablet and smartphone is blurred. iOS 8 supports picking up the phone call on your iPad and iMac. Samsung has smartphone product with big screen, which resembles a tablet. I do not think there is any technical difficulty why tablet cannot be made into a smartphone. It's just a matter of product design and positioning.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
6/5/2014 | 2:38:28 PM
Re: Windows usage has peaked
I think you're making some good points about the economic factors.

Point-by-point, the $700+ Windows 8 devices are almost all nicer than the <$300 devices-- which is isn't surprising. The problem is, lot of the cheaper devices are too compromised; there are few I'd recommend without heavy qualifications, especially given the somewhat misleading way hybridity is marketed. At the same time, it's not easy to recommend the nicer, more expensive devices either, as they're just too pricey for most of us to easily afford.

Yes, unemployment is down and there's allegedly an economic recovery, etc-- but companies have replaced high wage jobs with low wage jobs; younger people have the kind of debt out of college that used to entail buying a house and having kids; and even most people people with "good" jobs who get raises end of losing purchasing power. San Francisco is on the verge of historically-low unemployment, for example, but in the last few years, literally 95% of people who work in the city have lost purchasing power. A lot of the people who might have bought a new computer every 3-5 years just don't have the flexibility, even if they'd like to. I suspect this partially explains why tablet sales have also cooled, though that also has to do with category fragmentation, smartphones, and several other factors.

That said, I think there's more than the economy to consider. Before Windows 8 tablets came along, conventional desktops and PCs had settled into a pattern of incremental improvement. That trend largely continued, with exceptions like tacked-on touchscreens and new iMac-like all-in-one designs, after Windows tablets. The first few generations of those tablets, meanwhile, were a mess. So, for several years, buyers saw non-persuasive updates to more traditional machines, and unappealing "innovations" in the others. In 2015, I think device-makers might finally launch some devices that appeal aesthetically and functionally-- so perhaps, even with ongoing economic doldrums, there's room for growth.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
6/5/2014 | 2:22:09 PM
Re: A Tablet that is a phone
While some people might like the device's Swiss Army knife strategy, I bet a lot of people interested in Windows 2-in-1s would probably rather choose their own phone. But maybe Asus cooked up a great smartphone. We'll have to see.

I also think it's interesting that the smartphone provides the Android side of the experience, whereas the chip inside the tablet portion only runs Windows. Asus had a laptop at CES that switched between Windows and Android-- all from the same chip, without the smartphone acting as a bridge. But that device has been shelved, reportedly because Microsoft, Google and Intel weren't all on the same page regarding dual-OS processors. I wonder if this new approach is in response to earlier political squabbles, or if Asus just figured, "If we're gonna make something with both Windows and Android, we might as well throw in as many degrees of hybridity as we can."
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
6/5/2014 | 2:21:11 PM
Windows usage has peaked
The fact is, Depression 2.0 is still very much in effect for the US.  Despite the happy, shiny, profoundly massaged for maximum propaganda effect Obama BLS stats, half the country is either unemployed or underemployed, and, very few have disposable cash for a laptop or desktop which starts at $1k at a minimum.  That being said, any uptick in PC sales was directly attributable to the XP debacle, in my opinion.  Personally, I bought a Win7 beater laptop and made it a triple boot OS by partitioning the HDD and installing two distros of Linux to further enable migration away from MS products.  Further, tablets were previously enjoying decent sales because you can buy a very decent one for $300.00 vs. the $1k entry level pricetag of a desktop or laptop model.  I don't see Windows 8.x going much further for a lot of reasons, mostly pricetag and redundancy given that an Android product is so much more affordable.
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