Hi, I’m Nick Parker and I lead the OEM Division at Microsoft.
Many of our partners are making announcements this week at IFA so it’s a good time to showcase some of the amazing hardware innovation coming to market with Windows 8.
IFA is one of the world’s largest consumer electronics trade shows and attracts upward of 150,000 people in Berlin each year. It’s great to see the buzz and excitement for the new products being announced, especially in the PC space.
The industry is building momentum for Windows 8, and the level of hardware innovation from components and hinges to ultrathin designs and beautiful touch displays is impressive. Customers will benefit from very rich and immersive experiences made possible by the combination of the incredible new Windows PCs and tablets running Windows 8 or Windows RT along with cloud services. With devices that range from tablets and hybrids to more familiar notebooks and all-in-ones on display at the IFA conference, it is clear that consumers will have a broad range of PC choices when Windows 8 launches.
Here are some of the highlights from Berlin last week:
Versatility is a key theme we’re seeing with Windows PCs, allowing consumers to use the devices in a variety of ways. This is what we mean by no compromises. The new line of “transformer” PCs from ASUS, such as the ASUS Vivo Tab RT, is a good example of tablets that run the Windows RT operating system powered by ARM processors and provide an easy docking setup that makes it a snap to go from the office to the coffee shop. Also powered by Windows RT, the Dell XPS 10 brings productivity, a mobile keyboard dock with long battery life, and support for enterprise applications to business users.
Samsung also announced a docking tablet with its new line of Samsung ATIV Smart PCs, due out this fall. True to Samsung’s heritage, the Smart PCs are sleek and powerful, but the real kicker is their support for a range of touch and gesture commands, which makes them amazingly adaptable for home, professional and commercial uses.
Some of the new hardware designs include keyboards, blurring the line between pure “tablet” PCs and “hybrids.” Several of the PCs on display at IFA this week are being billed as desktop replacements that function just as well in either mode.
Acer’s new Iconia W510 is an incredibly small and light example, outfitted with a cradle that allows the display to be used on the desktop via keyboard and mouse input or tilted back for easier touch control. The keyboard also functions as an additional battery, giving the PC up to 18 hours of battery life. The HP Envy X2 is another detachable tablet PC with a slick aluminum chassis and an interesting physical feature for docking — magnets embedded in the PC help pull and guide the tablet into the dock, making it easy to dock the machine and get to work.
Sony’s VAIO Duo 11 is a unique hybrid design that features a surf-slider keyboard which stays with the PC wherever it goes. The Duo also comes with a stylus that is a breeze to use, allowing users to write, doodle and interact easily in tablet mode. Toshiba’s Satellite U925t is a tablet-convertible version of its more traditional U920 laptop offering and features a 12.5-inch screen that easily converts to a tablet.
For more traditional notebooks, Acer, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have all refreshed their notebook and Ultrabook PCs to take advantage of touch capabilities in Windows 8 — Acer’s premium Aspire S7 and S5, HP’s Envy TouchSmart and SpectreXT ultrabooks, Sony’s VAIO T and VAIO E, all feature classic notebook designs with powerful components and responsive touch screens. The S7 in particular is designed with extra tension in the hinges so it can open up to 180 degrees, enabling a new type of collaboration scenario.
For those that want a more familiar laptop, consider the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 and S400 laptops, which include an updated touchpad that gives users a more controlled experience when scrolling and zooming.
All-in-ones are becoming increasingly popular, and designs from Samsung, Lenovo, Acer and Sony are bringing the world of touch to full-tilt desktop computing.
This is just a glimpse of some of the hardware innovation coming with Windows 8, and we look forward to bringing these PCs to market together with our partners later this year.
For more high-res images of these devices, check out the Microsoft OEM Newsroom Image Gallery.