Last week we journeyed to far-away Taipei, home of the world’s second tallest building, night markets with cuisine to test even the strongest stomach and Computex, the world’s largest PC technology show. Over four days we sampled the best the industry had to offer, and grabbed a look at the new hardware heading our way over the next few months.
Day 1: Asus Launches Everything
Our pre-show and first day of Computex were dominated by Asus, with the Taiwanese manufacturer using two early press conferences to debut a vast amount of new products, from tablet PCs to new RoG motherboards and peripherals.
First up were a trio of new Hasbro law-suit dodging transforming PCs, with the focus on merging existing form factors with that of a tablet PC; a strategy that looks to take advantage of Windows 8’s new Metro interface.
The new Transformer Book was arguably the most practical of the three. It’s effectively an 11.6in ultrabook (also coming in 14in) but with an entirely detachable keyboard section, allowing the lid to be used as an independent Windows 8 tablet. With all the core hardware in the lid, it’s likely to be little heavier than existing tablets, but the ability to convert from ‘getting-some-work-done’ laptop to ‘playing-some-games’ tablet is a very attractive prospect.
The Transformer Pad can work as a notebook or a tablet, as these smug looking girls demonstrate
For those who think bigger is better was the Transformer AiO. This huge 18.4in all-in-one also transforms into a humongous tablet, with the stand providing optical drive, ethernet, charging and USB port duties. It’s also a dual-booting device, booting either Windows 8 or, at the press of a button, Google’s Android operating system, although whether this was accomplished via an Intel CPU with an ARM chip driving Android, we couldn’t be sure.
The Transformer AiO switches from an all-in-one to a humongous tablet, and dual-boots both Windows 8 and Android.
The highlight though was the new Asus Taichi; an ultrabook equipped with two 1,920 x 1,080 IPS touch screens on either side of its lid. Shut the lid and the exterior screen becomes a tablet interface; open it up and it’s a traditional notebook with full keyboard. It was even demoed with both screens displaying simultaneously, pitched as an aide for face-to-face computing.
The Taichi boasts a 1080p touch-screen display on either side of its lid, so is sure to be a pricey bit of kit
No word on pricing, or clear final specifications other than it’ll use an Intel Core i7 Ivybridge CPU 4GB of RAM and an SSD, but we expect the Taichi to disrupt the chi of your wallet by close to £2000.
As all three Transformer prototypes so clearly hinged on Windows 8 integration, we don’t expect to see any of these products on e-tailer shelves before MS’ latest arrives this autumn. The merger of tablet and laptop is an intriguing trend though, and with these devices promising the best of both worlds.