Monday 4 June 2012

Monday at Computex

   This week has seen the Computex show in Taiwan kick off and tomorrow E3 gets going in LA. The former has kicked off in style with an absolute barrage of announcements today from Asus and Acer. Probably the best way to consider all of this is to do one manufacturer at a time and one device at a time! Hold tight this will be a long old post!


   Asus has announced that they have teamed with Bluestacks, who are famous for their Android app player which integrates into Windows. This software will be available in all Asus products from now on and it will be free for 6 months, but after that you'll have to cough up a bit of money unfortunately.

   Currently there's no word on whether the will be legacy support but we'll find out sooner rather than later.

Asus Taichi.

   This is a very novel idea indeed from Asus. The Taichi is essentially a convertible notebook with  two displays! It runs Windows 8, nope no dual-boot with Android. It appears to be a regular notebook when opened, complete with a 13.3-inch display, keyboard, trackpad and a 3rd Gen Core i7 processor, it's not until you close the lid and you’ll find a second screen, which is an 11.6-inch panel. Both of these panels are Super IPS+ and offer support for Full HD 1080p resolution.

   There are cameras front and back, and interestingly both displays can be active simultaneously; ASUS suggests that’s great for back-to-back working or sharing slideshows or presentations with an audience, though this could kill of the TAICHI’s battery and the reality of this might prove that this isn't quite as useful as we expect it will be but it's a good idea.

The smaller panel is a touchscreen, yep it supports stylus', which means owners will be able to use the closed-down notebook as a tablet, in a similar way to the Dell flippy lid tablet. This will give you all the benefits of touch optimized Windows 8 and it's Metro UI. Storage is solid-state, helping keep things as lightweight and with solid (pun intentional) performance.

   As of yet there is no word on pricing or availability, although given the ASUS TAICHI runs Windows 8 we won't expect it until around October.

Transformer Books bring tablets and docks to the mainstream!

      Just like they promised, ASUS has come through with their promise of unusual form-factors; the company has announced it's new Transformer Book series; these are a range of 11.6-, 13- and 14-inch notebooks which have detachable touchscreen displays. You have a good choice of Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors and discrete NVIDIA GeForce graphics. All of these tablets will have Full HD IPS displays with support for multitouch input.

   On-board there's  4GB of DDR3 memory as well as USB 3.0 connectivity. They devices offer you a choice of SSD and HDD storage. ASUS is also been keen to highlight their speaker technology, with the ASUS SonicMaster audio apparently offering decent bass in spite of the tablet sizes of the devices.

   Again these tablets have two cameras, the front-facing camera being a HD webcam and a 5-megapixel camera on the rear. ASUS hasn't specifically mentioned the size of the battery, but the assumption is that the Android Transformer range has given the cue here and so there's a pair of batteries, one in the tablet parts and the other in the key board dock.

   Asus is targeting this range at “the seasoned user who enjoys the portability of a tablet for leisure but still prefers a more traditional Windows-based notebook when it comes to work.” As with pretty much everything else today there's no word on price or availability.

A proper tablet with WindowsRT: The Asus Tablet 600.

   Ok, so this is the only real tablet ASUS has announced today; the others are docking notebooks. The ASUS Tablet 600 is running the version of Windows 8 specifically for Tegra 3. NVIDIA’s quadcore beast has been paired with 2GB of RAM and a 10.1-inch 1366 x 768 IPS+ touchscreen, so this is a recognisable tablet right here.

   Beneath that very familiar exterior there's WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, a digital compass and NFC. The front-facing camera is considerably better than most laptops and indeed tablets, it's a 2-megapixel sensor, the rear camera is a solid 8-megapixels with auto-focus and LED flash.

   ASUS has been very shy on stats today and the battery life expectations for the Tablet 600 have been MIA today too, but we’re expecting the device to last between 10-15 hours like Android-based Transformers. This is one of the benefits of the ARM processors as opposed to Intel processors.

    No prices or availability today but again because it's running Windows 8, the Tablet 600 should arrive later this year. If ASUS can meet the same price point as Android Transformers, this could be one to watch.

ASUS Transformer All-In-One.

   This badboy is what we all thought the Transformer Books would be. This AIO dual-boots Android and Windows!!! 

   It has a HUGE removable 18.4-inch touchscreen! This is much, much larger than the maximum 14-inches of the Transformer Book line and this is not designed to leave your house! The screen is an LED-backlit panel with 10-point multitouch support, but ASUS glossed over resolution at the moment and the magic OS switching happens with a button press that flips it into Android mode from the main Windows 8 OS.

   The way this works is a bit strange because the screen part acts as a wireless display of sorts for Windows 8, which means you’ll have to be within a certain range of the base station.

   The exact tech specs haven’t been outed and we don't know what’s inside the base station, maybe something from Intels i5 range would be more than adequate. You get an optical drive and enough ports and holes to keep you guessing what they are for a while!

   This is certainly unique and novel, noone will have anything like this, but is it really better than a normal laptop or tablet? Hard to say without actually using it!

Asus Transformer 810.

   Windows 8, the full version in a tablet!!! This is an 11.6-inch model who see the Transformer Book as a little large for proper mobile use.This runs Intel Medfield-series Atom processorand has 2GB's of memory.

   The display has a 1366 x 768 resolution and is a Super IPS+ panel. ASUS has also taken advantage of Windows 8′s support for active digitizers, utilizing Wacom technology so you can use both your digital pen and 10-point multitouch with your fingers.

   Storage is 64GB via a eMMC drive, which helps keep the size down. There’s NFC too and the customary keyboard dock for that second battery, trackpad, and some extra USB connectivity.

   And you guessed it no pricing and availability yet, but again this is Windows 8 so later this year!


   Asus have basically stolen the show today, Acer were also at Computex, believe it or not and their offerings aren't quite as exciting as Asus', if you need a good solid overview of Acer's announcement click here for all the details.


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