Print 25 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Jun 10 at 4:22 PM

Touch ultrabooks, touch desktops, touch tablets! Manufacturers expect wild Windows 8 demand

Well perhaps Ray Ozzie was right and it's now official -- we're in a "post-PC" era.  But the killer of the traditional personal computer was not Apple, Inc. (AAPL) or Google Inc. (GOOG).  Surprisingly it was Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) which has backed touch in a huge way with its upcoming Windows 8, a release which relegates a soon-to-be-redesigned desktop to a supporting role.

But manufacturers seem confident that consumers will gobble up these new touch-friendly devices, which include touchable desktops and laptops.  At Computex 2012, we'd already heard announcements from Acer, Inc. (TPE:2353) and ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357), who showcased diverse lines of Windows 8 desktops, laptops, hybrids, and desktops.

I. ThinkPad Tablet? Believe It

Now Lenovo Group ltd. (HKG:0992) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) have added to the Windows 8 feeding frenzy with new models of their own.

Lenovo has trotted out a new Windows 8 tablet in the ThinkPad line.  The much beloved plain-jane ThinkPads have long been laptop only, but with this 10.1-inch 1366x768 pixel  slate, they will make the jump to a brand new form factor.  It's 9.7 mm thick and reportedly pleasantly light.

Lenovo ThinkPad tablet
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet running Windows 8 [Image Source: Engadget]

It carries micro-HDMI and a docking connector, and 2/8 megapixel front/rear cameras.  Lenovo promises to deliver on its classic build quality, including promising 10+ hours on a charge and a smudge/scratch resistant finish.

Processor, GPU, memory, and storage have yet to be revealed.  The new ThinkPad tablet will join the "Yoga" in its sister IdeaPad line.

II. Samsung Airs New Series 7 Touch Desktop, Series 5 Touch Laptop, Hybrid

Meanwhile Samsung is eager for you to touch its device with all 10 fingers.  It pulled the wraps of a new 10-finger Series 7 all-in-one PC.  Packing a 2.5 GHz Intel Corp. (INTC) Core i5 dual-core CPU, 8 GB of DRAM, and a 1 terrabyte HDD, the massive desktop is essentially a 23-inch tablet on a stand, complete with attachable keyboard.  It features 4 USB 2.0 and a single USB 3.0 port, full HDMI out, a memory card reader, and even a DVD drive.

Samsung Series 7
Samsung Series 7 All-In One (Metro UI skinned Windows 7 shown) [Image Source: Engadget]

The screen is a sporty 1920x1080 pixel resolution.  Don't expect to be hauling this around to use as a mega-tablet, though, unless you've been hitting the gym.  The monster weighs over 18 lb.  The price is a very reasonable $999 USD.

Then there's the Samsung Ultrabooks.  The refreshments to the Series 5 family include the Ultra Touch -- a classic ("clamshell") 13-inch laptop with touch added -- and the Ultra Convertible a 13-inch design whose swivel hinge mimics the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga.

Samsung Series 5 laptop
Samsung's new Series 5 laptop adds touch to the mix. [Image Source: Engadget]

The laptops will feature Intel processors and will come by default with a 500 GB HDD, upgradable to a 128 GB SSD.  The laptops will all carry a 1366x768 pixel touchscreen, which will disappoint some HD purists.  Ports are pretty standard fodder -- USB 3.0 (x1), USB 2.0 (x2), Ethernet, HDMI, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, and combined mic / headphone jack (note: Intel's Ultrabook spec now requires USB 3.0, but the HDMI port is just an optional extra many manufacturers are tacking on).

These recent entrants together with the past announcements paint a clear picture that manufacturers are sold on Windows 8 touch devices.  The question is whether customers will be.

Sources: Engadget [Samsung Series 7 All-in-One], [Samsung Series 5 laptops], [Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet]

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By p05esto on 6/5/2012 7:26:45 PM , Rating: 5
Rubish I tell you. THis touch interface thing simply will not last. It's great for content consumption, but not for any content creation. You can't type fast on touch, you can't navigate complex software, etc. It will have a place, but a post-PC world? Give me a freaking break.... never going to happen while humans have big stubby fingers.

RE: bla
By Cypherdude1 on 6/5/2012 9:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
THis touch interface thing simply will not last.
I have to agree that the touch screen PC's are a great marketing gimmick. They can be used but will definitely slow you down if you try to do anything productive. However, everything, no matter how limited, has its use. I just can't think where in the house it can be placed. I was going to say it would be good as a kitchen PC. However, imagine you're cooking and you operate the touch screen. You would immediately get your expensive touch screen dirty.

RE: bla
By amanojaku on 6/5/12, Rating: -1
RE: bla
By Solandri on 6/6/2012 12:41:22 AM , Rating: 3
It's true that the touchscreen is suited for nothing more than content consumption, but video viewing and article reading are popular with everyone. Poking an upright screen is more natural than bending the wrist back and arching a finger to click.

No it's not. IBM was at the forefront of this and ran a bunch of touchscreen information kiosks at the 1996 Olympics and Wimbeldon. Yes over 15 years ago. So why you don't see them everywhere today?

It turns out poking an upright screen is completely unnatural. Unless you're a weightlifter, your arm wasn't designed to be held up in front of you for an extended period of time. It quickly fatigues leading to what's been dubbed gorilla arm syndrome.

So they're fine for a screen you're only going to interact with for a few seconds (an ATM, a mall directory, etc). But for anything where you expect the person to do more than about a minute of browsing (i.e. continuously touching on different parts of the screen), it's really, really bad.

Touchscreens on tablets and phones work because they're typically held down by your lap or close to your chest, with the display facing up and your head crocked down to look at it. There your arm is either pointed mostly down or the elbow is bent so the arm's center of mass is directly underneath your shoulder. The weight of the arm is not generating tremendous torque on your shoulder as it does when you use a touchscreen in front of you. (The mouse works despite your arm being extended in front because your arm's weight is supported by the table.)

RE: bla
RE: bla
By darkhawk1980 on 6/6/2012 7:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well the sad part is you're wrong.

I only know this from experience, specifically using a Samsung Series 7 Slate. Great device with lots of uses, even in the Engineering and Business world. Being able to use it as my notebook for everything (meetings, labwork, etc...) as well as having everything I normally run on it (all my simulation software, etc...) makes it leaps and bounds ahead of anything else out there. Having a pen input that works, and works well, is downright amazing. And Samsung isn't the only game in town, Asus has had the EP121 out for even longer and it's nearly as good. Battery life for me is roughly 10 hours, even with a 2nd Gen Core i5 in it.

Your ergonomics claims are honestly rather short sighted, mainly because the people that should have them are those that need a tablet with some horsepower (such as Engineers). A normal laptop or PC with a touchscreen, I will agree, is pretty much pointless, but with a tablet that then docks for use with mouse/keyboard at a desk, it makes perfect sense and works tremendously well.

RE: bla
By amanojaku on 6/6/2012 8:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing Solandri missed the part where I wrote "For those times when you do need a keyboard and mouse, you can get a Bluetooth set." That means extended use. Content consumption is not extended use, it is extended viewing. You barely use you arms when you are reading an article or watching a video.

People complaining about touchscreens are as shortsighted as Apple fans complaining about Samsung's stylus. You don't have to use either, they're just another input.

RE: bla
By NellyFromMA on 6/6/2012 4:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
The truth is a keyboard isn't perfect because a mouse was invented for extra precision, but it didn't replace the keyboard and likewise a touch means of input will just complement our other inputs, not replace them. I don't know why everyone is so hung up and insecure about touch replacing their favorite input of choice. It's not going away... Windows hasn't stopped supporting keyboard and mouse and Win 8 is really straightforward to use.

RE: bla
By Maiyr on 6/6/2012 3:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
The only things keeping PCs (including Macs) and their permanently-atached keyboards and mice around are raw horsepower and run time. When tablet and phone CPUs hit quad-core @3Ghz for 10 hours that will be the "death" of the PC.

I doubt it. When tablet and phone CPUs hit quad-core @3Ghz then PC's will be doing octuple-core @6Ghz (being a little facetious here, but just a little). Not to mention the gap in graphics capability of any tablet/phone vs a PC with the latest graphics cards. PC's may one day go away, but neither you nor I will be around to see it happen.


RE: bla
By Adam M on 6/6/2012 6:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't understand the myopic belly aching. These devices are about convergence of technologies. If you prefer a touch screen exclusive experience... don't get one. The same can be said for the traditional mouse and keyboard. Personally I have been waiting for such a convergence for a long time. Jam my consoles into it and make sure it has an HDMI out and I can have an all inclusive multimedia experience that goes where ever I do. I can click, type, touch or grab a controller whenever needed.

RE: bla
By spread on 6/5/2012 10:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 is great for tablets, and maybe even large table computers.

On a desktop, with a touchscreen? Like hell I am going to keep my arm raised for several hours to use the touchscreen features. On a non-touch desktop the interface is a nightmare. I used the consumer preview. What the hell were they thinking.

The core of the OS is fantastic. Smooth, fast, responsive and much needed improvements for the regular desktop features but the Metrosexual UI breaks everything.

RE: bla
By damianrobertjones on 6/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: bla
By neothe0ne on 6/6/2012 7:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
"On a non-touch desktop the interface is a nightmare" is his opinion, if you read the whole post you'd know your post makes zero sense. Why did you post "you can use a mouse and keyboard" multiple times anyway?

RE: bla
By damianrobertjones on 6/6/2012 8:42:30 AM , Rating: 3
...and you know what I meant. My comment still stands. No-one is making anyone hold their arm in front of them for hours.

Typed and sent from a HP 8460p using a 24" Dell ST09 Touch screen with Windows 8.

RE: bla
By damianrobertjones on 6/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: bla
By jimbojimbo on 6/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: bla
By jimbojimbo on 6/6/2012 11:51:07 AM , Rating: 2
And people hate being called stupid so they vote people down. Stupids.

RE: bla
By jimbojimbo on 6/6/2012 11:48:43 AM , Rating: 2
It'll be bad for you if you're stupid and use touch for absolutely everything. The thing is you have the mouse and keyboard to do anything as well so you just have three interfaces.
It kills me when I see people logging into a window when they type their login, grab their mouse, click the password box, type the password, grab their mouse and then click OK. If you're dumb like this, yes, you will be extremely inefficient at creation since you will probably keep touching the screen.
Me? I type my login, hit tab, type the pwd, then hit enter.
If your brain is small you'll latch onto whatever method you're shown. If you're at all intelligent you'll use whatever method is most efficient and enjoy the fact you now have a 3rd interface device.

RE: bla
By NellyFromMA on 6/6/2012 4:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
You're trying to explain logic to close-minded people. Good luck.

RE: bla
By NellyFromMA on 6/6/2012 4:31:44 PM , Rating: 2
It's like you've completely ignored and disregarded the fact that Windows 8 works with a keyboard and mouse, there by negating this touch-angst.

It's clear that touch is not as precise as a mouse; It won't truly replace the mouse any more so than the mouse replaced the keyboard...

It complements our other not perfect inputs and nothing about Win8 that I've been using makes me feel like I can't use a mouse or a keyboard.

RE: bla
By Mint on 6/10/2012 4:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
never going to happen while humans have big stubby fingers.

This is why Samsung is really onto something with the Galaxy Note. As tablets get more powerful, and as we start wanting to use either traditional x86 apps or apps that let you do more, we'll want a stylus for more control, input amplification, and lack of fingers blocking your view.

Apple wants everyone to move past x86 and into a touch-only world, where they can be the dominant OS. For everyone that doesn't buy into this vision, the stylus always has been and always will be the best mobile replacement for the mouse, and in some ways superior.

As for the keyboard, maybe you're right, but I can't rule out software/hardware coming up with a sufficient replacement, especially for people that haven't grown up on the keyboard.

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