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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 MZperX on 6/6/2012 12:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
... and an interface like Leap Motion. I think it's plausible that a gesture based touchless "touch" interaction scheme would overcome most sensible people's aversion to actually touching their beautiful screen with greasy fingers. It seems to me that the Metro style tiles and swiping/pinching gestures would still work the same way except without the need to actually touch the screen.

The one thing it does not alleviate is the issue with having to hold up one's arms to make the gestures in the first place. So, we'll have to see if it's an overall improvement. I think people who are concerned about long term arm fatigue have a legitimate point, even if there are alternative control schemes like keyboard and the mouse still available.

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