Aside from some of the key launch devices, much of the first rush of Windows 8 hardware from various vendors was just a tweak on their Windows 7 products. Now, with more time under their belts, Windows 8 hardware is starting to come into its own, as shown off at CES.
Hybrid is Big
Having already highlighted the new offerings from Samsung and some of the more spectacular PC hardware at the CES show, other makers are shining the spotlight on their latest Windows 8 devices, ranging from modest updates to the highly-multifunctional or the merely massive.
If you're bored of all the talk about hybrid cars, then hybrid computing might make a bit of a change. For example, Asus is now pushing the Transformer AiO, an all-in-one Windows 8 desktop on the dock and an Android tablet on the go. It uses dual processors, an Intel Core i3 for Windows operation and tucked away is a Tegra 3 chip to handle the Android side, running Jelly Bean.
However, at 18.4" the screen isn't exactly the most portable of Android devices and at $1,500 you could probably buy a better-specification dedicated PC and a decent Android tablet for less money. Also, since ASUS also offers Bluestacks software that lets Windows users run Android apps on many models, this does seem a little redundant.
Still, when you buy one, both Windows 8 and Android get a tick each in their user activation tallies, and being able to switch between full OSes at the touch of a button could be really useful for some users.
Still on the hybrid theme, several regular notebook or Ultrabooks are going the convert-to-tablet route with the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix being one such example, while ASUS continues to improve its Transformer line up with a new Transformer Book TX300CA that mixes the Ultrabook/tablet themes with a meaty Core i7 processor, not bad for a tablet.
Packing in the Power
If you need all the power you can get in a portable format, then Toshiba's Qosmio line-up looks to have you covered. The new range topped out by the X875 desktop replacement model includes hybrid drives with embedded flash storage to speed up access, Blu-ray drives for movie viewing, fast Core i7 processors and Nvidia graphics as demanded by gamers.
With 1TB storage now becoming common on these machines, and a rather neat backlit keyboard for working in the gloom, there's also plenty you can cram onto a notebook, without having to worry about resorting to cloud storage or other methods.
Looking Into the Future
CES also lets us take a peek into what's to come. Panasonic has probably done the best job with a 4K display tablet running Windows 8. Aimed at professional image users, such as architects or high-end photographers, this is merely a prototype, but we'll likely see devices like this within a few years.
For those who want something almost as cool now, LG displayed a trio of ultra-widescreen IPS displays, the UltraWide, ColorPrime and Touch 10, designed explicitly for entertainment, professional applications and touch-based interaction. But the next generation may employ curved and flexible displays which were also on show from a number of vendors, these may help save desk space and bring new qualities to our viewing experience.
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