The New Wave
Sexy PC hardware has been hard to push throughout the history of the Wintel era, with most vendors trying to pimp overpriced boxes with non-standard "extras" and thinking an extra row of media buttons on the keyboard is a great step forward.
Since the smartphone and tablet era, things have changed dramatically and, finally, we get a confluence of a new, smart, power-friendly Windows operating system and a generation of hardware inspired by sleek consumer design.
At Computex, currently underway in Taipei, we are seeing the first examples of this move, with ASUS showing off the first Windows 8 Transformer Book tablet, and the Taichi a double screen notebook that works as a tablet when closed, as a you-see-me-see notebook when open and many more.
Available in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models, the Taichi is definitely different
Transforming the Market
The Transformer Book is a more traditional tablet that docks with a keyboard to become a notebook. This model comes with the latest Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors, NVIDIA graphics, 4GB DDR3 RAM, USB 3.0 and SSD drives, allowing it to run the full Windows 8 experience, rather than Windows RT which ASUS's Tablet 600 range is lumbered with.
Tthe Transformer Book will be available in a range of sizes, from 11.6-, 13- or 14-inch full high-def, IPS displays with multi-touch, they will also come with a HD front-facing and a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera for video conferencing and recording.
ASUS' AIO model runs both Windows 8 and Android
On the All-in-One front, ASUS unveiled a dual-system computer that runs both Windows 8 and Android. Armed with a touchscreen, the display can detach to become a home-tablet. Specs for these systems aren't yet known but will look impressive on any desktop, although having an 18" tablet might be a bit much for some.
Expect more systems from other companies to be unveiled at the show, with all eyes on an October release date for Windows 8 and an avalanche of these systems going on sale. Price will be key to their success, but none of these exactly have "budget" stamped on them.