The first-generation lineup of Windows 8 PCs and devices is looking good. After a few scattered announcements earlier in the week—as described in "PC Makers Start Announcing Windows 8 And Windows RT PCs"—the floodgates are now open. And with numerous announcements happening this week, it’s pretty clear that we’re looking at a revolution in PC design this fall.
Dell on Wednesday announced its XPS 10 and XPS Duo 12, which take the modern styling of the firm’s XPS lineup and apply it to portable devices that run on Windows RT and Windows 8, respectively.
The XPS 10 is a Windows RT slate tablet with a 10" screen that can work in either laptop or slate mode; it provides 20 hours of battery life. An optional mobile keyboard dock will be available so that you can convert the device into a laptop form factor, Dell says. But few other details are available.
The more interesting XPS Duo 12 features a 12.5" full HD (1920 x 1080) screen, runs Windows 8, and comes with a range of Intel Core processors. But the big news here is the device’s “flip hinge” touchscreen display, which lets the device function either as a slate or as a true Windows Ultrabook. The result is “two products in one,” as Dell says.
Dell also introduced a new all-in-one desktop PC, the XPS One, which features a 27" screen. This behemoth features a Wide Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display that swivels down at an angle for hands-on multi-touch interaction.
All three devices will be available at the October launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT, Dell says. No word yet on pricing.
HP previously revealed that it would be skipping over the ARM-based Windows RT system for its initial range of devices, so it wasn’t surprising to see the PC giant announce only Windows 8 PCs this week. HP will deliver a hybrid tablet version of its Envy Ultrabook lineup in which the tablet can be plugged in to a keyboard base to create a device that is virtually indistinguishable from a normal Envy Ultrabook. Dubbed the Envy x2, this device uses two hinges to connect the two pieces, rather than a single latch, creating what HP says is a better connection. It features an 11.6" HD display, offers 64GB of solid state storage, and weighs 1.5 pounds, or 3.1 pounds with the keyboard dock. (Each piece has its own battery.)
HP also announced a few true Ultrabooks, including the Spectre XT TouchSmart, which features a 15.6" multi-touch full HD (1920 x 1080) display, and the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4, which features a 14" multi-touch screen.
HP hasn't revealed pricing for these PCs.
Lenovo announced a number of PCs that it will begin selling immediately with Windows 7, but then will switch over to Windows 8 when that OS becomes available in a few months. Not surprisingly, each includes some hardware features that are aimed more at the future OS than the current.
The Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 is a 27" all-in-one PC with a 10-point multi-touch screen that swivels downward for hands-on use, ideal for Windows 8. Costing $1,600, this PC features full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, Blu-ray capability, integrated TV functionality, and fast Intel Core i7 processors.
Lenovo also updated its lineup of IdeaPad laptops and Ultrabooks, which are available now with Windows 7 and are upgradeable to Windows 8. There's nothing dramatic here, however, and of course what we’re really waiting for is Lenovo’s Windows 8 lineup of ThinkPads.
Samsung, which was the first handset maker to announce a new Windows Phone 8-based device yesterday, also announced a set of Windows 8 and Windows RT devices. And as with its Windows Phone line, Samsung will be using the new ATIV brand for its computing devices.
The Samsung ATIV Series 5 Slate and ATIV Series 7 Slate are tablet computing devices with detachable keyboard bases that, when connected, look just like normal laptops. Both feature 11.6" displays, 10-point multi-touch displays, and an S Pen stylus, and both weigh less than 2 pounds (sans base). They run Windows 8, not Windows RT.
The Series 5 features a 1366 x 768 display, a ULV Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of solid state storage. It will cost $650, or $750 with the keyboard base.
Moving up to the Series 7, you get a full HD display (1920 x 1080), an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. This device will set you back $1,200 with the keyboard base. Both will be available on October 26, Samsung says.
Samsung also announced, but did not show, a Windows RT-based tablet.
Sony announced two Windows 8 PCs this week, including the VAIO Duo 11 and VAIO Tap 20. The VAIO Duo 11 is an 11.6" hybrid tablet that ships with a stylus, features NFC, and will come with 128GB or 256GB of SSD-based storage. The Tap 20 is a 20" all-in-one PC.
Both Sony devices will debut in October. No pricing has been set.
Yesterday, I noted that ASUS had declined to provide pricing for its Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT, respectively. Since then, ASUS president Jerry Shen stated that the firm would price the products after Apple announced pricing on its next iPad, which is expected to be announced in the next 30 days. He said that iPad pricing would be used as a “reference” for ASUS device pricing.