It seems like every ARM chip manufacturer wants a piece of Windows 8 here at Computex 2012 — and for good reason. Hot on the heels of Asus’ Tegra 3-equipped Tablet 600 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4-based development tablet, Texas Instruments is showing Windows RT on its very own OMAP 4470-based system. The 1.5GHz dual-core SoC features a PowerVR SGX544 GPU and leads the competition with a dual-channel memory interface. We chatted with Bill Crean, Product Manager of the OMAP Processor Business Unit who showed us Microsoft’s latest OS running on TI’s development tablet. The demo looked snappy enough, providing some insight about what to expect from some of Toshiba’s upcoming devices. No word yet on a quad-core version. Enjoy our hands-on gallery below and take a peek after the break for our demo video.
Back when ASUS formally launched the PadFone, it trotted out a handful of accessories to go with it: a keyboard dock, tablet station and even a stylus that doubles as an earpiece. As it turns out, the outfit had even more goodies up its sleeve: we just spotted a PadFone docking monitor hanging out in the ASUS booth here at Computex. For starters, it is what it sounds like: a 27-inch display with a cradle designed specifically to accommodate the PadFone’s dimensions. There are also HDMI, VGA, DVI and four USB 3.0 ports in case you want to use it as a standalone monitor.
Yes, another Windows 8 tablet. After getting hands-on with some new devices from Acer, ASUS and Samsung, you might already having trouble telling one device from the other. You might even say the same about Lenovo, which is showing off an early-stage tablet here at Computex. The difference? We can’t remember the last time we saw even a Windows 7 tablet by Lenovo. So when the company trots out a slate running Win8, it doesn’t just feel like a mandatory upgrade from one OS to another; it feels like Lenovo entering a new category.
Samsung shows off Series 7 all-in-one PC with slim design and metal stand, stays mum on specs (update: hands-on photos)
In addition to that Series 5 laptop / tablet hybrid, Samsung has one other goodie up its sleeve. The company is also teasing a Series 7 all-in-one PC, a desktop that we can only imagine was built to run Windows 8 (notice that those cheeky blokes in Sammy’s marketing department aren’t even showing a Win8 screen in that lone photo you see up there). As with the Series 5 hybrid, Samsung is revealing maddeningly little about specs. We do know it responds to both voice input and hand gestures — both uncommon features for a desktop, especially in that combination. We don’t even know the screen size or resolution, but we’re told this panel is capable of recognizing up to 10 fingers at once. Lastly, Samsung says the stand is made of metal and the display is slim, but you probably already gathered that. And that, folks, is all she wrote, but we’ll be sure to report back with more details between now and when this goes on sale, presumably sometime after Win8 ships this fall.
Two displays in one tablet? Yes you can. ASUS’ new TAICHI series packs displays on both the front and the rear, letting you use the device in a variety of configurations. In ‘notebook’ mode, you can use TAICHI with a backlit QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. Once you close the lid, however, it’s stylus time. TAICHI includes Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors, 4 gigs of RAM, SSD storage, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, FHD/Super IPS+ displays and, naturally, dual cameras. Despite the display duo, both the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch configurations are reportedly as thin and light as the Zenbook line. Both variants will offer 1900 x 1280 pixels on each side, and displays can be used independently, so you can even share the device with a friend — with completely different content on either LCDs.
How many times have we posted a review of an ASUS Transformer tablet only to read comments that say, “Put Win8 on it and I’ll buy it.” Well, folks, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. ASUS just announced the Tablet 600, a Transformer-like slate running Windows RT. Like any Android-powered Transformer, this one packs a quad-core Tegra 3 chip, except it has twice the RAM (2GB). At the center of it all is a 10.1-inch (1366 x 768) IPS+ display with viewing angles similar to what you’ll find on current Transformer tablets. Around back, it has an auto-focusing 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash, complemented by a 2-megapixel shooter up front. Other specs include WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and your usual array of sensors, including GPS, a gyroscope, e-compass and, last but not least, NFC. And guess what? We’ve already got hands-on. Bear with us as we upload photos and video — connectivity is slow here!
Acer just introduced two Windows 8-equipped U Series all-in-one desktops here at Computer 2012 in Taipei — the 27-inch Aspire 7600U and 23-inch Aspire 5600U. The 7600U features a 64-point capacitive multitouch tilt and swivel display and is only 3.5cm (1.38 inches) thick, while the 5600U is billed as “the thinnest AIO available” (no numbers specified). Both system feature HD visuals and Dolby Home Theater Surround sound, but the company isn’t ready to share any other details on specs.
We spent a brief minute with the larger 7600U and witnessed its ability to tilt 90 degrees from vertical to horizontal and then swivel from landscape to portrait mode — turning it into the world’s biggest e-book reader. There are two USB ports and a DC power connector in the back, two USB ports, audio in / out and an SD-card slot on the left side plus a slot-load Blu-Ray drive on the right edge. Check out the gallery below, then hit the break for our hands-on video and the obligatory PR.
Intel already gave us a heads up that several touch-enabled Ultrabooks were in store for 2012, and here they are, becoming real before our eyes. Here at Computex 2012, Acer just announced the Aspire S7 series, which includes a 13.3-inch model and an 11.6-incher, the first in the company’s Ultrabook lineup. The S7 series will no doubt be the first of many touch-enabled Ultrabooks we see in Taipei this week, and these in particular have screens that fold back 180 degrees, allowing the system to lie flat. Unlike the original S3, which caught flack for its chintzy design, these two are made of 12.5mm-thick unibody aluminum and sport backlit keyboards and “full HD” displays, making these the most premium Ultrabooks Acer has attempted so far. In the case of the 13-inch version, too, you’ll get a glass lid — something previously seen only on the HP Envy 14 Spectre.
Towards the end of our recent trip to Taiwan for Computex, just as the hustle and bustle was winding down and we’d settled on a bit of sightseeing, we stumbled upon a rare beast — a smartphone unicorn of sorts — the Sharp Aquos SH-12C. This 3D-capable Android handset for NTT’s Docomo network was imported from its native Japan by a Hong Kong resident who was also attending the epic trade show. Like the HTC EVO 3D, this device features twin cameras and a glasses-free stereoscopic qHD display, so we decided to combine work and play by getting some hands-on time with this mysterious phone right on the observation deck of Taipei 101. Take a look a our gallery below — complete with foggy views from the 89th floor at dusk — and hit the break for our hands-on video, first impressions and some camera samples.
Champtron's 65-incher can recognize two-finger touch, make for a decently spacious second screen (video)
If you can never have enough screen real estate while working, you might want to give Champtron’s 65-inch behemoth a look. It’s a 1080p Sharp panel imbued with the ability to recognize two touch inputs at a time — which can be fingers or “any” other sort of stylus — which should prove pretty damn useful when you’re trying to Photoshop a little extra sheen atop Steve Ballmer’s glorious dome. As an added bonus, the dimensions of this screen make the Windows 7 UI extremely finger-friendly. Hell, it borders on being fist-friendly when exploded to a 65-inch size. See video of this champ after the break.
We’re not normally all that stoked with motherboards, but Gigabyte’s awkwardly named Z68XP-UD3-iSSD just about got our attention at Computex. The highlight here is the Intel 20GB SLC SSD latched onto the board’s mSATA slot, which is right next to the LGA1155 CPU socket and the four DDR3 RAM slots (together supporting up to 32GB). Alas, Gigabyte says it won’t be offering upgrade options for the SSD, though there are certainly alternatives out there in the wild if you dare to venture. But if none of this interests you, then there’s always our multi-screen Angry Birds hands-on video after the break.
We got a chance to spend some time with the lovely folks from OCZ here at Computex for a tour of their latest and greatest SSD products, the RevoDrive 3 X2 and RevoDrive Hybrid. Both are PCIe x4 cards featuring up to 4 SandForce SF-2200 controllers and RAID 0 (striping) for blazing performance. The RevoDrive 3 X2 is available in capacities from 240GB ($699) to 960GB and improves upon the RevoDrive X2 with TRIM support and double the performance. We were treated to a demo that achieved truly ludicrous speeds — 1.5GBps reads and 1.2GBps writes — the kind of numbers that’ll perk up even the most jaded PC enthusiast. The RevoDrive Hybrid builds upon the same SSD technology as the RevoDrive 3 X2 to cache the contents of a 2.5-inch hard drive, with capacities starting at 500GB with a 60GB cache ($350). OCZ’s demo showed a 20 times performance improvement going from a regular hard drive to the RevoDrive Hybrid. Both products are expected to ship in July, but we suggest you ogle them right now in the gallery below and in our hands-on video after the break.
As if showing up in two of the first four reference devices for Windows on ARM wasn’t enough of an achievement for NVIDIA’s quad-core Kal-El superchip, it decided to visit us in person here at Computex to demonstrate its splendid graphical prowess. Running Android 3.1 on a 10-inch WVGA screen, it gave us a first-hand look at the Glow Ball demo that wowed us in video form just a couple of days ago. What we saw on the dev tablet before us was no less impressive; lighting was being rendered in real time and scattering all over a multiplicity of surfaces, while the cloth simulation was, to use a terrible pun, silky smooth. NVIDIA also ran us through a sightseeing tour of the Unreal Development Kit and Lost Planet 2, noting that the PC game took only a couple of months to port over to work on the Kal-El architecture. Unfortunately, no new details were forthcoming about when Kal-El devices might be coming or what developers we should expect to see coding games and other content to exploit the platform’s evidently mighty capabilities. For now, we’ll just have to sate ourselves with the video after the break.
Remember how Microsoft unveiled that whole “Windows 8″ thing earlier today? It’s back for more: here at Computex 2011 in Taipei, prototype ARM-based Windows 8 slates and smartbooks are coming out of the woodwork. Foxconn, Wistron and Quanta all unveiled early hardware for the new OS, with chips from Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and NVIDIA powering their live tiles — including NVIDIA’s upcoming Kal-El, which got both a tablet and a super-slim prototype notebook to call its own. Dell’s also got a XPS development station up on stage, which Microsoft used to demo the UI — it’s bulky and ugly as such things are, but it suggests that Dell’s also likely to have a portable Windows 8 machine at some point. For its part, Qualcomm is promising a chip that can instantly wake from sleep, and one of the devices showed that USB host support works fine and dandy. Unfortunately, none of these machines will make their way to market, but it’s nice to know that the OEMs care enough to show their solidarity here.
The eye-catching P220 ultraportable isn’t the only system LG is showcasing at Computex — the Korean manufacturer is also gracing Intel’s booth with the V300, an all-in-one with a few tricks up its sleeve. Not only is that 23-inch display using a beautiful IPS panel (full HD), but it’s even 3D-capable and includes a touchscreen in some versions. Yes, this isn’t your father’s PC. A variety of processors are available including Intel’s Core i7 with room for up to 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. Some models are paired with AMD’s Radeon HD 6650M video card. Blu-ray is an option, and storage maxes out at 750GB. The computer takes some visual cues from Apple’s iMac (the stand), but still manages to have its own personality. The display is quite thin, and while the model we played with didn’t appear to offer the touchscreen option, it did feature a Core i5 CPU. Take a look at the gallery below, and hit the break for our hands-on video and LG’s press release.
What would happen if you took a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and shrunk it down a notch into a 12.1 or 11.6-inch ultraportable but decided to keep the box shape instead of using a MacBook Air-like wedge design? We’re pretty sure you’d end up with something like this sexy LG P220. We saw this light and thin laptop at the Intel booth at Computex and came away rather impressed. While the materials used (plastics) don’t live up to the lofty standards set by Apple’s popular notebooks, the innards appear to pack a serious punch. We don’t have any specs, but the unit we handled was equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor, and LG’s gorgeous super slim bezel-hating Shuriken display. We’ll keep you posted with more info as soon as we dig it up — in the meantime, why not take a look at this hot little number in our gallery and hands-on video after the break?
It’ll be a little while before Windows Phone 7 Mango phones pop up in the shops, but here at Computex, Acer decided to give us a little tease with a mockup of its upcoming W4 handset. Before you get all excited, though, the hardware specs are pretty yawn-inducing: there’s a 3.6-inch 800 x 480 display of unknown type, 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 CPU, up to 8GB of storage, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, and DLNA support. Hardly anything new here, which is a surprise given that we’re looking at a Mango device — a phone to be shipped with a major WP7 refresh.
Anyhow, you’ll also find the usual radios like 802.11 b/g/n plus Bluetooth 2.1 here, but interestingly enough, it looks like the W4 will be coming in two SKUs: one with HSPA 850 / 1900, and one with HSPA 900 / 2100 — obviously a potential problem for globetrotters. As for look and feel the W4′s well within the comfort zone of Acer’s smartphone ID, and the curved back felt nice and solid in our hands, but we shall save our final judgement for the real deal. When we hear a release date, you’ll know it as soon as we do.