One to rule them all
The future of technology is a place where hybrids rule, writes Rod Chester
Afor one. Call them hybrids or convertibles, the focus of the tech event was on mobile devices in many shapes and forms.
There were tablets fitted with keyboards, Ultrabooks with detachable screens and, seeing the path ahead, new computer chips for mobile devices.
Intel executive vice-president Tom Kilroy sums it up: ‘‘ The two-in-one era: we believe this is the new normal.’’ Kilroy says there are more than 50 different two-in-one designs in the works based on Intel chips.
Asus’s Transformer Book Trio unveiled at Computex takes the ‘‘ all-in-one’’ philosophy to the next level.
It’s an 11.6-inch tablet with detachable keyboard that turns into a desktop PC when plugged into a docking station.
As a tablet, it runs on Google Android; as a computer, it runs on Windows 8. This hybrid device has two different Intel chips powering each operating system.
Whether the Transformer Book Trio resonates with the public or not, it’s just one device that is part of Intel’s bigger picture. Kilroy used Computex to launch the fourth-generation Intel Core processor family, code-named Hawell, which requires less power and delivers longer battery life.
Kilroy says the new Intel Core processors are ‘‘ designed from the ground up for the Ultrabook and serve as the foundation for a new era of two-in-one computing’’. SIA’S biggest technology event, Computex, had a clear theme: it’s one for all and all
Unveiled: Sony’s Duo 13 has a slide-out keyboard.
Acer president Jim Wong told Computex audiences technology was no longer about computers but computing, with that computing being done with a myriad mobile and handheld devices.
IDC last month released its predictions for key technology sectors for the next four years.
The research says tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7 per cent in 2013, reaching 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units last year. It predicts tablets will outpace PCs by 2015.
The two-in-one era: webelieve this is the new normal
Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobility Trackers, calls the trend ‘‘ a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor’’.
Jun Yoon, Sony Australia network entertainment marketing manager, says it’s ‘‘ 100 per cent’’ clear the industry believes that the path ahead lies in a
compromise between forms.
‘‘ I think the trend is really moving towards convertibles. It’s clear the tablet market has been growing and continues to grow significantly so people can see the benefit of that experience — instant on, consuming content immediately, that kind of stuff — is very evident,’’ he says.
‘‘ Rather than having two devices to do that, and also your productive work where you need a keyboard, you have that device in one.
‘‘ I definitely think it’s a trend that you can see all manufacturers moving in that direction.’’
Sony joined the trend with some key launches, including the Vaio Pro 11 ($1299), that claims the title as the world’s lightest touchscreen Ultrabook in its size class, thanks to its carbon-fibre case.
Sony also unveiled the Vaio Duo 13 hybrid tablet ($1699, early July) with a slide-out keyboard. In a sign of how expectations have changed since the launch of its predecessor, the Duo 11, nine months ago, the Duo 13 has an eight-megapixel rear camera and 11-hour battery life compared with the previous model’s two-megapixel camera and four-hour battery life.
Acer also joined the tablet trend at Computex, unveiling the R7 notebook with a special hinge to move the touchscreen into different positions and its eight-inch Windows tablet, the Iconia W3, pitching it as the first Windows tablet able to be used with one hand.
The Iconia is due to be released this quarter.
Next level: Transformer Book Trio.