One to rule them all

The fu­ture of tech­nol­ogy is a place where hy­brids rule, writes Rod Ch­ester

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

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.

mo­bile com­put­ing

Next level: Trans­former Book Trio.

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