CES 2013: The coming of Windows 8 'table PCs' and supertablets

CES 2013: The coming of Windows 8 'table PCs' and supertablets

Summary: Lenovo, Panasonic, Asus and Sony have all unveiled large screen PCs that can benefit from Windows 8's tablet features to work in a horizontal position as 'tables' much like Microsoft's original Surface, but dramatically cheaper

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Microsoft's original Surface — a computer in coffee table format — attracted a lot of interest but not many sales. That could change thanks to new Windows 8 touch-screen all-in-one PCs that can be used in either a vertical or horizontal format. Screens are smaller than the 40-inch Surface, which has been renamed Pixelsense. However, while aimed mainly at home users, they are still large enough for many of the same business purposes as the Surface. This includes interactive displays for product selection for financial services, shopping, and casino-style gaming.

Lenovo HORIZON
Lenovo Horizon all-in-one Table and tablet PC

China's Lenovo made the boldest introductions at CES2013 with the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, which it described as its first "interpersonal PC" because it can provide a shared computing experience. It can be used in vertical mode as a desktop/all-in-one computer or horizontally for shared browsing or multi-user gaming. It's heavy at 7.7kg, but Lenovo's video shows it can be moved around, and it has enough battery to run for a couple of hours without a mains connection.

Lenovo's first Horizon Table PC has a 27-inch screen and will be available in early summer for "approximately $1,699".

 

 

 

Lenovo also showed a 39-inch version code-named Gamma, which is only an inch smaller than the current Pixelsense SUR40. Lenovo said: "While still an early concept, Gamma illustrates the outstanding multi-user entertainment experiences such a large screen can provide and is indicative of Lenovo's future direction in Table PC computing."

VAIO Tap 20

Sony entered this market in December with the launch of the Vaio Tap 20, a touch-screen all-in-one that includes a built-in battery. The 20-inch screen can be set at any angle from 15 to 90 degrees, or it can be used flat on a table. Someone who is willing to heft the 5.2kg weight could also carry it around as a tablet. Not many home users will want to hit the streets with a Vaio Tap 20, but it would easily fit the back of a salesman's car. The starting price of £999 in the UK certainly makes it affordable for presentations and displays, especially where the multi-touch features can be exploited.

At CES, Asus announced the Transformer AiO (all-in-one) that doubles as a Windows 8 touch-screen desktop and — with the 18.4-inch display detached — as a standalone Android tablet. Although Asus has a deal with BlueStacks to distribute its version of the Android Dalvik virtual machine for Microsoft Windows, the Transformer AiO uses an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor to run Android and Android apps. The detached screen can also be used for Windows 8 apps by using "wireless remote desktop technology", Intel's WiDi.

Asus says the Transformer AiO will cost $1,299 with an Intel Core i3 processor, and that Core i5 and i7 versions will also be available. It is due to appear in the first quarter of this year.

Asus has already launched the ET2300 all-in-one running Windows 8. This has a 23-inch 1080p screen that folds into a horizontal position for tablet-style use.

Finally, during its Tuesday CES keynote, Panasonic unveiled a 20-inch Windows 8 tablet with a 4K display: the screen resolution is 3840 x 2560 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 15:10. However, it was a prototype, so there's no information on when it might reach the shops, or what it might cost.

It's "thin and light" for the screen size: the dimensions are 18.7 by 13.1 by 0.4 inches and the weight is 2.4kg (5.3lbs). Battery life should be about 2 hours.

The Panasonic tablet's high resolution display is aimed at professional users such as photographers and architects. Also, like the Pixelsense/Surface, it could be used in showrooms, banks and other retail outlets. However, it will face stiff competition from cheaper systems such as Lenovo's Horizon Table PC, which can sell in higher volumes.

There's a growing market for all-in-one PCs because they provide bigger screens than you can get on laptops, and because they don't saddle you with a system box. They are inherently more portable than desktop PCs, and with the arrival of Windows 8, touch-screen all-in-ones work as tablets at no extra cost. Obviously they can play movies, and a built-in TV tuner will also enable them to work as TV sets. They can be wall-mounted or installed horizontally, built into tables or desks. There must be plenty of business applications for those with the wit to see them….

lenovo_horizon_table (300 x 225)

 

Topics: CES, Hardware, Tablets, Windows 8

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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27 comments
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  • i can see many uses for this

    I don't see any benefit to owning a Surface or other small screen hybrid. They fail as both a tablet and a PC. I also don't see much benefit to a touch screen laptop or standard PC. There is very little added usability. The original coffee table size Surface, however, truly re imagined what a PC could be. Just as Phones are starting to scale up to tablet size, I would not be surprised to see tablets scale up to TV size. At that size, you are creating an entirely new range of potential uses.
    krossbow
    • Agree

      size needs to be upscaled to at least 40inch to make a device useable by mutliple people(adults and children) at the same time. The Surface device was perfect for this
      http://youtu.be/YfQO_yVmbZY
      Mick Sly
  • Wonderful idea

    The Lenovo 27" table top tablet is a wonderful idea. An all-in-one that can be moved around the house with ease and engaging with its multi-user multi-touch experience. Every household should have one such unit. It's a shame that there isn't much press coverage on it.
    Lachlan Chau
    • 17 lbs is not with ease.

      It is like moving a 27" iMac around. You can but don't.
      Bruizer
      • Well,

        it is a table with wheels - you could probably easily move it wherever you like
        Mujibahr
    • It is the Future PC

      If I can use gestures and a stylus with good handwriting recognition software, then I can ditch the keyboard and mouse for good.
      This finally looks like the PC you just write on. Awesome.
      ITenquirer
      • Yeah maybe...

        unless you have to write an article or a few pages of writing. Id rather type it :P
        harley22x
  • the 27 inch model looks real good = BUT

    But at $1,700.00......... I'm going to want to see a finished product and then even if I like it .......is it enough of a reason to replace what I already have............. and.then where would I put it..........................
    Over and Out
    • Just put it on your desk

      and throw out your keyboard and mouse.

      If you have room, and this thing has a display port or something, keep your old monitor for displaying stuff you don't need to interact with much.
      ITenquirer
      • Why would you put it on your desk?

        it's its' own unit
        Mujibahr
        • Maybe....

          ...you mount it on the wall if you're using it in a classroom or conference room. I could easily see any number of people using it in that fashion.
          John L. Ries
    • I use a 24" now

      My next monitor will be 27" and hi-res if I can afford it. For those of us that work on their computers all day it's great. I have 3-6 programs running at once and the space is helpful.
      stano360
  • Dead Duck

    Who the hell wants to cart around a 27inch monster.
    Alan Smithie
    • Someone in a conference room meeting?

      A store that gives live demonstrations at dynamic locations throughout its floorspace.
      A school that could use a mobile interactive audio/visual tool to engage with their classroom.

      There are plenty of possibilities.

      I think it is pretty clear this isn't aimed as a device for typical every day use, but rather targeting specialized users who have needs greater than a small laptop.
      Emacho
      • Why bother

        Use a laptop and Widi, airplay or whatever. There are a very few benefits, lots of cons and plenty of much cheaper ways of achieving the same thing.
        Alan Smithie
        • Becasue...

          Using something like Airplay, in a lot of cases, you need to buy the Device, and a Projector or a TV screen of some sort. Why spend close to a grand on a projector, and another couple hundred on a mid ranged laptop, if you could use an all in one Tablet / TV / Monitor?
          harley22x
        • Why Bother?

          I thought you might be onto something, so I just looked at some win8 certified multi-touch monitors like the Dell S2340T ($650) and then I could just have my laptop stream its display to that monitor via WiDi, however it appears all the touch controls wouldn't work through wi-di.

          I could be mistaken, but from what I've read, to register touch you need to connect the external monitor to your computer via USB.

          That requirement basically renders external multi-touch monitors and airplay/widi as incompatible.

          So I'm stuck assuming All-in-ones are the only way to go to achieve this functionality.
          craft_ryan
  • Who the hell wants to cart around a 27inch monster.

    well, if you look at the end of the article, just above the 'About Author' box, you will see a graphic titled "LENOVO IDEACENTRE HOIZON" - that is what is being talked about here. It's not meant for you to carry it around in your handbag.
    Mujibahr
  • So it begins

    I sincerily can't understand why Microsoft has been unable to come this such a solution itself despites its experience with PixelSense devices. This is one significant and appealing evolution of the P.C which is long overdue. Instead of wasting time and ressources focusing on competiting with the iPad, Microsoft and OEM should have focused on bringing revolutionary and appealing evolution of the P.C such as this kind of devices. Big up for Lenovo, Asus and Sony.
    timiteh
  • So it begins

    I sincerily can't understand why Microsoft has been unable to come this such a solution itself despites its experience with PixelSense devices. This is one significant and appealing evolution of the P.C which is long overdue. Instead of wasting time and ressources focusing on competiting with the iPad, Microsoft and OEM should have focused on bringing revolutionary and appealing evolution of the P.C such as this kind of devices. Big up for Lenovo, Asus and Sony.
    timiteh