Samsung goes all in with Windows 8 in new line of devices

Samsung goes all in with Windows 8 in new line of devices

Summary: Samsung unveiled a new line of Smart PCs and other devices today under the ATIV brand name, all ready to ship worldwide when Windows 8 launches in October. One thing that won't be included is a rumored Start menu replacement utility.

TOPICS: PCs, Samsung, Windows

At the IFA 2012 show in Berlin today, Samsung announced a new brand called ATIV that includes two new Windows 8 Smart PCs, a Windows-powered phone, and a Windows RT-powered tablet. Although Samsung is including an extensive collection of Windows 8 apps with the new devices, the Start screen and desktop will consist of “a pure Microsoft experience,” a spokesperson told me.

That means that the S Launcher, a rumored Start menu replacement utility, will not be included with the new devices. Several reports (including one right here at ZDNet) had noted the existence of that utility in engineering samples of the new devices, and indeed it was running on the Windows 8 desktop on one of the devices I saw at a private briefing. But the Samsung spokesperson confirmed to me that the utility will not be in the final product.

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I was able to spend a little hands-on time with the new flagship devices. Here are the highlights.

The ATIV Smart PC Series 5 and Smart PC Pro Series 7 are physically identical convertible PCs that look exactly like a conventional 11.6-inch laptop, with a full-size keyboard and trackpad. The specs (and prices) are very different, however.

The Series 5 offers 1366x768 resolution and is powered by an Intel Atom processor. The Series 7 has the latest Intel i5 processor inside and uses a full HD resolution of 1920x1080. Both displays are fully touch-capable, with 10 points of touch input, and offer up to 256GB of SSD storage. An S pen, similar to the one found in the Galaxy Note, is tucked into a recessed holder on both devices, and there are front and rear cameras.

But both devices can drop the keyboards and convert to a pure touch-powered slate. A small button above the keyboard releases the display, which attaches via a small 12-pin connector. In that mode, the device is strikingly similar in shape and size to the Samsung slate that some 7000 developers have been using with Windows 8 since Microsoft’s BUILD conference in September 2011.

The obvious comparison for the new ATIV Smart PCs is to Microsoft’s Windows 8-powered Surface PC, which also offers a detachable keyboard. The difference here is that the Surface keyboards double as device covers and can be flipped out of the way when you want to use the device as a tablet. Samsung’s solution is essentially a well-integrated external keyboard and trackpad that needs to be stowed when not in use.

A Samsung executive said the devices will range in price from $799 (presumably for the Series 5) to $1199. In Europe, the prices will be 799 to 1199 Euros, VAT included. Mobile data options will be available on some models.

The other members of the ATIV family include a Windows RT-powered tablet, which wasn’t available for me to inspect, and a new Windows Phone-powered device called the ATIV S.

The company also showed off its new touch-capable Windows 8 all-in-one devices, with screen sizes of 23 and 27 inches and resolutions ranging from 1920x1080 to a full 2560x1440. The attractive designs include space-saving wireless keyboards with Fn keys for each functions on the Windows 8 Charms menu.

Samsung is planning to differentiate the family of devices (and tie them together) with a series of Windows 8 apps and a common set of features called AllShare Play, which will allow easy media sharing between all the members of the ATIV family and also connect to Samsung-fueled Web services.

It wasn’t possible to judge the effectiveness of the new software in the brief time I had to play with the new devices, which were engineering samples rather than production units. But even without those add-ons, it’s clear that Samsung is pushing a lot of chips onto the table with Windows 8.


Topics: PCs, Samsung, Windows

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  • All in is a bit over the top I think. It's not like theyre stopping

    with android devices. In fact I dont think theyll be at parity for a while.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Do you know what "all-in" means????

    It would mean they would only produce windows 8 devices. They will stop production of android devices??
    • Do you know what "all-in" means????

      It's not "all in" it's "all in one", totaly differant meaning.
    • all-in

      All-in doesn't preclude you from having already made bets elsewhere.
      • All-in

        If the others betting your money elsewhere while you sit at a table are robots, that'd be cool.

        Let me say that all-in, bet the company, and double down are all phrases that have lost meaning and serve only as filler and noise. A good writer will think about expelling them with prejudice.
      • All In

        All-In means you bet all your equity in play on one hand.
        Clearly this phrase was misused.
  • good bet...

    This may not be of interest to many today, but it will be big news in October, November when everybody but Apple has also pushed all in.
  • I wonder why the Start Menu has been dropped......

    Not too difficult to figure out really - MS simply don't want people using anything else other than their pet new Metro tinker toy interface, and doubtless have put pressure on Samsung not to include anything that smacks of retro Win7 or earlier. This is confirmed by what is going to happen with Win7 SP2. A well informed contact at MS has revealed to me that the Win7 SP2 will enforce the new Metro style GUI on the 7 interface. This SP will be released at the same time 8 is released to the general public. And for those who think they can get around it by not installing SP2 the real kicker is going to be that whilst MS will continue to support 7 for a long while to come yet - they will only do so if SP2 is installed - that means if you don't have SP2 you will not be able to get any security updates either from Windows update, or be able to install them by downloading them as standalone packages. .... Seems like MS are going to make us have to love Metro after all...
    The Central Scrutinizer
    • Start Menu was Dropped because Apple Had a Patent on It

      Ok, just kidding.
    • Windows 7 SP2

      If your information is accurate it's frustrating. Why does MS always think they know what you want. Choice is important. They screwed up IE 9 with the tab location the same way.
      • Remember 1994??

        The famous ads by MS during the build up to Win95 release - "Where do you want to go today?" remember them well because MS has had a quantum shift in attitude since then - now its a case of "Where shall we make you go today"? and tomorrow, and the day after........
        The info is accurate. Very.
        The Central Scrutinizer
        • Not unlike the Apple commercials

          break free of the PC way, instead do things our way. Buy the iPod so we can take you to our places.
          William Farrel
          • Indeed......

            ,,,,,,Apple are becoming just as indiffernet to their customers as Microsoft are to theirs - however this article is about Microsoft and Samsung. I have noticed before Mr Farrel that whenever someone makes a comment that is not pro Microsoft, your immediate response is to attempt to deflect by drawing a parallel with Apple - didnt you momma ever tell you that 2 wrongs dont make a right?
            The Central Scrutinizer
          • Please don't feed the trolls!

            Walliam Firrel is one of the more notorious NBM variety.
      • But his misinformation is anything but accurate.

        It's pure FUD, so please ignore.
        It's meant to stir you up unnecessarily, and it's working.
        • Or put a little bulge in your pants perhaps

          Eh little Theo? Looks like that's working too.
          • That the best you can do?

    • Impossible

      MS is not going to force Metro down on Windows 7 with SP2. They would cannibalize the Windows 8 sales and force people even further in the past to XP or Vista.
      • that would possibly be true if ...

        ...MS were going to continue to supply OEMs with Win7. However they very quickly wont unless it is in SP2 format. XP and Vista??? they have been off the shelf for quite some time already. They wont be forcing anyone back into the past - just maybe leaving a few of the devoted faithful in the past with existing systems running XP or Vista.
        The Central Scrutinizer
        • Knock off

          the trolling you are full of it and you know it. Quit making stuff up or supply a source.