Tablets are aiming for power and prestige at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. CES tablet launches from manufacturers like Lenovo are featuring the biggest and baddest processors seen in tablets so far, like Intel Core i5 and i7 chips. These smaller chips, now designed for touchscreen computers, are helping brands to include multitasking and full programs on their newest models.
Lenovo is also pushing the idea of “Table PCs,” large tablet computers that can perform all the tasks that a modern PC can, except with a family-oriented touchscreen instead of the more personal sizes seen today.
The new power and vast screens promise a future where coffee tables also serve as family computers, if Lenovo and other manufacturers can convince the crowds. The potential for table-touchscreen gaming, entertainment system control, and house system integration is high, but the market is unlikely to support replacing the original desktop altogether. Not only is the upright-viewing angle more comfortable, but keypads and keyboards are much easier to use when your table is merely a table, not the screen.
Hybrids Are Among Us
Other brands are also focusing on their beefed-up touchscreens, but with different features. CES tablet launches have showcased products from companies like Dell (the XPS12), Lenovo (the better-named Yoga 13) and Asus (the Transformer Book) that all act as tablet-laptop hybrids. Lock the screen in one position and it is a laptop. Swivel the screen down, pop the screen off and reattached it, or slide the screen gently down and it becomes a tablet.
Extra computing power and an on-demand keyboard are some of the benefits these trendy hybrid models offer. They also offer Windows 8 almost exclusively, an operating system designed for tablet computing but left largely untouched by the tablet crowd so far. CES companies armed with a bevy of Microsoft commercials touting the new touchscreen capabilities are clearly hoping to change a few minds.
All the swiveling these hybrid tablets do raises an important point for many consumers: How long will the hardware last under such constant movement? How awkward is it to tote around a hybrid tablet compared to carrying a slimmer, sexier iPad? Brands at CES are busy convincing reporters and investors that the extra Intel power behind their tablets gives them market appeal. But the market has grown fast-paced and mobile. Some of these more confusing hybrids seem a step in the opposite direction.
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