TRENDING THE TECH WORLD IN TAIWAN – COMPUTEX 2012
The recently concluded Computex 2012 in Taipei was one of the biggest tech-fests for both creative wits and tech-savvy users, across the globe. Such technology fairs let you peep into tech fads that are likely to show up in the future. At Computex 2012, tech companies tried to put their best foot forward by showcasing the best hardware and software and there are no brownie points for guessing that ‘Windows’ became the buzz word at this technology fair. Read on to know about the hottest trends at Computex, this year.
As expected and predicted, Windows 8 sparkled and was at its brightest at Computex 2012. Windows 8 devices were seen just about everywhere, be it tablets, Ultrabooks, and All in Ones. With majority PCs running Windows, Microsoft had decided to bring out a seamless OS version for multiple platforms amidst fierce mobile competition it faced from Android and iOS. However, we need to wait and watch how the OS will fare on mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones. Several Ultrabooks displayed at Computex had Ivy Bridge combined with this newest flavour of Windows. For instance – the Toshiba Satellite U840W, which not only featured a 21:9 wide screen display, but also had the Windows 8 OS running. On the tablet front, a slew of Windows 8 tablets/hybrids were put on display from leading manufacturers, like Acer, MSI, Asus and more. So, in the second half of the year, we expect Windows 8 devices to hit markets. Along with Windows 8, Windows RT (Windows version for ARM) was also seen at Nvidia’s booth.
Looks like, the netbook era is all set to bounce back, albeit with a twist. Computex displayed, what can be seen as the union of a tablet and a detachable keyboard. So, you can use it as a computing device by attaching the keyboard and/or simply detach the keyboard when you feel like using it as a tablet. Thus, you get both – a sleek tablet and a sturdy netbook, as per your preference. Some nifty devices were on display at Computex, this year, which showcased the union of Intel and Windows 8, such as seen on the Asus Taichi, a tablet plus notebook featuring dual-screen. So, it brings you all – a sturdy keyboard when you need to do some quick typing and a touchscreen for apps and games. Some other devices, included the MSI Slider S20 and the Asus Transformer Book. However, hybrid designs aren’t something new. If you remember, Asus who pioneered the netbook era with its Eee series had introduced its Transformer hybrid designs, last year.
Just like at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this year, Ultrabooks continue to trend at Computex 2012, too. Almost all PC makers showed off their Ultrabooks, be it Asus, Acer, Dell, Fujitsu or Toshiba. Even Sony displayed its Ultrabook debutant at Computex – the stylish Sony T13. Intel has only been pushing this device category further and disclosed that about 110 new models will be hitting the market during its current processor generation’s lifespan. Ultrabooks, which are based on the third-generation Core processors, tout to offer better responsiveness and increased security, and flexibility of appearing in various sizes and form factors. But we haven’t yet heard about any great sales figures from Ultrabook makers. Nevertheless, the successor to notebooks may takeover sooner or later.
One couldn’t miss the presence of Ivy Bridge at Computex, this year. Intel spoke about its army of Ivy Bridge-equipped Ultrabooks that are ready to march into the markets through the year. In fact, almost all Ultrabooks from here on will feature this third generation of Intel processor. The tech fair had a slew of Ultrabooks integrated with this next-gen processor, such as the Sony Vaio T13, new LG X Note Z350 and Acer Timeline M5, to name a few. It wasn’t just limited to Ultrabooks, we also saw a few windows 8 tablets fuelled by the Ivy Bridge. The Ivy Bridge processors use the 22nm process technology that offers energy efficiency and a more powerful performance. So, basically, it allows manufacturers to craft power-saving smaller and sleeker devices without compromising on the performance. In fact, the combination of Ivy Bridge and Windows 8 is believed to be a start to an all new era of computing devices.
Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4
At Computex, Qualcomm demoed Windows RT on a dual-core Snapdragon S4 reference tablet, but there was also more powerful silicon to be found: the company’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 APQ8064 and MPQ8064 were to be found playing games and slinging TV frames as well. As a result, we’ve got video demonstrations of both Qualcomm’s Smart TV reference platform and the upcoming game Reign of Amira running on Android 4.0.
Don’t pay any attention to that Samsung logo in the Smart TV video, as it’s just a standard TV set connected via HDMI to a box elsewhere in the room, but do note the side-by-side multitasking the sets capable of doing using an adapted version of OnSkreen’s Cornerstone framework. We’re not sure when, precisely, we’ll see the quad-core chips make their way into these devices, but Qualcomm says the chips should be ready this month, and the Lenovo K91 Smart TV started shipping in China last month with a dual-core version of the SoC.
Drobo and Belkin Thunderbolt peripherals
It’s taken a while for Thunderbolt to gain wider adoption, but Intel is using Computex as an opportunity to highlight the connectivity standard. Two of the more notable products at its booth are the $399.99 Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock that was announced yesterday, along with a new Thunderbolt-enabled Drobo storage device. Unfortunately we’re not yet able to do real-world performance tests on these devices, but the Belkin dock’s solid construction at least gave us some idea of what you’ll get for your not insignificant amount of cash. Meanwhile, Drobo claims that the move to Thunderbolt should boost the storage service’s transfer speeds by up to 20 times. No word yet on when it’ll be released, or indeed how much it’ll cost.