Updated November 7, 2014 7:05 pm - For all of us in the device world, the past year has seen incredible growth and innovation with new form factors, thinner and more powerful components, more durable materials and the evolution of computing experiences. I think IFA 2013, happening this week in Berlin, will showcase how far devices have really come and represents a great year of opportunity for our partners. OEMs are building devices in all shapes and sizes, marrying form and function. It’s incredible to see the breadth of choice and differentiation, and today we get our first look at some of the Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs coming to market soon.
Technology companies and consumers from all over the world are making their way to Berlin for IFA 2013 this week to see the hottest trends and product offerings. New technologies to enhance mobility, continued innovation on the PC platform, smaller form factors, tablets and lots of new touch-based capabilities are just some of the trends making a splash at IFA.
One big trend that’s driving a lot of conversation and innovation right now comes in a small package. We started seeing this trend at Computex with the 8-inch Acer Iconia W3 and I was able to show a sneak peek of an 8-inch tablet from Lenovo. This week at IFA there is a new player to the market and I expect more small tablets still to come. Announced during Intel’s press conference today, the Toshiba Encore8-inch tablet is a stylish and durable little device. These 8-inch tablets will all come with Windows 8.1 and full version of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, making them great mobile productivity devices.
If small is not your style, there are plenty of larger Windows tablets to choose from including the new Sony Tap 11-inch tablet being debuted this week. It offer flexibility with an optional digitizer stylus or the ability to use the wireless keyboard and touchpad to work how you want. In addition, there are already some compelling tablets currently in market such as the HP ElitePad 900 featuring enterprise-grade security and an optional expansion jacket that provides additional ports to connect to peripherals, the Dell Latitude 10 that offers up to 10 hours of battery life with the optional extended battery, Acer Iconia W700 comes with a two-way cradle for easy switching between portrait and landscape use, as well as the ASUS VivoTab Smartthat has an optional TranSleeve keyboard which provides a foldable cover, a stand, and a keyboard all in one. Windows tablets are designed for both work and play – they are small enough to travel, but big enough to read your Kindle app clearly and get some work done on the go.
Another area where our OEM partners continue to innovate is with all-in-ones like the HP ENVY Recline 27 that features a revolutionary adjustable design allowing for more positioning choice and control than before, or the Panasonic Toughpad UT-MB5, a 20-inch touch tablet with 4K resolution display – four times better than HD which makes everything on screen look crisp and beautiful. It was just a proof of concept at CES in January and Panasonic announced today that it will be available in the first quarter of 2014. Graphic designers, photographers and visual media enthusiasts are drooling over this new offering from Panasonic. When it comes to these large-format touch displays, such as the Dell XPS 18, HP ENVY Rove 20, our OEM partners are absolutely leading the charge industry wide.
When it comes to notebooks, we continue to see more and more innovation from our OEMs with unique hinges and materials that are helping to reinvent how people use devices as well new capabilities that enable touch + type. Notebooks are also getting outfitted with the latest in chipsets and strong, scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass like the high-res Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus that became available in August and the beautiful ASUS Zenbook UX301 that is being shown off this week with Gorilla Glass 3 lid and palm rest. Recently, Dell announced the next generation of the business ready Latitude 5000 seriesthat are now available with strong steel hinges to redefine the corporate laptop with increased durability. Dell is also offering the Latitude series with non-touch or touchscreen Gorilla Glass NBT options so enterprises can select a device that meets their business needs.
Notebooks are also evolving into very compelling two-in-one devices that combine a PC and a tablet into just one device. Building on the great success they’ve had with previous models, OEMs continue to advance their designs. Acer has just announced a thinner, lighter, and more flexible version of the Aspire R7 thanks to the fourth-generation Intel chip and the addition of their optional magnetic stylus Active Pen. The Active Pen can be used with gesture controls at the same time, so customers can, for example, resize a picture with a pinching gesture and adjust fine details with the pen. Also, Lenovo is taking their creative Yoga line to the next level and bringing fun into the workplace with the flexible, secure and enterprise-ready ThinkPad Yoga.
These are just a few of the devices being shown off this week at IFA and you can see more over at the Microsoft News Center. It’s awesome to see the continued innovation and creativity from our OEMs and we look forward to bringing their new devices to market together for holiday!