7 Killer Windows Devices at Computex
Microsoft showed off some slick, new hardware in Taiwan, including touchscreen desktop PCs and innovative tablet computers from Acer, HP, Dell and more. The takeaway: The new breed of Windows devices is more than a pretty face.
During his keynote at Computex in Taipei on Wednesday, Microsoft OEM chief Steve Guggenheimer introduced the latest and greatest Windows-based hardware. On stage and on display in Microsoft's booth at the Taiwan show were 130 devices from 50 manufacturers. Below are seven of the most eye-popping systems with the best potential for Microsoft partners.
Acer ICONIA Tab W500
A highlight of the keynote, with all the recent attention on tablets and slates, was the Acer ICONIA Tab W500. "This is the new Acer W500, and if I pull this up, you'll notice it's got full touch capability. But the nice thing is I can undock it, right, from its keyboard, and at the same time, if I walk, I can simply dock it back in there. So, I have the best of both worlds," said Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM Division.
The device is available now for $550. The specs include an AMD C-50 Dual Core 1GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 32GB SSD, AMD Radeon HD6250 GPU, up to 10 hours of battery life and a weight of 3.5 pounds with the optional dock.
For partners installing Windows Small Business Server at customer sites, Acer on Wednesday launched the AC100. The system starts at $1,300 and comes with Intel Xeon E3 and Core i3 CPU, up to 8 GB of RAM and 6 TB of storage.
In a video tour of the Microsoft showcase booth, Nick Parker, vice president of worldwide marketing for Microsoft's OEM Division, said the AC100 runs the recently released Windows Small Business Server Essentials 2011.
"As you can see, this great furniture form factor really packs in all of the value that you'd expect in a small business or a home setting. And, in fact, by means of an update pack, you'll be able to get access to hybrid cloud services, such as Office 365 with SBS 2011, as well as things such as Windows Phone 7," Parker said.
In another server-based solution, Parker highlighted an education-focused configuration centered on an HP MS6200. The $639 HP MS6200 runs Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, allowing up to 10 users to share one workstation.
Describing the configuration in the booth, Parker said, "At the top here we have the HP Compaq Multiseat desktop solution running MultiPoint Server, and on the right the HP ProLiant MicroServer running Small Business Server Essentials 2011. The combination of these two solutions enables them to provide this incredible rich set of features and functionality to these thin clients or remote desktops we have here running on MultiPoint Server."
Sony VAIO SB
One of the more stylish devices introduced at Computex was the Sony VAIO SB, with its white or black aluminum case. The device includes USB 3.0, a backlit keyboard and an optional "sheet" battery that can keep the laptop powered for more than 15 hours. Specs are an Intel Core i5, 500GB hard drive, AMD Radeon HD 6470M and 4 GB of RAM. The VAOI SB, available now, starts at $999.
"If you have no compromise between your entertainment and your professional life, and you want both, the VAIO SB is the PC for you," Parker said.
Dell Latitude E6220
A system on display that isn't yet available was the Dell Latitude E6220, which is a ruggedized, business-class PC with an Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 4 GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage, up to 8 hours of battery life and a weight of about 3 pounds.
"One of the great things that I love about this PC is that it has the same docking station that my old Dell machine had," said Microsoft Hardware Marketing Lead Ryan Asdourian on stage. "So, it's very easy for me to get a new PC without having to buy a new docking station, and it also has new features, like a backlit keyboard, which I absolutely love. So, I combine the power of Windows with the hardware inside the PC that I have, like a TPM chip, and really there is no safer environment to run my business on."
HP TouchSmart 610
For something completely different, Parker turned to the HP TouchSmart 610, an all-in-one PC that looks like a desktop, but has an outsized multitouch display that can be reclined for comfort and flexibility of use.
"The ability to change the angle of the screen very easily to make it easy for you to create and share in the way that's most easy for you" is a major plus, Parker said. The device is available now for $1,100. Features include Intel Core i5, 750 GB hard drive, ATI MXM30 Viper graphics card and 8 GB RAM.
Acer Aspire 25801
While it didn't feature prominently in Guggenheimer's keynote transcript, the Acer Aspire 25801 is one of the boldest designs in Microsoft's gallery of devices from the show.
The Windows 7 all-in-one device will include a display that can be adjusted from 5° to 60° when it ships in July with a starting price of $1,500. Specs include an Intel Core i-series CPU, up to 16 GB of RAM, 2 TB of storage, NVIDIA GeForce GT 435M/AMD Radeon HD 6750 GPU and up to 10 hours of battery life.
Honorable Mention: ASUS Eee Slate
While the ASUS Eee Slate had a starring role on Wednesday, the slate was a repeat performer, as it was also featured in the Microsoft keynote during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January (see "12 Notable Windows 7 Notebooks
Guggenheimer highlighted the slate's use by a guest DJ at the beginning of the Computex keynote, and Asdourian demonstrated apps that took advantage of the multitouch and digital pen capabilities of the device.
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.