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Post-Microsoft, Sinofsky Assesses PC Hardware at CES

As he embarks on his post-Microsoft career, the executive force behind Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface took 15 hours to cruise the Consumer Electronics Show floor in Vegas.

Upon his return from CES this week, Steven Sinofsky wrote up his observations in a massive blog post called "Learning by Sharing: Snark-free CES observations." The whole thing is worth reading for observations on mobile computing, design trends, product quality and other topics from an ultimate tech industry mover and shaker.

But a portion of the blog that's especially interesting from the former president of Windows for Microsoft is Sinofsky's take on the PC hardware on display at CES. Sinofsky is largely responsible for the Microsoft Surface, a piece of technology that angered many of the PC OEMs that are traditionally Microsoft's closest partners. Opinions vary on whether Microsoft was trying to crowd OEMs out or inspire them with better designs, but neither approach was very encouraging for Microsoft's longtime hardware partners.

Sinofsky had enthusiastic words for the new Windows 8 PCs on display, including the categories of devices most similar to the Surface.

"There were a number of hybrid PCs (tablet with removeable/hideable/flippable keyboards) that are becoming clearer and more refined -- I especially liked the Samsung and Lenovo entries," Sinofsky wrote.

He noted that Dell, HP and Microsoft didn't have their own booths, but pointed out that there were plenty of PCs designed for Windows 8.

"Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic, Lenovo all had very nice PCs with hiqh-quality touch, nice trackpads, great screens, thin, light, and in a variety of screen sizes 11-15," he wrote. "The All-In-One PCs with touch were quite nice as well, especially Sony and Samsung's models. The Vizio lineup continues to evolve and show unique designs and good value."

He called out a Razer Core i7 gaming tablet for having "some awesome gaming attachments" and described being blown away by a Panasonic 20-inch tablet. "Seeing the quality of AutoCAD drawings showed a real value to the full 'stack' of hardware and software," Sinofsky said of the Panasonic.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 15, 2013