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New Hybrid Windows Devices for Business Users Debut at Computex

Asus, Dell and Hewlett Packard are among the PC suppliers extending the boundaries of Microsoft's new Windows 8.1 operating system with several new enterprise-grade hybrid PC-tablets being revealed at this week's annual Comutex trade show in Taipei.

Some of the devices could even offer an alternative to Microsoft's new Surface Pro 3, a device the company believes is finally suited to combine all the functions of a commercial-grade laptop and a tablet. If the new PC-tablets challenge the Surface Pro 3, that's a good thing for the advancement of Windows for Microsoft. "Surface is a reference design for Microsoft's OEM partners," said David Willis, Gartner's chief of research for mobility and communications, when I caught up with him yesterday at the Good Technology Xchange user conference in New York.

For example, the new HP Pro x2 612, launched today, has a 12.5-inch full high-definition (FHD) display that's just slightly larger than the Surface Pro 3. HP's detachable tablet is available with either an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor with vPro hardware-based security, solid-state drives and two USB 3.0 ports. It is also available with HP's UltraSlim dock. While the Surface Pro 3 is also available with a Core i7 processor, the latter two CPUs should serve the needs of most mainstream business users. And there's nothing to say that HP won't later offer an i7-equipped model down the road.

The HP Pro x2 612 will get 8.25 hours of battery life, though an optional power keyboard extends that to 14 hours, the company said. While the Surface Pro 2 is also available with a power keyboard, Microsoft didn't announce one yet for the new Surface Pro 3. In addition to offering hardware-based security with vPro, HP also added other features to offer improved security for the new device, including HP BIOS, HP Client Security, Smart Card Reader, HP TPM and an optional fingerprint scanner for authentication.

HP also announced a smaller version, the HP Pro x2 410, with an 11.6-inch display and a starting price of $849 for a unit with an i3 processor, 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. HP didn't announce pricing for the larger HP Pro x2 612, which ships in September.

Meanwhile, Asus rolled out several new Windows devices including the new Zenbook NX500, available with an i7 quad-core processor. It supports optional NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M graphics adaptors with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory. The new system also includes a Broadcom 3-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi, SATA 3 RAID 0 or PCIe x4 SSD storage.

Asus said the new NX500 is the first laptop offered by the company with a 4K/UHD display and VisualMaster technology. Its 15.6-inch device offers 3840x2160 resolution, and an IPS display. The company did not disclose pricing or availability.

And complementing its Venue Pro 8 tablets, Dell also launched several Inspiron models including the 7000 Series 2-in-1. Due to ship in September, it also is powered by Intel's latest Core processors and comes with a 13.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display. A lower-end 11.6-inch model, the 3000 Series, is also available with a starting price of $449.

In all, Microsoft showcased 40 new Windows PCs, tablets and phones at Computex, according to OEM Corporate VP Nick Parker, who gave a keynote address earlier today. "We're delivering on our vision today with rapid delivery of enhancements in Windows, new licensing and programs for an expanded set of partners," Parker said, in a blog post.

Of course, it wasn't all Windows at Computex. Intel said more than a dozen Android and Windows tablets debuted at the conference, with 130 in its radar for this year overall. And Dell revealed it will offer Ubuntu 14.04 LTS version of Linux as an option on its new Inspiron 2-in-1 laptop-tablets.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/04/2014 at 2:33 PM


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