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Tablets go mainstream

New products on the horizon

Published: Monday, June 11, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07


Roger Zhang -- The BATTALION

Musicians perform at the University Summer performance series at the Annenberg Conference Center

With more than a 68 percent market share, the Apple iPad sits comfortably as “King of Tablet Hill,” but with the end of Computex 2012, new players in the field shake things up.Computex, a five-day computer expo in Taipei, Taiwan, is a chance to preview upcoming products soon to be released in the fall. Popular manufacturers such as ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung and others showcase early prototypes.  
Microsoft, maker of the popular, worldwide Windows operating systems, aims to revolutionize portable computing with the advent of Windows 8. With the upcoming release of Windows 8 in the fall, many prototypes at Computex feature Windows 8 as the operating system.

Manufacturers promise powerful, small and light devices. Some of these new devices are referred to as hybrids, convertors or transformers by manufacturers, to market the new technological capabilities.

The ASUS TAICHI offers a dual screen approach. Once the lid is closed, the second screen turns the laptop into a tablet. Another hybrid, the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch can be folded all the way back to turn into a tablet. Having a hybrid laptop/tablet combines the best of both worlds: powerful laptop components, track pad and keyboard with a touchscreen. Meanwhile, the Lenovo ThinkPad and the Acer Iconia tablets are conventional tablets.

While full hardware specifications have yet to be released, the specifications so far are promising. Many tablets feature similar specifications such as a 1366 by 768 or 1920 by 1080 touch screen, RAM ranging from 2 to 4 GB, ARM processors, Tegra or Intel processors, and a slew of connections like USB 3.0, and micro HDMI as well as a camera.

If these are any indications for what is to come this fall, then buying a laptop or tablet right now is the worst possible choice. If you are the type who wants the latest and greatest technology, then hold out for the release of these finalized models. If you want a cheap deal on the last generation of laptops or tablets, also hold out until these new models are released. Retailers wait until new models arrive to mark down unsold stock of last generation models.

Most consumers want a computer that simply runs — checks emails, surfs the web, plays videos and shares photos with little headache in the process. Technology always advances, and right now, technology is taking a new step. Computers have always been big, bulky, beige-colored machines tied down to one place. Laptops, since they became affordable, have evolved the computer stereotype. But now, with smartphones and tablets from every imaginable major manufacturer, portable computing has taken off. Whether a Windows, Apple or Linux fan, tablets are about to get a lot better.


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