The touch-start Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft stirred up a lot of comment when it appeared recently at the Computex show in Taiwan. The device ditched the old, slow ‘Windows Start button with more touch-friendly on-screen tiles and appears to intertwine laptop and desktop partners ahead of October’s Windows 8 launch.
So just when does the Tablet become an Ultrabook? Post Computex, for example, Asus revealed its new product to UK press at a product launch in Soho, central London. The range includesthe Asus PadFone, which converts into a 10in touch-screen tablet by slotting the phone into a dock in the back of the screen.
Microsoft Surface drew some attention away from Ultrabook launches including the Sony VAIO Ultrabook, HP ENVY , Intel Ultrabook, Samsung Series 5, Lenova IdeaPad, and Acer Aspire. Oh and don't forget that the MacBook Air Notebook also claims to be in an Ultrabook, while the Intel powered Dell XPS 13 can hold its own in that class, as Henry Osadzinski recently noted.
The Ultrabook template is gaining some acceptance, according to NPD, “The share of sales that the $700+ notebook segment represents jumped from about 12% in 2011 to nearly 14% in 2012 as a result of the solid market acceptance Ultrabooks have gained. Consumers respond positively to being offered stylish, thinner, and more premium device offerings than ever before within the Windows ecosystem.”
If Ultrabooks are presently perceived of as the "ne plus ultra" of personal computing, the next device battleground will be wearable devices with potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media, according to Forrester
The report says that Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook are poised for a new platform war and race to own this computing space, which will take five new forms:
- Wearables - devices worn on or near the body
- Embedded devices from smart pens to your kitchen utensils
- Surfaces - large interactive displays
- Flexible displays - computing screens that can be rolled, folded, or flexed); and
- Mini-projectors - that project larger image onto another surface or holographic into 3D space.
Earlier this month Google prototyped a pair of wrap-around glasses with a clear display that sits above the eye. The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.
And that’s only the start of it all!