Asus redefines the convertible laptop, and Acer launches full Win8 tablet and new phablet

An Acer 8inch tablet running full-fat Windows 8 and an Asus device that can be a laptop, tablet or desktop PC were among those revealed at Computex

03 Jun 2013

First we had laptops and tablets. Then we had laptops that turn into tablets. Now we have a laptop that turns into a tablet and back into a desktop PC.

Confused? Don't be.

For Asus used its press conference at Computex in Taipei to reveal how it plans to revolutionise the already revolutionary world of convertible computing with a device that can be a laptop, tablet or desktop PC. Oh, and it can also run on both Windows 8 and Android (show off).

Transformerbook Trio

(Credit: Asus)

This was among a smorgasbord of new tech unveiled in Taipei, which also included a full Windows 8 tablet and Android phablet from Acer, new tablets from Samsung and many laptops and PCs packing Intel's new Haswell chip - which we'll give you the lowdown on later in another blog.

But for now back to Asus' Transformer Book Trio.

Flexible devices key for Windows 8

Microsoft launched Windows 8 back in October to bridge the gap between regular mouse-controlled computing and the touchscreen world of tablets.

A new generation of devices, dubbed convertibles, were launched alongside the OS to make tablet and regular computing as comfortable next to each other as Morecambe and Wise or gin and tonic.

Convertible laptops such as the Lenovo Yoga and HP Envy x2 wowed us with their ability to switch between tablet and laptop at the flick of a switch or the flip of a hinge. But now there are new tricks up the manufacturers' sleeves.

Asus Transformer Book - convertible which flexes three ways   

Asus has taken things a step further with a convertible that goes three ways instead of two. That's right, not only can the Transformer Book Trio be used as an 11.6inch tablet and laptop - it can also be used as regular desktop PC too.

Transformer Book Trio

(Credit: Asus)

The ménage à trois of tech hogged the limelight during the Asus press show in Taipei, but as well as wowing us with its flexibility of form it was also equally fluid when it came to software. The device can run both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean, see.

When running as an Android tablet, it's powered by an Intel Atom z2580 processor. The tablet carries its own independent battery too, so you can expect as much as 15 hours' juice when on the road.

When you want to get some work done in laptop or desktop mode, it's a full-fat Windows 8 PC running off an Intel fourth-generation Core i7 processor. Of course, to use it as a desktop you need to plug it into a monitor - we said it's clever but Asus drew the line at developing a hologram screen that appears over your keyboard when you hit, say, ctrl d.

Acer rolls out full Windows 8 tablet - and plenty more

While we're talking about full-fat Windows 8, Acer unveiled a tablet sporting the operating system at the Taipei show.

The 8.1inch Iconia W3 was described by Acer as being the first device allowing us to enjoy Windows 8 Professional with a "single hand". That's because it's the world's first 8inch tablet to run the full version of Windows 8.

Acer Iconia W3

With a 1280x800 display and an Atom processor that matches those in larger Win8 tablets, it's the perfect companion for slobbing around on the sofa after work for online shopping and iPlayer action.

If you didn't manage to get all your work done you can even turn the W3 - and your sofa (sorry, other half) into an impromptu office. The W3 comes with Microsoft Office pre-installed and there's also a full-size keyboard you can buy. With eight hours' battery you'll be good to go from The One Show 'til the Test Card with plenty left in the can for your morning commute.

It is powered by Intel's Atom Z2760 dual-core processor and will be available in 32GB and 64GB versions.

Phablet blends tablet and smartphone to deal with private and professional  

Many tech commentators have already called 2013 the 'year of the phablet'.

A phablet is a cross between a phone and a tablet. They're devices that are smaller than traditional tablets but larger than traditional phones.

If you favour their usefulness over any Trigger Happy TV 'hello' comparisons then you may love the new Acer Liquid S1, a 5.7inch phablet unveiled at Computex.   

Acer Liquid S1

The coolest feature about the Liquid is - similar to convertible laptops - it allows you to separately deal with life inside work and out from one device.

It does this by offering dual SIM card ports, allowing you to pretty much turn one phablet into two - one for the office and one for home (and everyone loves a BOGOF).

Acer says the feature "opens up more possibilities for users to boost work productivity and maximise entertainment on the go".

There's also a neat feature that allows you to save your work in the office and then pick it up later from home with the S1 using Acer Cloud Docs.

Acer also claims the Liquid S1 has 'a day's worth of battery power' - so that should be enough to keep you going.

Mouse revolution

Asus's work with the Transformer Book Trio clearly gave it a taste for reinvention, for it's at it again with a bid to reinvent the humble mouse.

Its wireless VivoMouse combines mouse and trackpad in one futuristic, far-out device.

It can recognise Windows 8's multi-touch gestures, as well as working as a regular mouse.

When using Windows 8 you'll be able to swipe in from the edges of the trackpad to get to the charms bar, for example.

The press shows of Asus and Acer struck a revolutionary note as Computex got under way. But equally revolutionary is Intel's new family of Haswell processors - they promise improved battery life and better graphics.

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