A lot of people have been asking me why I haven’t covered any Microsoft-centric CES story, and there is a reason for that. The reason being, there isn’t much to cover. Consumer Electronics Show is the place where you would find all the major OEMs showcasing new products and their latest innovations. This year, there wasn’t enough traction in the Microsoft domain.
Few OEMs like Toshiba did release laptops, which I will talk about later, but the major story at the show was that the Ford’s CEO Alan Mullaly is out of the race to replace Steve Ballmer and become the CEO of Microsoft.
The TLDR part of the story is, that we saw many OEMs releasing Windows running laptops and tablets, but there wasn’t anything very exciting. Most of the devices were hybrid, one that would run Android operating system alongside Windows. Any website that tells you that Microsoft was rolling all over the CES is either lying or is too biased.
Microsoft didn’t hold any CES this year. They didn’t hold any event last year either, but clubbed with other partners to sing along. While Microsoft leads when it comes to powering desktop computers, and though the market share of Windows 8 and 8.1 have finally touched double figures, overall, the demand and craze for Windows running devices looks to be somewhat on a decline. It hasn’t registered any significance rundown, but it should be enough for Microsoft to take a clue.
Microsoft will be releasing the Spring update of Windows 8.1 later this year, perhaps at the BUILD Developer Conference and Windows “Threshold” aka Windows 9 may be coming out next year, so may be things will be better for Microsoft at the next CES, but that is no reason to overlook its current report card.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at the devices and future-concepts that did come out this year.
Lenovo ThinkPad x1 Carbon
Perhaps the biggest takeaway as far as Windows running tablets are concerned, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon brings some innovative features to the table. It comes with a virtual function keys that adapt or change themselves in accordance with the application you are using. In addition, it also recognizes your gestures and functions on voice commands. Also, the keyboard can go full parallel with the screen. (Image credit: TechRepublic)
Samsung’s 15.6-inch Ativ Book 9
As a successor to the 13.3-inch Ativ Book 9 Plus, Samsung unveiled Ativ Book 9 at CES. In order to make some improvements Samsung dropped the 3200 x 1800 resolution to full 1080P HD: 1920 x 1080. Samsung claims that this tweaking will result in 14 hours of battery life. It comes in two variants – one that runs on i5 processor and has 128 GB SSD storage and another that has i7 processor and possess 256 GB of SSD inside. Another interesting addition is the anti-glare coating on its screen that makes the display significantly better.
Asus’s Transformer Book Duet
Transformer Book Duet is a 13-inch 4-in-one device that can be used as a Windows laptop, Windows tablet, and an Android running laptop and tablet as well. There is a key that will help you switch back and forth from one OS and mode to another in a matter of seconds.
It boasts a full HD IPS display, powered by an Intel Haswell CPU that depending on your variant can go up to i7 processor. Although it comes with a 64 GB SSD, you can extend it up to 1 TB.
Running an Android OS on such large screen just doesn’t make any sense, though. It starts at $599.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet Edition
An 8.3-inch tablet that has full HD 1080P display, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet offers 3 function modes: Laptop, Tablet and Tent. Powered by Intel Atom processor, the device sports both support for USB 3.0 port and LTE. The storage can go up to 128 GB SSD. The price of ThinkPad Tablet Edition starts at $399.
Lenovo’s latest Miix 2
If there was any OEM other than Toshiba that really cared about Windows, it certainly was Lenovo. After the success of Miix tablets and even Miix 2, Lenovo used the CES platform to release some new models of Miix 2. Unlike its previous version that had an 8-inch device, 720P display and runs on 32-bit version of Windows 8.1. The new one comes in 2 variants, a 10.1-inch and 11.6-inch model. The 10.1-inch model uses Bay Trail processor, whereas the latter is powered by an Intel i5 processor. The biggest attraction was its detachable keyboard that uses magnets to glue with the tablet, making it very easy to detach.
Toshiba Satelite P50t
P50t was one of the first tech products that blew people’s mind off. This 15.6-inch laptop comes with a whopping 4K Ultra-HD display with 282 pixels-per-inch. The device, which is expected to arrive sometime this year, hasn’t disclosed any other specifications just yet. We expect it come with an Intel i5 or i7 processor. But with a device with such heavy display and gigantic processor, will it do justice on our battery usage? We will have to wait to find out.
Toshiba’s “Shape-shifting concept PC”
Much like Lenovo Yoga, this device from Toshiba which won’t be hitting the market anytime soon comes with a detachable keyboard. You can rotate the keyboard to as much as 270 degree from its base position. It will be a 5-in-1 Hybrid PC. Technically, that’s all the information we have about the device since it was kept under the glass.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1
Panasonic Toughpad Fz-M1 is the latest 7-inch tablet from the company in its Toughpad line ofseries. Powered by Core Intel i5 vPro processor, it runs the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1. It comes in two variants, one that houses 128GB of SSDand another which brings 256 GB to the table, both coupled with an 8GB of RAM.
Its 720P display is complemented by 10-point multi-touch. You can also get support for barcode, NFC, RFID transmitters and 4G LTE. Its price starts at $2099.
One of the leading smartphone OEM from India Micromax was one of the biggest surprising package at CES this year. They released a product which they call “LapTab” and it runs both Windows 8.1 and Android JellyBean 4.2.2 alongside it. It has a 720P display, which is powered by Intel Celeron processor and comes with 2GB of RAM. You can expand its onboard 32 GB memory to another 64 GB via microSD cards.