Hybrid "ultrabooks" blur line between tablets, laptops
By Lee Chyen Yee and Clare Jim
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Slide it, flip it or snap it on and off. The way keyboards are connected to touch screens on the latest generation of computing devices is making it tough to differentiate a tablet from notebook or an ultrabook.
Microsoft Corp, which has long been the dominant force in PCs but has fallen far behind in the tablet race, is set to unveil its Windows 8 operating system later this year, designed to run on super-thin laptops called ultrabooks and tablets powered by Intel Corp's chips.
The impending launch has prompted PC vendors to come up with a rash of hybrid designs, featuring touch screens and myriad configurations of moving or detachable keyboards.
"In future, it'll be a blur in the definition of an ultrabook and a tablet because of convertibles with either detachable or sliding keyboards," said Tracy Tsai, a Taipei-based analyst at research firm Gartner.
At Computex Taipei, the world's second largest computer show, visitors flocked to the booths trying out every twist and turn that converts an ultrabook into a tablet.
Lenovo Group Ltd's IdeaPad Yoga and Asustek Computer Inc's Taichi have screens that bend all the way back. Samsung Electronics' Hybrid becomes an ultrabook when the tablet clips onto a keyboard with magnetic hinges.
One tablet-ultrabook convertible that garnered attention was Asustek's Taichi, whose dual-sided screens can run different applications at the same time.
"There's a lot of use cases on tablets and tablet convertibles that people might approach with lots of fun, content consumption type of activity, but want to pop into it and use a productivity application and a desktop mode," said Chris Walker, Intel's director of microprocessor product marketing. Continued...