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June 06, 2014

Microsoft Hits Computex with Array of New Hardware

While most associate Microsoft (News - Alert) with its line of software—and for some out there its Xbox line of gaming paraphernalia—Microsoft isn't wanting for hardware, either. Thanks to an array of hardware partners, Microsoft has some staggering numbers and variety when it comes to hardware that supports its platform. That was plainly evident at Computex, when Microsoft showed off over 40 new varieties of hardware at the show, as provided by that array of partners.

Microsoft had a variety of laptops on hand from various makers, including three from Acer. The Acer (News - Alert) Aspire S7 brought in Intel's “Broadwell” chipset, and was regarded as one of only a handful of “premium laptops” on display. There was also the Acer Aspire V11, a touchscreen model described as offering “ at a very affordable price,” and the Acer Aspire Switch 10, a 2-in-1 laptop that offered detachable screen and SnapHinge connect for those who had different needs for a laptop.

Asus had a new hybrid desktop PC, the All-in-One PT2001, which included not only battery life sufficient for five hours of operation but also its own handle to make it more effectively moved. HP brought in two as well, the HP Pavilion 10 Touchsmart and the HP Pro X2 612. The Pavilion 10 offers both Miracast support and an AMD A4 processor to run the whole affair, while the Pro X2 612 boasts a detachable screen much like the Aspire Switch 10. Toshiba (News - Alert) brought in a 10 inch tablet—the Encore 2—and a seven inch tablet in the Encore 7. Dell, meanwhile, had two on hand as well in a 2-in-1 laptop with flip-around screen known as the Inspiron 11 3000, and the Latitude 13 Education series had the particular distinction of being geared toward classroom use. A host of smartphone handsets were also on hand, ranging from the Prestigio MultiPhone 8400 Duo to a model named after Microsoft founder Bill Gates (News - Alert), the YEZZ Billy 4.7.

As for the reason so many new devices have emerged, some point to Microsoft's new policy about offering free licensing to low-end devices, which means many of their devices aren't likely to reach the United States. Rather, reports suggest that many of the devices will hit the Chinese market instead. However, all of the devices are set to ship within this calendar year, so seeing these arrive at some point, somewhere, isn't at all out of line to expect.

Still, it looks like Microsoft is trying to straddle the line here between past and future development. It clearly gets that the future is in the mobile device—a lot of these devices, even the laptops, have a particular focus on mobility that hasn't been seen in previous years—yet at the same time it also gets that there's still quite a bit of life left in the PC market. Desktops and laptops are still a major part of the picture, so it doesn't make sense for Microsoft to clear out of that business. But by like token, it's got to establish a firm beachhead in mobile lest it be left out of the picture altogether.

It's a good mix of mobile and stationary here, so Microsoft seems to be working both sides of the fence as well as possible. Microsoft will likely need to pick up its pace on mobile before too much longer, but for right now, the course it's plotted, as evidenced by these releases, seems to be going reasonably well indeed.


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