By Larry Magid
(New York) Having covered the PC industry since before the IBM PC was announced in 1981, I’ve seem more than my share of boring “beige boxes” and me-too laptops but — as Microsoft gets ready to release Windows 8 in October — PC vendors are finally coming up with some innovative designs.
Hewlett Packard, for example was at the Showstoppers for the Digital Holidays press event in New York on Monday where it showed off an interesting convertable tablet/laptop and several new all-in-one desktop PCs including some with touch screens.
To me, the most interesting new machine is the Envy X2, which at first looked like a typical small ultrabook until HP spokesperson Kevin Wentzel removed the screen, turning the 3-pound laptop into a 1.5 pound tablet.
The machine has a 11.6 inch touch-screen display and when clicked into the base with its magnetically assisted latch, you have a full sized keyboard and a trackpad. The keyboard doc also adds to battery life because it has its own batteries in addition to the batteries in the keyboard. Wentzel said that HP isn’t yet ready to report estimated battery life.
There is a 2-megapixel front facing camera and an 8 MP real facing camera with an LED flash.
The Envy X2, which was first demonstrated at the IFA tech show in Berlin that I attended last week, will be available by the holidays at an as-yet unknown price.
HP also showed off three new all-in-one Windows 8 PCs, including two with touch-screens. The Envy 23 and Envy 20 (named for the size of their screens) feature HP’s TouchSmart technology, which has been around for awhile but will be a lot handier once Microsoft releases Windows 8 which is optimized for touch.
The new PCs feature Intel processors and optional solid state (SSD) drives or up to 3 terabytes of hard drive storage.
The Envy 23 will start at $999 when it is released this fall and the 20-inch model will be $799.