Windows 8 is only days away from being released, and Microsoft, its fan base, and its manufacturers alike are all preparing for the big day -- Oct. 26. The new operating system’s success could hinge on the release of upcoming tablet-laptop hybrids, which will utilize the software’s touch screen capabilities while maintaining the familiar features that come with a laptop.
Over the past few months manufacturers such as Lenovo, Asus and Acer have been slowly unveiling their products optimized for Windows 8. These computers will be released alongside Microsoft’s next-generation operating system on Oct. 26, just as the Windows creator releases its first self-branded tablet: the Surface.
Some of these hybrid PCs were prematurely advertised for preorder on the Home Shopping Network, but Microsoft quickly pushed HSN to remove the listings. With the release date for Windows 8 right around the corner, here’s a few of the lower-priced hybrids in the Windows 8 lineup:
Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Microsoft is making its first leap into the tablet industry with this Windows-enabled 10.6-inch slate, which starts at $499. The Surface comes equipped with an integrated kickstand and users have the option of ordering it with the pressure-sensitive “Touch Cover” keyboard. Tech specs include a NVidia Tegra 3 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 720 front and rear-facing cameras, a microSDXC card reader, a USB port, and an 8-hour battery. The 32GB tablet comes with a black Touch Cover for $599and the 64GB variant costs $699 with the cover. Preorders are available now.
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. This tablet with an optional keyboard dock starts at $649 for the device alone. Tech specs include a 10.1-inch screen, an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, a 10-hour battery, a USB port, NFC capability, micro-HDMI dock, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a 2-megapixel front camera. Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 comes with a built-in stylus holder and support for AT&T’s LTE network. The tab will cost $800 with the keyboard dock and will be available in November through Lenovo’s website.
Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx. This may be one of the least expensive Windows 8 tablets on the list, as the 11.6-inch dockable slate begins at $599. The dock, which features a keyboard and trackpad, doubles battery life for 16 hours and costs $149. Tech specs include an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB minimum storage, a 2-megapixel front facing camera, a microUSB port, and a micro-HDMI dock. Lenovo’s IdeaTab Lynx is expected to come in December.
Acer Iconia Tab W510. Like Lenovo’s IdeaTab Lynx, Acer’s device features an optional keyboard and trackpad dock that doubles its battery life. The Iconia Tab W510 also comes with instant-on technology that resumes the tablet-laptop hybrid from standby mode in 1.5 seconds. Tech specs include a 10.1-inch display, a 1.5GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB minimum storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, micro-HDMI, microSD, and microUSB. The price is set for $500 for 32GB, and $750 for the 64GB edition with the keyboard dock. The Acer Iconia Tab W510 ships on Nov. 9.
Asus Vivo Tab RT. This is one of the first tablets to run Windows RT, which is a version of Windows 8 that does not support legacy apps. However, it allows a device to stay connected to email and other apps while in standby without draining battery life. Tech specs include a 10.1-inch display, a NVidia Tegra 3 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front facing camera, micro HDMI, microSD, NFC capability and a 9-hour battery. The Asus Vivo Tab RT costs $600 for just the device and $750 with the keyboard bundle, according to TigerDirect. It will ship around Oct. 26.
These are only a few of the laptop-tablet hybrids that will launch following Windows 8’s debut. Other devices from Samsung, Lenovo, and Sony will be priced in the higher-end range beginning at $750 or more.