The next generation of hybrid tablets and laptops is just around the corner. Luke and I, from Gizmodo AU, head to Taiwan next week for Computex -- Asia’s largest computer expo (and the second biggest in the world after CeBIT). Last year, 130,000 visitors saw 1700 companies showcase their latest, led by Taiwanese brands like Acer, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Thermaltake, Antec and Nvidia. Intel and AMD will also be there, of course, along with stacks of great new tech. Here's a preview of what we're expecting to see...
New Intel Chips
It’s no secret that Intel will showcase its new Core chips (code-named Haswell), which the company claims could extend laptop battery power by 50 per cent. Haswell processors will power the next wave of portable computers, including Macbooks – which we’re very likely to see come Apple World Wide Developer Conference time in mid-June. Until then, also keep an eye out for new info on Intel ‘Bay Trail’ Atom processors. Competing directly with ARM chips, these quad-core processors will pop up in Windows 8 laptops later this year.
Finally, hold off on buying that desktop motherboard: Asus, MSI and others will definitely unveil new Intel 8 series mobos at the show.
Will We See Windows 8.1?
Very likely, when you consider today’s Windows 8.1 leaked screenshot, and the assumption that all the new machines at Computex will be touch-enabled and competing for attention. Looks like the update will be free for both Windows 8 and RT and maybe bring back the Start
And consider this rumour: though the Surface Pro only officially arrived in Australia today – Microsoft could already be prepping a new 7- to 9-inch Surface to unveil at its Build developer conference in late June. What better way to officially launch Windows 8.1?
Retina Display PC Ultrabooks
If you’re a fan of the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s retina display but prefer PC laptops, it’s hard to go past Toshiba’s KiraBook Ultrabook. Its stunning 2560x1440 (qHD) / 13.3-inch display packs a pixel-per-inch (PPI) density of 221, close to the MacBook Pro’s 227 PPI -- and the Toshiba is a touchscreen as well. As far as we can tell, only the Google Chromebook Pixel (239 PPI) is ahead right now; though feel free to correct us if we’re wrong there. That’s likely going to change with new Asus models – and we’ve already seen Samsung’s qHD Series 9 prototype. If we see finalised hardware from Samsung at Computex, and if it pushes 3200 x1800 – you’d be looking at something like 276 PPI. That’s a lot of ifs though.
Nvidia Tegra 4 Tablets
It’s getting ridiculous in the best way possible. As we heard at CES in January, Tegra 4 packs 72 GPU cores, 4 CPU cores, and the potential for built-in 4G. So far we’ve heard a lot of Nvidia speed promises and early Tegra 4 benchmarks, but at Computex, the devices themselves should arrive.
Outside of Nvidia’s own Project Shield handheld, HP was first out of the blocks with its Tegra 4/Android-powered SlateBook x2 announcement, and rumours suggest that Toshiba’s AT10LE-A and AT503 tablets won’t be too far behind. Expect to see more Tegra 4 / Android 4.2 devices at Computex, possibly officially unveiled by Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang himself.
Firefox OS Phones Or Tablets?
We know that Telstra and perhaps Optus are interested in selling new Firefox OS phones. We’ve also watched the interface in action. Now, Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn and Mozilla have a press conference booked right before Computex to confirm their partnership. It’s full steam ahead, and it’s highly likely we’ll see some hardware prototypes at the show. ZTE is likely to be there, too.
AMD Targets Tablets
We love AMD desktop graphic cards, but it feels like ages since AMD has been super competitive in tablets or laptops. That could be slowly changing, however. Its new dual and quad-core 2013 AMD Elite Mobility ultra low power APUs (code-named Temash) is touted as “the world’s first quad-core x86 system-on-a-chip designed for tablet and hybrid PCs.” ‘Kabini’ and ‘Richland’ processors will also find homes in midrange notebooks and powerful ultrabooks, respectively.
Geek out: Kabini and Richland processors use AMD’s latest Jaguar architecture. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will both feature custom 8-core chips derived from Jaguar.
New Hybrid Tablets And More
This is what Computex is most famous for, and why both Luke and myself can't wait to start roaming the show floor...
Acer’s official Computex 2013 preview video (right) hints at a range of new laptops and tablets. We’re looking forward to a good mix of Windows and Android devices. Stay tuned for more.
More preview trailer goodness on your right. Expect the Transformer Infinity with Gorilla Glass and maybe even some sort of Galaxy Note competitor.
It’s practically a lock-in that we’ll see a 13-inch version of the Sony Vaio Duo 11 slider. If leaked videos are any indication, expect core i5, 128GB SSD and more. Wonder what Sony will have up its sleeve.
Finally, keep an eye out for Lenovo’s aluminium-cased ThinkPad S3 and S5 Ultrabooks. Computex is the perfect platform for them to break cover, and Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing has gone record stating touchscreen notebooks will be a major focus for the company in 2013.
Ford will be the only car company at Computex and are set to unveil a range of in-car technologies to make driving safer and more enjoyable. Gizmodo will be on the ground to keep you posted.