Asus Taichi hybrid laptop/tablet grabs the spotlight at Computex

by David Raths

June 4 2012

Asus chairman Jonney Shih says the Taichi is "the perfect fusion of notebook and tablet."
Asus chairman Jonney Shih says the Taichi is "the perfect fusion of notebook and tablet."

Is it a laptop computer? A tablet? Asus has it both ways with hybrid Taichi portable.

The hybrid “Taichi” looks like a standard laptop at first glance, but the outside of the display is actually a second touchscreen. When the laptop is closed and the outer display is activated, it looks and operates like a tablet PC. 

The Windows 8-based Taichi was previewed at a press event today by the Asus chairman Jonney Shih at the giant Computex trade show taking place in Taipei, Taiwan. No pricing or deliver date information was released. The first Windows 8 tablets aren't due out till later this fall.

Here’s an interesting twist to the Taichi: When the laptop is open and the outer display is activated, two people can view the same desktop image even when they're sitting on opposite sides of a desk. Asus says both screens can be used at the same time for different applications. 

One smart aleck commenter on the Asus demonstration YouTube page said the company has just invented the first NoteBlat (combination notebook/tablet computer). 

Shih called the Taichi “the perfect fusion of notebook and tablet" claiming the Taichi strikes an aesthetic balance between tablet and notebook that promises to “break away from existing form factors to provide the most personalized digital experience for the new era. The possibilities are endless.”

Asus says the Taichi combines the power of an Ultrabook with the flexibility and mobility of a tablet. The new device is as thin and light as Asus's current Zenbook Ultrabooks. It will come in both 11.6- and 13.3-inch screen sizes. Specs include an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, SSD storage, and two USB 3.0 ports.

Asus also showed off another unusual product, the Transformer AiO, a desktop machine with a detachable monitor that becomes an 18.4-inch tablet. As Mashable notes, besides being the largest Windows 8 tablet, it’s also the largest Android one, since it can dual-boot both operating systems.

Acer’s Iconia Windows 8 tablet

Asus rival Acer also showed off a Windows 8 tablet sporting Microsoft’s new Metro interface, 

Although it didn’t detail specifications, prices, or shipping dates, Acer previewed its first Windows 8 tablets, the Iconia W510 and the Iconia W700. The W510 features a 10.1-inch touch display, and comes with a detachable keyboard dock. The W700 ha an 11.6-inch display that can be swiveled into landscape or portrait mode. It also supports playback of video in full HD and offers data storage expansion and an additional battery.

“Acer collaborated closely with Microsoft Corp. and has taken the lead to engineer new products that will be great with Windows 8,” said Jim Wong, corporate president of Acer. 

Wong said the new Iconia’s emphasis on ergonomics and style will appeal to consumers. 

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