The long build-up to the official release of Windows 8 on October 25 continued today with Intel and its hardware partners showing off a range of tablets powered by the new Microsoft OS.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Samsung and ZTE joined Intel at the Museum of Modern Art here for a media event designed to show Windows 8 tablets powered by Intel chips are ready for primetime.
Microsoft is also promoting Windows RT tablets, based on ARM processors, but they were not part of the Intel show here for obvious competitive reasons.
The lead up to today’s event was not without controversy as Intel CEO Paul Otellini was quoted earlier this week as saying Windows 8 is buggy and not ready for release and Dell CFO Brian Gladden telling the Wall Street Journal he expects businesses to move slowly to adopt the new OS.
Intel general manager Erik Reid briefly addressed the PR gaffe connected with Otellini kicking off the press event.
"We could not be more excited about Windows 8," said Reid. "It will usher in a new generation of tablets and ultrabooks, desktops and a range of clients. That’s the message Paul was talking about. "
In a demo, another Intel official said these new Windows 8 tablets “can uniquely serve the needs of enterprise customers.”
Several apps were shown including SAP sales Pipeline Simulation for Windows 8 that was able to pull in sales data from a CRM app and show how close sales people were to meeting quotas.
Fred Hamberger VP of HP’s personal computer global business, showed off what was probably the most unique offering of the bunch, the Envy x2, a Windows 8 hybrid device that looks like a notebook but sports a detachable display that can be used as a Windows 8 tablet.
The Envy x2 has two batteries using the one in the base unit first so if the display’s battery hasn’t yet been tapped, it can be fully charged when detached for tablet use.
“One aspect of design we learned is that customers hate taking stuff apart,” said Hamberger. The issue is they’re afraid of doing it wrong, dropping or breaking something. The Envy x2 has a clamp that requires a two step process to detach the tablet portion (so it can’t simply fall off when you’re holding the device) and then simply reconnects via magnets when pushed back in.
Both Lenovo (ThinkPad Tablet 2) and Samsung touted the fact their Windows 8 tablets include digitzer pens for note-taking, drawing and other input.
Bill Gorden of Dell says the computer maker’s new Latitude Windows 8 tablet is easy to manage and deploy in the enterprise. Noting reports of 12 million breaches of personal data in the U.S. last year, he said “IT has it’s work cut out for it.”
Both Lenovo and Dell emphasized their company’s security portfolio and experience that’s gone into the design of its new tablets. Gorden also said the tablets “fit right into” a Windows 7 environment in terms of manageability.
Intel said its new Atom Z2760 processor (developed under the codename Clover Trail) was specifically architected for Windows 8, runs at 1.9 Ghz with 4-way processing.
Extended battery life is also a key feature.
“You have over ten plus hours of battery life and in standby mode you can go three weeks without charging,” said Reid.