IFA 2012: Windows 8 tablets and more
This year’s IFA show in Berlin is expected to bring a host of Windows 8 tablets, laptops and hybrids, as well as the usual flood of tech releases.
Check back on this page for all the latest news, product photos and first-look reviews of the top products from Sony, Asus and more.
Lenovo’s flood of Ideas
Lenovo must have been saving up for IFA, as it has pushed out a whole wave of new devices, all based around the Idea brand. Here are a few highlights.
The Ideatab S2110A is a premium convertible tablet with a removable keyboard dock. The tablet part is 8.69mm thick and weighs only 580g, with a 10in IPS display. Lenovo claims a 20-hour battery life.
The Ideatab A2107A and A2109A are more basic tablets. The former has a 7in 720p display intended for reading and browsing, and it has 3G. The latter has a 9in 1,280 x 800 display. Tegra 3 graphics and weighs just 570g.
The IdeaCentre A520 is a 23in all-in-one PC with a frameless 1080p ten-point multitouch display. The best thing about it is a stand that slides from upright down to a five-degree angle for easier use with fingers. It packs a range of Core i7 chips, optional Blu-ray and will start at $999.
Onto laptops, and Lenovo will offer the IdeaPad U510 Ultrabook – 21mm thick and 2.2kg with a Core i7 and a 15in screen – alongside the 14in IdeaPad Y400 and the 15.6in Y500, which focus on gaming with Core i7 CPUs, Nvidia GeForce GT655M graphics and up to 16GB of memory.
HP’s Ultrabooks and convertible tablet
HP has unveiled two Windows 8 touchscreen Ultrabooks and a hybrid tablet.
The HP Envy x2 is an 11.6in laptop with a detachable touchscreen that converts into a Windows 8 tablet. Weighing 1.4kg when assembled and 710g when detached, it boasts an 8-megapixel camera, Beats Audio speakers, NFC and a claimed 14-hour battery life.
The Envy x2 will be available in the UK for the launch of Windows 8 in October, from £799. HP will also offer an optional stylus.
The HP Spectre XT is an Ultrabook with a 15.6in edge-to-edge Full HD multitouch display. It’s 17.9mm thick and weighs 2.16kg, with a Thunderbolt port and USB 3 ports that can charge peripherals when the power is off. It will come with a choice of Ivy Bridge processors and SSD storage.
The Spectre XT will launch in late November, with prices from £1,199.
Finally, the HP Envy 4 is a 14in touchscreen Ultrabook with a Full HD display. It’s 23mm thick and weighs 2.16kg, and HP claims up to eight hours of battery life. Again, it will come with a choice of Ivy Bridge processors and SSD storage.
The Envy 4 will launch in late October, with prices from £899.
Samsung’s Ativ Windows line
Samsung revealed its new Ativ line – if the name seems odd, the company says it’s the reverse of Vita, which means “life” in Latin. Branding aside, the Ativ line features Samsung’s Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 launches, the Ativ Smart PC, Ativ Smart PC Pro, Ativ Tab tablets, and the Ativ S handset.
The Ativ Smart PC and Ativ Smart PC Pro are Full-HD 11.6in tablets with detachable keyboard. They feature 10-finger multitouch and come with a stylus, and are 9.9mm and 11.9mm thick respectively.
Both run Windows 8 on Intel chips; the Smart PC Pro runs a Core i5 processor, while the Smart PC comes with an Atom. They feature USB ports built into the tablets, as well as two extra ports on the keyboard. The Smart PC promises 13.5 hours of battery life, Samsung said, while the Smart PC Pro offers 8 hours.
The Ativ Tab is Samsung’s ARM version, running Windows RT. The 8.9mm-thick device features a Full HD 10.1in display, and features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
See our full story for more on the Ativ S smartphone, the first Windows Phone 8 handset to be announced.
Samsung updates Galaxy Note II, unveils Android Camera
Samsung’s Android tablet, the Galaxy Note II, comes with a new stylus, larger 5.5in HD Super AMOLED display, and 1.6GHz quad-core processor. It runs Android 4.1, better known as Jelly Bean. It will arrive in October, but pricing wasn’t yet revealed.
Samsung is also bringing Android to a Galaxy-branded camera. The 16-megapixel Galaxy Camera runs Android Jelly Bean and Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G connectivity, so photos can be edited and shared on the go. It features a 23mm aperture lens, offering wider-angle shots than a standard smartphone camera, and shoots Full HD video, Samsung said. It runs a 1.4GHz quad-core processor.
The Galaxy Camera also comes with voice controls, to zoom or shoot without touching a button. Samsung didn’t reveal pricing or release dates for the Galaxy Camera.
Sony reveals Windows 8 collection
Sony has unveiled its Windows 8 VAIO devices, showing off the hybrid Duo 11, Tap 20 all-in-one, and T Series 13 Ultrabook.
Running Windows 8, the 11.6in hybrid VAIO Duo 11 slides between an Ultrabook and tablet and comes with a sensitive stylus that Sony claims gives the “satisfyingly expressive feel of natural handwriting”. The tablet-laptop hybrid weighs in at 1.3kg and is 17.85mm thick.
The 20in Tap 20 is a battery-powered, multitouch all-in-one that can be laid flat to play games on a table top, tilted up to watch movies, or paired with a keyboard to be used as a desktop.
Sony’s VAIO T Series 13, meanwhile, is a 13.3in touchscreen Ultrabook, with either SSD or hybrid SSD/HDD. All will be available at the end of October, Sony said, without revealing prices.
The tech giant didn’t only focus on Windows 8 devices, also announcing the Xperia Tablet S, running Android 4.0.3 on a Tegra 3 quad-core chip.
Asus unveils Windows 8 Vivo Tab tablets
Asus has unveiled its Windows 8 tablets called Vivo Tab, one running Windows 8 Pro and the other a Windows RT device on ARM.
The Vivo Tab features an 11.6in Super IPS+ high-resolution display, and comes with a detachable keyboard dock that features a secondary battery. It runs an Atom processor with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It weighs in at 675g, Asus said, and is 8.7mm thick.
The Vivo Tab RT is lighter, at 520g and 8.3mm thick. It runs an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor with 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage. It also comes with a keyboard dock with extra battery.
Asus said the Vivo Tabs would be available when Windows 8 launches, which is set for 26 October.
Asus updates Zenbooks for Windows 8
Asus revealed its updated Zenbook, the U500VZ, featuring a slick new finish, Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, Nvidia GT650M graphics card and 512GB of SSD storage. The 15in laptop is 19.7mm thick, and Asus claims it offers 25% longer battery life than previous versions.
Asus also showed off the Zenbook Prime UX21A Touch, with 10-point multitouch display and standby battery life of two weeks, and updated its Transformer Book, a hybrid with detachable screen.
The company also revealed the Taichi, an ultraportable laptop with a dual-sided display that can used as a tablet when the lid is closed. The two displays can be operated “independently and simultaneously”, letting two users work at the same time.
TomTom ends Apple lock-in with new Android apps
TomTom will release an Android app in October, around the same time as when its maps will be used to power an integrated satnav service in Apple’s iOS, the company revealed at IFA.
As with TomTom’s A-Listed iOS app, the Android version will include downloadable maps, and the company’s IQ Routes and HD Traffic. The company has yet to announce pricing for the Android app, which was unveiled at the IFA trade fair in Berlin. The UK and Ireland version of the app for iOS is currently priced at £50.