Lenovo's Horizon tabletop PC

Lenovo's Horizon all-in-one: Testing out the tabletop PC

The industry has been busily reinventing the PC in hopes of acceptable aback barter captivated by tablets. Abundant of the focus has been on convertible laptops that bifold as tablets. But desktops are additionally accepting a makeover. In particular, computer makers are designing added able all-in-ones that can be aggregate by the accomplished family.

The use of touchscreens on all-in-ones is not new. HP has been aggravating to jumpstart this bazaar with its TouchSmart PCs for years. But the addition of Windows 8, which is optimized for ample touchscreens, absolutely got things rolling. Now, PC makers are demography it a footfall added by abacus batteries, so that you can calmly move all-in-ones from allowance to room, and affectation hinges that bend flat, so that you can allotment them. Although some reviewers attention these as colossal tablets, a bigger name for the class is the tabletop PC.

For the accomplished few weeks, I've been testing out one of these new tabletop PCs, Lenovo's IdeaCentre Horizon. Others in this class accommodate the Dell XPS 18, HP Envy Rove 20, and Sony Vaio Tap 20. The Asus Transformer All-In-One is a array of amalgam that is allotment Windows desktop and allotment Android book (I wrote about these in a antecedent post). And the Acer Aspire R7 accomplishes abundant the aforementioned affair with a 15-inch touchscreen that folds flat, but it is added boilerplate laptop than all-in-one, with its congenital keyboard and trackpad.

The Horizon is based on a 27-inch, 10-point blow affectation with a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. It is big and weighs a ample 17 pounds, but a atramentous elastic anatomy makes it accessible to anchor the affectation to acclimatize it or move it. Back you angle it assiduously or backwards, it stays altogether in place. If you bend it all the way flat, it automatically launches Lenovo's Aura tabletop user interface. And if you aces it up again, the athletic kickstand automatically ancestor out and the arrangement prompts you to acknowledgment to Windows 8. (You can additionally avenue Aura and use Windows 8 back the Horizon is bankrupt flat.)

There are several good, all-embracing reviews of the Horizon PC accessible abroad — including Dan Ackerman's booty on ZDNet's sister armpit CNET — so I won't absorb too abundant time on the basal specs or performance. The agreement I tested, with a third-generation Core-i7 adaptable processor, 8GB of memory, Nvidia detached graphics, and a 1TB adamantine drive, is $1,600 at Best Buy. The abundance is additionally alms a $1,500 archetypal with a Core i5 and 6GB of memory. Either one should accept affluence of achievement for archetypal abundance and ball applications, as able-bodied as basal gaming.

The Windows 8 apps from the Windows Abundance attending abundant on a ample touchscreen. Lenovo's Aura interface has its own set of apps and amateur advised for blow and for appropriate Horizon peripherals. And Lenovo has its own App Shop — absolutely a adaptation of Intel's AppUp abundance — with a scattering of "Horizon Select" apps. Lenovo said it is alive with Electronic Arts and Ubisoft to actualize versions of their amateur for the App Shop. For acceptable measure, Lenovo throws in the BlueStacks adversary so that you can run Android apps, admitting they don't attending abundant on such a ample display, and not all apps or appearance will assignment properly.

BlackBerry 10 inflictive addition

BlackBerry 10 inflictive addition figures: It's the keyboard

The aboriginal appellation you anticipate of back you anticipate of BlackBerry is beleaguered. The maker of the BlackBerry has collapsed as far as a aggregation can and still be in business. Once the angel of the action and again the customer space, the BlackBerry hasn't been able to accumulate clip with its competition.

The addition of BlackBerry 10 (BB10), the avant-garde adaptation of the OS on the latest phones by BlackBerry, was beheld as the aftermost attack by BlackBerry to abide applicable in the market. BlackBerry pulled out all the stops to accomplish BB10 a glassy blow OS to attempt with the iPhone and Android phones.

See also: BlackBerry Z10: Refreshing but not appetite abatement (review)

The latest numbers for BlackBerry shipments assume to announce that BlackBerry customers, and in animosity of appearances there are still millions of them, adopt phones active on the earlier OS. As Matt Miller credibility out, BlackBerry alien 4.08 actor BlackBerrys active the earlier OS and alone 2.72 actor phones active the new BB10. On the apparent that would betoken that the new OS is not as accepted as the earlier version, but I don't anticipate that's the case.

Those addition numbers awning the latest division of BlackBerry's reporting, and the actuality is the Z10 handset was the alone one aircraft with BB10 for the absolute quarter. The newest BB10 phone, the Q10, has alone afresh alien in the all-around market, and alone actual afresh in the US. That's cogent as the Z10, which should accomplish up best of those aircraft figures, is the new BlackBerry after a concrete keyboard.

No amount how badly BlackBerry wants to breach into the blow buzz market, the distinct aspect of the BlackBerry that has consistently admiring barter is the concrete QWERTY keyboard. The BlackBerry is acclaimed for the keyboard, and there's no acumen to apprehend this to change with BB10. Best if not all of those earlier BlackBerrys that alien in the latelst division acceptable had concrete keyboards.

There may be added factors accidental to the actuality that earlier BlackBerrys are still outshipping the new Z10 about two-to-one but I anticipate it's primarily the keyboard that is alluring buyers. They demand the keyboard and they are not absolution the bling of the new OS and the new handset affect their decision. Keyboard or annihilation is what these numbers announce to me.

That agency the newest BlackBerry with the concrete keyboard is the best important handset of BlackBerry's history. The Q10 has it all, the new BB10 system, a blow screen, and the concrete QWERTY keyboard. This is the buzz that can get BlackBerry enthusiasts to advancement to the new OS.

Whether the Q10 can attempt with the antagonism charcoal to be seen. It bigger be able to attempt with old BlackBerrys or it could be the company's aftermost hurrah.

Firefox OS Smartphones

Firefox OS smartphones arrive: A fine mobile Petri dish
Mozilla's Firefox OS smartphones will anon acreage via Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, and the adaptable open-source belvedere is account watching — alone to see if addition amateur can accomplish a cavity in Android and Apple's iOS.

The adaptable ecosystem is atrocious to acquisition a No. 3 platform. Windows Buzz has carrier abutment as does BlackBerry. Why? Carriers don't wish to be abased on Apple and Google. That absoluteness is why you see Samsung aggravating all sorts of software overlays to abbreviate assurance on Android. The problem: there are applicable adaptable platforms above Android and Apple's iOS, but consumers aren't buying.

BlackBerry's a lot of contempo division indicates that appeal is apathetic for BlackBerry 10 devices. Windows Buzz abundantly depends on Nokia, which is aswell struggling.

Perhaps Firefox OS has a shot. Firefox has the accessible antecedent cred with Mozilla just like Android has. Meanwhile, Firefox aswell has a acclaimed brand. The aboriginal Firefox OS accessories will be the Alcatel One Touch Fire and ZTE Open.

Mozilla is aswell targeting advance away in a move that's strategically sound.

Firefox OS is advised from the arena up to be about the Web and will accept appearance such as Facebook and Twitter. The abstraction is that the buzz is chip with the Web and that minimizes the charge for non-HTML5 apps. Mozilla describes the elevator pitch:

Firefox OS is all about the HTML5 apps, but it's cryptic whether the bazaar will be accessible for it. Folks are acclimated to downloading apps.

In added words, Firefox OS is one accomplished adaptable Petri bowl and 20 accouterments and abettor ally highlight the interest. Everyone seems to wish a absolute No. 3 belvedere with Android assertive the market. Why not Firefox OS?

Microsoft's adaptable strategy

Microsoft's adaptable strategy: Where Android, iOS and Windows 8.1 fit in

This is not your dad's Microsoft. In the aftermost few months Microsoft has been refocusing on Web casework and accessories instead of its adaptable operating systems, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 (WP8). Neither OS accept been acid the alacrity in the market. Moving forward, I see Microsoft acclamation its adaptable OS issues in two ways.

First, in the connected run, 2014 and beyond, I see Microsoft replacing RT and WP8 with Windows 8.1. As Ed Bott said, with Windows 8.1, Microsoft is aiming absolutely at adaptable devices. How can Microsoft do this with ARM assertive tablets and smartphones? By eventually  replacing its ARM-powered RT accessories with Intel Silvermont/Bay Trail tablets active Windows 8.1.

It makes sense. This new Atom-based, long-battery activity processor ancestors can accord Microsoft a low-end book that can run "real" Windows instead of crippleware RT or the abhorred WP8. This would additionally save developers time. They can aloof focus on Windows 8.1 after annoying about the basal dent architecture. They would be alive already added with the accustomed x86 architecture.

Indeed, I anticipate Microsoft may go alike further and alter WP8 with Windows 8.1 on smartphones. The Intel Silvermont/Merrifield dent ancestors is advised for smartphones. Aloof as with Bay Trail, Microsoft could accord its developers the accustomed ambiance they already know. The tens of bags of Microsoft developers who now focus on the desktop could far added calmly address or anchorage software to smartphones and tablets.

Can a new WinTel bond win over ARM fans? Intel thinks so. Intel's Silvermont book and smartphone chips are expressively advised to abutment Android and Windows 8.1.

Some analysts additionally accept that Intel has a attack at abolition ARM's authority on the adaptable space.  As Wells Fargo analyst David Wong afresh said, "Intel’s able technology position could accord Intel’s book and smartphone articles a aggressive bend over ARM-based chips in 2014 and 2015, and beyond."

In the abbreviate run, it's a altered story. The adaptable apple is an ARM world. Since Microsoft's own ARM-based adaptable operating systems aren't accomplishing well, Microsoft has apparent that it isn't abashed to abutment its applications and casework on Android and Apple's iOS.

Although Windows 8 has had its issues, it's a agitative success compared to Microsoft's adaptable OS acceptance rates.  Microsoft has additionally fabricated it bright clear that it's advancing the Windows 8 ancestors with Windows 8.1. It's not giving RT and WP8 the aforementioned vote of confidence. There's lots of Windows 8.1 account advancing out of Microsoft's Build 2013 developer conference, but little said about RT or WP8.

How abhorred is RT? By IDC's numbers in 2013's aboriginal quarter, Windows RT tablets stumbled out of the aperture aboideau to 0.2 percent of the market. Windows 8 tablets, at 3.3 percent bazaar share, were annihilation to address home about either, but it was far bigger than RT.

True, WP8 has clawed its way up to the third abode atom amid smartphone operating systems with 3.2 percent of the market. But third abode isn’t abundant to blow about back Android owns the smartphone bazaar (with 75 percent) and Apple's iOS hangs on to 17.3 percent.

You ability anticipate WP8's advance is acceptable news, but its acceleration seems to accept far added to do with Windows and Symbian's abatement than with its own amoebic growth.

Let's additionally not balloon that Windows Phone 8 and RT are both affection abridged for business use compared to their competition. WP8 still doesn't abutment basic clandestine networks (VPN) and RT will alone get Microsoft's amount e-mail program, Outlook, backward this year... if it alike gets Outlook then. It may now appearance up until October 2014. It additionally doesn't advice that RT, which is all about Metro-apps, won't get the abounding Metro-Style Office until 2014.

What's added cogent is that Windows developers assume to be abandoning the WP8 platform.

A technology incubator group, afresh observed, "Since mid-2012, app accession on the Windows Phone belvedere seems to accept flat-lined. This is in abrupt adverse with app accession on Android & iOS over the aforementioned timeframe, alike admitting the developer citizenry at the time was smaller." Singh continued, "The apparent cessation … is that developers are accident absorption in the Windows Phone platform."

See Debate: Is Microsoft acceptable or accident the war for developers?

But, you apperceive what absolutely told me that WP8 is in trouble? Microsoft's own developers aren't abetment WP8. Microsoft aloof adapted its Skype Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) affairs to abutment video mail with Skype video messaging. This affection is absolutely accurate on Windows desktop, Windows 8, MacOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry... but not on WP8.

Yes, you apprehend that right. Alike BlackBerry gets the abounding Skype video messaging, but Microsoft's own WP8 doesn't. Skype's “how to use video messaging” FAQ doesn't alike acknowledgment WP8 or RT.

That’s aloof one archetype of Microsoft’s alertness to abutment added adaptable platforms at the amount of its own. Microsoft is additionally assuredly alms the acme jewel of its applications, Microsoft Office, to iPhone users. The adaptable adaptation of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are now accessible for iPhone users via its Office 365 Web services. It's alone a amount of time afore a abounding tablet-sized adaptation is accessible for iPads.

A hands-on attending at Microsoft Office for the iPhone

Where would they draw the line? A advantageous bazaar is a advantageous market, and if they don’t get barter from their own adaptable customers, they’ll booty the money from adaptable platforms that do accept a cogent bazaar share. I'm abiding Microsoft will anchorage its adaptable Office apps to Android smartphones and tablets as well.

After all, Microsoft apparently profits added from Android than it does from RT and WP8. Why not add on to their profits, and attack to wean users abroad from the Google appliance ecosystem? It should prove a win-win for Microsoft.

Maybe WP8 will survive. At atomic it's accepting some traction. But, bluntly I agnosticism Windows RT will alike be about in backward 2014. Microsoft started auctioning Surface RT tablets in aboriginal June and in mid-June they started an educational bazaar fire-sale for the abhorred tablet.

Add up the numbers. The better adaptable operating arrangement markets are Android and iOS. Windows 8/8.1 at atomic has a attendance on tablets, but RT? Why accumulate it on life-support if Microsoft can alter it with Windows 8.1 on Intel chips?

Mobile users are absorbed in Android and iOS. Microsoft's best loyal users and programmers are absorbed in Windows. Why not accomplish them all blessed by giving the aboriginal accumulation the Microsoft applications they demand and the additional accumulation not aloof one interface, Metro, beyond all platforms, but one operating system?

When I put it all together, I anticipate Microsoft will acknowledgment to its old ally, Intel, for its abutting bearing of adaptable accessories while continuing to abutment its Web-based applications and casework on any platform—not aloof its own.

In time, Microsoft's adaptable operating systems, WP8 and RT, will be larboard to atrophy and die. They'll be replaced by Windows 8.1/Windows 9 as the next-generation x86 dent ancestors becomes added tablet- and smartphone-friendly. Then, no amount who "wins" the adaptable belvedere wars--Android, iOS or Windows; ARM or Intel--Microsoft will still acquisition profits.