Microsoft's hardware partners are gathering at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to demonstrate how they are developing the Windows device ecosystem well beyond its beige PC box roots.
Acer, for example, announced its new Aspire GX series of desktop PCs capable of producing immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences. Powered by seventh-generation "Kaby Lake" Intel Core processors, the Windows 10 systems can be outfitted with up to 64GB of memory and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.
For VR on the go, Acer has upgraded its Predator 17 X notebook with an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU featuring 8GB of video RAM. Its touchpad supports Windows 10 gestures and it contains audio communications hardware that is certified to run Skype for Business.
Acer also took the wraps off its high-end Predator 21 X laptop. Carrying a price tag of nearly $9,000 when it goes on sale next month, the massive gaming laptop houses an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, a curved 21-inch display, dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs in an Scalable Link Interface configuration and a mechanical keyboard. For added exclusivity, Acer is offering buyers a custom, laser-engraved maintenance panel.
Lenovo has a new VR-capable laptop of its own, the Legion Y720. This system introduces a number of firsts for a laptop, including an integrated receiver for Microsoft's Xbox Wireless Controller. The Y720 is also the first Windows-based Dolby Atmos PC, an audio-enhancing technology that will be enabled when the Windows 10 Creators Update arrives this year.
The Chinese PC maker is also showing off the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with a 14-inch OLED screen, a display technology commonly found in many Android smartphones from Samsung and top-tier home theater displays.
The PC-tablet hybrid also includes a new implementation of the "rise and fall" keyboard that retracts its keys when it is folded over, providing a flat and stable surface on which to rest the device. There is even a new silver color option.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon also gains the new silver color choice for the New Year, along with Thunderbolt 3 ports and an infrared camera that supports Windows Hello, Microsoft's face recognition login technology. Battery life has been increased to 15 hours and new connectivity options include LTE-A Wireless WAN and WiGig, a multi-gigabit per second wireless standard.
HP took the wraps off its second-generation Sprout Pro PC. The Windows 10 Pro-powered, all-in-one system features a scanning system that neatly dovetails with the Creators Update's 3D capabilities that will soon enable users to create and interact with virtual objects.
The latest Sprout Pro includes an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of system memory, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics subsystem and a 1TB solid state hybrid drive.
For PC gamers seeking an immersive visual experience without strapping a VR headset onto their faces, HP unveiled the OMEN X 35 Display. The massive 35-inch curved display will be available in March for nearly $1,300 and supports NVIDIA's G-Sync technology for stutter- and lag-free visuals with compatible GPUs.