Lenovo, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Acer were among the PC makers that introduced new systems as the IFA 2014 show got underway in Germany.
A day after announcing an Intel-based tablet and two gaming systems, Lenovo officials on Sept. 4 unveiled five more systems, including the ThinkPad Helix, a two-in-one Ultrabook that can be used as a traditional laptop or a tablet.
The 11.6-inch Helix is thinner (by 15 percent) and lighter (by 12 percent) than its predecessor and comes with such features as Intel’s new 14-nanometer Core M “Broadwell” processor, 60 percent better battery life (up to 12 hours), and such security options as a biometric fingerprint reader, a military-grade smart card reader and three-factor authentication. It comes with Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 and, like the previous system, can be used in five modes—tablet, stand, tent, laptop and desktop.
Andrew Barrow, director of consumer product marketing at Lenovo, said the Helix was an example of the company’s efforts to develop systems that can be used however the user needs.
“What we wanted to do was develop the most complete two-in-one that adapted to the user,” Barrow told eWEEK. “It will be able to adapt to you, to how you want to work.”
In addition, Lenovo rolled out two tabletop PCs that give customers the option of using a system that is thin and light or more budget-friendly. The Horizon 2s—”s” for “slim”—comes in at .059 inches thick and at just more than five pounds, about 10 pounds less than the original Horizon 2. The Horizon 2e, with a 21.5-inch screen, starts at $749, compared with the Horizon 2s’ $899 price.
Both come with Intel’s 4th-generation Core processor and run Windows 8.1, and both can be used in either stand or flat mode for business and consumer use.
“They’re super-easy to pick up [and] move from the office and study to where the family is,” Barrow said.
The world’s top PC vendor also unveiled the ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One 23 modular all-in-one (AIO) that businesses can use with current ThinkCentre Tiny PCs. A problem with most AIO systems is that often the hardware itself—such as the CPU and chipset—needs to be refreshed after three or four years, while the display is good for seven to 10 years, Barrow said. With the Tiny-in-One 23, the system is powered by a Tiny PC that locks into the back of the 23-inch monitor. When it comes time for the Tiny PC to be replaced, it can be popped out of the monitor and a new one put in, enabling businesses to only refresh the technology that needs changing, he said.
Lenovo’s Edge 15 is a convertible 15.6-inch laptop that can be transitioned into stand mode due to a 300-degree hinge. The system is powered by a 4th-generation Core i7 chip from Intel and also includes the option of Nvidia GeForce GT840M 4GB graphics.
Lenovo’s new systems will be available in October.
Also at IFA, Lenovo announced the Vibe X2 (five-inch) and Z2 (5.5-inch) premium smartphones. The Z2 is Lenovo’s first 64-bit smartphone and is powered by a Snapdragon 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz processor from Qualcomm. The new smartphones come as Lenovo continues to pursue its $2.9 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google, a deal that Lenovo officials expect to close by the end of the year.
HP on Sept. 4 unveiled five new consumer PCs including two Envy X2 detachable systems in 13.3- and 15.6-inch form factors. They run on the Intel Core M chips and come with backlit Bluetooth keyboards. In addition, the Pavilion x2 is an Intel Atom-based tablet that runs Windows and can be used as a laptop when attached to a keyboard that also can be used as a cover.
Lenovo, Dell, HP Roll Out New PCs, Chromebooks, Tablets
HP also added to its lineup of Chromebooks with 11- and 14-inch systems, both of which include 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for two years. The 11-inch Chromebook is powered by an Intel chip, while the 14-inch system runs on a Tegra K1 processor from Nvidia for better graphics capabilities and power efficiency. It’s a fanless design that is optimized for Google Hangouts.
“Customers have told us they want devices that offer flexibility and performance while reflecting their personal sense of style,” Mike Nash, vice president of product management of consumer personal systems at HP, said in a statement. “The products we are announcing today include innovative designs, vibrant color options, choice of operating system and computing power to enable the way that customers communicate, play and live.”
The HP systems will be available next month.
Dell at IFA rolled out new Latitude and OptiPlex system, including the Latitude 13 7000 Series two-in-one detachable Ultrabook. The system sports a 13.3-inch screen and includes Instant Go technology from sleep mode, which company officials said is normally found in smartphones and tablets. At the same time, Dell unveiled the Latitude 12 5000 Series laptop, joining the Latitude 14 and 15 5000 systems to give remote and mobile workers solid business systems in designs that are as much as 20 percent thinner than previous models, officials said.
The Latitude 14 and 15 3000 Series also includes 14- and 15-inch laptops that are thinner and lighter than their predecessors, as well as systems that come with all-day battery life and up to a terabyte of storage. Dell also is adding to its rugged portfolio with the Latitude 14 Rugged that includes the company’s four-generation QuadCool thermal management feature.
Dell also introduced two new small OptiPlex systems, the 9020 and 3020 Micro PCs, which come with a chassis design that is 67 percent smaller than previous systems. They also come with five mounting options, enabling them to be used in smaller working space. The 9020 Micro is aimed at space-constrained environments where security is a key, while the 3020 Micro offers more performance. Dell’s Chromebox for meetings solution is aimed at mobile workers who want to participate in high-definition video meetings that span multiple devices. It’s powered by a 4th-generation Intel Core processor and features a 1080p webcam, speaker phone, remote control and mounting hardware.
Dell’s cloud-based Chromebox is designed for small and midsize businesses and in environments like home and small offices, testing facilities, education centers and kiosks, officials said.
“Dell understands the complexity of supporting the wide variety of devices present in today’s evolving workforce environment,” Kirk Schell, vice president and general manager of commercial client solutions for Dell, said in a statement. “Our new portfolio enables businesses of all sizes to embrace sleek and innovative form factors their workforce will be proud to use day after day to accomplish their productivity goals.”
Lenovo, Dell, HP Roll Out New PCs, Chromebooks, Tablets
For its part, Acer unveiled the Aspire R13 and R14 Series convertible notebook families of systems that can be used as laptops or tablets. The R13 Series, with Acer’s Ezel Aero hinge, can rotate into six different positions, while the R14 comes with a 360-degree dual-torque hinge that enables it to be used in four modes.
In addition, Acer added to its two-in-one notebook portfolio with the Windows-based Aspire Switch 11 Series and a new Switch 10 that comes with a Full HD 10.1-inch display.
Acer also unveiled two new tablets, the Iconia Tab 8 W and Iconia Tab 10. The first runs Microsoft’s new Windows 8.1 with Bing operating system, and it’s powered by a quad-core Atom X3735G chip from Intel . The Tab 10 comes with a Full HD 10.1-inch screen, runs Google’s Android 4.4 OS and comes with a quad-core MediaTek processor. The company’s new Iconia One 8 tablet comes with an eight-inch screen and quad-core Atom chip, as well as a 1280-by-800 HD display. It also runs Android 4.4.
Also at IFA, Acer unveiled the Liquid Z500 smartphone that is designed to give users a good music and video experience.
Acer is less than a year away from a tumultuous time that saw its top executives resign after several quarters of poor financial results. Jason Chen, a former senior vice president of worldwide sales, took over as president and CEO at the beginning of 2014, promising to transition Acer from a hardware maker to an IT and communications solutions provider that is aggressively pursuing the two-in-one, tablet and smartphone markets. The company also is focusing on its build-your-own-cloud (BYOC) efforts to enable consumers and business users to leverage their devices to create their own cloud environments.
Acer officials said the result has been a stabilization of the company over the first two quarters of the year.
“We have focused on the immediate decisions that were needed to transform the company,” Chen said in a statement. “Today we offer an extensive portfolio of devices with quality services and affordable prices.”