CES 2013: What To Expect From PC Makers And Windows 8

By Alexandra Burlacu email: a.burlacu@mobilenapps.com | Jan 06, 2013 04:04 AM EST

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With this year's International CES just around the corner, one question continues to build up excitement and anticipation: What to expect?

TVs with an unimaginable clarity, smartphones with increasingly bigger displays, self-driven cars, vacuum cleaners that can cartograph one's house, hybrid devices, tablets, gadgets, and a multitude of Windows 8 terminals are just a few things that will try to steal the spotlight at the 2013 CES tech fest.

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Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8, made its debut back in October and it's only natural that the CES ooze with a slew of new products, touting this controversial and radically different platform.

Beyond the conventional laptops and the expected tablets sporting Windows 8, CES will also see a range of "convertible" systems, which can turn from a laptop into a tablet and vice-versa, aiming to combine the best of both worlds. While Microsoft will not have its own booth at the show, its operating system will be one of the major presence's at this year's CES.

For the first time since 1999, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will not be delivering any keynote. The software giant will not be honoring this year's show as an exhibitor; however, its presence via the OS will definitely light up Las Vegas with a slew of Windows 8 tablets, PCs, laptops, peripherals, and what not. The tech show may even help Windows 8 gain some appeal as top-notch features such as Kinect-like gesture control and voice command navigation promise to spice things up.

HDTVs, smartphones, tablets, connected appliances, and all sorts of shiny gadgets may have outshined laptops and desktops at recent CES events, but this year things are about to heat up. Windows 8 tablets, hybrids, ultrabooks, and all-in-ones (AIOs) are in no shortage, and various PCs promise to take things to the next level.

A number of major PC makers have already officially announced new laptops to show off at CES, but most companies remain mum on specifics. Samsung, for instance, has announced two new Series 7 laptops that will make their debut at CES 2013. The Series 7 Chronos and the Series 7 Ultra claim an impressive 11-hour and 8-hour battery life, respectively, as well as a 150 percent speed increase in Web browsing and running apps.

LG will be no stranger to the show, as the company will showcase a number of Windows 8 PCs. One of the attractions will be the LG Tab-Book H160 hybrid notebook, which sports an 11.6-inch display and a QWERTY keyboard. Meanwhile, Lenovo is also gearing up for the big tech-fest, but doesn't want to spoil the surprise ahead of time.

Considering that Windows 8 is all about touch, some of the PCs on display will test new waters, ditching the traditional keyboards. Some svelte, smooth all-in-one desktops with touch displays come to mind. Even more exciting, how about navigating PCs with voice commands and hand gestures?

ASUS and Intel are expected to shake things up at CES with their new offerings. According to new reports, ASUS has teamed up with Leap Motion to incorporate hand-gesture technology into a range of high-end laptops. Who knew that ASUS would beat Apple to it? With Leap Motion Technology, ASUS laptops will be able to detect movements of both hands, all 10 fingers, at a whopping 290 frames per second, and track movements as shy as 1/100 of a millimeter, according to a VentureBeat report. In other words, ASUS laptops with Leap Motion technology will support an Xbox Kinect-like type of hands-free navigation. Leap Motion itself will be making an appearance at CES to showcase its motion sensor peripheral, a tiny gadget designed for Windows 8 PCs.

When it comes to integrating voice commands into PCs, Intel has been touting the feature since the Intel Developers Forum back in September. Remember the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software from voice-recognition firm Nuance? Last year, Intel signed a deal with the company in a bid to optimize PCs for voice control and navigation. Intel has been promising to support voice control for the past year, and now it seems that computers will finally be able to understand the heated words coming their way. Intel is also expected to show off its 2013 Ultrabook line-up with slimmer models sporting longer battery life and higher-resolution touchscreens.

All in all, Windows 8 is expected to cause a major stir at the International CES 2013, shining on a number of high-end tablets, PCs, hybrids, and all sorts of tech goodies. This could be Microsoft's time to shine, even though the company will miss the show. If a device is running Windows 8, however, attendees will likely be able to touch it, flip it, try it, twist it, and maybe even talk to it.

CES 2013 is kicking off on Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Las Vegas, and lasts through Jan. 11. For more details regarding the tech fest, visit our dedicated CES 2013 news coverage page.

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