The upcoming PCs that could help boost Windows 8

While PC shipments are reportedly taking a beating, many OEM makers are still trying to come up with new and interesting designs that think out of the box in terms of both their case design as well as their features. The truth is that there are a few Windows 8-based PCs coming in the very near future that take some real risk in terms of hoping to find a market niche.

Below are three upcoming PCs that we think show the promise of Windows 8, and we are very interested to see the final products. 

Dell XPS 18

While we have seen Sony try to do something similar with an all-in-one touchscreen PC with the Tap 20 a few months ago, we think the Dell XPS 18 might be more successful. For one thing, it's supposed to be smaller than Sony's product which should make it easier to carry around and use as a large tablet. For another, we like the design of the XPS 18 a bit better; it looks slimmer and likely won't take up as much space.

Another thing that gives the XPS 18 a little bit of an edge is that you can also buy an optional stand that makes it look and work more like a traditional all-in-one. While the jury is still out until we get our hands on one (it's due to be released later in April), the Dell XPS 18 looks like it may be the mix of tablet and all-in-one that we could enjoy.


Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC

When we first heard about this PC, our eyes could not believe it. The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC is a massive 27 inch all-in-one that will likely turn the heads of everyone who sees it. This makes the Dell XPS 18 and Sony Tap 20 look tiny in comparison.

But is bigger truly better? Lenovo certainly hopes the answer is, "Yes." In addition to the standard Windows 8 UI when used as a regular all-in-one, the IdeaCentre Horizon can also be laid flat on a table or on the floor. In this mode, it has its own special user interface, Lenovo Aura, which comes preloaded with games and educational apps that are made to be used while the PC is flat.

It's kind of like a family PC, except the family can all gather around the IdeaCentre Horizon to play games and more; it's supposed to be coming out later this summer and we can't wait to see it in action.

Panasonic 20 inch 4K resolution tablet
 

Panasonic makes PCs and tablets, but normally they are of the semi-rugged and rugged variety. At CES 2013, Panasonic surprised a lot of people when it showed off a 20 inch Windows 8 tablet with a 4K resolution screen.

This product looks like it is being made for businesses that do a lot of design work and it even impressed former Microsoft Windows leader Steven Sinofsky when he saw it at the show, saying that it "blew me away". Panasonic has been quiet about this product since CES 2013, but we are hoping that it will be launched later this year.

Will it be enough?

It looks like at least some PC OEMs are trying to come up with some new designs and concepts that use Windows 8, and that can only be good for the PC industry. Even if one or more of these designs fail to impress the public, this kind of experimentation is needed in order for the industry to remain viable. Hopefully, there's even more new and cool designs that we don't know about still waiting in the wings to be revealed.

Images via Dell, Lenovo and Steven Sinofsky

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Windows Nashville said,
Windows 8 is simply unusable for real work, and no hardware can fix that.

I do development, data analysis, graphic design and photography... and working at a major corporation.... we use Windows 8 on our machines and we have no issue with it. If the user (i.e. you) is not willing to adapt to a (barely different) workflow, then that's the user's fault.

looks like trying to find a way to sell windows 8 isn't going so well, unless of course, you're an online geek and love everything about. which really doesn't count for much

rruffman said,
roughly 70+ million sold in one quarter is hardly a fail..

We have been through this, it's very hard to NOT get W8 at stores now. Of course its going to look like it sold well when you can ONLY get this version.

HoochieMamma said,

We have been through this, it's very hard to NOT get W8 at stores now. Of course its going to look like it sold well when you can ONLY get this version.

Exactly! The Windows 8 fans love to throw these mediocre numbers out there. Millions would not have bought it if weren't for the $14.99 special. I bought 2 at that price but would never pay over $15.50 for it. :-)

And how is this any different from a new mac book smartphone etc... They all sell with the latest os the fact you don't like win 8 has nothing to do with others and no matter how hard you wish for it to be failure the fact is its not.. So get over it..

And how is this any different from a new mac book smartphone etc... They all sell with the latest os the fact you don't like win 8 has nothing to do with others and no matter how hard you wish for it to be failure the fact is its not.. So get over it..

JHBrown said,
Exactly! The Windows 8 fans love to throw these mediocre numbers out there. Millions would not have bought it if weren't for the $14.99 special. I bought 2 at that price but would never pay over $15.50 for it. :-)
And how is this any different from a new mac book smartphone etc... They all sell with the latest os the fact you don't like win 8 has nothing to do with others and no matter how hard you wish for it to be failure the fact is its not.. So get over it..

j2006 said,
Numbers don't define a successful product. Financially sure, but quality wise no.
so if that's the case then the iPad is a complete failure because its a big toy.

rruffman said,
And how is this any different from a new mac book smartphone etc... They all sell with the latest os the fact you don't like win 8 has nothing to do with others and no matter how hard you wish for it to be failure the fact is its not.. So get over it..

Because in the Mac world they have the mentality that customers don't know what they want and are happy to receive whatever Apple gives them but in the Windows world we do know what we want and it's not Windows 8.
Not a significant amount of people liked the Zune, Windows Mobile 6.5 "they started the vertical menu kind of like the Zune" or Windows Phone 7 or 7.5 or 8 I don't understand how Microsoft can't see the majority of people don't like metro after 5 attempts and they still don't get it ????? the majority of people might end-up with windows 8 just because of the monopoly Microsoft holds on the Desktop not because they like it. It's kind of like in a communist country people live there not because they want to but because they have no other choice and like in all things there might be some people that do really like living there and so in Windows 8 there might be some people that really like using it but the reality is the majority don't.

Superboy said,

Because in the Mac world they have the mentality that customers don't know what they want and are happy to receive whatever Apple gives them but in the Windows world we do know what we want and it's not Windows 8.
Not a significant amount of people liked the Zune, Windows Mobile 6.5 "they started the vertical menu kind of like the Zune" or Windows Phone 7 or 7.5 or 8 I don't understand how Microsoft can't see the majority of people don't like metro after 5 attempts and they still don't get it ????? the majority of people might end-up with windows 8 just because of the monopoly Microsoft holds on the Desktop not because they like it. It's kind of like in a communist country people live there not because they want to but because they have no other choice and like in all things there might be some people that do really like living there and so in Windows 8 there might be some people that really like using it but the reality is the majority don't.

that's assuming you can take a poll of each and everyone who uses it but you dislike is not someone else and these tech sitting s do not make up the average user in fact if you try and visit amazon or qvc you I'll get better read on the average population and how windows 8 and windows phone 8 / metro is received so far windows phone 8 has equal or better rating than ios and much better satisfaction rate than android, the same can be said about win 8 as its on par with win 7 as far as satisfaction goes...

we are not talking about satisfaction obviously if you go to a place where it's selling the people that buy it now when people still have the chance to buy a windows 7 are the people that like it so obviously they are going to be satisfied. I was talking about when people don't have a choice of installing windows 7.

And "assuming you can take a poll of each and everyone who" buy in amazon or qvc are average people for all we know they could all be engineers or did you actually take the poll of every single one of them. So you see how easy is to turn it back at you, the only thing we actually know is that windows 8 is not selling, most of the companies are saying that and Microsoft is all quiet about the actual numbers, believe me when they sell a lot and want to brag about it they do you. See how they gave the numbers for the kinect but they only gave % for windows 8 right there shows you they were bragging about all those great sale numbers of kinect but not for windows 8.

Windows 8 is an overpriced crap (sorry for saying that), you can make a lot of hardware, but if they are very expensive and don't have a nice OS, then it is just garbage that the majority (not the fans) will avoid.

I loved Windows 3.0, 3.11, 95, 98, NT 3.5, NT 4, 2000, XP, even Vista, and Windows 7 sooo much, I just hate the Windows 8 garbage

Understandable. This is a paradigm shift in the industry; a new era of computing starting. How do you feel about iPad and Android tablets? The world is moving towards tablets/hybrids rapidly. Windows can either be part of the new era of computing or a relic of the past desktop era. MS chose to be part of the conversation for developers and consumers rather than something that is no longer even considered.

john.smith_2084 said,
Windows 8 is an overpriced crap (sorry for saying that)
$39 was overpriced? Even at it's current higher price, it's cheaper than previous versions. It's the touch hardware that's overpriced. It'll come down as time goes by. Also, most consumers actually find the UI for Windows 8 interesting and fresh. It's the keyboard warriors on here that rant (which hey have all right too since it still needs refining for certain people). I've had strangers, friends, family, etc. all go wow at my desktop, tablet and phone (all Windows 8). And their main concerns were price. Which is also what Gartner reported recently as well.

I got a chromebook, 250$ and that boosted the PC sales, just not the Windows PC sales

I believe the Google and Apple innovations and others will increase by time the PC sales, but it will not be the Windows PC sales

This whole touch screen concept is fad and will die as 3-D enthusiasm with tv manufacturers after release of Avatar. Touch screen is only good for small portable and consumption format only. Anything after that requires true computational horse power.

Software developers are creating apps today for touch screens. This is not a fad. There is no way to ignore reality that developers are not thinking about mouse and keyboard when they create the next big app. Putting your head in the sand won't change reality that cheap mobile tablets/hybrids are rapidly replacing desktop PCs.

It's not a fad. Unlike the competitors, Microsoft is actually being innovative here and bring touch-first to all his platforms, with the big thing being Windows and Windows Phone becoming one (probably solely "Windows"). It'll be scalable regardless of what size screen you use. It's brilliant.

I don't get the all-in-one PC's with touch screen however. You either need to keep it close to your face (which might be a little too close for comfort - I personally keep my monitors a little further than arm's reach) or you need to really reach for touch functionality (which I feel will be awkward and uncomfortable, hence, not very useful). I don't know, I guess I'm still not convinced touch screens on desktop style systems really work well. Phones and tablets - absolutely; desktop PC's - don't really think so...

Also by looking at the pictures, you would be looking down (and not at eye level which is the ergonomically recommended viewing angle) so talk about back/neck strain...

Yeah, that's the problem...the hardware! If only we had decent hardware, Windows 8 wouldn't suck so bad, right? No, this isn't going to save "Metro" or Microsoft's grand vision to become the next Apple.

can we please have some reasonable budget touchscreen laptops.. lenovo edge series with touchscreen seems the most affordable and reliable until now. maybe the only one out there

I don't think any of these massive tablet things will change PC sales at all. It's such an impractical size. You either want small enough to be portable or else the computer is going to be stationary, where then you want it to be as large as it can be.

Man, i'm typing this on a 3 year old Dell Inspiron, and most of Dell's new hardware has been crap except for some in the XPS line - like the XPS 13 and the XPS Duo - and now and that XPS 18 - daaaaaaaaamn. Never thought that I would actually another Dell machine, but they do have quite a nice lineup.

There's also the XPS 12 convertible. THAT one is really nice. If only it offered a Wacom digitizer I might have considered one.

mrp04 said,
There's also the XPS 12 convertible. THAT one is really nice. If only it offered a Wacom digitizer I might have considered one.

The XPS 12 convertible is also known as the XPS Duo - which I mentioned. I don't know, initially it was launched as the XPS Duo (example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbmd7w97f28) but now Dell seems to have renamed it to the XPS 12 convertible on their site. And yes, it is really nice!

I just want an all-in-one device that has a touchscreen and decent discrete graphics. It's absurd to me that all these PC OEMs are trying to copy Apple's look, but they completely ignore why the iMac is so successful for Apple beyond the appearance.

Anthony Tosie said,
I just want an all-in-one device that has a touchscreen and decent discrete graphics. It's absurd to me that all these PC OEMs are trying to copy Apple's look, but they completely ignore why the iMac is so successful for Apple beyond the appearance.
Excellent point! People love to bash Apple, but their 27 iMac 2013 is a work of art. I have one here to compliment my gaming PC. If you want to pay $1500 for an all-in-one, you might as well get an iMac. Maybe Microsoft can team up with Apple and create a retina Windows 8 all-in-one. Bet they'd sell well!!!!

iMac is so successful? Perhaps you should look at those numbers from yesterday again, because it is far from successful. If it were successful, I think we would have more than 30 million active Mac users, with 100s of millions (some numbers say over a billion) of Windows users.

And of course, the "copy" bit - you put a bezel around something and that is called copying? I had a TV from the 80s that did that, but they must have went into the future, looked at Apple's designs, then went back to make their designs. Apple should sue! But then again, using the color green, and putting icons in a row at the bottom of the screen is copying Apple, so what do I know?

SoylentG said,
iMac is so successful? Perhaps you should look at those numbers from yesterday again, because it is far from successful. If it were successful, I think we would have more than 30 million active Mac users, with 100s of millions (some numbers say over a billion) of Windows users.

And of course, the "copy" bit - you put a bezel around something and that is called copying? I had a TV from the 80s that did that, but they must have went into the future, looked at Apple's designs, then went back to make their designs. Apple should sue! But then again, using the color green, and putting icons in a row at the bottom of the screen is copying Apple, so what do I know?


Most of that 30million is in the US. I see more android tablets and rarely any macbooks, and mostly its a MacBook mini.

SoylentG said,
iMac is so successful? Perhaps you should look at those numbers from yesterday again, because it is far from successful. If it were successful, I think we would have more than 30 million active Mac users, with 100s of millions (some numbers say over a billion) of Windows users.

And of course, the "copy" bit - you put a bezel around something and that is called copying? I had a TV from the 80s that did that, but they must have went into the future, looked at Apple's designs, then went back to make their designs. Apple should sue! But then again, using the color green, and putting icons in a row at the bottom of the screen is copying Apple, so what do I know?


You're looking at it all wrong.

First of all, an iMac isn't OSX as a whole. It's also not the entirety of Apple's computer products. An iMac is a single product line that is by far and away Apple's most popular computer brand, and for good reason. To compare it to the entire PC industry isn't giving it a valid shot.

If you don't think PC OEMs are copying the iMac's design, you're crazy.

I'm seriously not paying a plus for touch screen with intel integrated graphics.... but if there is option of AMD or Nvidia perhaps someday.

Perhaps instead of more products of the same type they need to revise computing in actions not just marketing babble - and acknowledge that using a vertical touchscreen for any prolonged amount of time is an unwieldy and more importantly - a very tiring experience. A horizontal or slightly inclined towards the user would be much more useful. These things here, apart from Panasonic, I presume, are clearly not designed as such.

it is purely the vision of microsofts to say that with Windows 8 and touchscreen is the future. It's just Microsofts vision...

Indeed. Everyone I know who has tried touch on the desktop has found it uncomfortable because of simple ergonomics. Add the price factor and the general confusion about Windows 8 on the desktop among consumers and business users and you have one very un-compelling product.

For desktop users they need to offer the same models without touch, allow Windows 8 to boot directly to the desktop by default, and possibly add back in an option for the start menu (or at least fix the problems with the start screen for non-touch desktop users).

And they need to do this before this summer or they're going to lose the entire year's purchasing and holiday shopping season like they lost 2012.

ChrisJ1968 said,
it is purely the vision of microsofts to say that with Windows 8 and touchscreen is the future. It's just Microsofts vision...
Exactly! Be careful though, many people here think "touch" on the desktop is the standard today. I do believe Microsoft can fix this mess though. They just can't lump all users into one category, mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop.

excalpius said,
Indeed. Everyone I know who has tried touch on the desktop has found it uncomfortable because of simple ergonomics. Add the price factor and the general confusion about Windows 8 on the desktop among consumers and business users and you have one very un-compelling product.

For desktop users they need to offer the same models without touch, allow Windows 8 to boot directly to the desktop by default, and possibly add back in an option for the start menu (or at least fix the problems with the start screen for non-touch desktop users).

And they need to do this before this summer or they're going to lose the entire year's purchasing and holiday shopping season like they lost 2012.

Wait, I thought not one single person on the face of the earth wanted touch on their desktop, are you telling me that all these computer manufacturers are making these devices, and not a single one will be sold, that the dozens they make (because the computer manufacturers know it will not sell, so they only made a few) will sit in some warehouse somewhere and will suffer the same fate as the ET Atari cartriges? But what about all these people you know that found it uncomfortable, if there were no touch desktops being sold, how did these masses of people you know spend that much time to find the touch desktops were uncomfortable? And of course, they were not forced to use the touch in place of a mouse or keyboard, but they still used touch even though it was uncomfortable? Perhaps it was just the people, if they are that feeble and weak they should see a doctor to get checked out, or maybe they need to join a gym because if they can't reach out the 6 inches to a foot away a couple times to touch their screen, they have some serious issues bigger than Win8 to take care of. But you know a few week people who can't hold their arms up for a few seconds, so that can be extrapolated to the entire population, right?

SoylentG said,

Wait, I thought not one single person on the face of the earth wanted touch on their desktop, are you telling me that all these computer manufacturers are making these devices, and not a single one will be sold, that the dozens they make (because the computer manufacturers know it will not sell, so they only made a few) will sit in some warehouse somewhere and will suffer the same fate as the ET Atari cartriges?

Simple, marketing and gimmick. Gimmick works for OEM and manufacturer however it does not work for us (customers).

SoylentG said,

But what about all these people you know that found it uncomfortable, if there were no touch desktops being sold, how did these masses of people you know spend that much time to find the touch desktops were uncomfortable? And of course, they were not forced to use the touch in place of a mouse or keyboard, but they still used touch even though it was uncomfortable? Perhaps it was just the people, if they are that feeble and weak they should see a doctor to get checked out, or maybe they need to join a gym because if they can't reach out the 6 inches to a foot away a couple times to touch their screen, they have some serious issues bigger than Win8 to take care of. But you know a few week people who can't hold their arms up for a few seconds, so that can be extrapolated to the entire population, right?

This here deserves an explicit downvote. I can't begin to fathom the amount of misguidance, inflated self-importance and single-mindedness that may lead to such an arrogant and unimaginative response.

SoylentG said,

Wait, I thought not one single person on the face of the earth wanted touch on their desktop, are you telling me that all these computer manufacturers are making these devices, and not a single one will be sold, that the dozens they make (because the computer manufacturers know it will not sell, so they only made a few) will sit in some warehouse somewhere and will suffer the same fate as the ET Atari cartriges? ...

SoylentG: He gets to make gross generalizations about Apple Fanboys, but if you make a gross generalization about Microsoft he won't let it go.

Sorry. People find reaching out to their computer monitors to interact and smudge up their screen (having to clean the screen constantly is the only downside of my Yoga 13) to be less effective than using a mouse and keyboard. It has nothing to do with the amount one spends at a gym.

They will all be priced too high to have any discernable effect. These are not the devices to revive PC sales.

efjay said,
They will all be priced too high to have any discernable effect. These are not the devices to revive PC sales.

My thoughts exactly. People already don't like 8, so people certainly aren't going to pay top dollar for fancy hardware that runs it.

That Lenovo does look brilliant, but somehow strange. The PC / screen itself is ok, I just think the keyboard is too small in comparison.

Sszecret said,
That Lenovo does look brilliant, but somehow strange. The PC / screen itself is ok, I just think the keyboard is too small in comparison.

What is actually too large are the tiles in Windows 8.

A normal "desktop" and start menu would look sensational, whereas Windows 8 just looks way out of place and useless.

Silly definition, since the Surface Pro absolutely is a PC.

They wouldn't be reporting plummeting PC sales if they used a reasonable definition of a PC. If Microsoft succeeds, yes, absolutely "PC" sales will plummet. They could have sold 100 million Surface Pros in a week and they would have still come to the same conclusion.

The real reason IDC is fighting hard to keep the two separate is ipad and android tablets marketshare if IDC goes with what should be counted as one market tablets and pcs then the market share of the ipad and android tablets would go to a very small percentage (lets see 100 million ipads since launched or 76 million pcs in last quarter hmmm...) and thus apple shares would drop like a rock. if apple wants to say tablets are replacing pcs then it must be a pc replacement thus should be counted in the same space.

rruffman said,
The real reason IDC is fighting hard to keep the two separate is ipad and android tablets marketshare if IDC goes with what should be counted as one market tablets and pcs then the market share of the ipad and android tablets would go to a very small percentage (lets see 100 million ipads since launched or 76 million pcs in last quarter hmmm...) and thus apple shares would drop like a rock. if apple wants to say tablets are replacing pcs then it must be a pc replacement thus should be counted in the same space.

If someone selling or buying decision is based on IDC reports that person would deserve to be burst.

Fritzly said,

If someone selling or buying decision is based on IDC reports that person would deserve to be burst.

Yesterday we had MSFT go down 4%, so obviously there were a number of people basing their trades upon those reports. And of course we had the usual suspects here proclaiming that it was the end of Microsoft and further proof that Apple was winning, so you should drop MSFT and buy AAPL.

rruffman said,
The real reason IDC is fighting hard to keep the two separate is ipad and android tablets marketshare if IDC goes with what should be counted as one market tablets and pcs then the market share of the ipad and android tablets would go to a very small percentage (lets see 100 million ipads since launched or 76 million pcs in last quarter hmmm...) and thus apple shares would drop like a rock. if apple wants to say tablets are replacing pcs then it must be a pc replacement thus should be counted in the same space.

Oh so its a conspiracy and the IDC is a shill.

Put the tin foil hat away you're embarrassing yourself.

Edited by MVD, Apr 12 2013, 9:40pm :

I gave my reason why but you have not seem to give any convincing reason why people should believe otherwise other than your stupid comments... and yes IDC is nothing more than a manipulating shill...are we to believe that the what IDC says is fact with no explanation other than because its portable that it shouldn't be counted? a tablet is nothing more than a laptop without the keyboard or in some cases detachable keyboard just because some whish to dumb it down doesn't change the fact, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out and yes this is apple and their paid puppets way to seem reverent in the pc world..

SoylentG said,

Yesterday we had MSFT go down 4%, so obviously there were a number of people basing their trades upon those reports. And of course we had the usual suspects here proclaiming that it was the end of Microsoft and further proof that Apple was winning, so you should drop MSFT and buy AAPL.

Smart people make their homework, decide that an X% drop in the stocks they are following trigger a Good Till Canceled, Limit order and place it. Buy a stock just because of a sudden 4% drop is an impulsive and very risky decision.
Btw I had a such order placed as well as I have other ones for other stocks, including Apple of course. As Cicero stated 2000 years ago: "Pecunia not olet" (money does not smell).

27 inches is big for lotsa desks. However, note that all three designs are designed around touch, and are therefore pricier than standard PCs of their size (if they exist, in the case of the Lenovo and Panasonic models, similar non-touch models - from ANY vendor, are doubtful) or a niche of their own (that most likely applies to the big Lenovo and bigger Panasonic). Still, the economy MUST get better for pricier models of PCs to sell.

Dot Matrix said,
Would love that Lenovo, but 27 inches is too big for my desk.

That monitor is intended to replace old school drafting tables. It will be a *huge* hit for the architectural/engineering sector its being designed for. Being able to have design meetings where the plans are out in front of everyone and updates to the plans don't get lost in paper shuffles, which happens all too frequently.

Tablets like this however kind of need to support multiple pen inputs at the same time.

Edit: Duh, my bad, I'm thinking of the Panasonic, which is obviously not what you were referencing.

Kaedrin said,

That monitor is intended to replace old school drafting tables. It will be a *huge* hit for the architectural/engineering sector its being designed for. Being able to have design meetings where the plans are out in front of everyone and updates to the plans don't get lost in paper shuffles, which happens all too frequently.

Tablets like this however kind of need to support multiple pen inputs at the same time.

Edit: Duh, my bad, I'm thinking of the Panasonic, which is obviously not what you were referencing.

I'll take that Panasonic, and hang it on my wall.