Asia’s largest electronics trade show has just opened again in Taipei, Taiwan. Computex is usually where vendors and manufacturers market their offerings for potential retailers, distributors and brand companies to buy. This year, the name of the game is Windows 8.
Tablets took the world by storm in 2010, when Apple launched its first iPad and ushered in the so-called post-PC era. And, given that smartphones and tablets are starting to overtake desktops and notebooks in Internet access, the world is shifting toward the mobile access, particularly in the emerging markets.
With this, there is much hope for tablets and Ultrabooks, especially for major players like Microsoft and Intel. Microsoft is still at the top of its game when it comes to desktop computing operating systems, and there is still minimal threat from the likes of Mac OS X and Linux variants, particularly in the consumer and enterprise markets (except, perhaps for servers, where Linux prevails). But if you consider that a couple of years from now, tablets will be the preferred means of accessing the Internet, power might just shift towards whoever controls tablet platforms.
The same goes for Intel. While Intel still powers most of today’s destkops, notebooks and netbooks, there is a preference for the ARM platform when it comes to tablets and smartphones. This is why Intel is struggling to remain relevant in the mobile market, especially with its mobile chipset, as well as the Ultrabook platform.
The fact that Asus has married the Ultrabook and tablet concept helps. While tablets are increasingly popular for content consumption, there is no substitiute for a notebook or even a netbook when it comes to more resource-hungry content creation.
Microsoft has also realized the potential for touch-based computing, and focused on making Windows 8 both touch and keyboard/mouse-friendly.
The only question now is timing. Apple has been a trailblazer when it comes to introducing — or actually, re-introducing — technologies that are now shaping the world. Google has been good at improving on these concepts with Android (to some extent, copying Apple’s iOS advancements). Microsoft is holding out on being a copycat, and is instead putting forward its Metro interface as a more intuitive touch-based interface for both touch- and desktop computing. But, Microsoft is late in the game. And, as evident with the uptake of Windows Phone 7, it still has a long way to go.
There is excitement over devices like the Asus Taichi at Computex. We can feel it. But whether this will shape Windows-based computing in the years to come, we have yet to see.
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