Devices lead the way as OEMs focus on opportunity with Windows


The following is a blog post from Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division at Microsoft.

COMPUTEX 2013 in Taipei is the second-largest computer exhibition in the world, drawing a large audience of hardware manufacturers and developers to showcase their latest technologies. I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote today at the event, joined by key business leaders at Microsoft, to talk about how touch and Windows 8.1 bring new growth to PCs, how non-touch PCs are even more exciting on Windows 8.1, the investments we’re making on small form factors with our partners and the incredible progress we’re seeing on apps that demonstrate the compelling Microsoft experience across devices.

This has been a transformational year for the industry and for our business. Our partnerships across the ecosystem have never been more important, as together we are bringing new capabilities and enabling new experiences to consumers and businesses. The device market this year alone is projected to be 2.9 billion smartphones, tablets, PCs, servers and embedded industry devices, and our goal is to continue delivering the value of Windows across the industry.

We’re proud of the momentum we’ve seen with Windows 8 and the ecosystem of hardware, apps and services that it enables. But we’re not stopping there. We continue to build on its strengths around mobility and touch, and bring new capabilities based on the feedback we continue to hear from our customers and partners. Today, we showed a demo of enhancements coming in Windows 8.1 in key areas such as personalization, search, the apps and Windows Store experience, cloud connectivity, as well as the new Internet Explorer 11.

Apps are a critical part of this story and the universe of Windows 8 apps continues to grow. Today, we demonstrated an array of popular apps for consumers and businesses including Temple Run Brave, Twitter, FourSquare, Line, Adobe Illustrator and more. We showed how apps can really light up when leveraging the latest hardware; for example, using near-field communications (NFC) for file sharing between devices, providing various options for input devices including touch, pen, mouse, keyboard and gaming controller, and using sensors that enable rich location-based features.

It is on a device where all of the capabilities and benefits come together for customers through the combination of apps, services and Windows. From the server that provides constant access to cloud services across screens, to embedded industry devices that capture sales data in the field and mobile devices that people carry on them instead of with them, Windows is powering our daily interactions. The new Nokia Lumia 925 Windows Phone is a great example, with its incredible lens technology and Nokia imaging software that provides the best low light images. It’s a gorgeous phone that people are proud to carry and it enriches the photo capturing and sharing experience. The beauty of hardware and software working together!

It’s amazing to see OEMs continue to advance the innovation in hardware design and performance to meet customers’ evolving needs, particularly around mobility. Here’s a snapshot of some of the hottest Windows devices they announced this week.

We talked a lot about tablets and the always-connected, mobile scenarios that they enable. The Acer Iconia W3-810 debuted this week, and it’s the first eight-inch tablet that runs Windows 8 and is expected to be at very attractive competitive prices worldwide.

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For the forward-thinking enterprise considering a move to tablet computing, the new HP ElitePad 900 offers a high-performance, rugged, no-nonsense tablet that’s perfect for a variety of enterprise scenarios.

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Razer, a leader in innovative gaming machines, announced the thinnest gaming laptop to hit the market. Based on Haswell technology, the Blade is really worth checking out. These gaming rigs, such as the Blade series or Dell’s Alienware X51, really take today’s games to the next level. I expect even more great gaming devices to be unveiled at next week’s E3 Expo.

The convertible category has really proliferated with the launch of Windows 8. These inspiring designs enable new scenarios for both work and play. If you want to surf the Web from your couch, you can have a tablet, but if you need to get some work done, a keyboard is never far away. A few highlights are the Acer Aspire P3-171, two new ASUS VivoBooks, the ASUS N550 and the new VivoBook S551. The Lenovo Yoga 11S is a nice evolution on the very popular Lenovo Yoga launched last fall.

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The Toshiba Portege Z10t-A is another great example of how the laptop/convertible market keeps expanding and evolving to offer great touch experience, performance and convenience at a great price.

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Notebooks are the heart and soul of the PC business. From screen sizes, to colors, to processor types and price ranges, this category is really defined by the amazing array of variety and choice provided to customers. Notebooks are not one size fits all, and we are proud that our OEM partners have such a comprehensive offering of Notebooks. One to watch is the wafer thin Acer Aspire S7-392 (an update to the popular S7-391).

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Today, Sony announced the new VAIO Pro and the next generation VAIO Duo Ultrabook series that features a sharp and gorgeous Full HD TRILUMINOUS Display for mobile that builds on Sony’s heritage in TV technology and expertise.

Another category that has seen a tremendous amount of growth and innovation since the Windows 8 launch is All-In-Ones. Our OEM partners have not only been redefining the capabilities and possibilities of AIOs, but they elevated the design to a new level. One design that I really like is Dell’s XPS line, which received an update just yesterday. The Dell XPS 27 is truly a dazzling device with its 27” Quad HD display. It’s perfect for a den, kitchen, living room, office or bedroom.

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A slightly more businesslike all-in-one design is Dell’s OptiPlex 9020, already looking great in offices everywhere, alongside the popular Latitude E6430, an enterprise-grade laptop in Dell’s smart tri-metal chassis. Looking for a light yet durable enterprise laptop, companies should check out the new ASUS B400, also announced this week.

A lot of beautiful Windows Phone 8 devices are already in market from our partners HTC, Nokia, Huawei and Samsung. Today, we highlighted on stage the Nokia Lumia 925, which was announced a few weeks ago. Featuring the world’s most advanced lens technology and Nokia imaging software, the result is the best low light images available today.

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It’s been exciting to see so much innovation and excitement about the new products being announced this year at COMPUTEX, and we expect this to continue in the coming months as manufacturers continue to innovate and Microsoft continues to refine the platform with Windows 8.1. There were also some great devices announced leading into Computex, including the HP ENVY Rove20, Samsung ATIV Book 5, and Toshiba KIRAbook.

If you’d still like some more PC and Phone eye candy, be sure to check out our Computex slideshow on the Microsoft News Center or if you want to hear more about the Windows 8.1 news shared by my colleague, Tami Reller, head on over to the Windows Blog.

Until the next industry event, keep watching for continued hardware innovation from our OEM partners and follow @MicrosoftOEM for news.

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