While not everything at the show was being "on show", I managed to get a good indication of what users will be seeing later on in the year, and in some cases as soon as a few weeks. Slates continue to be a major theme as they were last year, but there were just as many new notebooks to show off as well. Read on to see everything I was able to find!
Being familiar with the territory this year, I managed to get a head start on Tuesday morning as I headed for the south hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Except that it took me longer than planned to cover the entire show. Maybe the crowds were larger, maybe I spent more time with more vendors this year, or were my feet just slow? There was certainly plenty to see, lots of people to talk to, and many miles of walking!
I got to see quite a lot of interesting new products as far as netbooks, notebooks, slates and accessories go. While some gadgets and companies I expected to see at the show were strangely absent, many newer entrants took their spot showing off devices worthy of a closer look.
I managed to spot more than one Cedar Trail netbook at the show from Lenovo, Toshiba and Asus. With the attention being focused on slates and ultrabooks, however, very little information was being shared regarding the 32nm Atom successor. I was unable to find a HP 210 Mini with Cedar Trail, or track down a Toshiba NB305 with the same. I'm guessing they were at the show somewhere, perhaps hidden under a counter... Cedar Trail is definitely here today, so netbook fans can feel comfortable knowing that the versatile 10" mobility and productivity tools are not dead yet.
In a much more toned down fashion as compared to last year's show, slates were still plenty and getting the attention. Of interesting note was that there were no Windows tablets being displayed. They were there at the show, but vendors choosing to hide them from view, only showing them when a specific request was made. I can attest to this first hand, having one discussion with a manufacturer openly admitting that he chose not to display Windows hardware. The reason? Obviously Windows 7 has lost it's cool, while Windows 8 is still yet to be released.
How well this hybrid solution competes with the netbook will be something I'm interested in seeing pan out. For the first time now, slates and netbooks will be available with identical internals, software and OS. That will really give the consumer choice, being able to pick just a screen to use, add on a detachable keyboard, or go both full-time with a netbook. In any event, x86 hardware paired with Windows will open up applications Android and Apple slates can only dream of.