Touch screens are all the rage now that smartphones, laptops
and desktop computers are abandoning traditional interactive
features (such as buttons) for a more modern approach. MacBook
touch pad users have already seen a glimpse of this evolution.
Regardless, it will be a long time before
every display is a touch screen
. But once they have taken over the PC industry, computer
manufacturers may turn to a hands-free form of interaction: voice
) became the first company to create a mainstream voice
recognition platform when it released Siri and the iPhone 4S.
, Taiwan-based supply chain makers believe that voice recognition
will become the "next major focus for the notebook industry."
In the meantime, the PC sector has put most of its eggs into
the touch screen basket. DigiTimes' sources believe that Black
Friday will provide a "crucial market test" for convertible
notebooks (those that contain the features of both a laptop
computer and a tablet).
Lenovo, Dell (NASDAQ:
) and Hewlett-Packard (NASDAQ:
) are among the many manufacturers that currently produce Windows
8-based convertibles. Hewlett-Packard has received a considerable
amount of attention for producing the 11.6-inch Envy x2, a
laptop/tablet hybrid with a detachable screen that can be
separated from the keyboard. According to DigiTimes, detachable
models are expected to become the most popular available.
Dell has taken another route with the XPS 12, which features a
screen that can swivel backwards to use as a tablet. In this
case, the keyboard stays in place. Lenovo has built a similar
machine with the IdeaPad Yoga 13, a unique laptop that is
converted into a tablet by flipping the screen backwards, pushing
the keyboard underneath the screen.
Thus far, retailers do not seem eager to discount these or any
other convertible laptops for Black Friday. Best Buy (NYSE:
) does not currently have
any major convertible sales
on its Black Friday preview page. Most Wal-Mart (NYSE:
) and Target (NYSE:
) stores do not currently carry convertible laptops. Amazon
) has put a few Intel (NASDAQ:
, but the convertibles are close to full price.
On Black Friday, consumers rarely go for the latest and
greatest. Rather, they shop for the best deals. This could make
it difficult for manufacturers to gauge the long-term success of
convertible laptops, which are still new and are considerably
more expensive than the average PC.
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