CES 2013 marked the invasion of a deluge of touch-enabled PCs, or in other words, laptops trying to be tablets.
Microsoft was rightly anticipating that the future lies in touch-enabled devices, and not boring, uninteractive notebooks and desktop PCs. It was one of the most important reasons for the Redmond-based giant to come up with Windows 8, an operating system that has been designed for touch from scratch.
At CES this year, touch-enabled laptops and tablets almost took over, with every manufacturer trying to outdo the other in design, aesthetics and functionality.
Touch is here to stay
If we could take away one message from CES 2013, it would be that touch has arrived, and it is here to say. The introduction of the first iPhone brought to consumers a world at their fingertips, and we can reasonably assume that non-touchscreen displays will soon fade away with the passage of time.
Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba, or Sony – you name it and you have a tablet or a touch-enabled laptop from them.
Intel also seems bent on switching consumers to touch-enabled Ultrabooks, as it gave a clear instruction to its partners at CES 2013 that all future Ultrabooks based on the Haswell platform must sport a touchscreen.
Let us have a brief look at the different categories of touch-enabled PCs spotted at CES 2013.
Convertibles – are those stylish looking thin laptops with a touchscreen display which can be swiveled over to the other side, essentially turning it into a tablet. The processor and other internal components are still housed under the keyboard as in a traditional laptop. Examples are the HP EliteBook Revolve and Lenovo Yoga.
Detachables – As the name implies, these have touchscreen displays which can actually be separated from a keyboard dock. The processor and other internal components are glued beneath the touchscreen display. Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, HP's Envy x2, and Samsung ATIV Smart PC feature this design.
As the processor lies just below the screen, these detachables focus on low power and longer battery life, with a mediocre performance.
Touch-screen laptops – are the regular-looking laptops with a clamshell design and a touchscreen. Sony Vaio T13 Series, the Acer Aspire S7, the Asus VivoBook X202E, and the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart fall under this category.