CES Postscript: The Touch Laptop, Like It or Not
What does that mean to consumers? Your next laptop will likely be touch, whether you like it or not.
And based on what I saw at the Intel booth (and other booths, like Samsung’s), this is how it will break down:
Convertible: Convertibles, like the HP EliteBook Revolve and Lenovo Yoga, have swivel touch screens that can’t be detached from the unit.
The important thing to remember here is that the Intel processor and related electronics are still under the keyboard, so these systems will tend to be higher performance because the design affords more opportunity to keep the processor cool.
Detachable: These are essentially tablets with well-integrated keyboard docks. They would include the new Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, HP’s Envy x2, and Samsung ATIV Smart PC.
Detachables put the processor electronics behind the screen. And that usually forces PC makers to use a lower-performance, more power efficient chip like Intel’s “Clover Trail” Atom.
One of the few exceptions to that rule is the ThinkPad Helix, which manages to cram a mainstream Intel Ivy Bridge chip into a tablet.
And, by the way, Intel is now trying to get more PC makers to do this. It has just begun shipping a new Y series Ivy Bridge processor that is more power efficient than the one in the Helix.
Still, battery life won’t be terrific, and Ivy Bridge chips — even the most power-efficient ones — still require fans to keep them cool.