What the 2018 CES tells us about upcoming laptop trends
Every year we see more and more laptops in the consumer electronics show. The newer laptops have made tablets a thing of the past with the present form factors. It seems that laptops are trying to get more into the mobile and ultraportable segment instead of the powerhouse segment, which is also why we see an increase in PC sales.
Here are some of the highlights of the CSE 2018 and a glimpse into the future of laptops.
Windows 10 goes mobile
Windows 10 Mobile maybe dead, but Windows 10’s full desktop version can run on Qualcomm mobile systems. This is possible because of Microsoft’s x86 on ARM for Windows. X86 on ARM is an emulation system in Windows that allow the desktop operating system to run on Qualcomm 830 or 630.
Allowing Windows 10 to run on such systems means laptops have a much higher battery life of about 20 hours, they turn on instantly, support GSM communications and are always connected. Lenovo already has a Miix 630 device on the shelves. It is still in its early stages but offers decent configuration options. It has a 12.3-inch WUXGA+ screen, paired with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and storage options up to 256GB. There’s only a single USB-C port on the Miix 630 so you won’t be able to connect up multiple accessories and charge at the same time, but there’s a microSD slot for extra storage.
HP also revelated their Envy X2. Asus also has a similar device in the pipeline. Both of these devices will use Windows 10 S.
AMD makes an entrance, replaces Intel’s Integrated Graphics
AMD made a huge entrance this year. With AMD Ryzen and the Vega graphics released last year, it was evident that AMD will release their mobile chipsets in 2018. AMD A-series APUs are now replaced with AMD Ryzen Mobile that comes with AMD’s Vega Graphics Chipsets.
Many top-of-the-line models from OEMs are now using AMD processors besides regular Intel setups. The Acer Swift 3, HP Envy x360, Lenovo Ideapad 720S are all using AMD chipsets while being as thin as Ultrabooks. This was already promised by AMD earlier.
Intel also released a new series of processors, called Intel Core H. H refers to High Performance that will pair an Intel CPU with an AMD Vega GPU. The result is thinner and lighter laptops that can play games to performing multimedia tasks.
You can see the video by Intel here.
Phone Powered Laptops
Samsung Dex, Microsoft Continuum or Motorola Atrix never made it to the masses. This time, Razer came up with a new device that uses their phone to power a laptop – a similar concept, but in a different setup.
In Razer’s setup, the phone is mounted in the void of the dummy laptop where the trackpad should have been. The phone essentially works as a trackpad and audio output. The device connects using USB C. You can then use the laptop to work on documents, play games or even make video calls using the laptop’s camera. The laptop is powered using USB C that also charges the phone.
Razer calls it Project Linda. Every year Razer brings something new to the table, but they do not necessarily make it to store shelves. Project Linda seems like a practical device. So, if Razer can bring it to the masses at a reasonable price tag, then it will surely sell like hot cakes.
The industry never stopped pursuing thinner and lighter laptops. Acer has won the competition again with the Swift 7 Ultrabook. There is a seventh-generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe SSD storage. Acer has upgraded the screen from a 13.3-inch panel to a 14-inch one, it’s still only at 1080p resolution. Moreover, it comes with 4G LTE connectivity, it is rare in Intel laptops.
The refreshed Dell XPS 13 also comes with a newer design. It comes in a white colour, which according to Dell, won’t be stained by mustard or permanent marker. So, as long as you can wipe it off within a week, your laptop will stay good as new. The XPS 13 is also slimmer than the older model.
On Windows, Cortana is still failing to make much impression. Cortana also does not have the massive user base as that of Alexa, and obviously, not so many speakers. Therefore, Amazon decided to release Alexa for PCs too. The first ones from HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will arrive later this year.
This year will obviously see some major changes in the laptop segment, with Microsoft’s push of ARM laptops, as well as AMD’s entry into the mobile market that is bound to bring thinner and lighter laptops at a lower price.