Windows 8 has added another product class to its list of computer product classes. This has been brought on by the likes of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 and the Dell XPS 18, where the computer can be set up to work as an all-in-one desktop or a tablet.
Intel have defined this class as the “Adaptive All-In-One” and they specify that the computer be equipped with a touchscreen that is between 18.4 inches and 27 inches. It would have an industrial design that allows the computer to be operated lying flat or standing up. Here, this could be in the form of a foldable kickstand or a detachable pedestal as well as being light enough to carry around or rest on your knees. The computers would be expected to be able to work from Lithium-polymer batteries thus allowing them to be used around the home without the need to be plugged in.
Typically these computers would implement a wireless (preferably Bluetooth) keyboard and mouse or, if they implement a detachable pedestal, they would have a wired keyboard and mouse that connects to the pedestal.
The goal eventually is to create software that exploits this design, mainly in the form of a multi-user touch environment. Typical usage classes could be games such as electronic versions of classic multi-player card and board games; or art-type applications.
As this Microsoft blog article and my comments on that article highlighted, this was about a computer product class that worked well with different comfort zones and skill levels. The article highlighted the children sitting on the couch and playing puzzle games on the VAIO Tap 20 with one playing and the other watching with interest.
Of course, it would be interesting to know who else would front up with a computer of this class in their product range.
On the other hand, there may be issues about particular chipsets or thickness limitations which may require manufacturers to use a different name for their computers of this kind. Similarly, manufacturers may want to use a different marketing name for these computers.