Taiwanese hardware giant Acer has made a bold bid to claw back some of the market share it’s been hemorraghing over the past few months, taking the wraps off the Aspire R7 – a tablet/notebook/desktop hybrid device complete with “floating” touchscreen. The R7’s main talking point is what Acer has dubbed the “Ezel hinge”, which …
As the user of a mobile workstation, most of the time its stuck in a docking station on my desk and hooked up to a 24" screen, but I do need to be able to take it with me when I'm not at home/office. The idea of a box like this appeals. If it could be a tablet when I'm just wanting to gaze at the Interweb or read emails etc. Then be able to use it as a real laptop when I need to type more than a few lines, and to be able to use it with a real screen, or preferably 2 real screens when I'm at base, but to be able to take my environment and data all with me where ever I go. This sounds great.
In practice though, I wonder how compromised it will be. It sounds heavy. The screen is the pathetic HD (lol) spec.
Perhaps if I could have a Window's live image, like any decent Linux distro can do, then I wouldn't need to worry about a flexible piece of HW. I could just have my little "SSD cartridge" perhaps 4"x2"x0.3" and weighing in at maybe 2or3 oz and I could then just easily switch between different dedicated bits of HW without the inevitable compromises. Just plug in where ever you go and run your own "home" environment.
Sadly it ain't going to happen, so something like this might be the best the world will offer.
Re: Nice try
Windows To Go
Admittedly I haven't tried it yet....will dig it out from Technet and give it a whirl soon though.
Re: Nice try
You mean WindowsToGo which already exists?
Re: Nice try
You don't mean Windows-to-go, do you?
Re: Nice try
I hadn't come across that, I guess its only for W8, some that's several million points against it to start with. Only seems to support a very limited number of devices which don't include any SSDs (is this the 21st century?). Microsoft have been so dead set against USB boot for years. It also looks like you need to own a Windows licenses for the any PC you want to run it on, although I'll admit I don't understand what the licensing rules are telling me, does the PC already need to licensed to run W8? In which case it isn't really very portable because no one runs W8.
I guess its a small step in the right direction, but they've taken long enough to get there. Knoppix has been providing live images of Linux for 13 years.
Maybe it would be easier to put the Windows into a VM in a Linux Live image.
Re: Nice try
You probably know about this already but if you work somewhere with at least 5 windows licenses you can get licenses for Windows 8 Enterprise which allows 'Windows to go' which does exactly what you've just described. (Though as I understand it really needs a very good USB stick and USB3 to work properly and USB3 isn't what you'd call common on business PCs)
Also, I've looked at a few photos of this thing, I feel for anyone who buys it it doesn't look pleasant to use as a productivity device.
This is why they are losing
Randomly trying different form factors in the hope of hitting one which is a success is not the way to succeed. Companies like Apple and Samsung are winning because they look at what people need and want then build a device to suit that. Apple are especially good at this which is why geeks tend to hate them - they only put in the features most people need and concentrate on finishing the product. Acer and others seem to put in every chip they can find up to a budget and then try various screen and body combinations on the off chance they are successful. Unfortunately there are only two ways to compete, either be significantly cheaper than the others (Acer, this should be you..) or be better than the others (Apple and Samsung).
Re: This is why they are losing
> Randomly trying different form factors in the hope of hitting one which is a success is not the way to succeed.
You mean like the 7" tablet?
Failed experiments are merely an artifact of a free market where anyone is at liberty to try their hand.
Apple has a few of those too. They just tend to be ignored.
Not really much point. 2.4kg is laughable for a 'tablet' and the trackpad up there is begging to make you mash keys. Plus they are trying to tempt you by bundling the new star trek game. It looks like it has been designed by a committee.
Doesnt bode well.
Indeed. I wasn't able to visualise the devices from the text descriptions given, especially as the second device is described with reference to another el Reg review which is also pictureless. Still, Google finds plenty of reviews with pictures and comments from reviewers who seem to have actually handled the devices.
So, Reg, did your esteemed correspondent actually make it to the launch event or is this article just written from the Acer press releases, or even just other site's reviews?
Re: No pictures?
Indeed - pretty serious omission from something that's all about the design\looks
So, to save people a Google search - here's a couple of articles with useful pictures:
Not the first machine with a trackpad that side of the keyboard though.
I recall an old Olivetti 386 which had its trackpad pointing device (an early one) on the top-right above the keyboard.
So the idea is not new.
Many form-factors please
There is no too small, too light or too heavy - it's all relative to the user. Children and small-framed adults have a completely different perspective on all these factors to me as a tall adult who finds that an smart phone easily disappears in a pocket.
re: "There is no too small, too light or too heavy"
On the flip side, every bit of kit is both too small and too big.
It is too small when you want to use it and too big when you want to carry it. What the punters really want is a 24 inch screen in a wristwatch case. Something we don't know how to deliver.
That same problem does not just exist in laptop land. People want a 12 inch iPad that is easy to read, yet small enough to fit in their pocket when they carry it.
So what happens is that most people end up compromising or using docking stations etc. As a contractor, I have docking stations at home and spare screens at all my clients' places. That allows me to carry around a mid-size laptop, yet actually get work done when I get there.
like a mule
Ezel? That'll make it popular in the (admittedly small) dutch speaking markets - Ezel = Donkey in Dutch.
Also, trackpad in annoying place. Not only do you have to reach over to touch the screen, but you've also got to reach over to reach the trackpad.
Touchpad near the screen.? No sorry that looks like an ergonomic nightmare.
On my desk I sit a good 60-70cm away from the screens. If they were touch screens I couldn't reach them without leaning forward quite a lot.
Ok the multi position on the screen on this R7 looks like it could be useful to flip into a tablet when the touch might actually be wanted, but it's too heavy to use like that.
I'd have rather had a detachable Bluetooth mouse and dock built in. This is an idea looking for a problem.
This for factor has been seen; Flybook did it years ago: http://www.ohgizmo.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/flybook_vm.jpg
Re: Nothing new
But they left the touchpad in front of the keyboard. I think the R7 touchpad position makes for a more convincing design solution, although i) I'd be using my trusty trackball anyway and ii) I like the screen to be farther away, otherwise I need my spectacles.
Laptop w portrait/landscape
Id like to see a laptop with a screen that can be pivoted to portrait.
Would be great for reading PDFs and other documents.
Why not do that, now when they are toying around with twistable/detachable screens anyway?
Also; what happened to the models with a second touch-screen instead of keyboard/pad?
Id like one of those, with 2 1080-screns or better.
It was probably a bit ahead of its time a couple of years ago, but now people seem to be happy typing on glass any way.
You know what this article needs?
Some sort of visual representation of whatever it was that the article was on about.
... to claw back some of the market share it’s been hemorraghing...
.. they could try making laptops that at least survive the warranty period. I've had two of their £1k flagships, one had a dead network port, which they fixed, after it was returned twice, the second time they packaged it badly and damaged it physically (cracked edge of laptop). Out of warranty its screen hinges broke, which their spare parts department then spent a year trying, and failing to replace.
Next the Aspire 8920G, sound died within a year, and they didn't honour their worthless international travellers warranty. Within the following year, it's screen died too.