Intel shows off the tip of the Windows 8 iceberg

Windows 8 Ultrabook Tablet Hands-on

Intel’s chips have been at the center of the digital universe for an eternity in tech-years. Post-PC era or no post-pc era, millions upon millions of personal computers powered by Intel chips continue to their way into homes and businesses around the world. Intel fell behind some of its chief rivals and missed a huge opportunity as smartphones went from niche enterprise devices to the handset of choice for hundreds of millions of users, but the company is taking steps to aggressively attack the space in the near future. At the same time, however, Intel isn’t losing sight of the market that propelled its meteoric rise, and on Tuesday Intel showcased a few of the devices that will carry its partners into the next era of personal computing.

Intel had plenty of Core i3, i5 and i7-powered hardware to show off at Tuesday’s showcase — hardware that can augment reality, hardware that can facilitate HD and 3D video editing, and hardware that can handle 3D gaming in stride. Tucked in a corner of the room, however, was one device in particular that caught my eye.

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga shows us just one interpretation of a next-generation ultrabook that we will see introduced when Microsoft launches Windows 8 in October. I have written numerous times about all of the interesting form factors we’ll see carry the Windows 8 OS in the coming months, and this is one of them.

At first glance, the Yoga seems like any other ultrabook — thin, sleek and light. Windows 8 is all about touch though, and this touchscreen-equipped laptop features a unique hinge mechanism that allows the display to be folded back so the device can be used as a tablet.

Unlike more common convertible notebook form factors, the keyboard sits opposite the display in tablet mode; typically, the display rotates and then folds down on top of the keyboard. Lenovo’s implementation might be a cost-cutting measure, but vendors need to push harder — the Yoga will be priced at $1,200 in the U.S. and the equivalent of $1,900 in the U.K. when it launches, and getting ultrabook pricing down is of the utmost importance.

I’m still excited to see what vendors will have to offer come October, and they had better push hard if they hope to compete with the slick Microsoft Surface tablet unveiled last month. A photo gallery with hands-on images of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is linked above.

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