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New PC and Tablet releases make for an exciting end to 2018

by Eric Smith | 10月 16, 2018

The first two weeks of October have been exciting for the computing world. First, HP unveiled its new Spectre Folio convertible PC which utilizes a leather folding case to give the user several different modes of operation, just not a separate slate experience. This is a premium device with a stylish look that HP is hoping to “transform computing” with. While that may be a bit of clever hyperbole, the device itself is priced in a comparable range to similar premium devices and that unique leather case could help distinguish it from the crowd.

HP Spectre Folio

Shortly afterward, Microsoft released its sixth iteration of the popular Surface Pro. This Detachable 2-in-1 did not get a lot of major updates outside of the upgrade to 8th Generation Intel Core processors. It also released the Surface Laptop 2, similarly with no major upgrades. One issue we were all watching for was whether Microsoft would add a USB-C port to these devices as many other tablets and PCs are adopting. (They didn't). Even the Surface Go and Surface Book 2 have USB-C and now Apple is rumored to drop its proprietary Lightning connector for a USB-C port on its upcoming iPad Pro (more on this later).

The most interesting part of Microsoft’s announcement was its Surface All Access program, which includes a Surface device, type cover, and an Office 365 subscription bundled in a 2-year installment plan. A base Surface Pro model would cost $42/month for 2 years and there is talk of a replacement/upgrade program. At a time when DaaS is becoming more of a force in the enterprise world and consumers are used to paying for installment plans on their smartphones, this could make a difference for Microsoft in the same way that the iPhone Upgrade Program works for Apple.

Finally, Google took the plunge back into the tablet market with the Pixel Slate. Google did not disappoint with the spec sheet as it has a 3K resolution 12.3-inch screen and variants with 8th generation Intel processor variants. What we have been really waiting for was some leadership from Google itself on how Chrome will fit into the Detachable 2-in-1 landscape, and we got it with this device. It’s riding the momentum that Acer and HP’s Chrome 2-in-1s started earlier in the year to take advantage of the Android app implementation in Chrome OS. We have maintained that Chrome can play a key role in expanding the Detachable 2-in-1 market beyond enterprise and prosumers, venturing into younger consumers who grew up using the OS in school.

We mentioned the new iPad Pros near the top and they really do loom over the Detachable 2-in-1 market because aside from Microsoft, Apple plays a big role in setting standards in the market. Aside from adding USB-C ports, there are also credible rumors of shrinking the bezels in favor of larger screens in the same footprint (also in line with our forecasts). Shrinking the bezels would leave iPad Pro without a Home button and likely lead to a notch similar to iPhone X. We believe it’s only a matter of time until highly accurate facial authentication methods make their way into tablets, and Apple may be the catalyst for this despite not being first to market.

Look out for a report in the near future on this topic diving into how these issues will affect the market and where they all fit into our forecasts and assumptions.

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