Samsung is blurring the line between tablets and laptops just as Apple shrinks the size of its market-leading tablet in a nod to the smartphone.
The Korean technology manufacturer is showcased what it’s calling the Smart PC -- a touch screen ultrabook with a detachable keyboard -- at an event introducing its new line of products designed specifically for Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 operating system. (See the products introduced this week).
Samsung’s line of ATIV Smart PCs, set to be released Oct. 26, are thin laptops featuring an 11.6-inch screen with a keyboard that detaches with the click of a button. Samsung will bring two models to the market: a lower resolution option with less power for $749.99 and a high-resolution option with Intel’s i5 Core processor priced at $1,199.99. Both weigh less than two pounds, come with Samsung’s S Pen and ship with Windows 8.
“This entirely new category of connected computing devices … is designed to meet the demands of users who care as much about content creation as they do about consumption,” Mike Aberly, Samsung’s senior vice president of consumer products, told the media gathered Monday in the auditorium of the New Museum.
The thinking goes something like this: People love surfing the Web, watching movies, listening to music and using apps on their tablets. But when it comes time to work on a project professionally or draft their latest blog post, consumers have to fire up their traditional computers. The Smart PC brings the best of both to one device.
It’s a sharp contrast from the direction many other touch-screen device manufacturers are taking. Whereas Samsung is merging the tablet with the laptop, others are wedding the tablet to the smartphone. Apple, for example, recently released its latest version of the iPhone with a larger screen and is said to be introducing a smaller iPad later this month.
But Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Americas, indicated the company is confident it is moving in the right direction, even as PC sales are bound for their first decline in more than a decade. He said Samsung would “drive” a widespread shift toward Smart PCs. Windows 8, which features a revamped home screen that resembles the tiles typical of smartphones, was the ideal platform upon which to release the products, he said.
Meanwhile, Samsung also showed off new all-in-one PCs and ultrabooks primed for the new operating system. The all-in-one PCs are desktop computers -- sans tower -- with touch-screen monitors.
The three models range from ones with 21.5-inch monitors with Intel Core i3 processors and a $799.99 price tag, to those with 27 inches, an Intel Core i7 processor and a $1,699.99 retail price.
Finally, the ultrabooks are thin laptops, similar to Apple’s MacBook Air, that will ship with Windows 8. The Series 5 model, which starts at $809.99, also has touch-screen capabilities.
Photo: The Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T switches between a notebook and a tablet. It features an 11.6-inch screen, an Intel Core i5-3317U processor and starts at $1,199.99.