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Dual-screen, detachable and Windows 8 star at Computex

Acer and Asus battle with tablets, laptops and all-in-ones

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Taiwanese computing giants Acer and Asus faced off ahead of the start of Asia’s biggest IT expo, Computex, today with a slew of new Windows 8 products including dual-screen laptops, notebook-tablet hybrids and even an all-in-one PC which can be used as a giant tablet.

Acer continued its attempts to prove it can build desirable, upmarket products at a pre-show press conference on Monday in which it demonstrated the touch-screen-equipped Aspire S7 Windows 8 Ultrabooks.

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The 13.3in and 11.6in models come with an aluminium unibody design and light-sensing keyboard which alters the backlight brightness according to lighting conditions, said the firm.

Next followed two touch-screen Iconia tablets, the 10.1in W510 comes with detachable keyboard dock and can extend the battery life up to 18 hours, while the 11.6in W700 features a cradle allowing it to be viewed in portrait or landscape mode.

This year’s show is also shaping up to be a big one for all-in-one PC fans.

Acer’s 27in 7600U looks to differentiate by allowing multiple users to operate it at the same time and its 0-90 degree viewing, while the 23in 5600U is less than 35mm thick, the firm said.

Asus may have just edged out its rival in the battle for pre-show headlines, however, with its Taichi dual-screen laptop, which has similar specs to a Zen Ultrabook but comes in 13.3in and 11.6in models and features a second touch screen on the outside of the display, meaning it can be used like a tablet when closed.

The Ivy Bridge corei7 laptop comes with 4GB of RAM and the screens can be synced or set so that users can use them separately of each other – if you happen to be willing to share your machine with your colleague across the desk.

The Taichi also supports BlueStacks, enabling Android apps to be run on the Windows 8 device.

Asus also pushed out a couple of tablets, the 810 which comes with an optional QWERTY keyboard dock, and the much-anticipated Windows RT-based 600 which runs an ARM-designed quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU and also features a detachable keyboard.

The Asus Transformer Book is an Ivy Bridge powered convertible notebook which disassembles so users can operate the screen as an independent Windows 8 tablet, while the Transformer All-in-One effectively does the same to form a massive 18.4in Android 4.0-powered tablet.

As always at the Taipei-based gadget show, pricing and specs are hard to come by, but most of the models shown appeared to be fully working machines, with the possible exception of the prototype Transformer AiO. ®

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