A raft of new, modern hybrid computing technologies look set enhance theoffering of flexible,unified communications in the workplace. HP, Dell, Toshiba and Asus, are all working on mixed-mode computers, such as touchscreen laptops, or tablets that can be detached from a laptop-like keyboard, ahead of the release of Windows 8, bbc.co.uk reports. The rush to champion these kinds of new computers will near-certainly open up the amount of flexibility businesses have in being able to conduct their operations. A tablet could be used to take notes, or draw illustrations in the meeting room, for example, before later being returned to its keyboard docking station and typed up into an official report. Alternatively, it could be taken home. David McQueen, principal analyst at the tech consultancy Informa, calls the arrival of Windows 8a “tipping point”, regarding the way laptops and PCs have been traditionally constructed. That’s because Windows 8 will support both touch technologies/tablets as well as traditional PCs. Another major push factor, tipping manufacturers over the edge, is that Microsoft is (for the first time) to release Surface – its own proprietary computing device, which is a tablet with a flipping keyboard, that doubles up as a cover. “We’re now seeing other approaches in which manufacturers are trying to make the machines suitable for both productivity and fun,” says Mr McQueen. “At the moment the firms seems to be throwing lots out and waiting to see what sticks. It will be interesting to see how much product refresh there is – if people buy one model and then want to switch to another design for a different experience, and how quickly they do that,” he added. According to eurogamer.net, Microsoft is to release Surface on the same day as Windows 8 – October 26, 2012 – so hybrid computers from other manufacturers are also likely to be on the shelves from then.

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