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Tablets, Laptops, Hybrids Also Debut At IFA

BERLIN – While tiny smart watches and huge 4K TVs grabbed the big headlines here at IFA last week, Toshiba, Sony and Lenovo used the show to roll out a series of new tablets, laptops and hybrids.

In the tablet category was the Toshiba Encore and Sony’s Vaio Tap 11. Both companies showed their support for Microsoft by going with Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, respectively.

The Encore, shipping in November at $329, is 0.42 inches thick and weighs just more than 1 pound. It features a 1,280 by 800 multi-touch display optimized for video. It is powered by an Intel Atom processor and has 32GB of storage and a MicroSD slot capable of handling an additional 32GB. Also, included are MicroHDMI and USB ports.

Toshiba hopes the Encore will help boost Microsoft’s presence in the tablet category. “Encore is poised to reenergize the opportunity for Windows tablets in the market,” said Carl Pinto, marketing VP, Toshiba America Information Systems. Sony Tap 11 has an Intel Core processor and a SSD for storage.

Sony estimates the Tap 11 will have 11 hours of battery life. It sports an SD card reader, USB 3.0 port, MicroHDMI and Wireless Display (WiDi).

An argument can also be made that Sony’s all-in-one PC introduction, the Tap 21, is a tablet — a huge one with a 21.5-inch display. The Tap 21 can fold flat against a tabletop, allowing for several people to share the device for gaming purposes.

Pricing and shipping information on all Sony products will be released in October.

All three companies showed new hybrid designs.

Lenovo’s entry is the Yoga 2 Pro laptop/tablet hybrid shipping with Windows 8.1. It has the same processor as the Ultrabooks, as well as 512GBSSD for storage and 8GB of DDR3L memory. Starting price will be $1,099 when it ships later this year.

Sony has the Vaio Flip PC — a laptop/ tablet hybrid that is available in 13-, 14- and 15-inch touchscreen sizes. All three models have an Intel Core processor. The 13-inch model comes standard with a solid-state drive; a hybrid hard disk drive/SSD is featured on the 15-inch model, and either can be included on the 14-inch version. Other features include Nvidia graphics with up to 2GB of graphics memory.

Toshiba’s Satellite Click, $599, runs an AMD A4 APU and has Radeon 8000 graphics, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive built into the removable tablet. There are batteries built into each section of the device.

On the traditional laptop front, Toshiba rolled out the low-priced NB15t mainstream compact notebook. At $379 it has an 11.6-inch touchscreen and is powered by an Intel Celeron dual-core processor. Specs include a 500GB hard drive; Ethernet, USB 3.0 and HDMI ports; and an HD webcam. The NB15t ships in November.

Lenovo added two Ultrabooks at the show, the Flex 14 and Flex 15 with starting prices at $629. Lenovo has borrowed from its Yoga device with a display that can rotate back about 300 degrees, allowing it to be used in stand mode as a display. The flexible hinge has been tested 25,000 times for durability purposes.