Microsoft Shows Off Windows 8.1 Tablets And Laptops At TechEd 2013

While the emphasis is very much on software development and enterprise products at TechEd 2013, Microsoft also highlighted a handful of Windws 8.1 hardware devices, including the freshly-announced Acer Iconia W3.

There was no sign of the heavily rumoured Haswell-powered Surface Pro at TechEd 2013 but there were still a few interesting products doing the rounds on the showroom floor. Here are three products that Microsoft reckons are among the cream of the crop. As with most Microsoft preview events, release and pricing information was kept under wraps but we can probably expect these units to land by the end of the year.

Panasonic Magic Board

Panasonic's Magic Board made its debut at CES 2013, but today was the first time that we've personally seen one in the flesh. This mammoth 20in LCD tablet boasts a native resolution of 3840 by 2960 pixels and a 15:10 aspect ratio. Amusingly, Microsoft opted to display an extreme close-up of CEO Steve Balmer’s head to demonstrate its crystal-clear quality. Apparently, it also comes with a smudge-proof display.

Lenovo Helix

Microsoft also showed off an updated version of the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix. Primarily aimed at business users, it comes with an 11.6in touchscreen, a third-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state storage running on Windows 8.1. Like the previous version, the tablet is complimented by a full-sized keyboard docking station which also boosts battery life. The dock also comes with a swivelling hinge so you can carry the keyboard around with you while using tablet mode should you so desire.

Acer Iconia W3

One of the newest products Microsoft showed off during its keynote was the Acer Iconia W3. Officially announced at Computex yesterday, the 8.1-inch tablet device boasts a 1280 by 800 touchscreen display, a battery-friendly Atom Z2760 processor and a 64GB SSD. It will launch running on Windows 8.1 and also comes bundled with Microsoft Office. The model also comes with a full-sized keyboard, although the tablet doesn't actually have an attaching mechanism -- instead it sort of just "sits" on top. We imagine this could lead to accidental breakages.

We got to play around with a couple of these devices along with plenty more – stay tuned for some hands-on reports soon . . .

Visit Lifehacker's World of Servers Newsroom for all the latest news from TechEd North America 2013. And don't forget: TechEd is coming to Australia in September. Click here for more information.


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