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Asus shows off Windows 8 and RT lines

Most of these Asus laptops, tablets, and desktops have been seen or mentioned before, but the company brought several upcoming new systems to New York for a press event this week (unfortunately timed for the same day as Apple's iPad Mini unveiling).

Some, such as the dual-screen Taichi or the Windows RT VivoTab, have already generated significant buzz. Others are not quite as high-profile, or else revamps of existing products. A quick rundown is below, along with price and release dates where available.

Asus Taichi Clearly the most interesting new Asus system, this dual-screen laptop has a panel on … Read more

Windows 8 buying guide

Before taking the plunge into Windows 8, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. We've summarized some of most useful ones here, and by going down this checklist, you'll end up with a much better idea about the right path for upgrading existing hardware versus buying a new machine, and figuring out all the new styles of tablets and touch-screen hybrids hitting store shelves alongside Windows 8.

Do you want to stick with Windows at all, or would another OS work better for you? Microsoft has two new operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT. For … Read more

The next Macs: What we expect

By now, the fact that Apple is holding a press event on October 23 is old news. It's widely agreed that the long-rumored smaller iPad will finally be unveiled. But it's likely that the iPad Mini isn't the only thing that Apple will have up its sleeve. Expect to see at least one new Mac grace the stage during Tuesday's event.

CNET's live coverage of Apple's event next Tuesday

There are a couple of reasons I'm confident that we'll see new Macs. First off, they're overdue -- Apple refreshed MacBooks last … Read more

Windows 8: The complete new PC launch list

Dozen of new PCs are launching alongside Windows 8. Some are inventive new designs with sliding keyboards and removable screens, others are simple retreads of existing products, occasionally augmented by a new touch screen.

Here you'll find links to all the major new Windows 8 hardware being released this holiday season, sorted by brand. Many of these systems are available to preorder now, and most will ship when Windows 8 launches on October 26 (a handful have yet to even be announced, so we'll add those to this list when they are).

Full coverage: Windows 8

We've … Read more

PC shipments to decline for first time since dot-com bust

In case we needed any more evidence about a grim PC market, IHS iSuppli has clinched it.

Worldwide computer shipments are set to decline this year for the first time since 2001, the tech research firm says today. That means the market will total about 348.7 million units in 2012, down 1.2 percent from last year.

IHS noted that the year started out promising, with Intel and PC makers touting thin-and-light ultrabooks at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But quarterly sales have proved to be disappointing, and the usual boost from the key back-to-school season "… Read more

The resurrected Modbook MacBook tablet gets a price

We originally reviewed the Modbook back in 2008, when it was a hand-built mod that took stock 13-inch white polycarbonate MacBooks, deconstructed them, and put them back together as bulky touch-screen tablets. Earlier in 2012, we learned that that original company had folded but the brand name was about to be resurrected by one of the first ModBook tablet's designers as part of a new company, called Modbook Inc.

The new Modbook was short on details, especially price and configuration options, when we first wrote about it in June. Today, the company has announced that it is taking preordersRead more

Remember ultrabooks? Yeah, no one else does either

Ultrabook sales are going to be pretty disappointing this year, according to a report from IHS iSuppli (see its release below). And that's bad news for Intel and the PC makers who use its chips.

IHS slashed its estimates for shipments of the thin-and-light notebooks to 10.3 million this year, down from its previous forecast of 22 million. More than half of those shipments should come in the fourth quarter, the tech research firm said, likely boosted by the introduction of Microsoft's new Windows operating system.

IHS also expects 2013 to be less rosy, with shipments totaling … Read more

Exit the mouse, enter the touch pad

In the run-up to Windows 8, the one keyword you hear most often is "touch." That means touch-screen tablets and slates, touch panels added to traditional clamshell laptops, and touch-enabled all-in-one desktops. It also refers to Microsoft's new emphasis on touch gestures for touch pads, as well as the ambitious plans component companies such as Synaptics have for touch input in Windows 8.

While all this touch talk is going on, there's another trend gaining steam in the background. The standalone touch pad, once a very obscure computer accessory (even the Apple Magic Trackpad failed to … Read more

Trouble in paradise? Cracks show in Microsoft-Intel alliance

When Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablets earlier this year, Intel executives were shocked.

Microsoft started developing its self-branded tablets -- including one that uses an Intel chip -- without notifying Intel or asking for help. Intel, like many of Microsoft's other partners, didn't find out about Surface until shortly before the event, and it did not play a role in the announcement. Microsoft decided to go it alone, much like rival Apple has done.

Microsoft's decision represents new territory for the software and chip giants -- collectively known as the Wintel alliance to many in the industry … Read more

How Windows 8 will shake up the laptop market

Starting October 26, laptop shoppers will be inundated with a flood of new PCs designed around Microsoft's new operating system. In fact, I've counted about 50 new laptops, tablets, hybrids, convertibles, and all-in-ones on my back-of-the-envelope list already.

A handful of these have already been announced, a healthy chunk will be announced early in October, and the rest will simply go on sale on October 26, alongside Windows 8.

Having seen a good number of these upcoming systems in person already, I can safely outline three big trendlines that will drive laptop and related device sales through the Windows 8 launch season and into 2013. If you're looking to buy a laptop anytime soon, keep these in mind as you dig through the dozens of upcoming new choices. … Read more