They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it appears that is exactly what a couple of companies have done based on their new hardware announcements during the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 pre-show news conferences.
MWC is much like CES however, it is not nearly at the same scale and the focus is of course on mobile devices versus any and all consumer electronics.
One thing that has not been announced at MWC so far this year is any new Windows 10 Mobile devices from the big players like Samsung, Alcatel, or Lenovo who have already made their pre-show announcements before the show officially opened up today.
That does not mean a new Windows 10 Mobile device might not be unveiled or show up on the show floor this week but if it has not come from one of the big players it is also not likely to make a big impact on the ecosystem or the market share for Windows 10 Mobile.
The annual event does offer a great opportunity for companies to announce new portable devices such as tablets and 2-in-1's that run Microsoft's latest operating system - Windows 10. These companies also benefit from having their product shown off in a much more focused environment instead of the sheer madness of CES.
As you look at these new products you will also see the influences that Microsoft's Surface hardware continues to have on OEMs and the design of these devices. That is exactly the impact Microsoft intended their Surface devices to have as the gold standard and while none of these are exact duplicates of an existing Surface device that is on the market, they certainly grab many of those features that make Surface unique and add their own twist to them.
Let's take a look at the new offerings from these four companies.
Alcatel PLUS 12
This 2-in-1 device takes full advantage of features in Windows 10 such as Windows Hello for fingerprint recognition for security and Windows Ink with its included pen.
Since it has 4G connectivity you will also be connected anywhere as you are on the go. I also think the detachable keyboard, which is also included in the box, has the neatest feature - the ability to become a mobile hotspot for up top 15 different devices.
Some key specs announced include:
- 12 inch Full HD display
- 5 MP Front Camera
- USB-C, USB-A, Micro-HDMI and Speaker ports
- 990 grams (2.2 lbs)
Panasonic Toughbook CF-33
This latest device in the Toughbook line is fully rugged 2-in-1 and with its 12 inch screen Quad-HD screen is larger than previous models.
The device comes in two configurations, one as a detachable laptop with keyboard dock (6 lbs) and just as a tablet (3.4 lbs), and both include a digitizer pen to take advantage of Windows Ink in Windows 10.
The Quad-HD screen (2160 x 1440) works well in all weather environments including bright sunlight and for those who must wear gloves to access the screens touch capabilities.
Some of the other announced specs include:
- 2MP Rear Camera; 8MP Front Camera (works with Windows Hello for facial recognition.
- 4G LTE optional
- USB 3.0, HDMI, LAN, MicroSD, and speaker ports
- Two hot swappable batteries to extend on the go usage
- Desktop Port Replicator with four bay battery charger
Samsung Galaxy Book
This device has been born out of a close partnership with Microsoft and so don't expect the Redmond company to object over Samsung's use of the name Galaxy Book and its similarity to Microsoft's own Surface Book devices.
One of the best Windows 10 devices I have ever used, the HP Spectre x360, was also the product of a close working relationship between Microsoft and the OEM so I have high hopes for the quality of this device.
This new hardware is considered a premium device and aimed at Enterprise users but that does not mean consumers won't be interested either.
This device with its included keyboard and Samsung S Pen take full advantage of Windows Ink in Windows 10 but apparently lacks any biometric authentication options for Windows Hello.
This device comes in two versions including a 10.6 inch and 12 inch screen with variations in the specs for each with the smaller device seeing the lower end of the specs overall.
Here is a break down of those specs with the smaller devices specs in parenthesis/italics:
- 12 inch Super AMOLED FHD (2160x1440) (10.6 inch TFT FHD (1920x1280)
- 7th Gen Intel Core i5 Dual Core CPU at 3.1GHz (7th Gen Intel Core m3 Dual Core at 2.6GHz)
- LTE Support (Both)
- 4GB + 128GB SSD or 8GB + 256GB SSD (4GB + 64GB or 128GB eMMC)
- MicroSD support up to 256GB (Both)
- 13 MP Front/5MP Rear Camera (5MP Front Camera)
- USB Type-C x 2, MicroSD (USB Type-C x 1, MicroSD)
- Accelerometer (Both)
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2X2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 BLE (both)
- GPS + GLONASS (Both)
- 754 Grams (1.7 lbs) Wi-Fi/LTE Model (640 Grams/1.41 lbs (Wi-Fi) and 650 Grams/1.43 lbs (LTE))
- Battery 10.5 hours and Fast Charging (10 hours and Fast Charging)
Also, using Samsung Flow on this device will easily connect communications between Galaxy Book and your Galaxy smartphone including the ability to unlock the Book from your handset.
Many of you have already seen or heard about Lenovo's popular consumer Yoga line of 2-in-1's and its Miix line of devices with detachable screens. Well, Lenovo continues those lines with new offerings in each category. The Yoga 720 comes with a fingerprint reader to take advantage of Windows Hello and biometric log into Windows 10 however, the Lenovo Active Pen is optional if you want to use it in Windows Ink. The Miix 320 does not have either included.
Lenovo Yoga 720
- CPU: Up to 7th Gen Intel Core i7
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Display: 13.3" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) /13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
- Camera: HD 720p
- Memory: Up to 16 GB DDR4
- Storage: Up to 1 TB PCIe SSD
- Battery: Up to 8 hours with FHD display / Up to 7 hours with UHD display
- Audio: 2 x JBL speakers; Dolby® Audio Premium
- Security: Fingerprint reader
- Ports: 2 x USB Type-C with Thunderbolt; Display Port; PD Port; USB 3.1; USB 3.0; Audio jack
- Connectivity: 802.11 a/c WiFi; Bluetooth
- Weight: 2.9 lbs / 1.3 kg
- Colors: Platinum Silver; Iron Grey; Copper
Lenovo Miix 320
- CPU: Intel Atom X5
- OS: up to Windows 10 Pro
- Intel HD Graphics
- Memory: up to 4 GB DDR3L
- Cameras: Front: 2 MP webcam with mic; Rear: 5 MP, auto-focus
- Storage: up to 128 GB eMMC
- Battery: up to 10 hours' local video payback
- Display: up to 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200), touchscreen
- Weight: With keyboard: Starting at 2.2 lb / 1020 g; Without keyboard: Starting at 1.2 lb / 550 g
- Connectivity: 802.11ac (2 x 2); Bluetooth 4.2 combo w/ Wi-Fi card; Wireless WAN; LTE (Optional)
- Ports: USB Type-C 3.0; 2 x USB 2.0; Micro HDMI; Micro SD; Nano SIM; Audio combo jack