LAS VEGAS--Despite our early concerns that CES 2013 would be very light on laptops and other mobile computers, the show actually had plenty of new hardware to cover. That said, this year has been nowhere near last year's ultrabook-heavy lineup, which was a high point for laptops at CES.
While there have been a few standout laptops here at the show, almost more notable has been what's not here, from major announcements by some big brands to missing features on new products from others.
Here are some of the things that could have made CES 2013 an even better year for laptops.
Dell's main computer launch at the show was an updated version of the XPS 13 ultrabook. We liked this system a lot when we first saw it last year, and this new version trades up to a full 1080p screen. That's a welcome upgrade, but for a 13-inch Windows 8 ultrabook to launch today without a touch screen seems like a real missed opportunity. The Toshiba Qosmio X875 also lacked a touch screen, but might get a pass this time around as it's a huge 17-inch desktop replacement, and touch is not a must-have requirement for those yet -- but it could very well become one.
Some of the best laptops we saw at CES were ones we had seen before, most often in conjunction with the launch of Windows 8. That means they were not really new-to-CES, so it's hard to count them as highlights of the show. These include the Acer Aspire S7, the Asus Taichi, and the HP Revolve. If these companies had introduced these systems at CES, we'd be talking about each as a potential best-of-show pick. As it is, big brands, including Dell, Sony, and Acer, had very little in the way of new laptops to show.
Laptops were outshined by all-in-ones
From the Asus Transformer AIO to the Lenovo Horizon, products that are closer to all-in-one desktops (in some way, they're gigantic tablets with stands) stole the show from traditional laptops. At least for this week, that's where the best innovation and buzz-worthy designs are right now. Desktops beating laptops? 2013 is getting off to a strange start.
And one hit: No new Windows RT laptops/hybrids
Over and over again we heard the same refrain from PC manufacturers, "No new Windows RT announcements to make at this time." The first handful of RT systems failed to impress, and many cost just as much as comparable full Windows 8 systems. I'm glad it looks like PC makers are taking a little more time to think through the next generation of RT systems, if they go back for a second wave at all.
When it comes to computers, especially laptops and hybrids, what did you think was missing from CES 2013? Let us know in the comments section below.