'New' Windows 8 PCs: We've seen 'em before

Old laptop and tablet designs get trotted out as new designs specially optimized for Windows 8 at launch events in Germany and Taiwan

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That list isn't exhaustive -- there are Ultrabooks and laptops from Acer, a couple of IdeaPads from Lenovo, several All-In-Ones from Dell, Samsung, and Sony -- but it covers the high points of the new technology on offer. We're being offered touch-sensitive laptops and Ultrabooks, Transformer-style docked keyboards, a couple of sliders and loads of All-In-Ones -- in short, an entire litany of old Windows hardware designs that have never sold. Yes, there are some new twists -- the Janus headed Taichi, the 18-inch detachable Android tablet on an AiO -- but most of what's on offer has been around (and around and around) before.

It's hard to fault the manufacturers for dredging up their old designs, putting some new lipstick on the pig, and shipping. Perhaps Windows 8 will provide the new pixie dust that'll make the old hardware sell. But in a market dominated by slick, sleek, minimalist, and sizzling hardware, I think it's highly unlikely.

Assuming Microsoft knew about these designs six months ago, it's easy to see why the company has staked so much on the Surface. Windows 8 is screaming for simple, elegant, and capable hardware that can go head to head with the MacBook Air and iPad. Perhaps Microsoft can bring us a compelling new hardware design. The specs on the Surface certainly look inviting, with a modern tablet look and an unobtrusive keyboard. The demos held up. Perhaps Surface can carry the day and make Windows 8 a compelling choice in a side-by-side comparison with Apple products.

Perhaps. Unfortunately, we won't even see a Windows 8 Surface Pro on the shelves until next year.

It's going to be a long, cold Christmas.

This story, "'New' Windows 8 PCs: We've seen 'em before," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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