New Samsung Slates: You can have your tablet and your laptop too

Samsung drops docking station concept for hinged keyboard that connects with tablet to form clamshell laptop

In a bid to provide users with combined benefits of a tablet and a laptop, Samsung today rolled out a set of tablet-cum-laptops, its new Series 5 and Series 7 Slate PCs. These machines comprise a touchscreen tablet that connects to a hinged keyboard base, effectively transforming the device into a laptop on the fly. This new generation of Slates improves on previous iterations, which came with a less-elegant docking station for the tablet that supported a wireless keyboard and a mouse.

Hybrids like these appear to be the future of computing in the increasingly mobile enterprise. Rival Asus, for example, unveiled its Taichi laptop-tablet hybrid in June, which is essentially a laptop with a second display on the back. Acer, too, has taken a stab at a hybrid system: The Iconia W510 functions as a Windows 8 tablet but also can be plugged into a docking keyboard.

The new Slates weigh in at less than two pounds, according to Samsung, and the keyboard dock attaches with a mechanical hinge so that users can pick up the device with one hand without fear of the pieces separating. They also come equipped with the Samsung S Pen, a stylus for sketching, doodling, and writing with such features as handwriting-to-text conversion.

Samsung had Windows 8 in mind in designing these new systems: Alongside a Start menu for the forthcoming OS, which pops up at the bottom center of the screen, Samsung provides a control panel that unites settings from the Windows Control Panel and Metro Settings.

Among key differences between the Series 5 and Series 7 Slate: The Series 7 was designed for power users and comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. By contrast, the Series 5 Slate comes loaded with an Intel "System on a Chip" CPU (formerly known as Atom), 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD.

Both the Series 5 and Series 7 Slates feature an 11.6-inch display, but the Series 7 display is 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, whereas the Series 5's is 1,366 by 768.

The Series 5 and Series 7 Slates will be available starting October 26. Pricing for the Series 7 Slate starts at $1,199; for the the Series 5 Slate, it starts at $649 (sans keyboard dock).

This story, "New Samsung Slates: You can have your tablet and your laptop too," 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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