As Windows 8 officially launches, a number of notebooks and tablets running the new OS are bound to pop up. Most of these new devices will include touchscreens (the optimal way to use Windows 8, it seems). While the touchscreen might be a hard sell, manufacturers are finding ways to make touchscreen devices intriguing. This is the case with Panasonic’s new foldable ultrabook.
First debuting at a Japanese tech show, the Panasonic AX Series Ultrabook actually folds in half. When folded a touchscreen loaded with Windows 8 (both Pro and standard versions available) will appear. The folded portion of the AX acts like a stand, and the revealed part of the ultrabook includes the actual touchscreen. If this sounds a bit gimmicky, you might be right. On the other hand, the AX Series does include some nice additions.
An SD card reader, Ethernet port, mic, headphone ports, HDMI, and two USB 3.0 ports are all included with the AX ultrabook. Panasonic has definitely loaded the AX Series with plenty of ports, and that’s always a good thing. The AX Series doesn’t skimp when it comes to hardware either. The AX will be available with either an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. All ultrabooks in the AX lineup will also include a 128 GB SDD and 4GB of memory.
Interestingly, Panasonic has decided to equip all the AX ultrabooks with removable batteries. This move is unlike anything offered by Panasonic’s competitors, and it might just be something that consumers will love – especially since two of the AX ultrabooks will come with extra battery bundles. As far as design goes, the AX ultrabooks don’t disappoint. While not the smoothest ultrabooks on the market, the AX ultrabooks are certainly unique.
Panasonic Style: Clunky But Solid
Since the company’s inception, Panasonic devices have had a certain look to them. Panasonic is a trusted brand, but it’s also a brand that never put too much weight into styling. The AX ultrabooks do have an original look thanks to that folding touchscreen, though reviewers have pointed out that these ultrabooks are on the thick and heavy side. Then again, it pays to keep in mind that this ultrabook bends. So, a device that can withstand constant bending is a good thing.
Release Date and Pricing Details
Panasonic has told press that the AX Series will hit Japanese markets later this fall. Presumably, Panasonic’s new foldable ultrabook will be available to North American markets later this year. However, this may depend on how well the ultrabook sells in Japan. Right now, Panasonic has not released any pricing information for the new AX Series.
I’ll keep you posted on a North American launch date and pricing details when Panasonic sends out that press release. Panasonic’s AX Foldable Ultrabook Series is just one in a long line of Windows 8 devices that will be surfacing in the next few months. Microsoft is also set to introduce some Windows 8-ready tablets, so stay tuned for that announcement as well.
*Photo Credit: Ubergizmo