As previously reported, notebook manufacturers plan to release Windows 8-based ultrabooks with touchscreens this year. The drawback is that the addition will not only increase the thickness by 0.7 to 1.5-cm, but also cost more to manufacture. Sources from the notebook supply chain are now claiming that vendors will launch touch-based ultrabooks in various form factors to combat this problem, or rather, use "transforming designs" which are slated for a July or August 2012 release.
The reasoning behind using different ultrabook form factors makes sense. If manufacturers simply stuck with the current clamshell design, the display panel will move when users maneuver through Windows 8 using touch. But if they strengthen the hinge's torque, the bottom part of the ultrabook could easily flip up. Thus to get the touchscreen functions to work without causing too much of a fuss, manufacturers are looking at different designs to bypass the issue.
One example we saw of this innovations was seen during CES 2012. Lenovo introduced its Yoga ultrabook sporting a 360-degree hinge (pictured). The device could pose like a standard clamshell ultrabook, be propped up like a tent, or closed shut to create a slim tablet. Other leading brand vendors like Asus and Acer are reportedly working on similar products. Lenovo's Yoga is slated to arrive on the market in the second half of 2012.
Sources claim that manufacturers won't necessarily copy Lenovo's Yoga form factor, but produce models featuring rotatable screens, converting the ultrabook into a tablet. Sliding screens, borrowing the form factor of many smartphones, only bigger, may also be one of the designs chosen to get around the hinge issue.