Ever since Windows 8 was announced last year a slew of crazy-looking computers have been introduced. Take Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga laptop, which has a screen that rotates all the way around to turn into a tablet. Or Asus’ Taichi with its two screens, which allow you to use the device as a laptop and then close the lid to make it a tablet.
But Acer has just upped the ante in the funky Windows 8 computer game. Today, at an event in New York City, the company introduced the Aspire R7, a full-fledged 15.6-inch laptop with a “floating” screen. The screen hinge allows the touchscreen to be propped up and then angled, like a desktop monitor or all-in-one computer. You can then even flip the touchscreen around, so if a person is sitting across the table they can see it. The idea, Acer says, is that all the touchscreen Windows 8 laptops are awkward to use — you have to reach out over the keyboard and trackpad. This brings the screen closer to you.
Speaking of the keyboard and trackpad, Acer decided that putting the trackpad below the keyboard was just a bit too traditional. On the R7 it put the trackpad above of the keyboard so that when the screen is folded down you can still use the keyboard.
Acer will begin selling the R7 on May 17 for $1,000. Best Buy will carry a special “Star Trek Into Darkness” version, which will come with a free download of the “Star Trek: The Video Game.” The laptop comes standard with a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080-resolution screen, a Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a combo 500 GB hard drive with a 24 GB solid-state drive.
Last month it was reported that the PC market has seen the steepest decline in its history. Research firm IDC’s data showed that shipments of PCs plunged 14 percent in the first quarter of this year. That’s the sharpest decline in sales of personal computers since the firm started tracking the industry in 1994. Technology experts and pundits have hypothesized about the causes of the ailing personal computer market. IDC, specifically, cited Windows 8, Microsoft’s new computer and tablet operating system, as one of the main reasons people turned away from buying computers.
“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less-attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices,” Bob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, said in a statement last month.
Acer, however, doesn’t seem to be too worried about that. In addition to the Aspire R7, it released the Aspire P3, an “ultrabook convertible,” or a Windows 8 tablet with a detachable keyboard dock. It is available now, starting at $799.99.