Monday, June 3, 2013

Computex 2013: Asus’ FonePad, the bizarre VivoMouse, a PC with a built-in UPS

Asus had a ton of new stuff to show off at Computex 2013. Beyond the crazy Transformer Book Trio, there was a new FonePad phablet, a portable gaming PC with back-up power, and an… er… interesting new mouse.
The FonePad Note makes no apologies about what device it’s challenging. It’s a 6-inch beast with a hideway stylus, just like the Galaxy Note. Asus has taken a page from another competitor’s playbook by outfitting the new FonePad with stereo speakers on the front (like the HTC One).
While the 1080p Super IPS+ display and 8MP rear-facing camera are nice, the more interesting bit of hardware is the dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor that powers the PadFone Note. It’s another in the string of recent Intel mobile wins, and a sign that ARM will have a real fight on its hands going forward.

There’s nothing really crazy about the FonePad, but the VivoMouse is another story. It looks a bit more like a sexy, post-modern USB mug warmer, but that big, silvery disc is all about multitouch. The VivoMouse is fitted with a laptop-style trackpad that lets you swipe, pinch, and drag to navigate your desktop.
It’s aimed at Windows 8 users, and could be well suited to couch surfing. For some reason, though, the VivoMouse also has optical sensors on the bottom. It’s hard to imagine why Asus would do that. This isn’t like Apple’s Magic Mouse or Microsoft’s Arc Touch mouse.
The VivoMouse has a big ol’ trackpad on top and it’s designed as a companion for the VivoPC, which is a home theater box. The trackpad’s a great fit. A gyroscope would be good, too. But optical sensors? Living rooms generally aren’t an ideal environment for traditional mice, so why bother?
Another oddity Asus introduced was the G10 desktop. This one, however, is odd in a good way. It’s a fairly standard gaming PC, with an Intel Core i7 chip and Nvidia graphics. What makes the G10 different is its 19,900mAh battery pack.
It provides enough juice to keep the rig running for about 25 seconds — not enough to survive an extended outage, but plenty to keep the G10 alive during unexpected dips and brownouts. Best of all, it’s built in.

This could be a great fit in corporate IT environments, too. We IT administrators hate having to deal with the aftereffects of power problems, and the G10 could very well prevent some of those headaches.
Cooler still is the fact that the power pack can be removed. Yes, Asus will let you pop the battery out and take it along to provide emergency boosts to your USB-charged smartphone or tablet. How cool is that?
Now read: Asus’ Transformer Book Trio is a Windows 8 PC with an Android tablet for a screen
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