10 Cool Product Debuts At Computex 2018

Pushing PCs Forward

The outlook isn't getting any better for the PC market, but that isn't stopping tech industry giants from seeking to innovate -- whether it's in computing components such as processors and memory, or in the design of new types of laptops. PC and chip makers are offering a look at what's next during Computex 2018, with announcements both on impending releases and concepts planned for a bit further down the road. Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Asus and Lenovo are among the vendors showing off their latest products during the show in Tapei this week. What follows are 10 cool product debuts at Computex 2018.

Intel Core i7-8086K

Intel said it's marking the 40th anniversary of the company's x86 architecture with the launch of an ultra-powerful -- but limited edition -- new processor. The chip is the Core i7-8086K, which will have a default clock speed of 4GHz. What's more, the Core i7-8086K will be the first-ever Intel processor with a turbo frequency of 5GHz. Intel is releasing the chip on June 8 -- which is the exact 40th anniversary of the release of the original Intel 8086 -- and said it will give away 8,086 of the Core i7-8086K processors.

Intel Whiskey Lake And Amber Lake

Intel also announced two new processor launches that will fall under the eighth-gen Core line, and will be targeted at devices such as 2-in-1s and highly portable laptops. Those will be the "Whiskey Lake" U series processors and the "Amber Lake" Y series processors (the series formerly known as Core M). Intel isn't offering many specifics on the processors, beyond saying that they will enable "double-digit performance gains" as well as "integrated gigabit Wi-Fi." No details were mentioned, either, about whether the new series will be 10-nanometer or 14-nanometer chips.

Meanwhile, Intel also said there will be new releases in the X series and S series for desktops by the end of 2018.

Intel Optane SSD 905P

Launched in the second half of last year, Intel's Optane NVMe SSDs are designed to bridge the gap between high-performance DRAM and lower-cost NAND memory. At Computex, Intel announced the release of the Optane 905P, a "slim" SSD that also offers high performance and "industry-leading endurance." The drive, which will be available in an M.2 form factor, ultimately "allows the processor to spend less time waiting and more time computing," Intel said.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 850

Intel rival Qualcomm, meanwhile, announced a new processor aimed at "always on, always connected" Windows device use cases. The chip, the Snapdragon 850, will aim to help make PCs more like smartphones by enabling connectivity over LTE and a quick wake-up. The processor architecture will also help to provide strong power efficiency, allowing for battery life of up to 25 hours on a charge, as well as strong performance for artificial intelligence performance. Samsung is the first vendor that has pledged to release a device using the Snapdragon 850, according to Qualcomm.

Microsoft Collaboration Displays

Even as Microsoft is beginning to roll out a second-generation model of its Surface Hub collaboration display, the company announced at Computex that it is partnering with other manufacturers to get Microsoft technologies onto their collaboration displays. The displays from vendors including Sharp and Avocor will "let people experience Microsoft 365 collaboration tools" -- such as Office, Teams and Whiteboard -- at "room scale," Microsoft said. The displays will also be able to include sensors that connect to new Azure IoT "spatial intelligence" capabilities that can discern how the space is being used, the company said. The first Collaboration Displays from partners are expected "later this year," Microsoft said.

Asus ZenBook Pro Lineup

As usual, Asus used Computex 2018 to unveil an array of new devices, including the ZenBook Pro 15 and ZenBook Pro 14. Both will feature the new "ScreenPad," a touchscreen that takes the place of the touchpad and offers both touchpad functionality as well as serving functions such as app launcher or calculator. Other key features of the ZenBook Pro 15 include availability of an Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics, while the ZenBook Pro 14 offers the GeForce GTX 1050.

Asus Project Precog

Asus also gave a first look at one of its PC concepts of the future during Computex. "Project Precog" is a notebook that features two screens -- one of them in place of where the keyboard is usually located. One of the screens can also function as a keyboard when needed -- the location of the keyboard will automatically adjust depending on where the user's fingertips are placed -- while the screen can also serve as a second display or a pad for using a digital stylus. The Project Precog PC is convertible, as well, with the ability to fold the display part or all of the way back. Additionally, the PC will work with Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana voice assistants, and it will be possible for users to "keep their main tasks in full view while virtual assistants process other tasks on the second screen," Asus said.

Lenovo Yoga Book 2

Lenovo has already been offering a convertible notebook with two touch surfaces, the Yoga Book, in which one of the touch surfaces functions as a digital keyboard or space for using a digital pen. At Computex, Lenovo revealed the Yoga Book 2 during Intel's keynote -- with a major difference being that the second-generation model will feature two screens (like Asus' Project Precog), rather than just a touch-sensitive keyboard surface and a display. Reportedly, Lenovo did not disclose many details on the device, beyond saying that it will feature "enhanced inking" and a digital keyboard that is "AI-enabled."

Supermicro SuperBlade

Supermicro announced at Computex that its new SuperBlade server will be targeted both for resource savings as well as an easier way to refresh internal components. The SuperBlade servers will feature an architecture with lower power consumption and the ability to refresh components -- such as CPU, memory, I/O, storage and power/cooling -- independently of each other. Each component can be refreshed "at the optimal time to maximize generational improvements in performance and efficiency uncoupled from single monolithic server refresh cycles," Supermicro said. The blade servers will include Intel's Xeon Scalable processors, while also supporting M.2 NVMe and Intel Optane memory, the company said.

Nvidia Isaac

At Computex 2018, Nvidia debuted its new Isaac platform, which targets enabling artificial intelligence for autonomous machines in a number of industries (including manufacturing, logistics and agriculture). Isaac will be able to deliver more than 30 trillion operations per second, thanks to its use of the robotics-focused Jetson Xavier technology. Jetson Xavier has six types of high-performance processors, ultimately enabling "dozens of algorithms to be processed concurrently and in real time for sensor processing, odometry, localization and mapping, vision and perception, and path planning," Nvidia said.