PC makers are desperate to rekindle their business. Worldwide shipments of laptops and desktops declined 3.7% last year, to 350 million units, and are likely to sink further in 2013, according to researcher IDC. Indeed, shipments of PCs fell 14% worldwide last quarter. It was the worst yearly decline since IDC began tracking the data in 1994. (Only Lenovo escaped punishment.) A sluggish economy, pinched IT budgets, and, of course, the proliferation of do-it-all mobile gadgets are largely to blame. So PC manufacturers are trying to inject some sex appeal into their lineups by adopting features that have made runaway hits of smartphones and tablets — namely touchscreens and mobile-friendly designs. Here’s a look:
More to touch
Detachable displays make for big tablets
Sony’s (SNE) VAIO has a 20-inch touchscreen with a retractable kickstand so that it can lie flat on a tabletop. It can be toted around untethered for up to three hours.
The ASUS Transformer is a Windows 8 PC with a detachable 18-inch screen that doubles as an Android tablet.
Flips, twists, turns
Laptops learn new moves
As its name implies, Lenovo’s IdeaPad is built to stretch. The screen bends, making the device usable in four positions.
Dell’s (DELL) XPS 12 looks like a traditional laptop, but the bezel around the touchscreen allows it to flip 180 degrees, turning it into a tablet.
They look like tablets but are full PCs
HP’s (HPQ) Envy is a tablet that becomes a laptop when clipped into a keyboard dock. A power pack stowed inside doubles its battery life.
Microsoft’s (MSFT) high-end Surface Pro runs a full version of Windows 8, not the stripped-down tablet version. A magnetic keyboard is also a screen cover.
The new desktop
Desktops are adopting touchscreens
The Acer Aspire aims to remedy the awkwardness of using a touchscreen on a traditional desktop with a kickstand that tilts the machine downward.
Samsung’s touch-equipped Series 5 All-in-One looks more like a TV with a slim, wireless keyboard and mouse.