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What is happening to all-in-one PCs? A photo essay

The new HP Rove slablet isn't a desktop PCs, and it isn't a mobile device... so what is going on?

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Recently, I had a chance to review the Asus AiO all-in-one PC: I wasn’t very impressed. (http://tgam.ca/Dqvz.) The hybrid Windows 8 and Android machine had a gigantic 18-inch tablet you could remove from the docking station and lug around. For reasons.

Asus

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I couldn’t help poking fun of in our video review (http://tgam.ca/Dpq4). It was huge! It made no sense! Why!?! People were very concerned that I might have gotten injured during the filming of this monstrosity.

Globe and Mail

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And then I get this in my inbox: The HP ENVY Rove 20. (The 20 is part of the name... for 20 inches of tablety girth.) It looks like a silver suitcase. Apparently it weighs 12 pounds. That’s the same as a human head. Or, less gruesomely, a one-month old infant.

HP Hewlett-Packard

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What I thought was a joke – reading with something this big on your lap – is actually touted as a feature in the company’s internal blog (http://bit.ly/14Tp4Kj). “It’s certainly more convenient to tote around than a desktop,” writes GizmoGladstone. Hey Gizmo, just so you know, the Rove does not “solve the problem” of dragging your desktop outside. No one was doing that.

HP Hewlett-Packard

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The press release crows that it “frees the desktop PC from the desk and allows families and friends to enjoy a shared entertainment experience with a built-in battery, unique design and advanced touch technology.” How about these people. They sure are LAUGHING at that shared entertainment experience.

HP Hewlett-Packard

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It’s supposed to be an all-in-one... though it doesn’t seem to have a mouse and keyboard (unlike the AiO). So, maybe it’s a some-in-one? (UPDATE: I have since seen a photo that shows an included keyboard and mouse, but the initial press pack included none of those.) But check out that hinge action! You can position this thing in angles!

HP Hewlett-Packard

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The same presser burbles with excitement that “Using advanced multitouch technology, multiple users can interact with games and more at the same time. Multiplayer games such as Electronic Arts’ Monopoly™, Fingertapps™ JigsWar Puzzle, Fingertapps Musical Instruments, and nsquared makewords are an ease to play when the PC is laid flat.” OK. Interesting. But these are all Windows 8 games. Who are the really hot mobile developers making Windows games?

HP Hewlett-Packard

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Which reminds me: Notice anything about these pictures? Other than the ridiculous scale of the device? No images of the screen show a program that is obviously Windows 8. It’s all HP branding. Which may have something to do with folks blaming Windows for the PC sales cliff-dive in the first quarter of 2013, the steepest drop that hardware analysts IDC had ever seen. Nowhere in the press release did the firm make it clear that this was a Windows 8 machine, it’s not even clear if this runs Windows RT or the fuller Pro version. Which ... uh, probably doesn’t matter.

HP Hewlett-Packard

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I know I shouldn’t make fun, HP isn’t doing too badly these days. Sure, its second quarter profit shrank 32 per cent, but that could have been worse (it was at Dell) and signs of the turnaround are coming. Still, the PC division is getting creamed, and I don’t know that this honking bad boy is the fix. It arrives in July, but no price-tag announced yet.

HP Hewlett-Packard

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Also, the Pavillion all-in-one line looks similar... but at least it has a mouse and keyboard.

HP Hewlett-Packard

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