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Computex 2012 preview: amazing ultrabooks, self-destructing SSDs

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A model displays the ASUS Transformer AiO, an 18.4-inch device combined tablet and PC, during a news conference at a media preview of the 2012 Computex exhibition in Taipei June 4, 2012. Computex, the world's second largest show, runs from June 5 to 9.Reuters

Each June, many of the world's leading tech companies gather in Taiwan's capital city to showcase their latest wares. Like the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, Computex Taipei features a show floor with thousands of booths along with a series of keynotes from industry luminaries and a string of product announcements.

We'll be on location in Taipei to cover all the excitement, from the first press conferences on Monday, June 4, to the major announcements in the days that follow. As always, there will be some surprises, but here's what we're looking forward to:

  • Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks: With Intel unveilings its low-voltage 3rd Generation Core Series CPUs at the end of May, a flood of new lightweight laptops featuring the processors should arrive over the coming weeks. We've already reviewed the ThinkPad X230 and the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A, but we expect to see a number of new entries on display in Taiwan. We're particularly excited to see the 2.15-pound, 11-inch Gigabyte X11, which was announced a few days ahead of the show.
  • Ultrabooks With Nvidia Graphics: While Ivy Bridge provides plenty of raw processing power for the next generation of Ultrabooks, Intel's integrated HD 4000 graphics chip isn't good enough for serious gaming. Fortunately, Nvidia has a series of GT600M series discrete graphics processors that are designed to fit into the low-power, low-profile Ultrabook form factor. ASUS has already shown off the Zenbook Prime UX32VD with GT620M graphics, but we expect to see more Ultrabooks with discrete graphics at the show, including the Gigabyte's already-announced U2442 and U2440 14-inch notebooks, which feature GT650M and GT640M GPUs.
  • A Self-Destructing SSD: RunCore recently announced the Xapear, an external SSD which can be completely erased by SMS text message, but the drive is making its public debut at Computex. Even when it's not being erased the drive hides your data partition until you swipe it with an RFID chip. We expect to see a demo of this exciting, high-security technology in action.
  • HD Android Tablets: Way back in January at CES, both ASUS and Acer announced Android slates with 1920 x 1200 displays. Now it's June and neither product has shipped yet. While we've been waiting, Apple successfully launched the new iPad with an amazing 2048 x 1536 retina display that sets a new industry standard for screen sharpness. We expect to see ASUS and Acer finally flesh out details about the HD products they showed at CES while other Asian vendors get in on the game as well.
  • Windows 8 Devices: Microsoft VP Steven Guggenheimer will be delivering a keynote related to Windows 8 on June 6th and the company also has a huge booth presence at the show. We expect Microsoft partners Acer and ASUS to show Windows 8 devices at their press events too.
  • No-Name Tablets: Because Computex is a huge show for ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) whose products later get sold and rebranded under other names, we expect to a number of tablets and possibly even some notebooks from manufactures like Malata and Compal. Many of these devices will come to the U.S. under other names.

What We Don't Expect to See at Computex 2012

Surprisingly, Computex does not attract many handset makers, even those which are based in Taipei. We reached out to major manufacturers HTC, LG, Samsung, and Nokia, all of which told us that they don't plan to have a major presence or product releases here.

Many of the world's largest PC vendors also miss the show. We don't expect to a see anything new here from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, or Samsung. However, we'll see some really exciting notebooks from the likes of ASUS, Acer and Gigabyte.

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