Joseph Thomas

Expectations of the new Windows 8 operating system release are finally hitting a pinnacle. Asus is looking to capitalize on the hype with an innovative Windows 8 launch lineup featuring tablet and laptop hybrids. The latest design of the Asus Taichi 21 ultrabook/tablet combination is turning some head in the tech industry.

The Asus Taichi 21 is not just your standard ultrabook. The Taichi is a full functioning laptop with a 11.6 inch LED screen. Consumers can close the ultrabook to trigger another 11.6 touchscreen LED display on the reverse side for a tablet-esque experience. Both displays can run a resolution of 1080p full HD.

There are two price points for the Asus Taichi 21 at $1,299 and $1,599. Basics specs include a quadcore CPU with a choice between Intel's sufficient 1.7GHz Core i5 or an upgrade to the 1.9GHz Core i7 with the $1,599 model. Both models include 4 GB of RAM, Intel HD 4000 graphics as well as a solid-state hard drive, 128 GB for the base and 256 GB for the upgraded model.

The entire ultrabook is less than a single inch thick and features a sleek, sloped design for ease of use in the tablet configuration. Asus expects the device's six cell battery to get up to five hours of life with each full charge. Features such as WiFi (n, g, b), a 5 megapixel camera, a micro-HDMI port for HD display connectivity and integrated Bluetooth round out the full ultrabook package.

Although the tablet-laptop hybrid is far from a new idea in the tech marketplace, Asus has reinvented the design and functionality of such devices. Other ultrabooks slated for release around the Windows 8 launch date typically feature basic single screen tablets with optional keyboard attachments, such as the Samsung 5 Ultra Touch and HP’s Envy X2. The Asus Taichi 21's innovative dual-screen design keeps true to the goal of a all-in-one device while gaining an advantage with ease of use as well as functionality.

Both models of the Asus Taichi 21 are set for a release date of October 26th, the same day most devices designed specifically for Windows 8 will make their debut. Many retailers are taking pre-orders for both the $1,299 and $1,599 versions of the Taichi 21, including Amazon and Newegg.

The 64-bit version of Windows 8 Home Premium will ship pre-installed on both models. Windows 8 heavily features touchscreen capability and the Asus Taichi 21 is a well designed compliment to the new OS. Although the sleek design and ease of use is perfect for the casual consumer, the powerful hardware compliments the PC power-user well.

Asus is releasing a full line of Windows 8 devices on the 26th of October. The Asus VivoBook X202 is an affordable alternative to the powerful Taichi 21. The Vivobook features a single 720p 11.6 inch LED touch screen, Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, five hour battery life with a full charge as well as a 500 GB standard HDD. The device ships with Windows 8 Home Premium. Asus is only asking $599 for the VivoBook X202 and pre-order is open.