Report: Convertible touch laptops make up 20% of market

The notebook market has turned into a crazy experimental playground lately, where manufacturers are toying with ways to build touch input into their machines. It's still hard to tell which franken-books are succeeding and which are failing, but by the looks of it, hybrid systems with detachable keyboards are at least selling well.

"Hybrid touchscreen notebooks (featuring a detachable keyboard) developed in the first quarter of 2013 accounted for more than 20% of all notebook models," writes DigiTimes. The site is quoting information from Taiwan's hinge manufacturers, who ought to have a decent handle on what's going on. (Remember, detachable keyboards require special hinges with docking mechanisms.)

Still quoting the hinge makers, DigiTimes adds that touch-enabled notebooks in general "are expected to enjoy a sequential shipment growth of 70% in the second quarter."

Those are pretty large numbers, especially considering the relative dearth of touch-enabled laptops—and especially dockable convertibles—out there today. Some of those convertibles, like HP's Envy x2, have gotten cheaper recently and offer a nice mix of mobility and productivity features (so long as you don't mind the sluggish Atom processors inside). Others, like the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T we reviewed last month, are expensive and much less appealing to home users. There still isn't a satisfying middle ground that offers both high performance and high mobility. Nevertheless, I'd say convertibles are probably the best way to enjoy Windows 8's strange mix of legacy and touch-friendly UIs right now.

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