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Editor's Letter: Expand heads east

Tim Stevens

In each issue of Distro, editor-in-chief Tim Stevens publishes a wrap-up of the week in news.

It seems like just yesterday we were in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Center having a heck of a time with robots, exoskeletons, electric cars, UAVs and a huge collection of incredible people. It's actually been almost three months since our amazing inaugural Expand event -- and now I can finally say how far we are from kicking off the second. Expand NY is happening at the Javits Center on November 9th and 10th and it's going to be bigger and better than our first event. How so? Stay tuned to find out.

Much farther out east, Computex was in full swing this week and if you didn't catch any of the news, you're not alone: a fair share of it happened in the wee hours of the morning for those of us in the US. Such is the peril of making international product launches in a country half a world away, but we had our team on the ground reporting and getting impressions of all the goods, most of which were laptops, tablets and various permutations in between.

DNP Editor's Letter Expand heads east

I can't imagine the typing experience will be very good, but then maybe I'm still scarred from learning BASIC programming on the Atari 400.

Despite being far away from home, Dell had one of the more interesting showings: the XPS 11. It's a convertible tablet / laptop, much like the Lenovo Yoga. However, where the Yoga is left with its physical keys flapping in the breeze on the back when folded up, Dell decided to go with a flat, membrane-style keyboard, not dissimilar to the Touch Cover Microsoft released with the Surface. I can't imagine the typing experience will be very good, but then maybe I'm still scarred from learning BASIC programming on the Atari 400.

Gallery: ASUS FonePad Note FHD 6 hands-on | 7 Photos

ASUS predictably had a slew of great-looking laptops at Computex as well, including the Gorilla Glass-backed Zenbook Infinity, which manages to be 14 percent thinner than previous models in the line. If you can't decide between Windows and Android, you might instead be interested in the dual-booting Transformer Book Trio, which will run either OS -- but interestingly only when in its keyboard dock. Pop it out and it's exclusively Android.

For those ready to commit to one OS, there's the new Transformer Pad Infinity with a healthy 2,560 x 1,600 LCD and the ability to output 4K video via HDMI. Little more is known beyond it having 32GB of internal storage and a 1.9GHz quad-core Tegra 4 chipset inside. And, to round up ASUS, the company introduced its Galaxy Note-hunting (both in terms of size and name) 6-inch FonePad Note smartphone and, for those looking for a Nexus 7 minus the Nexus and plus microSD support, the MeMo Pad HD 7 is coming to the US for just $149.

DNP Editor's Letter Expand heads east

Moving away from Computex, the ITC dropped a bombshell this week with Samsung winning a patent dispute against Apple that saw some AT&T-compatible iPhones and iPads banned from import into or sale within the US. These are, admittedly, older models of the devices and so their restriction isn't a massive blow to the folks in Cupertino, but it is certainly a blow nevertheless.

Speaking of patents, the Obama administration focused its attentions under the nation's legislative bridges with a promise to reduce the modern scourge of "frivolous litigation." Basically, they're going after patent trolls. This is, of course, a difficult topic, as patent law is largely what enables companies to invest in research and development in the US, but an Obama administration official told us that they would specifically not be attempting a massive reboot of patent legislation. Rather, they're more specifically targeting those whose patent behavior has been deemed to be "abusive."

Gallery: ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 hands-on | 8 Photos

Finally, Twitter has at long last brought the Vine app to Android. Four months after hitting iOS, users of Google's mobile OS can now get their 15 minutes of fame sliced into 150 six-second chunks. Android users even got one new feature in exchange for waiting: the ability to zoom. Happy day.

In this week's Distro we're taking you inside Verizon's Innovation Center, where the company is desperately striking back against the notion of being a dumb pipe. We also have a fascinating interview with digital composer and music pioneer David Cope. Reviews include the water-resistant Sony Xperia Tablet Z, the water-averse MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 and, if that weren't enough, we have Dana Wollman's deep-dive on the Windows 8.1 update -- and its new Start button. All that plus new editorials from Ross Rubin and Joshua Fruhlinger, plus Syfy's robot expert Mark Setrakian sits down for Q&A. Regardless of what time zone you're in, I hope you enjoy.

This piece originally appeared in Distro #94.

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