InFocus designs 55-inch Windows 8 PC for simple hardware upgrades

A blade-serverlike design allows users of the all-in-one Big Touch PC to swap out its processors and storage

InFocus has announced a 55-inch touchscreen PC with Windows 8, which has an upgradeable design that is uncommon in all-in-one PCs.

The Big Touch PC comes with a detachable hardware unit that contains a processor, storage and memory and that plugs into the back of the 55-inch touchscreen through a proprietary connector. The blade-serverlike design is intended to make upgrading the PC as easy as swapping the hardware unit.

All-in-ones today integrate most of the hardware in the display panel, and a PC upgrade involves replacing the entire unit, including the screen. With the Big Touch PC, the screen does not need to be replaced, and swapping a hardware unit can provide an easy and swift upgrade to the latest processors, memory and storage, said David Duncan, product manager at InFocus.

The touchscreen displays images at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and supports five-point touch, in which five fingers can be used at the same time. The screen supports basic Windows 8 gestures such as slide, rotate, pinch and swipe.

The PC is targeted at business users. It can be used as a blackboard in a classroom, for signage in advertising, or for collaboration and videoconferencing in a conference room, Duncan said.

Many different use cases have been examined for large-screen touch PCs. Lenovo earlier this year introduced the 27-inch Horizon all-in-one PC, which can be placed flat on a surface so multiple users could collaborate or play card games, much like they would when sitting on a floor.

But InFocus' PC cannot be placed horizontally, as it could expose the backlighting. But Duncan said the company is exploring the option of introducing new PCs that could be laid flat.

The Big Touch hardware includes 120GB of solid-state drive storage and an aging Intel Core i5 processor based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. The PC unit includes Ethernet, USB and HDMI ports. InFocus will soon roll out upgrades to Core processors based on Intel's latest Ivy Bridge in the future, but Duncan did not provide a date.

The PC will become available for US$4,999 in the U.S., and then it will be rolled out around the world, a company spokeswoman said. The PC comes with a mouse and keyboard.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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