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Windows 8 hardware announcements have started to unveil a pretty clear picture, at least in my mind. We’ve seen laptop/tablet hybrids, touch laptops, touch all-in-ones and even massive tablets that 20-inches in size and can also turn in to an all-in-one. How many memorable desktop towers have you seen?

None, right? If you are saying to yourself, “I’ve seen several cool towers, actually”- then maybe I’m just missing out on the announcements. It seems that Windows 8’s touch UI is helping force a shift in the way the desktop works.

While the all-in-one design has been the king in the Mac world since the 80s, it has never really caught on all that much for PC users.

This started to change with Windows 7 and the introduction of the ATOM processor, which allowed low power consumption and slim designs. Windows 8 seems to seal the deal and makes it clear that the desktop tower is endangered– at least when it comes to vendor made units.

Does that mean there will be no Windows 8 desktop towers sold? Of course it doesn’t. For budget purposes, touch doesn’t make sense thanks to the added cost. In the past though, many of these towers have been touted as some of the best machines around– this could change with Window 8.

I predict that more than 75% of the vendor offerings will switch over to all-in-ones or nothing but laptops. Is this a bad thing? Not really. Touch is the way to go. It works better with Windows 8, though honestly it isn’t really meant for long stretches on the PC, as your arms get tired in a hurry.

As for gamers, most will either continue building their own towers or some brands like Alienware will start bundling high-end gaming towers with touch monitors to at least keep up with the touch craze.

Here are just threetouch-based all-in-ones to give you an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that many more have already been announced.

HP Spectre

Onuora commented on this one in the past. His point was that HP didn’t even try, they just went with a flat-out copy of the iMac. I have to agree. The looks here are a near-clone, and I’m surprised a lawsuit isn’t already in the works.

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Design aside, there are some interesting things on the inside that make this worth a look. For starters it will be powered by Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs and have a 1GB Nvidia graphics card. It will also have NFC, which is an interesting addition.

This means that you will be able to communicate with NFC phones and even log in y using your Android (or WP) NFC device.

Unfortunately, there is no dvd/blu-ray or anything. It is also a bit pricey at $1,299.

Acer U Series All-in Ones

Acer has announced two different models of their own all in ones, the 23-inch 5600U and the 27-inch 7600U. The design here is clearly a bit different from the clone-looking Spectre. Sure, it is still an all-in-one, but it has an interesting stand and takes a slightly different approach.

This thing is loaded with extras like a Blu-ray drive and SD card reader. No official information on the pricing yet, though I somewhat prefer the looks of this one to the HP Spectre.

Vizio All-In-One

I already mentioned this one a bit earlier so I won’t go in to it too much. I bring it up again simply because even though it has a somewhat iMac G4-look (which was a long time ago), it still manages a refined and sexy look that is its own. Coloring and style seems Apple-like, but the design is still unique enough.

The power on this thing isn’t half-bad either. This is a first attempt at the PC market for Vizio, so it is interesting to see how they do.

Summing it Up

This is a look at three all-in-ones. Why look at just three? I thought it was important to get at least a brief idea of three very different approaches. Going forward you will see kickstand-like styling, direct Mac clones and attempts to do things differently with all-in-ones.

One thing I’m sure of though, the era of all-in-one Windows is here and desktop towers are on their way out. What do you think?

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