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Print 34 comment(s) - last by MCKENZIE1130.. on Nov 29 at 8:08 PM


  (Source: Engadget)
Who needs the Courier when you have the Iconia?

Many Windows fans were disappointed when Microsoft canned its dual-screen Courier project.  A dual-screen laptop/tablet device from Toshiba in September, the Libretto W105 cheered their spirits slightly.  However, that device was only available in a very limited run and quantities are already scarce.

Acer looks to come to the rescue, airing its upcoming Iconia 14-inch dual-tablet/laptop at its Global Press Event in New York City.

The device looks somewhat like a standard 14-inch laptop, except the keyboard is gone and replaced with a second LCD screen.

The device will pack Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) and is powered by Intel's Core i5-480M (unreleased specs)/ 560M (2.66 GHz, 3.20 GHz max turbo)/ 580M CPU (2.66 GHz, 3.33 GHz max turbo).  It also packs up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, VGA / HDMI outputs, a built-in microphone, a S/PDIF interface (high quality audio output).  Rounding things out is 320/500/640/750GB hard drive, Acer's CrystalEye webcam (1280x1024 resolution), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0+HD, integrated 3G WWAN, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 jack.

The laptop uses a 4-cell battery and weighs 6.18 pounds.  It comes with a one year warranty.

The one problem area could be graphics.  Acer shockingly didn't mention any discrete graphics solution.  Instead it merely mentioned that the system would come with integrated Intel HD graphics (with 128MB of video RAM).  For such a video-intensive device, this seems a major design flaw.  Intel's integrated GPU might be sufficient for basic graphical functions, but gaming or HD video could be a painful experience on the otherwise eye-catching device.

The company has put a fair amount of work into making touch a pleasant experience on the device.  Among its results is a full-size digital keyboard, which will typically display on the bottom screen, and a touch-driven media management utility.

Acer hasn't announced a price or ship date yet.

Also announced at the event was Clear.fi, Acer's upcoming cloud-based storage scheme.  Acer hopes that users will upload photos, music, and movies to the cloud and then access them from Wi-Fi connected devices like smart phones, TVs, or other computers.  The company says it will support "many" formats, but details on the implementation and potential partners (Android, etc.) are scarce at present.


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Nice.
By TheRequiem on 11/23/2010 2:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
I can see every laptop manufcaturer taking after Acer on this one. I don't know how I feel about a screen on the bottom just yet, however, it is definitely nice. Is the future of Laptops dual screen endeavours, possibly resulting in a two tablet seperable system?




RE: Nice.
By TheRequiem on 11/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice.
By PorreKaj on 11/23/2010 2:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Nice.
By Da W on 11/23/2010 3:31:13 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, the first dual screen was called the NINTENDO DS


RE: Nice.
By TheRequiem on 11/23/2010 4:19:04 PM , Rating: 3
I'm wondering, did that Toshiba model ever come to fruition? It still looks like it's a concept, not an actual product yet...

As for the Nintendo DS, lol, I don't think mobile gaming platforms quite match up the the scalability of a full-blown Notebook OS, but again, whatever.


RE: Nice.
By xsilver on 11/23/2010 6:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
yes the liberetto is in full production, I have seen it and dont think its all that great. What would make it more useful is to carry around a bluetooth or wired keyboard because other than custom keyboard layouts I cant think of many situations where this would be useful. Dual screens for powerpoint? screen too small.


RE: Nice.
By Adonlude on 11/23/2010 7:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh, thats what DS stands for! To be fair I have never actually thought about it.


RE: Nice.
By acase on 11/24/2010 12:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it stands for "developer's system".

(Admittedly I looked it up. Didn't think it could be as easy as dual screen though.)


RE: Nice.
By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 3:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can see every laptop manufcaturer taking after Acer on this one.


I can't. The bottom screen is going to be used as a keyboard probably 99% of the time, and it'll be a crappy, non-tactile, expensive keyboard that uses as much energy as the screen you're looking at.

I have a better idea- install a keyboard in that location and you'll get lower cost, a better feel, and longer battery life.


RE: Nice.
By MCKENZIE1130 on 11/29/2010 8:08:08 PM , Rating: 2
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The biggest issue
By Breathless on 11/23/2010 2:37:52 PM , Rating: 5
I'd say that the biggest problem would be the fact that you would need to stare at the "keyboard" because there is no tactile sensation. Not sure about the rest of you, but its a big part of how I type...




RE: The biggest issue
By XZerg on 11/23/2010 3:48:50 PM , Rating: 4
agreed... need the real keyboard to have a feedback of whether the key was pressed or not. Otherwise it turns into a distraction. Also why's the point of the LCD if you are going to smudge it with your hands typing all over it?


RE: The biggest issue
By TheRequiem on 11/23/2010 4:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
The only way I think they could fix that is to make the keys give vibration feedback like mobile phones do, but still, not sure if it would ever quite match up the feel of an actual board. I think this is a good concern, however, a keyboard is a keyboard... they all have the same layout as each other. People wanted touch screens on everything, so, here it is. =)


RE: The biggest issue
By maverick85wd on 11/23/2010 9:24:52 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Also why's the point of the LCD if you are going to smudge it with your hands typing all over it?


I agree, my cell phone screen already gets smudged enough, that keyboard is going to need frequent cleanings. I'm sure most users will end up using it as a keyboard more often than not, and the 4-cell battery with two screens doesn't spell success. I'm waiting for the flip-screen notebooks to really make it big. A tablet when I want a tablet, and a keyboard when I want to more easily input data or write something.

And as far as the OP, I also rely on tactile feedback, so the touchscreen would definitely slow me down as well. That's kind of the point of touch typing. I guess with time you may get used to typing on the screen, I just don't really like the idea.


RE: The biggest issue
By BruceLeet on 11/24/2010 8:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, a few weeks ago I bought a mechanical keyboard and what it did for my typing speed and accuracy is astounding. After getting acclimated to a mechanical keyboard I don't think I'll ever be able to type on a rubber membrane keyboard much less a touchscreen keyboard but admittedly it's highly unlikely that I'll ever consider owning a product such as this.

The only touchscreens I'll ever own will be on my smartphones, even then it must have a physical keyboard. No physical keyboard, no sale.


Battery life?
By solarrocker on 11/23/2010 3:21:13 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The laptop uses a 4-cell battery


Ok I know can't say much till we have more data on Capacity and Output, but 4 cell for a dual screen?

Got a feeling this thing will have a battery life that will be measured in minutes and not hours.




RE: Battery life?
By B3an on 11/23/2010 6:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
Thats what i thought right away as well. I think that would be the main reason this has not been done before.

In the very unlikely event that this does have remotely decent battery life, and they decide to also put some dedicated graphics in it (but using NV's Optimus tech so it dont drain the batter any faster when doing simple things), then i would definitely consider getting one.


RE: Battery life?
By misuspita on 11/24/2010 2:44:33 AM , Rating: 3
The "keyboard" does not have to be fully lighted to be seen. I believe if it's set to minimum, it's still functional. Indoors. Outdoors...I don't know. But still, it needs a beefier battery just for that second screen.


Res
By damianrobertjones on 11/23/2010 5:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
"1280x1024 resolution"

At last, an acceptable res on a tabl.... whatever it is. Instant change the Display DPI to 125% to make buttons VERY easy to touch.




RE: Res
By jkresh on 11/23/2010 9:52:05 PM , Rating: 3
actually that is the res for the built in webcam seems the screen are 1366x768 (which is okay for a 14").


RE: Res
By Visual on 11/26/2010 4:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
yeah... not.
rotate it in portrait mode and think again.


I would have been interested
By rudy on 11/23/2010 3:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
But it would need good discrete graphics and a bigger battery. It would be cool because I could set up a USB hub at home with a mouse and keyboard then just set it up like a folder it would would be 2 vertical screens.




RE: I would have been interested
By kake on 11/27/2010 4:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
I just built an HTCP with a Core i3-530 that pushes 1080p content to the plasma and runs Hulu on the monitor smoothly while still only using under 60% CPU.

You aren't going to do any rendering on a tablet, FPS games on a touch keyboard would be awful, and the screen resolution is only slightly higher than 720p.

All in all, Intel's HD graphics integrated on CPU would be just fine.


1280x1024
By AstroGuardian on 11/23/2010 4:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
And not to forget to mention that i LOVE the 1280x1024 resolution




RE: 1280x1024
By glitchc on 11/24/2010 10:20:59 AM , Rating: 2
That's the camera resolution, not the screens'.


At least it'll always look great.
By Belard on 11/23/2010 2:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
Until someone touches it.

Guess its the obvious step down from chick-let keys, eh?




Touchscreen keyboard
By japlha on 11/23/2010 2:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
I like the flexibility of a touchscreen keyboard that acts as a secondary display.
There are a lot options. The ability to actually see different language characters on the keyboard, create custom keys or keyboard setups, move things around, adjust the size of the keys...etc.
I've always preferred a tactile keyboard though.
However, with technologies like Swype, I prefer a touch screen keyboard on my phone now.
It might take some time to get use to typing on a full size touch screen. But I'd really like to try it out.




It is like a big DS!
By tlbj6142 on 11/23/2010 2:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
The world's largest Nintendo DS?




Battery
By strikeback03 on 11/23/2010 3:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
2 screens + a 4-cell battery? Seems like a recipe for disaster.




6.18lbs, that's one heavy book
By jimbojimbo on 11/23/2010 3:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
I know some people were hoping for a book or magazine like experience with something like this and at 6.18pounds that's quite a workout on the arms.

One thing I think would be cool is if when you go to work you plug in a real keyboard and the bottom screen becomes another desktop. Basically you get two desktops one on top of the other.




oh wow
By cokbun on 11/24/2010 7:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
now i can watch 2 different porns at the same time !!




first things first
By Visual on 11/26/2010 4:48:30 AM , Rating: 2
They really should take things in the logical order instead...
Make a normal tablet convertible that doesn't suck first. Or a decent single-screen tablet.

Screens on current convertibles are terrible. They keep using crappy TN panels, and slapping the touch-sensitive layer on top makes them even worse. The glossy mirror finish that most use doesn't help to improve things much too.
For example my HP tm2 looks absolutely horrible with a slight vertical viewing angle change.
Resolutions are terrible as well. Websites that work well with less than 1024px horizontal are a rare breed these days, so you just can't fit most any website on a tablet in portrait mode. It's high time they moved the tablets to 1680x1050 at least, if not FullHD.
Or at least fix windows browsers so they can easily switch zoom levels like smartphones have been able to for years now. Yeah, pinch-zooming works on my tm2 and IE/ff, but it's too hard to control, and you easily jump all over the range from 25% to 400% when all you wanted was probably switching between 75% and 100% or something. And even with perfect browser zoom, higher resolutions would still be appreciated as websites aren't the only thing hard to fit in portrait - some stand-alone apps don't fit too.




By MisterPrez on 11/29/2010 7:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
Finally! I've been waiting for this since 1995 when I came across the Optimus Maximus keyboard , and the new Tactus Concept .

You know some people don't use a keyboard for 'typing' that often! - only to reply to Comments and/or Facebook their friends... oh wait, ...I use my phone for that now...

8)




HD Video
By Khato on 11/23/2010 8:08:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Intel's integrated GPU might be sufficient for basic graphical functions, but gaming or HD video could be a painful experience on the otherwise eye-catching device.


HD video hasn't been an issue for Intel integrated GPUs since the G45 chipset. The powerVR based junk currently present in atom based designs is another matter entirely, but doesn't apply to the product in question. And of course, gaming is still sad as ever, hah.




"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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