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, 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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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
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.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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