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  (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.




"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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