Acer Unveils Slick Dual-Screen Tablet/Notebook
November 23, 2010 2:17 PM
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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,
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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first things first
11/26/2010 4:48:30 AM
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.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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