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Toshiba Unveils Dual Screen, Ultraportable Laptops & First Smartbook

Gordon Kelly

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Last week Toshiba celebrated the 25th anniversary of its laptop business and did it in fine style with three truly innovative new models.

First up is Toshiba's debut entry into the stuttering smartbook sector: the 'AC100'. Strangely Toshiba has decided to call it a MID, but whatever the name it sticks to the smartbook mantra of an ARM-based chipset (Nvidia's Tegra), instant-on mobile OS (Android), long battery life (10 hours or up to seven days standby) and optional integrated 3G.

The AC100 also fulfils the smartbook's aim of being even more portable than a netbook measuring just 14mm thick and weighing a mere 870g. The 10.1in screen sports a 1024 x 600 native resolution too meaning we may well have a new poster boy for the smartbook sector ahead of the Lenovo Skylight - even if Toshiba doesn't want to name it as such.

Next is the dual screen 'Libretto W100' - the world's first commercial dual touchscreen Windows 7 laptop. We saw a similar MSI prototype at Mobile World Congress in February, but this is far more practical with a pair of 7in 1024 x 600 displays, integrated accelerometer and decent horsepower packing a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium U5400 processor, 2GB of RAM and SSD (up to 64GB).

It'll be niche at $1099, something Tosh realises with only a limited initial production run and while I'd suggest Windows 7 isn't the best choice of platform for a touchscreen UI I suspect we'll see many more similar models over the next 12 months.

Last, but by no means least is the Portégé R700, the eagerly awaited 13.3in successor to the exciting R500 and R600. The R700 has undergone a complete - and stunning - redesign with a new magnesium chassis, chiclet keyboard, HDMI, eight hour battery life and full array of Intel i3, i5 and i7 CPUs plus the option of a 128GB SSD.

Toshiba claims the R700 is the world's lightest 13.3in laptop - despite packing in an optical drive - and even better still, with starting prices from $899 (i3, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD) it will be affordable too.

So if that's how Toshiba rounds off 25 years of laptop innovation, we can't wait to see how it rounds off 50 years...

Link: Press Release

Tim

June 22, 2010, 1:33 am

The Dual Touchscreen is silly. I don't see a whole lot of practical reasons for it. Most people would probably prefer a physical keyboard. This is now just a Double iPad. Maybe in a couple of years certain workflows for dual touchscreens will be developed, but as of now, this is too gadgety.





The 13.3" Portege sure looks nice, but why do all 13.3" notebooks need to cramp an additional row of keys to the right? Am I the only one who then constantly hits "Del" instead of/along with "Enter" ? Is having dedicated buttons for those functions really that important? There's am FN Key, use FN+Arrow Keys for Home, End, PgUp and PgDown. FN+Backspace is Del and Insert is Strg+V.


They did make the smart move (which I think should be mandatory) to isolate the Arrow Keys somewhat by not having buttons directly to the left and right of UpArrow, so they're easy to feel out.

Mike337

June 22, 2010, 8:00 pm

I've been waiting for these "dual-screen" laptops for a long time! They offer so much more flexibility and possibility over normal laptops with just 1 screen and a fixed keyboard. Hopefully full size 15inch, 17inch etc version of dual-screen laptops will start appearing soon, which is what im really waiting to buy.

Brian

June 22, 2010, 8:53 pm

The thing that springs to my mind.





Typing on a touchscreen with no real give ont he keys is going to be very uncomfortable for long periods, and I'd imagine not that good for you joints in your hands. Just seems a little unneeded to me.

lensmann

June 22, 2010, 11:47 pm

The handwriting recognition in Windows 7 is actually very good (as a severe RSI sufferer, I've used Tablet PCs for years and with Windows 7 it really comes very close to just working perfectly). If the digitizer on this Libretto thing is any good, and if it's decently specced with memory, it might just be adequate enough to serve as the primary means of data entry.

Hedgeporker

June 23, 2010, 9:33 am

Its a shame the R700's palm rest is plastic rather than magnesium, as the finish might suggest. Something's got to give at that price I suppose. Ditto the integrated Intel graphics. :/





Work demands that I get myself this sort of machine soon and at this rate I'm beginning to wish that Apple or Intel would hurry up and sort out a core-i 13incher.

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