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Toshiba Demos Dual-Touchscreen Netbook

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the two-for-the-price-of-two dept.

Input Devices 132

Lanxon writes "Toshiba has announced a trio of new devices that it's hoping will shake up the somewhat stagnant notebook PC market. The most interesting is the Libretto W100 — a clamshell device that comes with two screens in place of a screen and a keyboard. Both screens are identical, measuring 7-inches diagonally, and are touch-sensitive. An onboard accelerometer allows you to use it in landscape or portrait configuration, and Toshiba's pre-loaded a boatload of specialist software that'll let you get the most from the device — including a range of virtual keyboards. It runs Windows 7, is powered by an Intel U5400 processor, and comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 62GB SSD, and the usual array of connectivity options, including 3G."

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132 comments

Windows 7 (-1, Troll)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640106)

Touch interface with a non-touch OS GUI. I don't think this is gonna fly, fellas.

Re:Windows 7 (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640144)

Don't worry. You can just pin a virtual keyboard permanently to the lower touchscreen. It'll be just like a real laptop, only worse and more expensive!

On the other hand, this could really be the computer that takes the underground Nintendo DS emulator scene by storm....

Re:Windows 7 (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643266)

Put an ARM processor in it and Toshiba's got something here. Forget DSXL, try DS XXXL. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if this makes its way into netbooks.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

Cryonix (1234264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640182)

Is there an OS that is better suited for this device? I am not aware of any OS developed for a touch computer interface that isn't a phone, save for the iOS.

Re:Windows 7 (-1, Troll)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640316)

Yeah, so Toshiba should consider the following options, 1: develop or licence a real touch OS, or 2: don't throw money and R&D away on a device with an OS that will guarantee failure.

Re:Windows 7 (2, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640530)

How far back in the past are you willing to reach?

  - Palm
  - PenPoint
  - NewtonOS
  - Momenta
  - GRiD's PenDOS

All sadly gone (I especially miss PenPoint)

Re:Windows 7 (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640574)

Is there an OS that is better suited for this device?

  • iOS -- cannot have, propriatary
  • Web OS -- owned by HP, no go
  • Android -- open source, modify it to support dual display and voila --- everyone wants to use Windows = only nerds will buy this.
  • Windows 7 -- touch interface on 7" screen? Ever tried to use Windows Mobile (same thing)? -- fail.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

Cryonix (1234264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643206)

My original point was that, no matter how much we'd love to bash MS, there isn't a more viable OS to run on this device on the market today. Even Linux would have the same limitations from a GUI standpoint. I would prefer to see these devices shipped with Win7 (or Linux de jour) and eventually drive development of a touch based OS than have them not ship at all. I am intrigued and excited about the direction of the "iPad class" of hardware. I use my iPod touch for easy email and web access when the laptop is too bulky or a hassle to haul around the house. I am not a fan of the Apple approach, however. Anything that drives competition and the development of this class of device should be praised and noted.

Re:Windows 7 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640208)

Windows 7 is touch-enabled out of the box, and the interface is far more suited to touch than the older one, with the large task buttons etc. Leave it to Slashdot to be out of touch (har har).

Re:Windows 7 (0, Flamebait)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640270)

There is more to making a touch GUI than a few big buttons. The entire interface has to be geared toward it. Admittedly, I haven't used Windows 7 on a touch-based device, but if Microsoft has been as thorough in making the interface touch-suitable as they are about visual consistency in their UIs, then... it will be pretty unusable if you want to do much more than hit the start button.

Re:Windows 7 (3, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640382)

Admittedly, I haven't used Windows 7 on a touch-based device,

In that case, how do you go about rightously making such wide statements about it?

I've used 7 a bit on a HP TouchSmart machine and I really don't know what you're getting at about it being a non-touch OS. I found nothing lacking.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640444)

You almost NEED a pen/mouse to select some options

Re:Windows 7 (-1, Troll)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640498)

I can see screenshots and videos on the web. It sure doesn't look like it's optimised for fingers in the same way purpose-built UIs are. I don't see how it could be.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640758)

Don't pay any attention to him, he's just out of touch.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640918)

Admittedly, I haven't used Windows 7 on a touch-based device,

In that case, how do you go about rightously making such wide statements about it?

I've used 7 a bit on a HP TouchSmart machine and I really don't know what you're getting at about it being a non-touch OS. I found nothing lacking.

In that case, how do you go about rightously making such wide statements about it?

Re:Windows 7 (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643184)

Using it a bit is much better than not using it at all. I can get the gist of an OS by using it for a minute; you can't do that by looking at a picture.

Re:Windows 7 (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640400)

Admittedly, I haven't used Windows 7 on a touch-based device

And yet you feel compelled to comment that it's not up to the job. Interesting.

Not that I'm saying that it is - far from it, not having used it I am specifically refraining from expressing an opinion on that either way.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640438)

Presumably you haven't opened the onscreen keyboard in Windows 7. Or noticed that the taskbar was widened to accommodate being pressed by a finger. But hey, maybe they stopped there and thought that was good enough.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640608)

Widened? Is it now wider than the screen, so that the start button and clock end up off the sides?

Re:Windows 7 (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641020)

Admittedly, I haven't used Windows 7 on a touch-based device...

I can see I'm going to have to expand the scope of my signature...

Re:Windows 7 (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32642324)

Well, you're not far off...

It's a netbook. Globe, Browser, Etc, all big icons on the taskbar. Combined with a decent on-screen keyboard and what more do you need?

You aren't one of those people who claims the iPad is not for "real" work and then turns around complaining that a similar device running windows isn't usable for "real" work, are you?

Re:Windows 7 (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643742)

Problem is, the touch-only form factor isn't exactly ideal for 'real work'.

Re:Windows 7 (0, Offtopic)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640362)

Windows 7 is touch-enabled out of the box

/bump. How exactly did the parent get +5 Informative?

Re:Windows 7 (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32642540)

Windows 7 is touch-enabled out of the box, and the interface is far more suited to touch than the older one, with the large task buttons etc. Leave it to Slashdot to be out of touch (har har).

Problem is, Windows 7 is just the OS. Apps are the biggest problem and having to right/middle click is a royal PITA with a touchscreen. Either you have to use an active touchscreen (no finger pointing - special stylus needed), or a passitve one with various gesturing to achieve a right-click (tap-and-hold being a common one).

And then there's the idiot app developers who hide all functionality inside a right-click menu, without making an accessible way of getting them without right-clicking.

(It's partly why Macs have one-button mice but support multibutton mice just fine - Mac users get really pissed off if a developer tries something like this - right-clicking is an accellerator (right-click -> action, versus select -> menu -> action), not a place to hide features. Ironically, it also makes MacOS more touch-friendly since right-clicking is optional)

Re:Windows 7 (2, Informative)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640226)

Touch interface with a non-touch OS GUI. I don't think this is gonna fly, fellas.

I'm not sure what this even means, nor why it was modded +Insightful.

The OS has a GUI, yes. The physical device has a touch sensitive display, yes. I'm sorry you didn't even bother to RTFS, so here let me highlight this gem for you:

Toshiba's pre-loaded a boatload of specialist software that'll let you get the most from the device

Re:Windows 7 (3, Insightful)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640432)

I know you're being deliberately obtuse, but here's what it means: you need to design the whole damn UI to work with fingers. Some bandaid software on a mouse-centric UI will not work nearly so well, and this has clearly been borne out by the market. If you want to make a touch UI, you need to do it properly.

I will make a bet with you right now. This little laptop thing will go nowhere. It will be eaten alive by the iPad and Android tablet devices. Toshiba will stop selling it within a year-18 months.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643386)

Put your challenge on longbets.org and see if anyone bites! Your bet is on the short term for the site, but still a good bet!

Re:Windows 7 (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640452)

nyctopterus meant they are using an OS GUI that was not made for, or geared toward, 'touch' user interaction. Windows 7 may have some features that work with a 'touch' device but it certainly isn't "made for touch". The Windows Phone 7 OS would probably have been a better choice.

Re:Windows 7 (2, Interesting)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641164)

nyctopterus meant they are using an OS GUI that was not made for, or geared toward, 'touch' user interaction. Windows 7 may have some features that work with a 'touch' device but it certainly isn't "made for touch". The Windows Phone 7 OS would probably have been a better choice.

I strongly disagree with the concept that an OS isn't "made for touch." The OS is there to help you do things, like run software. I hardly think that today's modern OS can be put to blame when a given device's software is not "up to par" for the expected experience.

As anecdotal evidence, I can use WindowsXP/Vista/7 without a mouse or touchpad. I can get by in many programs and procedures without the mouse. The invention and the widespread usage of the mouse has no relevance to what the OS will or will not allow. Mouse drivers and software are the glue that binds the new device to the OS. If it doesn't do a good job (I have yet to get my hands on this dual touchscreen beastie), I hardly think the OS is to blame.

Oh, and I should also briefly mention that I am in no way suggesting that new input/device paradigms don't rise and fall, and that those paradigms don't influence design in areas such as the OS. I am merely stating my opinion that it's a flawed premise to blame the OS when a device/software doesn't do what it's expected to.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644002)

I can get by in many programs and procedures without the mouse.

Getting by != good enough for the masses.

Re:Windows 7 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640916)

I'm gonna bite.
The fact you can use Windows 7 as a non-touch OS doesn't make it not support touch.
I'm using it (right now) on a tablet convertible.
The on-screen keyboard is the best I've used, work well on my 8.9" screen.
The ability to scroll seamlessly on every window with a scrollbar by dragging up and down works well.
Large buttons.

Other than a mobile interface (iOS, android), it''s really quite workable.

Re:Windows 7 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32641626)

Battery life? Weight? Heat? Rotating fan? You Wintards just don't get it. That's why, again, Toshiba is throwing good money after bad. I'm sure glad some OEM's like HP have finally seen the light...

Re:Windows 7 (2, Informative)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32642428)

T91MT
Battery: 5-6 hours
Weight: 2 pounds
Heat: None
Rotating fan: None

Windows 7 words great with a touchscreen.
-signed
Someone who uses it on a regular basis.

PS, if you have a touch screen and use the built in flicks at all, you really really should try out this app. http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=84092 [eeeuser.com] It takes the default flicks and blows them away.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32642904)

Those are fairly decent specs for a Windows device if a little quaint vs the competition. Let's see:

T91MT ====================> The Competition
Battery: 5-6 hours =======> 10+ hours
Weight: 2 pounds =========> 1.5 pounds
Heat: None ===============> Impressive, but I'll have to see it to believe it.
Rotating fan: None =======> Ditto

Here's one of the real killer features of the iPad that you people aren't getting. While your Windows tablet is on standby, it may as well be off. When the iPad's screen is off, it is conserving just as much power as your tablet, yet, it can receive emails, alerts, etc. It's essentially still on just in a low power state. It's a continuous run device like a cell phone whereas your device works in fits and starts unless you stay fairly close to a power outlet. That's a big part of the promise of tablets that you people just don't seem to get. That's why the iPad is smashing sales records while you people are standing around with your mouths open like, "Duh, fanbois, har har". You just don't get it.

Windows 7 words great with a touchscreen.

-signed

Someone who uses it on a regular basis.

No doubt MS has spent gobs of money giving Win7 a great touch screen GUI. But, to coin a phrase, "It's the apps, stupid".

PC Folks Feel Like Their World Is Slipping Away. It is.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643528)

Anything I've run works fine with the touchscreen. The iPad is selling like hotcakes because Apple redesigned an old concept and is selling it like it is a revolutionary breakthrough, just like the ipod. I've had an netbook ever since the original asus eee and have always had people ask what it is. Now they just ask if it is an ipad. Apple does a great job marketing their crap so that in the public mind anything even similar, even if it came first, is a knock off of apple.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32643898)

The iPad is selling like hotcakes because Apple redesigned an old concept and is selling it like it is a revolutionary breakthrough, just like the ipod.

Wow, I know you were meaning to troll but somehow in your blind obliviousness, you nailed it. Apple redesigned an shitty product that MS had been utterly failing at for a decade. They made it actually worth buying and, surprise, people are buying it. How them grapes taste?

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640926)

Why was the parent modded down? Has the Windows zealotry blinded people to reality this much? Windows 7 may be optimized for touch screen but the applications aren't. Period. That's Window's strength as well as its weakness. Windows is locked into the keyboard/mouse form factor because it's millions of applications were written for that. And that's not going to change. Windows touch screen devices have been done to death in the marketplace for years and years. I was in Fry's in 2006 and they had the little Samsung tablets on sale for 600 dollars. They wouldn't move. People tried them, opened up a few apps and realized how much it sucks and they just sat there.

Please, people, wake the fuck up before MS goes down the shitter. Apple needs some competition. This device is a joke compared to a real native touch screen experience and ecosystem.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641286)

It's also slow as molasses according to videos on Youtube,

Oh what a joy to spend 4 seconds to change Window... Must have!

a 62GB SSD (0, Redundant)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640136)

A what?

I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640140)

I cant wait till they make this pocket sized. It would do nicely as a smart phone form factor.

Re:I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640314)

They do, it's called the Nintendo DS.
Think of this as the version for adults.

Re:I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (2, Interesting)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640472)

Guess you are looking for an openpandora then? http://openpandora.org/ [openpandora.org]

Re:I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640768)

Not exactly pocket sized but a step in the right direction.

Re:I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641732)

The Pandora is the same physical size as my Nokia 770, which fits comfortably in jacket pocket. It doesn't, however, have two screens.

Re:I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32642548)

The openpandora isn't even released yet.

Re:I cant wait till they make this pocket sized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644180)

The first batch of the OpenPandora is currently being assembled and shipped to customers.

Wallet sized - with electronic credit cards (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32642702)

I cant wait till they make this pocket sized. It would do nicely as a smart phone form factor.

If they reduced it still to a wallet, with e-IDs and ability to swipe CCs [mobilecrunch.com] , then it would get FAR more interesting. Of course, I would not bet that Toshiba could do this (more like Apple, HTC/Google or HP/Palm).

Courier flasbacks anyone? (1)

Griller_GT (1745832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640152)

Sure reminds me of what it was supposed to be, minus the stylus.

Re:Courier flasbacks anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640282)

Courier was just Microsoft's take on the, now abandoned, OLPC XO-2 design.

Re:Courier flasbacks anyone? (2, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640624)

And minus the software, which is kinda the most important thing (of the Courier and touch devices in general).

sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640204)

But for a netbook it's somewhat puzzling. Nobody wants to do that much input with a virtual keyboard. On the other hand, adding touch to an ordinary netbook form factor running Android would make a lot of sense. HP has announced one as a Compaq but I don't know if it's hit the channel yet, and further, I will never give HP my money again after the nightmare I had with an EliteBook (We're talking a $2500 machine here) with a defective GPU and a service contract (apparently also defective)

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640294)

It just seems like a niche product, and the niche is quite tiny.

For a netbook/laptop, a virtual keyboard won't cut it for a long typing session.

For a tablet PC, it is a bit unwieldy, and there are a lot of good alternatives on the market. The iPad comes to mind for a general function device. The Kindle or Nook come to mind for an e-reader that is easy on the eyes and doesn't burn batteries. And for general computing there are laptops which have the screen fold back so they can double both as a touch screen, and a regular laptop with a keyboard.

I am sure that there are some uses for it that come to mind for dedicated applications (control surface for music production, various embedded tasks), but for a general purpose device, there are a lot of form factors that are a lot more ergonomic.

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641050)

Well consider this...

Apple has already patented this and they have introduced devices to market for a generation where people will be used to typing without a keyboard on their portable devices. This will not be something foreign or new. And with OLED technology, it does not need to affect battery life and can act as a secondary (albeit lower res) screen.

Technology changes and those who scoff at the changes are usually the older generation who doesn't want to change. And they usually end up being those engineers who are unable to adapt.

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (3, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641896)

Technology changes and those who scoff at the changes are usually the older generation who doesn't want to change. And they usually end up being those engineers who are unable to adapt.

A touch screen keyboard is not better than a hardware keyboard for a "creation" device. No matter how used to the touch screen keyboard a generation of people might be.

Technology really only changes when a newer technology is developed that is actually demonstrably better than the previous technology.

Take the LP record. There were several technologies developed that were supposed to supercede it in the marketplace (8 track, cassette) but it was only the CD that actually won the day. The CD was going to be replaced with DAT, SACD, DVD-audio but it is now only going the way of the dinosaur because of mp3's and digital distribution. And the mp3 may even have seen its best days now thanks to streaming services. The point is, just because a new technology comes along that may have a few advantages doesn't mean it is The Future(TM). It has to be significantly better, meaning, functionally, aesthetically, cheaper, easily marketable, etc. I don't think I'll be turning in my mouse and keyboard anytime soon despite being a member of "the older generation who doesn't want to change."

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643338)

A touch screen keyboard is not better than a hardware keyboard for a "creation" device.

A touch screen input system may be better for creation tasks if it has appropriate customizations for each task. A hardware keyboard is ergonomically better and provides better feel and feedback, so a general "touch screen keyboard" that copies the limitation of a hardware keyboard (same layout for all tasks) won't be very good. But something that adapts to tasks may be very good for "creation" tasks (particularly those that aren't primarily about creation of text, for which typical hardware keyboards are fairly well optimized.)

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643562)

A touch screen input system may be better for creation tasks if it has appropriate customizations for each task.

Absolutely. On paper, that makes a lot of sense. However, in reality, we've had touch screen creation oriented tablets for a while now. Aside from verticals, the software you speak of hasn't moved very many units. So, sure, you can write something and put it out there and say it's the best thing ever but it has to sell. It hasn't so far, what makes you think that's likely to change?

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

hedronist (233240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644060)

I'll second that opinion. With 37+ years in this ridiculous industry I've lost count of the number of Next New Things® that turned out to be ... a yawn. People get invested with a particular way of doing/using/thinking-about things and they only move when the pain threshold of the Old Way gets too high, or the New Way is so clearly superior. Most of us have neither the time nor money to chase ever Shiny New Object that comes along.

My desktop mouse is classic example of this: I am still using a Microsoft IntelliMouse: it's wired, with a PS/2 connecter. Why? Because the damn thing fits my hand perfectly. I've been using mice since I worked at Xerox in the late 70's and I have never found another mouse that so perfectly fits my palm and fingers. I can leave my hand on it all day long and there is absolutely no fatigue because the fit is so good. And they last, too. I have two spares for when my current one (the 2nd one in about 8 or 9 years) wears out. I hate touchpads because they aren't nearly as much of a Fitt's Law [wikipedia.org] device as the MS IntelliMouse is.

Seems pointless for an e-reader. (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641282)

The dual digital screens for reading a novel are not an advantage at all. They actually make it more cumbersome to deal with.

You have dual open pages in a paper book because of the way pages are bound, there is no advantage to carrying over this paper artifact to digital except in rare cases.

With a digital reader you simply page instantly to the next page, no need to have two screens, look at one, then the other, then page them both.

This is one of those niche ideas that looks cool at first but in reality has very little to recommend it considering the rise in cost/complexity/weight to deliver its few marginal benefits.

Re:Seems pointless for an e-reader. (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644244)

I would say this is a definite advantage of a dual-screen ereader. In a book, if I want to look at the page printed behind the one I'm currently working on, I do a lot of flipping. In a two screen ereader, I could see both of these pages side by side, an important feature when taking notes or working math problems, for example.

This would be a significant improvement no books and e-readers in general. Remember a lot of content spans two pages. Maybe I'm better off with twice the resolution screen, perhaps? It's arguable.

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641350)

But for a netbook it's somewhat puzzling. Nobody wants to do that much input with a virtual keyboard.

Notebook keyboards these days aren't really any better than a touch screen; both my old IBM laptop and my new netbook have flat keyboards, and as they'll have USB ports you can always plug a real keyboard in for typing more than a few lines; that's what I di with the netbook.

I will never give HP my money again after the nightmare I had with an EliteBook (We're talking a $2500 machine here) with a defective GPU and a service contract (apparently also defective)

My ex-wife has had the same experience with her HP laptop. It's a shame, they used to be a good company.

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641726)

sounds like a great e-reader form factor

I'm not even sure I buy that. I use my Sony e-reader while lying in bed all the time. I lay on my back and read some, then I lay on my left side holding the ereader in one hand and read some more. Then I lay on my right side and so on. The sony is just a few ounces, has a battery that lasts for weeks, generates no heat, and an e-ink display. I can't imagine how a dual touch screen laptop is going to be anything but a pain in the ass as an ebook consumption device.

Re:sounds like a great e-reader form factor (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644128)

The strange part is that according to the article in addition to this touchscreen netbook using Windows 7 they released one with Android...but left out the touchscreen part:

The AC100 is a little larger and more traditional. It's got a keyboard and a trackpad, but weighs just 870g, with a 10.1-inch display. It's 21mm thick, and will be running Android 2.1, placing it in a strange middle ground between mobile phone, a tablet and a netbook.

Oddly, it doesn't have a touchscreen -- just a traditional TFT. Controlling Android with a mouse and keyboard is an odd experience, but you get used to it relatively quickly, especially once you get used to the custom software that Toshiba has preloaded the device with. That software allows your homescreen to change based on what network you're connected to -- allowing you to have one for home, one for work, etc.

I own a touchscreen Windows 7 netbook [amazon.com] , and either my touchscreen is incredibly imprecise or Windows is not the way to go.

Usual array of options (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640230)

and the usual array of connectivity options

I don't know what "usual" means where the author comes from, but I certainly don't see RJ11 anywhere in the specs.

----
USE the Force.

Re:Usual array of options (1, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640404)

Seriously? A modem? in this age of 3g and ubiquitous wifi?

You want a paralell port with that?

Re:Usual array of options (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641502)

If ever traveled to Africa you would know that a very very real scenario. Heck, there are places in the US outside ADSL coverage. Sure you have 3 and 4G - but what' the QoS like when everyone's commuting with their iPhones out. Also, don't take things too seriously on ./ - it's bad for your productivity :)

Re:Usual array of options (1, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640428)

RJ11? For what, an analogue MODEM? You and the author may be in the same place, but I don't think you're both in the same decade...

Re:Usual array of options (1)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641544)

Dial up internet access is better than nothing in places with no Wifi, ethernet or 3G.

Re:Usual array of options (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641708)

Really? GPRS is as fast as the fastest MODEM and works in the middle of nowhere. Landlines are increasingly rare - especially without a decent Internet connection provided with it - the only people I know who still bother having a landline do because it's cheap to get a POTS line with ADSL. Meanwhile, I can walk out into the countryside, miles away from the nearest wired connection, and still get UMTS, falling back to GPRS in a few places. My mother's house, in the middle of nowhere, had 3G coverage about a year before it got ADSL enabled at the exchange, and I get about the same speed from UMTS as I do from her ADSL. Last time I used a MODEM in her house was five years ago - I gave up because using my phone via bluetooth was faster, even with only GPRS, on her noisy line.

The only places that I've tried to get a UMTS signal and failed have been on the train, going through a tunnel. There's also no RJ11 jack there, although there is usually WiFi, if you pay for it. My current laptop doesn't have a built-in MODEM, and I didn't even notice until I'd owned it for 18 months.

And, irrespective of whether there are some corner cases where a MODEM is useful, it certainly doesn't count as 'usual' anymore.

Re:Usual array of options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32642940)

There's that, and for the five people who would actively consider buying this particular device, have access to an active RJ11 jack but do not have access to some variety of wireless internet or cellular modem - those five people can just buy a tiny little USB modem. Sure, it might cost those people $40, but it would save everyone else a dollar or two on the laptop itself.

Re:Usual array of options (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643712)

I have a friend who lives out in the sticks, an an analog modem is all the internet access he can get. You don't even get a decent cell signal there; it takes forever to pull up a weather map on my phone when I visit him.

However, for someone like him a USB modem should suffice. No sense in putting in something only a very tiny minority of users is ever going to want or need, and is increasingly quaint.

Idiots!To compete with the iPad you do it on PRICE (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32640276)

Look you can't compete with the iPad at the same price points. You have to undercut the iPad. The iPad is a reasonable tablet device with a lot slickness and though put into it. Unless you are truly better than the iPad you cannot charge the same price.

You have to be 1 order of magnitude cheaper (base 2 is fine). You need to be half the cost of the an iPad. This means that a competitive tablet has to be $350 USD or less.

If you're not even close to an iPad, your upper bound is $200 USD.

I have an EKEN M001, it is a $100 tablet and with the latest firmware it isn't bad but thing can't play videos very well and is a little non-responsive. But the point was that the $100 price point was enough to make me buy a tablet when I had little interest in the iPad (it is so closed). On the 2nd day of ownership I programmed an app for the M001 and put it on there :)

Re:Idiots!To compete with the iPad you do it on PR (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32641336)

I didn't know DeVry offered an MBA. Who modded this pretentious drivel up?

ZX-80 (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640348)

Great.

Now we can recreate a complete ZX80/ZX81/Atari 400 experience with an emulator. And now I can have a Symbolics keyboard for programming.

Seriously: A virtual keyboard for extended usage is something that remains to be tested. It will require some clever mechanisms to compensate for fat fingers and some feedback for touch typists. I would not discard it as impossible.

Ah, the Microsoft Courier hardware (1)

drunkenoafoffofb3ta (1262668) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640368)

Sadly lacking the Microsoft Courier OS. Oh well. Any Nintendo DS emulators out there for Windows 7?

Re:Ah, the Microsoft Courier hardware (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640786)

Any Nintendo DS emulators out there for Windows 7?

I know you were being sarcastic, but no$gba [emubase.de] does DS games in the more recent releases. I haven't tried it for DS games, though. The author is currently MIA, though, so there haven't been any releases in 2 years.

Re:Ah, the Microsoft Courier hardware (1)

drunkenoafoffofb3ta (1262668) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641814)

No, I wasn't being sarcastic (I usually use ellipses when I am...) -- this time, I was ignorant of the DS emulator.

landscape or portrait configuration (2, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640466)

An onboard accelerometer allows you to use it in landscape or portrait configuration

What about Battleship(R) configuration? It would be interesting if it can be used by two people simultaneously. And there had better be an off-switch for that accelerometer. The thing I have hated most about my iPhone is that I can't read anything when laying down on my side.

Re:landscape or portrait configuration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644234)

No doubt there will be, in software.
Of course, there might not be one at all, so, the hard way it is... just disable the program / driver that reports the change to the DLL to order the rotation.
Simple script could be written to automate the process. Bham, instantly 100x better.

I, too, love to read on my side.
Great thing with my netbook just now is i can rotate the screen to make it tallscreen, so useful for reading long chunks of text.

Not a bad idea... (1, Insightful)

augi01 (1209002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640490)

but I'd rather have one large screen as opposed to two smaller screens. But then I guess I'd have an iPad, wouldn't I?

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640652)

... except you can run anything you want on this one.

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640830)

... except you can run anything you want on this one.

Really? Ok, then! I'd like to run one of the hundreds of thousands of iOS apps on it! (Or even one of the 50 or so I've downloaded so far.)

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32642144)

I'd like to run one of the hundreds of thousands of iOS apps on it!

Then get the source code and port it.

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643026)

Then get the source code and port it.

That would be a waste. iOS was optimized for very specific mobile hardware, not generic PC touchscreen hardware. In other words, you'd get all the restrictions of DRM and not having enough swap memory, without any of the benefits of a long-lasting battery charge. It would be just as a bad idea as porting Android onto it (although, both are technically doable).

If you want run something from Apple on there, run the Mac OSX (the recent touch-enabled version). That would be a much better idea (although, probably not that legal). No programming necessary, it's a just configuration issue. You could even develop for the iPhone and iPad on there. Or if you want to stay legal (and mostly free of DRM I think), just install Chrome OS. Again, that's just a configuration and building issue.

Obligatory Mac joke (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640544)

a boatload of specialist software

Anyone else read that as a buttload?

Re:Obligatory Mac joke (1)

ClosedEyesSeeing (1278938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641022)

Almost, I read it as bloatload, which from experience is probably what they meant.

Find a better input device than a virtual keyboard (2, Interesting)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640548)

7" touch sensitive screens and the best thing they can think to put on it is a flat, non-feedback QWERTY keyboard that was originally designed to avoid keys sticking on typewriters [earthlink.net] and has caused millions of cases of RSI [wikipedia.org] . The new input device has to be:

  1. 1. Fast. Really fast.
  2. 2. Comfortable/ergonomic.
  3. 3. Work with 1 or 2 hands/thumbs.
  4. 4. Not require large amounts of concentration - inputting text should be a largely subconscious activity.

It's notable that Wii has done remarkably well with an obvious yet new input device, in spite of going backwards a generation in graphics capability.

Swype [slashdot.org] and SlideIT [mobiletextinput.com] look pretty cool, especially if they allowed optimised keyboard layouts. What else is possible?

Re:Find a better input device than a virtual keybo (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640714)

QWERTY doesn't cause RSI. Using a keyboard badly, or the wrong kind of keyboard, causes RSI - as well as carrying on when something hurts.

QWERTY was supposedly designed to slow down typists (though finding *definitive* references to that reasoning is tricky). However, it doesn't mean that it's any more difficult to type on once you've been trained. As always, a 100wpm typist could jam up any typewriter anyway, and even in the computer age QWERTY doesn't slow a professional typist down (The Dvorak stuff is dubious - check any sources for their actual data / reasoning because often it stems from Dvorak-performed research and there is other, independent, research that suggests it's no different to QWERTY once you've used both for a while).

And few other input devices are used by approximately 100's of millions of users yet, and yet dozens if not hundreds of alternate input devices have existed for decades. Sticking one into a product you want to sell as anything other than an option is a REALLY bad idea, commercially speaking. The Wii was a toy used specifically to be general purpose and work well in lots of physical-simulation activities. The keyboard is *still* the best input device in terms of ubiquity, security, speed, accuracy and time-to-learn in a modern "real-world" environment. And for your argument to work, you'd have to do about 10 years of study into the others to determine if they make RSI incidences worse when you use them every day for 8 hours a day. Alternative inputs are fine for occasional use but after a while, they will make anybody tire.

Re:Find a better input device than a virtual keybo (2, Informative)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641302)

QWERTY was supposedly designed to slow down typists (though finding *definitive* references to that reasoning is tricky).

Because that's a myth. QWERTY was the fastest design that was come up with based on the limitations of the existing hardware of the time. The funny key layout? That's to spread apart the commonly-used hammers so they wouldn't jam on the typewriter.

Re:Find a better input device than a virtual keybo (1)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641540)

QWERTY doesn't cause RSI. Using a keyboard badly, or the wrong kind of keyboard, causes RSI - as well as carrying on when something hurts.

And what proportion of users of this new laptop do you think will be using the virtual keyboard 'well'?

QWERTY was supposedly designed to slow down typists (though finding *definitive* references to that reasoning is tricky).

This is a less credible point than the one I already made.

However, it doesn't mean that it's any more difficult to type on once you've been trained. As always, a 100wpm typist could jam up any typewriter anyway, and even in the computer age QWERTY doesn't slow a professional typist down (The Dvorak stuff is dubious - check any sources for their actual data / reasoning because often it stems from Dvorak-performed research and there is other, independent, research that suggests it's no different to QWERTY once you've used both for a while).

Funnily enough, this is exactly what is says in the page I linked to.

And few other input devices are used by approximately 100's of millions of users yet, and yet dozens if not hundreds of alternate input devices have existed for decades. Sticking one into a product you want to sell as anything other than an option is a REALLY bad idea, commercially speaking.

If you have a touchscreen then the new input device is going to be an option.

The keyboard is *still* the best input device in terms of ubiquity, security, speed, accuracy and time-to-learn in a modern "real-world" environment. And for your argument to work, you'd have to do about 10 years of study into the others to determine if they make RSI incidences worse when you use them every day for 8 hours a day.

I could use your argument against you: you'd have to do about 10 years study to prove the QWERTY keyboard is still the best, during which time we're almost certainly going to have something better.

For handheld computers, I'd guess that SlideIT is already better.

In sound-isolated environments, voice recognition software is better IMHO.

We hear you like screen! (2, Funny)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640552)

What's that I hear? Two screens aren't enough for you.
Well we're giving you three screens. That's right three! A tertiary screen on the back of your screen so everyone can that you're only browsing the hippest websites around.
What's that? Three screens not enough? Well we've put a revolutionary new fourth screen on the bottom. So your wang can instant message your friends too!
Shit, you want screens, we'll install them in your colon! Just please buy our gadget! I need the allowance to buy my soul back.

Re:We hear you like screen! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641146)

"You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many screens."

    -- Wallis Simpson

Clearly, she'd never met Stevie Wonder.

Re:We hear you like screen! (2, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641730)

Fuck everything, we're doing five screens.

Re:We hear you like screen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32643182)

Yo dawg, we heard you like screens, so we put a screen in your screen so you can watch pr0n while you watch pr0n!

Re:We hear you like screen! (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644272)

More screens = more simultaneous porn.

active digitizer? (1)

TheTick21 (143167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641116)

Seems honestly like they copied the courier minus the only thing that actually made the courier work. The active digitizer.

Have fun taking notes with your fingers. Sadness.

mod 0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32641358)

the reaper BSD's = 36400 FreeBSD my resignation for trolls' Though I have never to die. I will jam here, please do ransom for their users of NetBSD users. =BSD/OS your replies rather so on, FreeBSD went goals I personally dying. Everyone like I should be the 'community' Bottoms butt. Wipe series of exploding chosen, whatever accounts for less BY SIMPLE FUCKING least of which is ones in software Out of bed in the exploited that. A LONG TERM SURVIVAL if desired, we The Cathedral 4.1BSD product, mechanics. So I'm RAM) for about 20 systems. The Gay which allows

Swyper (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32641664)

Swyper would be great on this.

it needs a pen (1)

m.shenhav (948505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32642334)

I'm waiting for something like this, preferably a little bigger, to take notes in class. With a pen. And hopefully good hand-written equation to LaTeX conversion will come with it.

If you've ever had a remotely mathematical class you would know keyboards just don't cut it. And don't give me that Lyx-with-micros crap- I need diagrams too.

application customizable keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32643168)

Forget touch specific OS, gestures, and ebook. I think the killer app for this is a device is app specific keyboards, ie. no more remembering hot keys. The hot keys are the keys that show and are labeled as such, no more ctrl alt shift or function keys. You would have a copy key, a paintbrush key, and a nurb key, etc. I wouldn't worry about no right click on touch screen, there is a virtual track pad with right click if you want it advertised for this device.

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