New dual-screen tablet takes the place of Microsoft’s abandoned Courier project
Monday 21 June 2010
The world's first dual-touchscreen tablet PC is finally seeing the light of day. It's not Microsoft's coveted Courier project - a tablet that bloggers swore "you'd leave your wife for" - but a dual 7.0-inch LCD tablet device produced by Japanese consumer electronics maker Toshiba.
The dual-screened "Libretto W100" is just one of four new Toshiba products announced on June 21. The new products form part of the company's 25th anniversary lineup of mobile computing devices bound for the Japanese market.
The Libretto W100 tablet runs the full version of Microsoft's Windows 7 and packs in a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium processor, two touch-sensitive 7.0 inch wide LED LCDs, 2GB of memory, a one megapixel webcam, and around 2 hours of battery life with a standard battery pack or 4 hours with a high-capacity battery pack. It also enables consumers to simultaneously complete two tasks on the one device. Using the two-screened device consumers can browse web pages on one screen while replying to emails on the other.
American technology journalist Robert Scroble got up close and personal with both the Libretto W100 prototype and the A665 3D - a brand new 3D laptop from Toshiba designed for gaming in three dimensions. Scroble's "first look" video can be seen on YouTube (link below).
Back in September 2009, a "leaked" video of Microsoft's Courier prototype popularized the two-screened tablet form-factor and left consumers drooling for the book-like device. After confirming the Courier existed and was in a "late prototype stage," Microsoft just as quickly announced it had abandoned the project, leaving a wave of "booklet" fans across the world disappointed.
Consumers reacted to the news of Toshiba's prototype device, leaving comments on popular technology blogs. Most said the Libretto W100's dual-screen tablet format had potential but questioned Toshiba's decision to use Microsoft Windows OS on the device.
"If Microsoft is going to scrap their courier project anyway, wouldn't it make sense for Toshiba to either partner with them or just buy the technology? It seems like if Microsoft has already done the research and tackled a lot of the design issues of this two-screen configuration, it would be a waste for Toshiba to go and do their own," said "bobfet1" in the comments section on Scrobelizer.com.
"I agree," said a commenter on Scrobelizer.com called "Felix", "it is pointless to make interesting tablet hardware without coupling it with interesting tablet software."
The tablet is set to be released in Japan in limited quantities towards the end of August. Toshiba is yet to confirm pricing information however Engadget reports the concept PC tablet will retail for around $1,099.
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