The iPad is highly popular around the world and is taking market share away from netbooks. That much you can see all around you.
But, how could the other manufacturers fight back?
Here Toshiba shows a new prototype they are calling the Libretto W100 that has two seven-inch touch screens that could make the netbook more interesting to potential iPad users.
Now, hardware is only 1/8th the battle. The rest is software and there Apple is way ahead, especially if Toshiba is forced to use Microsoft’s Windows, which, even with Windows 7, doesn’t feel as good on touch devices as Apple’s iOS does. Note, too, that for this prototype Toshiba had to custom build a new touch keyboard. But, at least you can see that such a hardware, if matched with Android, or with HP’s touch OS that it bought from Palm, that there’s a future for Japanese manufacturers. I found the idea to be compelling when I saw it, and could see lots of uses for a two-screen touch netbook. I hope they take it further than just a prototype.
Here’s Engadget’s report on the W100 prototype and here’s Gizmodo’s report. Reported pricing is way too high to gain any mass-market share and they need to dump Windows 7 and get a fully-touch-oriented OS to get me interested.
While there I also saw a new 3D laptop, the A665 3D, which has a new kind of screen designed for 3D gaming. I played some games on this and the effect is stunning. Unfortunately it requires special glasses and won’t be for everyone, but if you are a gamer or want to see a 3D movie, this new laptop is stunning. Gizmodo has more info on this laptop from Toshiba.
A few weeks ago I visited with Toshiba, and made this video demo of both models.
Features available on the Toshiba libretto W100 include:
Dual 7.0-inch diagonal multi-touch displays7 (1024 x 600)
6-mode virtual keyboard with haptic response
Windows® 7 Home Premium operating system
Intel® Pentium® U5400 processor1 (1.2GHz)
2GB DDR3 memory2
62GB Solid State Drive3
1.0 megapixel HD Webcam with Toshiba Face Recognition
802.11 b/g/n wireless4
MicroSD card slot
One USB 2.0 port
TOSHIBA Bulletin Board, ReelTime™ and PC Health Monitor software
7.95” x 4.84”(D) x 1.2”(H)