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Toshiba reveals first dual-screen Windows tablet PC

updated 07:40 am EDT, Mon June 21, 2010

Toshiba resurrects Libretto with W100 tablet

Toshiba marked the 25th birthday of its notebooks by unveiling the first dual-touchscreen Windows tablet computer. The Libretto W100 has twin seven-inch, 1024x600, multi-touch displays that control virtually the entire Windows 7 interface. One display can work separately as a keyboard (with vibration feedback) or just as a second display; an accelerometer lets users tilt the device on its side for e-book reading.

Underneath, the device is closer to a true notebook than a netbook or a tablet. A 1.2GHz Pentium US400 is fast enough to drive Windows 7 Home Premium, and it comes with both 2GB of RAM and a solid-state drive with 62GB of usable space. It still has room for a large eight-cell battery and fits 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a webcam and a lone USB port. A microSDHC slot gives it a way to offload files, and the entire W100 weighs only slightly more than a single-screen tablet at 1.8 pounds.

Toshiba's usual touchscreen apps, such as Bulletin Board or its chronological file browser ReelTime, are some of the few custom touchscreen apps; outside of the keyboard, most of the interface is Windows alone.

The new Libretto is characterized as a special edition and will have a "limited number" of shipments. In the US, it will ship in August for $1,099.

Toshiba's tablet arrives at a critical time for Microsoft, as its tablet strategy has been struggling just as the iPad has launched in earnest. The W100 is now the closest Microsoft will come to its now-canceled Courier tablet, and HP may have dropped its Windows 7 slate in favor of a webOS design. [video via Robert Scoble]













By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. appleuzr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006

    0

    ha.

    for $1,100 why wouldn't I just get a Macbook?

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +3

    Swan Song

    'The new Libretto is characterized as a special edition and will have a "limited number" of shipments.'

    - I'd bet on a limited number of shipments too.

    'In the US, it will ship in August for $1,099.'

    - There's the first reason why.

    Reviving the name of a line of computers they discontinued won't help them either. Hey Steve: we're still waiting for our next (no pun intended) Lisa. But branding their little experiment with a term that means "the words that go along with the opera" is quite appropos. Unfortunately, with Windows being the (soap) opera that it is, we've heard all those words before (and the MacNN censor always has quite a field day with them.)

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2006

    +5

    that's why

    That's why Microsoft halted the development of their dual screen tablet. Toshiba is doing it and MS is waiting to see its sale's result (guinea pig).

  1. martinX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2008

    +7

    Looks interesting but...

    As a book, it's heavy and small. You can only read one "page" at a time (with pretty small text on each page), yet you are supporting the weight of two. As a netbook (pic 3) it's quite pricey. So it's kind of nifty, but it's really a competitor for laptops, and a small one at that. Be interesting to see if it takes off.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +6

    two-page spread

    Most people can read only one line at a time. Some can read a few lines at a time, but not a two-page spread at a time.

    Two-page spread is designed for magazines with large pictures. The 1.5"-plus gutter KILLS the concept however you look at it.

    Burn it, idiots.

  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002

    +9

    Finally a PC manufacturer with SOMETHING DIFFERENT

    Props to Toshiba for actually innovating, and coming out with something that isn't an Apple ripoff.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +4

    with a silly idea like this, it has to be limited

    Putting on the word 'limited' on a product does not make it desirable—especially when it is so senseless and dysfunctional (no one reads two pages at a time, let alone the huge gutter, which is a huge barrier).

  1. MacnnChester

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +2

    Interesting parts ... perhaps not a whole.

    I have to say I really like the dual screen concept and yes, I only read one line at a time, but I like to read books with more than one line per page, so to say two pages is useless, is itself a dumb argument. I can type this in a comment window and still look at previous comments at the same time and hey, what if I want to have a webpage open or a dictionary widget or my mailbox visible at a glance? I also think it might be more pleasant to hold a book, than to hold a tablet. Two screens are better than one ... for me.

    I don't know if the tactile vibration would really help typing, but it can't hurt and I like the ability to modify the keyboard ... the whole point of making it virtual.

    I really like the desktop analogy for one of the screens in clamshell mode - to be able to read websites or pdf and have another screen to write notes or run through iCal - would be a big bonus! It is a mobile desk, not just a mobile computer.

    I know I'm destroying the good part of the iOS focus by saying this, but it would be kind of cool to have the choice of Mac OS on one screen and an iPad on the other .... yeah, weird, but just think about it. It would be a great transition to get Window/iOS folks to integrate to the Mac OS. Yeah, too much. Anyway....

    Of course the whole thing could crash and burn when the processor melts through the cheap plastics, I'm sure the multi-touch will not be nearly as elegant as on iPhone/iPads and as someone else said, the gutter is too obnoxious and yes the whole thing depends upon Windows working on a 7" touchscreen .... ugh. But it is intriguing in these ways:

    1. It closes into a protective clam and doesn't need a sleeve to protect it.
    2. It is the size of a medium paperback which is a form factor that has had a hundred years of customer experience to build upon.
    3. It puts Windows in its place as just one partition in the device by saying first "This is a Toshiba device, that can help run your life and yes, when you need Windows it is there." That is the sort of what Jobs has been doing with the iDevices and iApps, separating what PC people want to do from Windows itself.
    4. Two screens do make a difference and open up possibilities that we haven't seen yet.

    So I will not be buying it, but I won't pretend that it is trash either.

  1. MacnnChester

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +7

    PS

    It is strange to read how few people here seem to ever, when reading a book, glance from one page to another. Has no one ever read a book with illustrations or tables or graphs on one page while reading another?!

    C'mon, you can't be post-book yet.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010

    +4

    The most interesting thing

    The virtual keyboard is the best thing about the Toshiba "Courier." This seems to be the way Apple is going - a virtual keyboard on a touch screen that can instantly react to multi-touch gestures as well. No need for a separate trackpad or mouse.

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