updated 08:40 am EDT, Tue March 29, 2011
Acer takes US pre-orders for Iconia Touchbook
Acer kicked off Tuesday by detailing the US launch of the Iconia Touchbook. Its dual 14-inch touchscreen notebook will ship for $1,200 and has just one configuration. The Iconia-6120 will have an unnamed Core i5 processor (possibly pre-Sandy Bridge), 4GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, and expansion that brings one USB 3.0 port as well as two USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI video out.
Both the US and Canada get the system in April.
The design is unique as the first mainstream noteboook to use a touchscreen in place of a hardware keyboard and trackpad. Acer can use it for basic tricks such as displaying a single Windows desktop or app across both screens, but the bottom half can also be used for special utilities through gestures. Putting five fingers on the bottom triggers a ring that lets users change settings, set custom gestures for certain tasks, or clip content from websites to add to a journal or scrapbook. Social Jogger from the Liquid Metal arrives in desktop form and unifies Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in a single feed. Certain apps are upgrades designed to use the two screens, such as the self-explanatory TouchBrowser.
We tried the Iconia Touchbook at CES and found it to be a clever if very niche design. The keyboard (brought up by resting your palms or all 10 fingers on the bottom) is large enough and feels very much like an enhanced iPad keyboard. While the price carries only a relatively mild premium for the dual touch, many of the specialized apps don't immediately serve as lures from either an iPad or a conventional notebook. The design is mostly noteworthy for those who want a regular notebook design with touch functions or who appreciate the well-executed audacity of the concept.