For those times when portability is absolutely, positively, not a concern, there will soon be a new choice in “mobile” computing. The GScreen Spacebook is a chunky little laptop that packs dual slide-out 17-inch LCD panels. After quite a lot of build up, the computer finally has a ship date this November.
While not quite in the Duke Nukem Forever league, gScreen’s SpaceBook has truly earned its stripes as “delayware.” The product in question is a dual-screen notebook that was first announced in 2009 but never released. It now seems that the dual-screen notebook is finally ready for market action. gScreen, the Alaska-based startup behind the SpaceBook, is now taking pre-orders for its flagship product.
We were looking forward to spending some hands-on time with Microsoft's dual-screen Courier, right up until the Redmond software giant scrapped the project. Picking up where Microsoft left off, NEC is planning to launch a two-screen slate of its own, Yahoo News reports.
The device, which will make its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, will include a pair of 7-inch touchscreens. It's reportedly based on the LifeTouch model NEC showed off in Tokyo a month ago, and will carry the LifeTouch moniker.
Connectivity options include built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G. Other than that, not much is known about the device. As for the intended audience, NEC will market the dual-screen slate to publishers, healthcare professionals, and logistics industries.
PC vendors appear very keen on experimenting with new form factors nowadays. Launched last month, Toshiba's libretto W100 dual-touchscreen laptop is one such experiment. The limited-edition libretto W100, launched to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Toshiba laptops, is likely to be joined by a similar offering from Acer.
Toshiba over the past few days has been busy launching a bunch of notebooks in the Taiwan market, including the 10-inch NB250 netbook, 13-inch to 15-inch Satellite L series notebooks for mainstream folks, high-end Satellite A series, and a pair of ultra-thin Portege models, one built around Intel's Pentium U5400 processor and the other sporting a Core i3 330UM chip. All of these are expected to ship stateside starting later this month.
Amid all the new notebook launches, there's chatter that Toshiba is readying a dual-screen something-or-other by the end of the June. Reports appear mixed on whether this will be a notebook, tablet, or hybrid. Whatever it ends up being, the Guidebook, as the codename goes, will feature two 7-inch displays, says DigiTimes.
Earlier leaks and rumors also have the Guidebook pegged with some sort of Windows OS on the software side and Nvidia's Tegra platform for the hardware. It was originally rumored that the Guidebook would be developed by Compal, but new reports suggest Toshiba is working on this one in-house.
Microsoft is said to have scrapped its promising Courier project, which first met the public eye in September last year, when beleaguered tech blog Gizmodo broke the news of its existence. The tablet concept prompted many aspiring tablet owners, especially those looking past the iPad, to pin their hopes on its launch.
There was never any official word regarding the possibility of a commercial launch, however, a recently published New York Times report did have the dual-screen tablet shipping by the beginning of next year. But it has now emerged that Microsoft has chosen to bid adieu to the Courier at the end of the incubation period itself.
We have to admit, this is getting a little ridiculous (in a good way). Not only are 17-inch notebooks routinely checking in at well under a $1,000, but thanks to Onkyo, you can now buy a dual-screen laptop for less than 10 Benjamins.
These aren't ginormous screens, mind you, but Onkyo's DX laptop packs two, 10.1-inch screens each running at 1366 x 768. Not earth shattering, but should be enough to satiate mobile warriors looking to extend their desktop beyond what's typically been possible.
Other hardware includes an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics, 2GB of memory (expandable to 4GB), a 320GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Windows 7 Home Premium in 32-bit flavor.
So what's the caveat? You have to live in Japan to pick one up for under $1,000, where it currently sells for ¥84,800 (about $966). Those of us in the U.S. will have to go through GeekStuff4U, where the same model runs $1,195.
The e-book reader market is fast becoming a crowded niche, so in order to stand out from the competition, some manufacturers are taking liberties with the basic design. Take Spring Design, for example, who on Monday announced a dual-screen e-book reader built around Google's Android platform.
"This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text," said Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design. "We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations. This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience."
Called 'Alex,' the new e-book readers sport a 6-inch e-ink EPD display on the top portion and a 3.5-inch color LCD on the bottom. Spring Design says Android has been optimized to support integration between the two displays to prolong battery life. But what exactly is the point of the color display?
Apparently Alex owners are able to capture and cache Web content on the color display and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery. Users can also create their own images and notes to augment the original text.
Spring Design says it is still talking with "major content partners" and hopes to release Alex into the wild by the end of the year.
Know why your next notebook might sport two displays? Because the concept is pretty rad, for one. But the real reason is because it appears manufacturers are starting to jump on the double-screen bandwagon that hasn't even left the corral just yet.
It started back in January of this year when Lenovo released its dual-screen W700ds, and then more recently Alaska-based gScreen promised to release a dual 15.4-inch screen laptop dubbed the Spacebook in time for the holidays. The latest to enter the double-wide fray is Japan-based PC maker Kohjinsha, who's been showing off a laptop with two widescreen LCDs.
Both screens measure 10.1 inches with one of them sliding out from behind the other so users can still close the unit like a typical notebook. Other hardware includes an AMD Athlon Neo-MV40 processor (1.6GHz), 4GB of memory, Bluetooth, a TV tuner, a biometric fingerprint reader, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
According to Cnet, the unit weighs about 4 pounds. What isn't known is how much it will cost or when and where it will be available.
Once you've rocked out with dual screens on your desktop, you'll wonder how you ever managed to do anything with but a single display. If you find yourself in that category, you should probably stop reading, lest you suddenly feel hobbled by your notebook.
Coming soon, Alaska-based gScreen will release a dual 15.4-inch screen laptop dubbed the Spacebook. Aimed at professional designers, gScreen also has dual 16-inch and 17-inch models on tap, all of which sport full sized screens for the secondary display.
"We designed this knowing that many may not need the extra screen at all times," company founder Gordon Stewart told Gizmodo.
To address this, the secondary display will feature a sliding mechanism so you can tuck it away when not in use. Of course, the obvious downsides to having a twin-display notebook are weight (think 12 pounds or more) and battery life, so ti will be interesting to see how gScreen tackles these potential roadblocks.
Stewart says he's trying to keep the price under $3,000 and hopes to have the Spacebook for sale through Amazon.com by December of this year.