While in San Francisco, fellow attendees of the Netshelter Publisher’s Summit were treated to a reception hosted by Toshiba. One of the things I most liked was their display set up in the room, representative of laptop models past and present — including a few of the libretto line. I always wanted a libretto …
But the fun really began when I was clandestinely pulled into a side room and given a chance to see two of their latest, including the libretto Concept PC with Dual-Touch Screen Design.
Calling it a concept PC that was actually being produced, albeit in limited quantities, what I saw was a laptop about the size of a book (roughly 5″ x 8″) with a second touchscreen where the keyboard would have otherwise been. Battery life is reportedly around 5 hours, which isn’t bad for an itty-bitty laptop running a full-sized OS. Tell me that this doesn’t look like the little brother (sister?) of the recently axed Microsoft Courier.
The libretto W100 is powered by Windows 7 Home Premium and comes equipped with an Intel® Pentium® processor1, 2GB of fast DDR3 memory2 and a 62GB solid state drive3 – plenty of horsepower for enjoying rich Internet and multimedia content. With the libretto W100, users can take advantage of all the Windows applications they commonly use, including productivity apps like Microsoft Office and video chat like SkypeTM. Built-in connectivity features, including 802.11b/g/n4 and Bluetooth®5 give users the flexibility to connect from any hotspot or pair the device with their favorite wireless accessories, such as a mouse, headphones and more.
The libretto W100 is small, there is no doubt about it. It is nearly pocketable, or perhaps better described as small-purseable or cargo-pants-pocketable, and the wow factor is definitely there when you look at it and contemplate the tech it contains. It even folds flat so you can view the two screens together when they are holding a single document.
With an ultra-portable weight of just 1.8 pounds6, the libretto W100 is designed to deliver a rich Internet experience, multimedia playback and the freedom to multi-task – just like a standard laptop – but with the advantage of two seven-inch diagonal touch screens to work, watch and play on. The multi-touch screens can work independently or together, giving users the flexibility to decide how they want to use them. Surf the Web on one screen while checking e-mail on the other, view two documents simultaneously or view a webpage across both screens. A built-in 3D accelerometer allows the libretto W100 to rotate into portrait or landscape modes, making the device look and feel more like a book, newspaper or magazine.Designed for portability, the libretto W100 features a compact and durable clamshell design with a brushed metallic finish. The traditional clamshell design allows the device to fold up for easier portability, while protecting the screens from breaks and scratches. Measuring a mere 4.84 inches by 7.95 inches when closed, the device fits easily into almost any bag or jacket pocket.
I liked the haptic feedback and the different types of virtual keyboards that were included, but let’s get real here … for every person who thinks virtual keyboards are usable, there are probably five who think that they must have a hardware keyboard; obviously this particular libretto will not be for them.
The libretto W100 features six virtual keyboard modes plus a virtual touchpad. The keyboards feature haptic technology, providing sensory feedback when the keys are selected, making typing fast, accurate and easy. Keyboard modes include simple, full, numeric 10-key and split thumb mode keyboard styles, providing users with options to fit their own personal style or task.
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
• Bluetooth 2.1+EDR5
• MicroSD card slot
• One USB 2.0 port
• TOSHIBA Bulletin Board, ReelTimeTM and PC Health Monitor software
• 8-cell battery
• 7.95” (W) x 4.84”(D) x 1.2”(H)
• 1.8 lbs.6
If you’re thinking this new libretto W100 cool, wondering when you can get your hands on one and how much will it cost, here’s what’s known: “A limited number of the libretto W100 concept PC will be available for purchase later this summer from select retailers and direct from Toshiba.” I tried to nail down a price with the rep I spoke to, and he finally said $1100ish with a bit of a shrug. Unless I missed it Toshiba hasn’t yet declared a solid MSRP, but if that ends up being about the price, then I think that it’s relatively fair and not too bad in the grand scheme of things. We won’t get into the money I have blown on PDAs that weren’t even phones, or other gadget-purchases that were in the same price neighborhood that didn’t ultimately live up to my expectations. Who knows; maybe I would have liked this much better. Perhaps you will, too.