Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Portables Hardware Technology

Early Look At Acer's Iconia Dual Touchscreen Device 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the inconvenience-of-a-table-with-the-weight-of-a-laptop dept.
iONiUM sends in news of an early glimpse at Acer's upcoming Iconia laptop, on which they've replaced the keyboard area with a second 14" display that accepts multi-touch input. "The upright display acts as the primary display, while the display that remains parallel with the surface generally serves as a navigation panel, alternatively displaying a roomy on-screen keyboard, a touch-wheel and other on-screen touch controls, or even an extension of what's displayed on the primary display. The latter option effectively provides a dual-monitor mobile device for presentations or studying complex spreadsheets across both monitors, or viewing one document in one monitor, and another on the second monitor. The two monitors make the Iconia a hefty device — at 6.1 pounds it's unlikely to be the device you throw in your bag for your commute." Engadget has some pictures and a video of the device.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Early Look At Acer's Iconia Dual Touchscreen Device

Comments Filter:
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tobenisstinky (853306) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @02:39PM (#34358956)

    Great, like the iPad but with the awkwardness of a laptop.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Great, like the iPad but with the awkwardness of a laptop.

      I see it as an awesome reader - showing two pages at once, for one thing.

      Or reading text on one side with diagrams on the other.

      And if they can sell it for $500, it'll sell like hotcakes.

      • With a European release price of 1,500 euros, I'm guessing that that'll be a "no".

        Which is disappointing; but may actually be a good thing. Touch responsiveness and LCD visual quality in off-axis use are two of those variables which are difficult to swiftly quantify; but where money talks, and there is a low end too low to be worth delving into. The prospect of using two LCD panels at 90 degrees off axis, with only the touch sensitive system they could afford after cramming an entire computer and two LCD
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tomhudson (43916)
          Besides, pretty much everywhere you go, there's going to be a spare, decent-sized LCD hanging around if you need a second screen. It's not like they're $999.00 apiece any more.

          So the "read your spreadsheet across 2 screens" scenario is pretty much DOA - you can wander into most offices and just plug a lighter laptop into a spare screen (and as more office workers switch to laptops, more are already using their old screen as a second screen, so again, just the natural hardware refresh is killing the market

    • Great, like the iPad but with the awkwardness of a laptop and the lightweight construction reminiscent of the Osborne I.

      Just thought I'd help out a bit.
      • And a library of software that takes advantage of it equivalent to a pre-2007 smartphone...

        • by Cederic (9623)

          Hang on. You're suggesting that access to software running on the most popular home OS ever is a bad thing?

          I'll accept that the base of software supporting touch-screen input is lower, but I don't see many two-screen apps for the iPad either..

      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        lightweight construction reminiscent of the Osborne I.

        Admit it, you've never even seen an Osborne 1 except in pictures.

      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dfghjk (711126) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:29PM (#34360086)

        By sarcastically repeating the inane criticism offered in the article? How is 6.1 pounds heavy? It's lighter than a Macbook Pro 17 despite considerably more screen. It's only 1/2 pound heavier than a MBP 15 despite nearly double the screen space. 6 pounds has never been heavy for a notebook.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by tomhudson (43916)
          For a notebook with ONLY a 14" screen, 6.1 pounds is a boat anchor territory.

          6.1 pounds is 17" - 18" desktop replacement territory.

          14" screens are not all that great to work with. They're SMALL, in comparison to 17" or greater. A 17.4" display has more than 50% more screen area than a 14.1". That's screen area that isn't broken up by a hinge and two bezels.

          Buy a single 17" or 18" instead. For less money, you can get one with 1920x1080, 8 gigs of ram (instead of 4), 1 tb of storage (instead of 64o gigs

    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by grahamlord86 (1603545) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:29PM (#34359230)

      I'm not so sure... The problem with Tablets and touchscreen phones is that while you have the freedom of having a custom input (virtual keyboard, handwriting recognition, virtual gamepad...), the input interface and your hands get in the way of what's on the screen.

      Most smart phones loose the best part of half the display as soon as the virtual keyboard is visible.

      The twin-touchscreens allow you to have the freedom of custom input that can change to be anything you want, but even if you cover the lower screen with a full size keyboard (which might be the first virtual keyboard not to suck), you still have a completely clear upper screen to look at.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arivanov (12034)

        The problem with them is also that most advanced typist type purely by touch. I never look at the keyboard when typing and having something that changes under my fingers or requires looking all the time is definitely not welcome.

        There is another even more entertaining aspect - security. If the API to change the layouts is not locked down enough you can do all kinds of funky stuff compared to which XSS is a child's play.

        • The problem with them is also that most advanced typist type purely by touch. I never look at the keyboard when typing and having something that changes under my fingers or requires looking all the time is definitely not welcome.

          It does not change "all the time" The keyboard for typing would remain fixed.

          The thing is that touch typing does NOT involve feeling keys. You would be seriously slowed if that were the case, with any keyboard. Pay attention to how you type next time - are you really feeling for

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by caseih (160668)

            I disagree about not needing to feel the keys. Why is it called "touch typing" if touch is not involved?

            As I type this now, I am positioning my fingers by muscle memory, yes, but the nice indent on the tops of the keys help my fingers find the center of the keys. Without them I might hit between keys. Also my forefingers sit on the keyboard and feel the little nubs that mark the home keys. This way I know I'm starting from the right position. All the while I'm not needing to look at the keyboard, but t

            • Back in the day they would teach typists to hold their wrists up, but even then the fingers could rest on the keys. Holding both hands off the surface except to "type" would seem to be exhausting.

              I have not found it so, and it's the way I also use trackpads... if you had to elevate your whole hand, that would be tiring but your hands can naturally hover without much strain if your wrists are settled comfortably. I also have found that sometimes I rest pinky fingers on the sides of the screen which keep th

              • by mattack2 (1165421)

                Sigh.. the bumps are on my 'd' and 'k' keys, not 'f' and 'j'. Yeah, I know keyboard have used the latter keys for a long time, but 'd' and 'f' make more sense, since those center your hands on the home row. (I realize you can probably argue the opposite that the index finger is likely more sensitive than other fingers. It still seems more natural to center my hands over the various keys.)

            • by reboot246 (623534)
              Exactly my thoughts. My aunt (in her younger days) could be looking at the material she was copying from, typing 140+ words per minute, and carry on a conversation at the same time.

              See, sometimes you have to type something from a source other than just your own thoughts. At my job we write on paper out in the field, and then at the office our secretaries have to type that information into computers.
          • by Rob Y. (110975)

            Well, that's really dopey. Of course you don't 'feel' the keys in the sense of feeling the letters, but how do you think 'typing by position' works? Once you find your home keys, the feel of the keys lets you know you're still in position. Otherwise, there's nothing to keep you from drifting out of alignment with the 'keyboard'.

            • by antek9 (305362)

              Otherwise, there's nothing to keep you from drifting out of alignment with the 'keyboard'.

              Well, you could try screwing your wrists to the bezel, with the added bonus of feeling like a real saviour.

          • by tomhudson (43916)

            The thing is that touch typing does NOT involve feeling keys

            I learned how to touch-type in school, and I can tell when I miss a key by feel. Without that feel feedback, I would be seriously slowed down.

            Part of the reason is that I allow my hands to roam over the whole keyboard - for me, that's faster than using the "correct" finger all the time to type the "right" key. I'd rather not lose the speed advantage that the extra feedback gives me, and have to debug more code because of stupid typos, or type slower because I'm forced to do it the "right way."

            Also, the

            • I have to disagree. It might work for you, but for me, and probably for many others who have developed their own style over the years, a non-tactile keyboard is going to just be another source of errors.

              I started with traditional touch typing, but because that is not really great for coding (which uses a lot of special keys) I also allow my hands to roam. I don't have any problems on an iPad keyboard, I can type really quickly - because your hands are just as informed by where the edges of something are, a

          • Pay attention to how you type next time - are you really feeling for keys or are your fingers hitting the exact location of the key you are trying to type?

            Yes, I really am. Every time I move my hands, there is a small amount of drift, and the shape of the keys and the tactile feedback lets me subconsciously correct this. If you don't believe me, try typing with a projection keyboard (or read reviews of them if you can't get hold of one), without looking at it. You start off fine, and a few hundred keypresses in, you start to make errors, which gradually become greater until you completely reset your hand positions. There's a reason why all keyboards have

        • The problem with them is also that most advanced typist type purely by touch

          Haptic feedback [wikipedia.org] works well on my android phone. Maybe it could be improved beyond using a single phone vibration device.

    • by sdavid (556770)
      Exactly. All the disadvantages of a laptop and a tablet rolled into one.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Garridan (597129)

      Are you kidding? I think this thing looks awesome. I started out on an IBM keyboard with the 90dB click, requiring 20lbs of force to depress the keys. But something changed, and I found that I really like low-feedback keyboards. This is the ultimate low-feedback keyboard. But that's just the keyboard!

      As others have no doubt pointed out, this is gonna make an awesome book reader -- but the size of a magazine! Ok, if your girly arms can't take the weight, that's a valid complaint. But I'm a rock climbe

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      Actually, it reminds me of the Courier that Microsoft was rumored to be developing. Here's a concept video [youtube.com] for anyone not familiar with the device.

      This thing would just be a lot larger, and probably not as flexible, but it's similar.
    • by drolli (522659)

      Tested a similar form factor yesterday in the shop (http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/libretto) and have to say its no so awkward to have additional space for displaying things if you like and or alternatively a keyboard.

    • The most awesome thing is the 3 hour battery life. Under ideal conditions I'm sure.

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Mostly it is just that. I want dual touch screens with one being AMOLED and the other being eink. Both of them need to accept touch. I can live with both of them being the size of a paperback. I want it to be a phone via speaker, earbud or bluetooth.

      As it is my current smartphone is more powerful than every computer I had in the 80s and 90s combined. This should be faster. :)

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Mostly it is just that. I want dual touch screens with one being AMOLED and the other being eink. Both of them need to accept touch. I can live with both of them being the size of a paperback. I want it to be a phone via speaker, earbud or bluetooth along with all the amenities, wifi, tethering etc.

      As it is my current smartphone is more powerful than every computer I had in the 80s and 90s combined. This should be faster. :)

    • Since this was developed by acer, I am also going to assume the build quality will be on par with a crushed beer can. WTF is this thing, I don't know if they are trying to rip off nintendo DS or the ipad. No keyboard!! you touch the screen here instead! I'm sure it works just peachy with all the touch based software designed for it. And I'm sure the rest will be making you want to murder someone. I can just see someone trying to play a fullscreen video game on this thing, it messing up and the user having t
  • ...for activities that involve a lot of typing, not so much. IMHO even the short travel of typical laptop keys are much nicer than hitting virtual keys on a touchscreen.

    Btw - how's that flexible 'dual' screen laptop coming? You know, where you flip it open 180 degrees, to have a single screen surface.

    • by nametaken (610866) *

      If they changed up the software on this to make it work like the Microsoft Courier, and advertised for those use cases, they'd have a winner.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by camperdave (969942)
      What is the problem with hooking up a bluetooth keyboard/mouse to a tablet, or using a docking station. Use the on-screen keyboard for your coffee shop/public transit scenarios, and a docking station at home/work.
      • by tomhudson (43916)
        With so many usb and wireless devices, nobody uses a docking station any more.

        Printers? usb and wireless (I saw a wireless COLOR LASER on sale for $99.99 Huh???? $99.99? Amazing).

        Networking? You already have wireless if you have a laptop, and you probably have either a 100mpbs or a 1gbps ethernet port too.

        External displays? vga, svga, hdmi - you probably have at least two of those 3 options.

        External keyboard and mouse? Plug them into your external monitor's usb hub, along with any other usb devices

  • Two groups of people that will definitely overlook this one; Unix admins, and coders.

  • The Acer Iconia is an giant Nintendo DS?

  • Besides:

    1) The price

    2) The OS / Software

    3) The Weight

    4) The Reputation of the Manufacturer

    I'd say it is a pretty good product.

  • by aclarke (307017) <spam@cla r k e .ca> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:42PM (#34359756) Homepage
    On a touchscreen like this that can be used for a keyboard, I wonder if they considered putting bumps on the glass panel where the F and J key go. It seems to me that that might help touch typing quite a bit on a touch keyboard, while not being terribly annoying when used for other purposes.
    • by Jartan (219704)

      It seems to me that the better way to go is just have the software put home row wherever the user sets his hands down.

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        That sounds like a great user interface. I'm sure nobody would have any problem figuring out how to type on a device that didn't display a keyboard until they started typing.

        • by Degro (989442)
          That's not very imaginative. The horizontal screen could show a keyboard in default position when untouched, but when it detected palms down first it could automatically reorient.
      • It seems to me that the better way to go is just have the software put home row wherever the user sets his hands down.

        As an extension of this, the virtual keyboard could be split in half, and each half of the keyboard can orient according to how the user puts his fingers down. That way, people can type whichever way is most comfortable for them.

        Now all this pipe dream needs is some sort of dynamic bump map that can be raised according to on-screen texture.

    • by zesh (1055974)
      There are stickers with bumps on them that provide tactile feedback to users' fingers intended for use on iPhones and iPads. It's a product called "Tactile+Plus" made by a Japanese company called Nosho-An which you can see shown in the following image:

      Tactile+Plus image [imagehyper.com]

      Reapplicable versions of these stickers that can serve as bumps for the F and J keys. They can also be sold with the computers themselves and let users customize the position of the bumps themselves should they want to use non-standard
  • It's about time someone tried this. The idea of using an onscreen keyboard is dumb though. Now that they have a touch screen big enough for both hands to spread out on they should of come up with a better way to do touch text input. I bet the end result will at least get within shooting distance of keyboard speed. For those times when you just have to sit down and type out some code there is always the USB port.

  • is there a flexible display technology capable of providing a small bump per key dynamically when a virtual keyboard is loaded onto the screen. Perhaps a small physical keyboard hidden beneath the screen that gets raised mechanically when the keyboard is displayed, and for bonus points allows depression when the key is pressed.

  • First of all, you can only find them on barren planets in the Neutral Zone - that alone will stir up a possible confrontation with the Romulan Star Empire. Second, every time you put another piece of technology near one, it'll zap the second gadget with a transmitter-probe that'll screw up the second gadget's OS.

    I just hope that Acer has the good sense to allow manual closing of the probe launch bay doors. If there's no way to trigger a reactor explosion with backwash from the rockets, we're all doomed.

  • * Best tablet in 10 years: I challenge anyone to find a tablet in the last 10 years that has larger than a 1400x1050 screen -- much less a *touchscreen* tablet, with a *decent processor*. I would have been willing to pay $4000 for such a device, but with PC makers thinking they can get away with low resolutions, I have never had an opportunity to. But now it has come. At 1366x768 x2, it is about as good as the 1600x1200 touchscreen you could have hoped for (assuming use in dual-screen display mode). And as
  • the ergonomics of a flat panel virtual keyboard with no resilience sounds great if you either do very little typing or always wanted to experience RSI for yourself.

    However, this might have interesting uses for non-typing intensive applications. Imagine this as a substitute for a conventional control panel with the controls where the keyboard used to be and the system schematic on the top display.
  • Even the designer fail to use it correctly.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.

Working...