Always Innovating is set to release a new convertible slate aimed at changing the way we view both netbooks and tablet computers. The Touch Book has the features of a netbook: 10 to 15 hour battery life, low cost and small size, but the interface of a slate computer with a completely detachable keyboard. The Touch Book starts at $299 for slate only configurations or $399 for slate plus keyboard and is poised to dramatically change our view of netbooks.
Touch Book Specifications:
- 1024×600 8.9” touch sensitive screen
- ARM Texas Instruments OMAP3 600MHz processor
- OpenEmbedded OS
- Storage: 8GB micro SD card
- Wifi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth
- 3-dimensional accelerometer
- Speakers, micro and headphone
- 6 USB 2.0 (3 internal, 2 external, 1 mini)
- 10h to 15 hours of battery life (one battery in slate, one in the keyboard)
- 9.4″ x 7″ x 1.4″ for 2 lbs (with keyboard)
- Price: $299 for slate, $399 for slate + keyboard
The Touch Book offers the same basic design as most notebooks, with an 8.9” screen, compact keyboard and low-power processor. That is where the similarities end though, as the Touch Book can completely separate from its keyboard to become a full-fledged slate computer. The top section of this computer houses all of the system components so it can work separate of the keyboard “docking station”.
The battery life also sets this computer apart from other options on the market, with an advertised run time of 10 to 15 hours. No other netbook approaches this (without third party accessories), but it comes at the cost of the 600MHz ARM processor, which is limited to running stripped down software. For normal web browsing, typing documents, or custom applications this isn’t a problem. It’s only when you start to run more CPU-intensive tasks such as multimedia (audio/video) playback that you hit hardware performance limits.
I personally can’t wait to get my hands on one of these as soon as they come out. My mind is filling with ideas ranging from affordable custom interfaces for a home theatre system to a netbook that can stay powered the entire length of an international flight. The Touch Book will be available for pre-order sometime next week with an estimated May or June ship date.
You can pre-order the Touch Book right now through the following link. If you are really interested in the platform, everything is open source, including the hardware schematics which are listed on their site.