Acer has thrown in the gauntlet in the tablet war as it has announced that its dual-screen tablet Iconia TouchBook will be available for pre-sale in U.S.
PC World reported that the tablet is priced $1200. The tablet first reared its head in Nov. 2010. The tablet is an absolute departure from Apple and Samsung's ultra-thin and light renditions of tablets.
Iconia 6120 TouchBook is designed like a laptop with the difference being that it uses the space for a keyboard to accommodate another screen. The two displays on board are 14-inch and sport screen resolution of 1366x768.
The tablet tips the scale at 6.18 pounds which seems rather beefy when compared to iPad 2's 1.32 pounds and Samsung Galaxy Tab's 1.31 pounds. Techland reported that Acer Iconia 6210 is about an inch thick which makes it look like a Humvee compared to Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet which measures a mere 0.33-inch in thickness. Apple iPad 2 is 0.34-inch thick.
Iconia 6210 is powered by a Corei5-480m chip and offers 4GB RAM, 640GB hard drive and a 1.3MP webcam.
The tablet offers a touch-based keypad which Engadget reported last year was pretty cumbersome to use. CNET reported that the touchscreen keypad showed a little lag. Also the CPU used is not the new generation of Intel chip the Sandybridge would affect its battery life and speed.
The tablet offers a custom wheel Ring interface which comes alive when a user places five fingers on the screen and makes a grab gesture. The interface then allows easy access to applications. In order to pull out the keypad a user has to place both palms on the bottom screen.
The tablet is certainly novel but its weight and size factors could limit its role as a tablet. Recently Kyocera released a dual-screen Android phone Echo in February. The Kyocera Echo offers two 3.5-inch displays with 800x480 resolutions. Each screen can run a different app like an email can be opened on one screen and a browser on the other. It also offers the option of combining the screens and it turns into a 4.7-inch display.
Also Kyocera had showcased a giant dual-screen tablet Kno at CES 2011. Kno sports two 14-inch screens with a screen resolution of 1440x900 and has a special stylus which helps in taking notes. It is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and runs on a Linux based UI. The tablet weighs 5.6 pounds and is targeted at students.
However, how the customers will respond to a dual-screen form factor is yet to be seen, as sometimes novel may not be equal to usable.