Fast Company

The Netbook Just Grew Up: Sharp's Mebius Has an LCD Trackpad

Mebius NJ70A Looks like the netbook is no longer the immature, dim-witted cousin of the grown-up laptop: Sharp's new Mebius netbook is so shiny and clever it outclasses many "superior" machines. It's got a multi-touch LCD where its tiny, inefficient "netbook class" trackpad should be.

The rest of the Mebius NJ70A is recognizably a netbook: It runs an Intel N270 Atom CPU, has a 10.1-inch main display, Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset for video handling, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi b&g, a memory-card reader slot, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive. It runs Windows Vista Home Basic, is just 1.46kg in weight and its battery is stated to last three hours.  

But the trackpad is the true winner in this design. it's a 4-inch LED-backlit LCD with 854 x 480 pixels, so it's actually a bit like having an iPhone where a normal trackpad should be. Only better, since that device has just 3.5 inches of 480 x 320 pixels on its screen. The pad is both touch-sensitive, and stylus-sensitive, so as well as using it as a mere pointer-control device you can prod at it to operate the buttons of a virtual calculator, for example. Or write on it, and have your handwriting automatically recognized, draw on it for artistic purposes, or use it to annotate word-processed files in good old-fashioned "traditional" editing notes-style. In fact, it's hard to come up with suggestions for how this tech could be utilized, since so many that leap to mind.

Check it out in the hands-on video:

Is your mind blown? It should be. This diminutive machine is real, it's pretty much an early taste of what portable computing is going to be like in the next year or two, and it's slated to launch as soon as next month in Japan--though for a pricey $800. 

[via Akihabaranews, PCWatch]

Related: Is Asus' New 1004DN Eee PC Really a Netbook?
Related: Intel Ensures Better Next-Gen Netbooks With New Atom Chips
Related: Gropable Gadgets: Future Touchpad Controls Will Be Wrap-Around

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