Toshiba's Trio of New Laptops Includes a Dual-Screen, Windows 7 Oddball

Toshiba Libretto

Toshiba announced three new laptops today, two of which are slightly unusual and one of which is completely bonkers. The most normal is the Portege R700, an ultraportable with some legitimate power. The R700 is business-focused (hence the drab, ThinkPad-like design), but with a full Intel Core processor and a mere inch of thickness, it's a pretty impressive bit of hardware (it shoots air over certain internal components to stay cool). At less than three pounds, it's about as light as a MacBook Air, but has a DVD drive, unlike the Air. It's fairly cheap as well, starting at $900, and is available now--could be a nice alternative to the ThinkPad.

Toshiba AC100

The AC100 is Toshiba's first netbook running Google's mobile Android OS (usually seen on smartphones), and really one of the first Android netbooks to be made by a major company. It runs on an Nvidia Tegra chip (the same one in some smartphones and PMPs), and despite being only 14mm thick, it's supposed to run for up to eight hours on a single charge. The oddest part? The AC100's 10.1-inch screen doesn't seem to be touch-enabled. That'd be like controlling your iPad with a trackpad and keyboard--doable, but distinctly unnatural. It'll be available in August for an unspecified price.

Now for the weirdo, the Libretto W100. Toshiba calls it an "ultra-mobile PC," which strikes me as a dangerous term, seeing as how it refers to a segment that steadfastly refused to take off here in the States. It's in the shape of a traditional, albeit tiny, hinged laptop, but with two 7-inch multitouch touchscreens. It's got somewhat respectable internals, for such a device, with a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium U5400 processor, 2GB of memory, and, oddly, a 62GB SSD for storage.

So how does this thing work? The Libretto W100 runs Windows 7, and you can choose to use both screens individually or together (as an extended screen). That bottom screen has a few unique uses put together by Toshiba--it has a whopping six different keyboard options (including a split-keyboard for thumb typing, which seemed to go over well with those who played with it) as well as Toshiba's custom bulletin board UI (pictured top).

The Libretto W100 may look like a crazy concept, and it sort of is, but Toshiba's actually bringing the thing to market "in a few months." It'll cost $1,100 when it comes out, though it'll be a limited run "for early adopters." Those are usually code phrases for "it may not work very well," but we'll reserve judgment.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one--you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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1 Comments

  • Chris Reich

    I'm in the market for 2 portable computing devices. I'm not an I-Phone user. It looks fun but not for me.

    I'd like a beefy "Netbook" that could run cloud apps fully capable and compatible with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. In fact, ideally, it would run Outlook---the others are fine if compatible only. With 7 email accounts for different businesses, I don't want Gmail. This machine would be for travel only. I would use it for "light" work trips. If I have to go speak or attend meetings, great. Grab the light machine. Get home, sync up Outlook. Then grab files from my "cloud"---notes, presentations, images from trip.

    For a work intense trip---come out and analyze our business, then make a report and presentation on suggested improvements, I would need a workhorse. This requires a full on "laptop". I need to process stills into time lapse videos for process analysis, make intense presentations including sound and video, build confidential spreadsheets and write volumes of reports. If I don't have internet where I might be, I need to be able to keep working---can't totally depend on the "cloud".

    Why two? Because it would be a luxury to take a really light weight, low connection machine when all I really need is access to all my email accounts and a single presentation file. Sometimes I have to take a ton of stuff with me. Sometimes I don't. When I'm at my office, the laptop never leaves the closet.

    What do I buy?

    The netbooks seem short on capability and the notebooks are...ok.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com