Acer's Iconia laptop skips keys in favor of double touch screens

May 19, 2011 By Craig Crossman, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

In this world of virtual this and virtual that, there comes a product that offers something really different than everybody else. The Iconia from Acer America is not a laptop nor is it a notebook. Acer is calling it a "touchbook" because it has no keyboard. The Iconia is a portable computer that open up like a clamshell-style notebook with a screen on the upper portion, but it also has another screen where the keyboard should be. That's right: It's a dual screen notebook.

The screen on the bottom portion can be used as a second display but in order to control the computer to do anything, the Iconia displays a on its multi-touch screen. Directly beneath the is a virtual . So you have a touch pad on a touch screen. It may seem a bit confusing, but when you see it, you'll get it.

With a virtual keyboard, you can do things that would be almost impossible on a physical keyboard. To begin, just placing both of your palms on the screen as if you are going to type will cause the Iconia to display the keyboard without doing anything else. Nice. This is a full size QWERTY keyboard. And since it's virtual, you can cause it to do many things you really couldn't do with a real one. For example, it supports many different languages so when you select one, the virtual keys will reflect any character differences for that language. It also has predictive text input for natural speed typing while avoiding mistakes. And since it is completely software-driven, future enhancements are planned, including displaying a font's character style on the keys themselves.

The Ring takes full advantage of the multi-touch screen. Just place all five fingers on the screen to evoke the Ring. Making a grabbing gesture lets you rotate the ring in either direction. Now you can easily scroll through applications and features with a single motion.

The Iconia also includes a Gesture Editor. It's a really easy way for you to personalize the Iconia by setting customized gestures to do a variety of functions. The editor lets you first define the gesture and then assign a function to it. It couldn't be more simple. For example, you can launch applications, open websites, view your desktop and more. With the browser, just swipe from left to right to page forward and right to left to page back. You can even use a gesture to lock your computer.

The included SocialJogger puts all of your social media in one place. You can check for updates from your Facebook, YouTube and Flickr contacts at one glance. You can have three different windows showing the different features while the top screen displays the results from any of them.

Of course, since the Iconia has two screens, you can use the bottom screen to display two different sets of information or one big one. The Iconia itself opens to an almost flat position, making it possible to display one large virtual screen. This is ideal for displaying a Web page's content for less up-and-down scrolling. Of course you can display any open window to fill up both screens to see a word processing document, spreadsheet and virtually anything else. It's really up to you. Check the Acer website for availability and pricing information.

Explore further: Drivebot aims to touch driver bases for safety, savings

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Review: Iconia is dual-screen laptop, but why?

May 04, 2011

There's an amusing trend among gadget makers: They keep trying to improve their products by adding a second screen. All too often, this is less like adding a second patty to a hamburger and more like adding ...

BlackBerry Torch no challenger to Android, iPhone

Aug 18, 2010

Research In Motion, which has specialized in making messaging-friendly devices with physical keyboards, has struggled to come up with an answer to touch-screen devices such as Apple's iPhone and HTC's Droid ...

Review: Dual-screen Kyocera smartphone needs work

Apr 21, 2011

From emailing to Web surfing to taking photos, a smartphone can be a multitasker's best friend - unless all the tasks are making the screen feel too small. Wouldn't it be nice to have a second screen?

Recommended for you

Drivebot aims to touch driver bases for safety, savings

21 hours ago

Five Thailand-based engineers have developed a dongle device that serves as a fitness tracker for cars and have turned to Indiegogo to raise funds for bringing it forward. The attraction is that it is a simple ...

HP announces Sprout—a truly innovative workstation

23 hours ago

Hewlett-Packard Co has announced the development of a new kind of computer workstation—one that combines the power of a desktop computer with 3D scanning and projection—and adds a second display surface ...

Microsoft unveils fitness gadget, health tracking

Oct 30, 2014

Microsoft is releasing a $199 fitness band that also checks your email and even pay for coffee as the software company seeks to challenge Apple and others in the still-infant market for wearable devices.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Donutz
not rated yet May 20, 2011
I'd want to try it first. Like any new twist on technology, sometimes the theory is better than the implementation. In theory, though, this could really be handy (nyuk nyuk). Totally customizable interface for any particular function.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.