Dual-screen Laptop Provokes Lust, Derision

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Dual-screen Laptop Provokes Lust, Derision

An unknown Alaskan company is attracting attention for a $3,000 laptop it plans to build that will apparently be the first to sport two 15.4-inch LCD screens.

Planned to arrive in time for Christmas, the SpaceBook from gScreen Computer Corp. will come with two identically sized LED backlit screens, one sliding out from behind the other in a design created by the Anchorage-based company, according to an article in Gizmodo late last week.

The Windows 7-based machine will also come with Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 4 GB of RAM, Nvidia GF900M GT discrete graphics, 7,200 RPM SATA drives, DVD player, and the choice of six or nine-cell batteries.

And it will weigh 8.7 pounds, the company said Tuesday by tweet, which is double the weight of mainstream laptops.

"It's absolutely the opposite of a netbook," gScreen CEO Gordon Stewart told Gizmodo.

gScreen is aiming the SpaceBook at designers, filmmakers, photographers and other creative professionals who are willing to pay for portability, power and extra screen real estate.

That strategy has potential, said PC analyst Rob Enderle.

"Whether you're talking about engineers or graphic designers, you're talking about a market that has money and is dissatisfied with the mobile products they have to choose from," Enderle told TechNewsWorld .

The company, which did not return an e-mailed request for comment, is recruiting seven to nine beta testers for its coming laptop, according to a tweet this week by the company.

Reaction among commenters at Gizmodo ranged from delight to sarcasm. "Every Graphic Designers Dream!!" enthused one writer. "Can't wait to pull this out in coach class on a cross country flight," wrote another. "I think I'd get the 2 laptops. Double the battery, 1/3rd the cost," wrote a third.

gScreen has not commented on the expected battery life for the SpaceBook. It has said it is developing a ruggedized version of the SpaceBook for the U.S. Navy, as well as a dual 13.3-inch model that weighs 5.7 pounds. It is also considering using AMD processors in addition to Intel's.

Founded in 2003 as an R&D company, according to the company's Web site, gScreen has apparently not produced a laptop for the market before.

The SpaceBook, which is expected to be sold online at sites such as Amazon.com and NewEgg.com, isn't the first laptop with multiple screens, though it is the first to sport two screens of identical size.

Most notably, Lenovo Group Ltd. last Christmas began selling its dual-screen ThinkPad W700ds. Aimed at the same creative professional audience as the SpaceBook, the W700ds sports a 17-inch main LCD screen and a slide-out secondary 10.6-inch screen.

Computerworld 's Brian Nadel praised the 700ds' "top-notch graphics" and fast quad-core processor, but said the unit, which weighs 13.2 pounds including AC charger, was "thick and heavy."

The main SpaceBook appears to shave almost 5 pounds, or almost a third off the W700ds' weight.

The SpaceBook's advantage in price would be much less drastic. The W700ds, which listed at $5,100 at release last year, can now be purchased between $3,100 and $3,900 online, compared with the anticipated $3,000 price for the SpaceBook.

This story, "Dual-screen Laptop Provokes Lust, Derision" was originally published by Computerworld.

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