Toshiba's Innovative Two-Screen Libretto Tablet: What You Need To Know

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Toshiba announced on Monday a limited edition dual-touchscreen ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) running Windows 7 that will be available for purchase from select retailers later this summer. Called the Libretto W100, it could be a challenge to Apple's iPad, suggest some critics; however, unlike Apple's single-panel touchscreen computer, Toshiba's new UMPC sticks to the traditional clamshell design found in most laptops and netbooks. Toshiba did not announce pricing for the W100.

What are the Specs?

The W100 is powered by a 1.2 GHz Intel U5400 processor, and has 2GB DDR3 RAM, a 62GB solid state hard drive and two 7-inch (diagonal) touchscreens with 1024 by 600 resolution. The UMPC is running Windows 7 Home Premium and features a virtual keyboard with haptic feedback that can be configured in six different ways including full, numeric 10-key (number pad), and split thumb. Other specs include 1 megapixel Webcam with face recognition technology, microSD card slot, one USB 2.0 port. 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1. Toshiba did not announce a 3G option for the W100.

Toshiba has also included its Bulletin Board personal organization application, and Toshiba ReelTime software that offers a visual version history of your saved documents.

How do the Dual Screens Work?

The W100 can be configured as a traditional laptop with a viewing area on one screen and a full keyboard on the other. You can also open the device flat and use both screens as one slate--albeit with a break in between them--to view Web pages and other documents requiring more screen space. You can also use each screen to run different applications at the same time such as an e-mail application on the bottom screen and your Web browser or music application on the top.

The W100 also has a built-in accelerometer that lets you use the device in both landscape and portrait modes.

How Much will it Cost?

Toshiba has not announced a price yet, but Engadget and Fast Company are reporting that the price will be around 1000 dollars or more.

Where can I Get it and When?

Toshiba will be selling the W100 on its own retail Website, ToshibaDirect, as well as select U.S. retailers that have not been announced yet. There's no official launch date for the W100 outside of "later this summer," but Reuters is reporting Toshiba will release the W100 in Japan in late August followed by Europe and the U.S. after that. So it's possible we may not see the W100 hit American store shelves until September.

Why Limited Edition?

Toshiba is releasing the W100 as part of the company's 25th anniversary, and even though it is being sold to the public the device is still being referred to as a concept design. So it's unclear what the fate of the W100 will be in the long term.

Toshiba is not the only company developing a dual-touschscreen computer. Computer manufacturers like Asus and MSI have also been showing off similar designs at industry trade shows in recent months.

Robert Scoble looks at the Toshiba W100:

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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