This may be nothing or it may be the very future of portable computing as we know it! As with all rumors, it’s probably somewhere in between.
Apparently Acer is working on a 15-inch notebook that swaps out the hardware keyboard and trackpad for a second touchscreen. The design appears similar to Toshiba’s already-available Libretto W100, though the Libretto features two 7-inch screens, which would make it comparatively tiny up against whatever Acer’s got cooking.
The notebook reportedly features an Intel Core i5 processor and runs Windows 7 according to website TechReviewSource.com, which claims to have received information and photos from an unnamed source. That same source apparently says that the machine is "still slow and buggy" but that Acer may release it as early as fall of 2011.
There are a few things to consider here. First, this could all just be a proof-of-concept for Acer and may never make it to market.
Second, if it does make it to market its going to have to offer features aside from the secondary touchscreen that make it more appealing than standard 15-inch notebooks. Ideally, it’d weigh far less than the current crop of 5+ pound 15-inchers and offer far longer battery life. That’s going to be quite a design challenge with two screens and a relatively powerful processor. Pricing it competitively would help, too.
Finally, there’s no guarantee that this would even be a consumer product. It could very well be targeted at hospitals or industrial settings, for instance, where it’d be optimal to switch between handwriting-based input and a virtual keyboard based upon various situations.
Still, it’s a pretty cool idea provided it’s priced correctly, is easy to tote around, and can manage to get the secondary touchscreen idea implemented smoothly. As with all rumors, take this one with a grain of salt—especially given that the potential release date is more than a year away.
More on Techland: Toshiba’s $1100 Dual Screen Libretto Notebook Now Available