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MSI Reveals Dual-Screen Netbook, eReader

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

Is it an e-reader? Is it a dual-screen netbook? CES attendees want to know.

Is it a dual-screen e-reader, or is it a dual-screen netbook? That's the question many are asking after taking a peek at MSI's 10-inch dual-screen device at CES 2010. MSI, according to Engadget, says it's actually an e-reader, however hands-on impressions by various CES attendees think otherwise. Sporting an Intel Atom Z Series processor (Z530) and Windows 7 Home Premium, this super-sized Nintendo DS clone offers more than simple e-book reading.

According to hands-on impressions, the dual screens act as one, allowing users to drag an item from one screen to the other (like you would on a dual-screen PC set with the expanded desktop). Since the device consists of two screens, a physical QWERTY keyboard isn't present, but rather exists virtually on the "bottom" 10-inch display. Multi-touch technology has also been implemented, however only two inputs can be processed in the device's current state.

MSI's dual-screen device is a prototype, but apparently, there is the integration of an accelerometer planned for the final version--currently the only way to switch from a horizontal setup to a vertical view is to tap an icon on the Windows 7 desktop. Additionally, the netbook/e-reader device looks rather thin when viewed from the side, however it's reported that MSI's device is actually rather heavy. That, of course, may change as the design matures.

As of this writing, MSI has not provided a name for the netbook/e-reader device, nor has it released specs other than what's provided here. MSI said that it plans to ship the device within a year, so hopefully we'll know more about what's under the hood in the coming months.

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  • 2 Hide
    christop , January 7, 2010 6:27 PM
    I want it...
  • 1 Hide
    kravmaga , January 7, 2010 6:34 PM
    This is far from the first time someone has had this idea.
    It turns out typing on a virtual keyboard without the physical feedback of the actual keys is a horrible feeling for anyone who's been using regular keyboards for a while.

    I'm sure you can find someone with enough geek-spirit to get good at using this but most pragmatic users will get frustrated from having to look up and down to find the keys and mistype while trying to instinctively find the right key.

    Furthermore, there is little use as of now for the second screen; unless it uses the tablet recognition system of win7 (which is actually a pretty attractive thought for asian language users), there's little use I can think for this piece of novelty hardware. Quite honestly, I'd rather they put the hardware budget into a better top screen with pivot and multi-touch and better physical keyboard.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 7, 2010 6:47 PM
    Dang! If it doesn't look like an over sized Nintendo DS! :o 
  • Display all 9 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 7, 2010 6:51 PM
    e-reader assumes a e-ink technology . This device seems not to have it.
  • 0 Hide
    burfordg , January 7, 2010 7:03 PM
    While it is by no means an original idea (someone was asking about one just the other day in the comments), it's still one a lot of people really seem to want.

    Remember, MSI is calling it an eReader, which means that the primary focus is on using it as a book, not as a nettop, which likely means that readers will be holding it on its side, most of the time. Personally, that's appealing to me, although not having a seamless display means that double-page splashes in comics are out of the picture. :( 

    When will someone come out with a full-color ereader/music/video player on a reasonable screen?!
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , January 7, 2010 7:17 PM
    Sexy.
  • 1 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , January 7, 2010 7:25 PM
    Renegade_WarriorDang! If it doesn't look like an over sized Nintendo DS!

    Or the OLPC project's future 2.0 design.
  • 2 Hide
    pocketdrummer , January 7, 2010 8:04 PM
    great if you hunt-n-peck, but touch typists will ultimately hate it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 8, 2010 1:15 AM
    It is a netbook. It does not have PixelQi's trans-reflective screen, so it can not be called an ebook reader, although the specs (CPU and GPU) really don't leave much other use for this device.

    If it does not have that B&W mode, and can not be read well in sunlight without wasting tons of battery, it is not an ereader!