Asustek's Taichi hybrid notebook/tablet may not retain its unique status for very long when it is expected to hit the market later this year. Lenovo is reportedly planning with a similar dual-screen device as well.
The Taichi is among the very few truly innovative mobile computing products we have seen this year and carries the potential to bridge the gap between the convenience of content consumption on tablets with the productivity capability of a traditional notebook. Unfortunately, the Taichi and its dual touch screens isn't cheap to manufacture. The BOM alone is estimated to ring in at about $900. Once you add assembly, packaging, shipping, overhead cost such as marketing and administration and apply a 20 percent retail margin, it's unlikely to see the Taichi become available form much less than $1,400 - if it enters production.
PC vendors typically shy away from any notebook that has to retail for more than $1,000, because it is generally assumed that only Apple can effectively justify such a high price tag. However, noticeable product innovation in the PC space could change that mindset. Razer's Blade recently demonstrated that even higher prices can be achieved with unique product designs. Lenovo would be facing similar road blocks, but healthy competition in this space could help bring the estimated retail price of this class of products down to a more digestible number closer to $1,000.
Lenovo did not confirm plans for a dual touch screen notebook.