The Touchscreen Netbook Debuts

If there’s one trend in mobility that we can all agree on, it’s the fact that wireless is coming to more and more types of devices; just look at the Amazon Kindle e-reader, or new digital photo frames on offer. But there’s also a convergence between two more traditional mobile sectors, the smartphone and the laptop. And Always Innovating’s new Touch Book speaks to both phenomena, as a four-in-one device that can function as a netbook, Internet tablet, e-reader or gaming device.

It straddles the mobile phone line a bit more than most netbooks, running on Linux OS and an ARM processor from Texas Instruments that is more commonly found in smartphones. It also has an iPhone-like accelerometer and 3D graphics capabilities to supercharge gaming applications.

Then there are the other gee-whiz features: It’s a touchscreen, as mentioned, but it comes with a detachable keyboard base for those that prefer a laptop feel, and several USB options for dongles. And, one nifty feature is a magnetic mount for sticking the tablet onto a refrigerator for photo applications, say.

It also offers a road warrior-pleasing 10-to-15 hours of battery life.

Always Innovating said the Touch Book can support the Android OS as well, should someone want to bring that to market. But Android-ready or not, there is a downside in the connectivity options: It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but no embedded 3G and no GPS, though the latter two are on the product roadmap.

Pre-orders are beginning with a ship date scheduled for the spring. The product will retail for $299 without the keyboard and $399 with it.

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