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Dell's 'Dual Personality' Laptop 126

njkobie writes "Dell was the unlikely star of today's keynote at IDF, unveiling a convertible tablet. While that might sound a bit been there, done that, the Inspiron Duo can be used as a tablet or opened up to offer a keyboard. The screen rotates inside the frame, taking it to the netbook form factor. It runs on an Atom processor and will be available at the end of the year, Dell said."
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Dell's 'Dual Personality' Laptop

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  • breakable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey ( 83763 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @03:32PM (#33579092) Journal

    I like this but...
    I wonder how many times you can convert it before it breaks.
    Does dirt and stuff get in the mechanism?

  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @03:52PM (#33579380) Homepage Journal
    I have mixed feelings, having repaired laptops for a day job and battering plenty of my own.

    The idea looks good at first glance, because tablets use something known cutely as The Achilles Hinge. [] The dell mechanism that swivels the screen does not depend on friction, but probably a latch.

    But, there are a good number of hinge-related problems, namely cracked cases around the hinge supports. In this case the top clamshell dosen't have the weight and the sturdiness of a fully integrated LCD and, even with a latch, we may be left with a flimsy outer "picture frame" that may be prone to bending and even breaking. You know what I'm talking about if you've ever opened (carefully) a laptop clamshell without the LCD attached. Any hinges which depend on friction will render your gadget useless if they go limp.

    It's all Apple's fault, of course. They had the change to make something more than a glorified, overpriced, locked-down "phone-without-the-phone."
  • Re:Duo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sabernet ( 751826 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @03:52PM (#33579384) Homepage

    I want to know if it has or can be upgraded to have a Wacom digitizer. Fingerpainting is fine, and reading books with your fingers has an intuitiveness to it, but I've been waiting ages for a nice thin pen-enabled tablet.

  • by mbourgon ( 186257 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @04:23PM (#33579792) Homepage

    Behold its majesty. []

    I really wanted one when it came out, precisely because of the form factor. Given that it runs Wince 2.1 (Sorry, WinCE 2.1), I was probably better off.
    But a clever design.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @04:47PM (#33580076)

    It can do a lot a things as a netbook, but won't be able to as many things as a tablet or as well as a dedicated tablet.

    That's the problem with the Windows Tablet (and has been for years) not all the programs available will take advantage of the tablet. Programs that do take advantage of the tablet, do it so poorly that you prefer to run it as a netbook. Thus all you end up with is a netbook with a neat gimmick.

    There is something to be said about devices that are dedicated tablets. If it runs in Windows then I'm tempted to make a program that can use a keyboard so I can take advantage of an already large audience. There isn't as much temptation with iOS or Android because even though both have access to a keyboard (iOS via bluetooth) the devices do not have a ready made market of legacy devices that were keyboard centric.

  • Re:Duo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @04:50PM (#33580104)

    Have you looked at the HP tm2t? I bought one recently to use for grad school and it has a Wacom digitizer. It's only about an inch and ahalf thick, around 5 hours battery life, and is pretty snappy with the low end 1.2 GHz Core i3. They're not exactly cheap, mine was about $900 after a $200 discount, but it's significantly cheaper than other similar tablets.

    I wrote this post on my tm2t.

  • by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @05:33PM (#33580672) Homepage

    I must agree with this sentiment. It does look very much like a gimmick. I feel that tablet PCs (the convertible type) are a gimmick. Having bought one thinking it could be used as a tablet, I was sorely disappointed. The size and weight make them cumbersome, and the UI is completely useless (icons, links, menus are too small in Windows 7).

    If Dell were serious about making a tablet they'd ignore the convertible market and leave it up to the ruggedised designs then aim for the iPad/Galaxy Tab market.

  • Re:Duo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @05:34PM (#33580694) Journal

    Yup. From when I got my first 6x9 Wacom tablet, back in early 90's, have wanted a tablet display on it. At the time, I wasn't too concerned if it had to be hooked in to a parent machine but after seeing what the iPad and similar systems can do with size and weight, am really hoping for a real Wacom tablet.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @05:42PM (#33580790)
    I think the answer is a wireless connection between the top & bottom half.

    What are the things you almost ALWAYS need? Processor, screen, battery, wifi.

    Whare are the things you SOMETIMES need? Keyboard, DVD/Blu-Ray drive (hey, some people still use them for movies), touchpad ...?

    So, a tablet with a wireless "base" that has a DVD drive, keyboard, and touchpad, and which the tablet snaps into to protect the screen when not in use, seems the logical way to go. The main point is co-locate the screen and processor so you don't have the video signal sent through the hinge.

  • by tsm_sf ( 545316 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @06:10PM (#33581132) Journal
    Like an ipad with a charging dock that doubles as a keyboard. That's a pretty good idea. It's mine now.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine