Netbook developers strive to compete against the pre-dominant tablet market by enhancing the use of their keyboard services for consumers.
The tablet market with its touchpad devices has given the netbook makers a run for their money. The present consumer generation cannot get enough of Apple’s iPad or HP’s TouchPad or RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook. These devices have given mobile computing a new identity. But in the midst of all the tablet mania, the netbooks have been left behind. So the hybrid device makers have struck on a new strategy to give their products an attractive quality. Netbook users have been provided with the choice to either hide the QWERTY keyboard or dismember it from the device itself.
Hybrid devices realize the user’s need for a proper keyboard set especially when they have to create content. In such cases, a touchpad screen does not put up well and a wireless keyboard provided by tablet makers does not come off as user friendly. This brings in the call for hybrid devices that offer a solution to the problem with the option of a removable keyboard, therefore giving the product the features of both netbook and tablet. Let’s look at some examples of such hybrid devices made by companies such as Samsung, Dell, ASUS, Fujitsu, Acer and Lenovo.
Starting with Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 Series running on Windows 7, the device holds a keyboard which the user can access by sliding up the screen. It also has the function of leaning the screen forward which transforms it into a netbook. The Sliding PC 7 weighs about 1kg and is 21.4mm thick.
Next, we have the Inspiron Dou by Dell, also running on Intel Atom processor and weighing 1.5 kg. The unique feature of this device is that the display screen can be tossed backwards and the lid can be folded down to convert it into a tablet.
Coming to Fujitsu’s Lifebook TH550, which contains an Intel Core i3 processor and weighs around 1.4kg, this device enables the function of turning the lid sideways and by changing the direction of the screen upwards the lid can be folded down to a keyboard, giving a tablet experience.
The Iconia by Acer takes a different take with its keyboard service, providing the user with a virtual keyboard onscreen along with a trackpad below. Weighing in 2.8kg, the notebook is heavy to hold and runs on Intel Core i5 processor.
Now, talking about Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1, it has its own special feature of allowing the user to disengage the display. For this, the netbook consists of a Core i3 processor to run Windows when attached with the display, which switches to Snapdragon processor for Android when the display is detached.
Lastly, we come to ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 which, similar to a notebook lid, consists of the function of folding the tablet on to the keyboard with a hinge for the keyboard’s slot. Space for a trackpad is created as two-thirds of depth and full width of the base is taken up by the keyboard. It weighs around 1.3kg and is 25mm thick. With the amalgamation of keyboard, tablet and touchpad and room for two-finger scrolling, the Eee Pad Transformer provides the user with a whole notebook experience.