Last year, computer maker Acer raised some eyebrows at CES with its Acer Iconia notebook, which replaced a notebook’s traditional keyboard with a second touch-sensitive display that could be used to show content—but also be used as a keyboard and customizable controller for media, applications, and more. At this year’s CES, new notebook manufacturer NajmTek plans to step into the same game with its U-Book, focusing on multilingual users. The advantage of the second touchscreen display is that it can handle a wide variety of keyboard layouts supporting many different languages—and users with truly specialized needs—think video editing or 3D software—will be able to design their own input layouts, even in an app-by-app basis.
NajmTek has been talking about the U-Book since 2010, but intends to launch the device at this year’s CES show. So far, technical details on the U-book are sketchy: NajmTek says it’ll be offered with either dual-core or quad-core processors, Nvidia GeForce Go discrete graphics, and either a 250 or 500 GB hard drive. The U-Book will also sport a usual slate of notebook connectivity and accessories, including an HD webcam, memory card reader,Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and “a kind of HDMI output.” Users will be able to use the keyboard with their fingertips—NajmTek says the onscreen keyboards are the same size as their physical counterparts—or using a stylus.
It’s not clear whether NajmTek intends the U-Book to be a general purpose device, but it could certainly find adopters amongst multilingual writers and translators who have to travel for their work. With the company’s Namj Soft keyboard, users can change the color of their keyboard (globally or on a key-by-key basis), set up shortcut keys, change key size, and change order and placement of keys. Users can also switch between keyboards on the fly, without restarting the computer or relaunching applications. NajmTek also plans to include some non-standard keyboard designes, including a trackpad, calculator, launch key overlays, and more.
NajmTek is expected to announce pricing and availability information at CES 2012.