If there’s one thing smartphones and the Apple iPad have proven, it’s that there’s a healthy market for touchscreen devices. Computer maker Acer is taking that to the next level (literally), announcing that its dual-touchscreen Acer Iconia Touchbook is now available for pre-sale in North America. instead of a traditional keyboard and trackpad, the Iconia features two 14-inch displays (protected by Gorilla Glass) for double the screen real estate of a traditional notebook. Folks who want to type can pull up virtual keyboards to use on the lower display, but users will get around the computer using a new Acer Ring Control interface specifically designed for a touchscreen. And the Iconia runs Windows 7 Premium 64-bit.
“The Acer Iconia Touchbook delivers a computing and visual experience like no other,” said Acer America senior product marketing manager Eric Ackerson, in a statement. “Whether the Touchbook is used by a small business owner or a student, its unique dual screen design enhances the interaction they will have with their digital data.”
The Acer Ring Control puts a touch-controlled ring at the center of the Iconia’s lower display: users manipulate the ring like it were a giant knob, placing five fingers around it to move between favorite applications and features, launch a virtual keyboard, surf the Web, post photos, interact with social networks, and more. The Iconia also features “AppCards” along the sides of the Ring Control that scroll as the user spins the ring. Find the app you want, shift a finger to tap it, and presto: app launched. Acer’s bundled apps will include immediate access to photos and videos on the computer, a “Social Jogger” (and aggregator for Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube), clipping applications for Web sites and images, and TouchBrowser, designed to offer a dual-screen Web browsing experience. Users can also make their own gestures, manage power and media outputs—and the virtual keyboard comes up automatically if users put both palms on the screen.
Under the hood—or screens, anyway—the Iconia sports a second-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Intel HD graphics, 4 GB of RAM, and a 640 GB hard drive. The Iconia offers USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and gigabit Ethernet. The whole package weighs just under 6.2 pounds.
Pricing on the Acer Iconia is set at $1.199.99 in the U.S. and Canada. Again, pre-orders are available now, and Acer expect the Iconia will land at retailers in April.