Netbooks aren’t known for innovation. In fact, most of them look nearly identical and seem to float out of the same handful of factories in Taiwan. However, Sharp managed to puff some much-needed fresh air into to the category this week with the debut of the Mebius NJ70A, the first netbook of its type to boast an optical LCD screen where the touchpad normally goes.
Unlike the typical undersized netbook track pad, Sharp’s new Mebius adopts a generous four-inch model more akin to what you might find on a full-sized notebook. And it’s not just a track pad, it’s a secondary display with impressive 854 x 480 pixel resolution and an LED backlight. That means you can use it for everything from ordinary desktop mousing to playing a virtual piano, writing your name, or adjusting an equalizer by dragging the knobs in real time. And it supports multi-touch, so pinching, stretching, and all the other two-fingered tomfoolery you’re used to will work with it, too.
Sharp seems have poured the majority of its R&D into fitting the little LCD into the palm rest, because not much else on this machine really stands out. Other specs include a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive – pretty much the netbook status quo.
Right now, the Mebius NJ70A remains a Japanese-only release, but popular U.S. importer Dynamism recently listed the notebooks for pre-order. Innovation doesn’t come cheap though – especially when you have to fly it over from Japan – so you’ll have to shell out $999 for the privilege of two screens in one notebook. More information can be found on the translated version of Sharp’s product page.
Sharp Mebius NJ70A Netbook with LCD Track Pad
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