Unless you've been sitting under a 80286 processor for the last several years, you're very aware that it's not the newest Apple Nehalem Mac Pros or even Windows 7 that is really the most relevant news in consumer computing these days. No, that badge of honour belongs to the humble and wee sized segment of computers known as netbooks, like the Acer Aspire One or these feature rich Touch Book, which was specifically designed with utility and style in mind for mobile computing. But as much as we love designed Fred Bould's clever Touch Book design, with it's various configurations that take it from laptop to tablet, what would take this further is an operating system specifically built from the ground up for netbook use...
We're already in love with the Touch Book's removable screen for tablet mode, the magnetic mount and ARM-based processor that is reported to provide 10 to 15 hours of battery life in a form factor that weighs less than 2 pounds. But what we're really hoping to do is forgo the whole Kindle 2 setup and partner up the Touch Book with the Linux based JoliCloud operating system, which was designed specifically for netbooks like the Touch Book. This soon to be released operating system has been all the buzz lately, thanks to the preview image above showcasing a large icon based system that recognizes the user interface needs of working on a smaller screen, alongside word of an optimized OS that boots faster and speeds up the normal tasks associated with netbook use. The JoliCloud team already has their beta OS running perfectly on all the Asus Eee PC and all the Atom netbooks, including the Dell Inspiron Mini, so it looks like a release is imminent.
The Touch Book is currently only available as a pre-order, in a $299 tablet form (the one we're interested in) or a $399 keyboard netbook form. We're hoping to get our eager beaver hands on one of these machines in the near future for review. In the meantime, the specs for both Touch Book models are:
- 9.4" x 7" x 1.4" for 2 lbs (with keyboard)
- ARM Texas Instruments OMAP3 chip
- 1024x600 8.9'' screen
- Storage: 8GB micro SD card
- Wifi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth
- 3-dimensional accelerometer
- Speakers, micro and headphone
- 6 USB 2.0 (3 internal, 2 external, 1 mini)
- 10h to 15 hours of battery life
Check out more about how netbooks have changed the PC landscape over at Wired's Gadget Lab which discusses other netbook OS's available or in development like Moblin, Cloud OS, Winki and even the slim-shady Windows 7 Starter.