Always Innovating 'Touch Book' Mixes Netbook With Tablet PC

It's hard to deny that the netbook market is largely stagnant. Even new machines joining the fray are forced to abide by Microsoft's hardware limits if they use Windows XP, which means that you'll be hard pressed to find a netbook with anything more potent than an Atom N270/N280, a hard drive larger than 160GB and more than 1GB of RAM. Always Innovation, however, has remained true to its name by inventing a somewhat different netbook in the form of the so-called "Touch Book."

This netbook is more of a tablet/netbook-in-one, an unusual machine that actually looks quite stunning. As for specifications, you'll find an 8.9" LCD (1024x600 resolution), Wi-Fi, 512MB of flash memory (which is split between RAM and NAND), a Texas Instruments OMAP3530 processor, an 8GB SD card for storage, Bluetooth, a 95% full-size QWERTY keyboard (optional), an accelerometer and a touchpad. A few unique points should be mentioned seperately. First, the unit packs not one, but two internal batteries: a 6000mAh cell and a 12000mAh cell. Also, there are seven USB ports, three of which are external and four internal, though some of those are spoken for thanks to internal Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.

As for pricing, you'll pay $299 for the Tablet portion or $399 for the "netbook," which includes the Tablet screen and the attachable keyboard. The operating system that comes loaded on is Linux, so you'll need to be savvy in open source or have a spare copy of Windows laying around to feel comfortable. Anyone care to take the plunge on a relative no-name in the netbook world? The hardware sure looks more interesting that most everything else that is out there from the "big boys."