I know what you're thinking. "It's a laptop... and?" Very true, it is a laptop, but if you look closer, it's a laptop with...
...A TRACKPAD THAT DOUBLES AS A TOUCHSCREEN! *DRAMATIC CHORD*
I see absolutely no use for this in my life, but I did a doubletake and may have accidentally shouted, "Oh, shit, that's cool!" when it clicked in my head exactly what it was. For the musically inclined, there is apparently some sort of piano key program that can synthesize music. Again, I really don't see the purpose of that, but it's definitely shiny.
He knows when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad. And he knows when you've ducked out to go fight with the vending machine downstairs rather than work on that proposal that you promised your boss you would have done today. He is FlexScan EV230W-T from Eizo, a gigantor, low-powered (see: green) monitor that uses infared to detect if a human is in front of him. If he sees you, he turns on, if he sees the chair where your head is supposed to be, he'll turn off to conserve power. And if he knows when you're there and when you're not, what else does he know? Hmmm? You better be good, for goodness sake.
X70 Model pictured above
It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's a computer! This little device is one of many in a category called MID (Mobile Internet Device, sometimes UMPC/Ultra-Mobile PC depending on the unit) that seeks to bridge the gap between a netbook and an iPhone. So far, it's a device for a very niche market (see: ME), but I've got a feeling something similar to this is going to be the next real big thing, maybe, oh, next year or so.
I know I'm not the only one who would like to be able to be just a wee bit more productive than I'm able to on an iPhone (Apple: I can haz bluetooth keyboard nao plz?), and be able to do more than check my e-mail or have to squint to read anything.
Plus, it's better than doing this:
This little puppy, while you won't be playing World of Warcraft on him, can basically be your computer away from your computer. The X70 has a 7" screen, which while isn't huge, means it's portable enough to fit in your purse, and at 700 mg, isn't going to kill your shoulder like a netbook might. Battery life is supposed to be awesome from everything I've read, and it's supposed to come out of standby within about two seconds (due to using solid state drives, rather than a spinning HDD). Some models also come equipped with a 3G slot, so you can actually pop a SIM card into it provided you have the right carrier and start surfing the intarw3bz. It also has the now standard WiFi, Bluetooth, and other connectivity goodies, and lots of ports out so you could conceivably use it as your main computer. But I wouldn't suggest it unless you're in a real pinch. Oh, and it has a built-in GPS, so you can get a car-mounting kit and connectivity software, and it doubles as a mobile GPS unit.
In other words: *grabby hands*
There's also a similary powered, similarly priced 5" model, called the S5. It looks to be a hot item, because the American importer can't keep them in stock.
The only downside is there's no physical keyboard, but when you can get a bluetooth or USB keyboard/mouse combo and have a computer that can connect to the internet anywhere, and having Windows XP can have just about any program you need installed (and it doubles as a GPS unit to boot)... who needs hardwired peripherals?
Of course the real question is... will I be able to exert enough self-control to not buy one when they go on sale July 6th?
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just fit an entire computer into a keyboard, and just take that with you wherever you go? Like a Commodore or Apple II series of ye olden days. Isn't what you've always dreamed of? Tossing and turning late at night -- you and the Supah Keyboard, hand-in-handhold, skipping along to a cheesy sixties love song as the sun smiles down on you both, commenting on how cute a couple you make -- until you wake up. Alone. Empty.
And you're still stuck with that useless keyboard that is without its own CPU. If this sounds like a familiar situation, then Asus, the company that started the itteh bitteh computing commiteh craze might have just the product for you.
The Eee Keyboard is the above situation, perhaps without the happily chirping birds and mildly annoying music. A full-sized keyboard with a built-in PC including WiFi (and Ethernet), speaker, mic, and a 5-inch interactive display and touchscreen. It can also connect to existing displays, so you don't need to be squinting at that teeny monitor all day. Like the Viliv X70, I wouldn't reccomend this setup for a main computer unless you have to, or if you really don't do anything more than e-mail and update your Facebook status.
One day, someone's going to make a device that combines all of the functions and forms of today's cool gadgets, and we'll only need to carry around one thing rather than a cell phone, PDA, MID, netbook, Kindle, tablet PC, and desktop replacement. Until that fabled day comes, Pixel Qi is going to try and bridge that gap with the 3qi. It's a 10.1" netbook that has a screen with three modes: a black and white e-ink screen, and two different color modes for indoor and outdoor computing. If they slapped a constant 3G connection on top of that, they'd start to really tempt me. But for someone who might be in the market for a new computer/netbook, this is a product to keep an eye on. According to PC World, we can expect to see it on store shelves by the end of this year. (Curiously, they didn't specify which country we'd be seeing this in.)
I'm a little bit biased when it comes to e-readers. I like them. A lot. I bought a first generation Kindle a little over twelve months ago, and I haven't regretted it once. If I were allowed to join in holy matrimony with any piece of tech, my Kindle would definitely be on the short list, I love it that much.
Of course, like all couples, we have problems. Like having to format all my documents into a barebones HTML file so it'll be pleasing to the eye on my wee reader. Not having folders that I can sort things into, so if a curious passerby wants to check it out, I don't have to bury them in the middle of a Kindle How-To text so they don't accidentally stumble upon my slash stash. And the device is locked down almost worse than Apple's products. But still, the fact that I can read fic anywhere I want, without having to boot up a device or slaughter dozens of forests so I can read the latest fanficly epic is what's earned my deep abiding love.
But Plastic Logic is definitely going to try and sway my loyalties.
Their eReader looks rather gigantic at 8.5x11 inches, which is good for newspaper and technical specs (although I'm rather partial to the paperback-sized screen), will have wireless and 3G connectivity, and supports a variety of formats (as opposed to converting from a variety of formats like the Kindle.) No word on price for this one yet. But if it lets me e-mail files to the device, download/buy books on the fly, lets me organize them into folders, annotate and add comments that I can export for later use, and has the same or similar reading experience as a Kindle... it might be enough to lure me away.
I do like my Kindle something fierce.
For those in the market for en e-book reader, but don't want to pay for a Sony or Kindle (and who can blame you at their prices?), relative newcomer, Interead, is trying to give both of the heavyweights a run for their money. For what looks like over $100 less than a Kindle2, you can get a lot of the same functions and portability. (Minus the wireless, which is the clincher for me.) They also have their own marketplace of books, with more titles than both Google Books and Amazon. Not bad, not bad.
Our next g33kout session will be dedicated to Star Trek. Don't miss it, I'm bringing waffles! No, really. I am.