Two brains are better than one, says Lenovo, which on Jan. 6 introduced the IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook. It features a detachable screen, transforming it from a clamshell laptop to a multitouch slate tablet, and two operating systems, each with its own processor.
The 3.8-pound, cherry-red laptop runs Microsoft Windows 7 with an Intel processor not named on the current spec sheet. (According to Engadget, it's an Intel CULV Core 2 Duo.) When the 1.6-pound multitouch screen is removed, the device becomes a tablet PC, relying on a Qualcomm ARM Snapdragron processor and Lenovo's Skylight Linux-based operating system.
According to Lenovo, the two operating systems can work together or independently. And with Lenovo's Hybrid Switch technology, users can toggle between the two processors - a process so seamless, that a user is said to be able to surf the Web in laptop mode, detach the screen, and continue in tablet mode right where she left off.
"The IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook is a game-changing technology in the PC industry that lets [users] switch their PC experience within a single device to match their dynamic lifestyles," said Liu Jun, senior vice president of the Lenovo Idea Product group. "By fusing the functionality of a notebook with the slate tablet's rich multitouch entertainment and mobile Internet experience, U1 provides consumers the freedom to choose the device they prefer for any activity."
In tablet mode, there's a "Me Centric" interface, in either landscape or portrait modes, that enables users to switch between a six-section or four-section display. The six-section mode offers simultaneous multitouch access to multiple Web-based applications, such as e-mail, Websites and RSS readers. The four-section display acts as a media center for accessing photos, music, videos and documents.
The HD LED-backlit display is 11.6 inches. Battery life is approximately five hours for 3G Web browsing, with 60 hours of 3G standby time, and a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, two stereo speakers and a microphone with echo cancellation are all on board. Connectivity comes courtesy of Ethernet 10 and 100, 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth and WWAN. There are two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA/USB combination port, an external monitor port and a four-in-one reader slot.
The U1 hybrid will be available June 1, and while pricing will vary by region, the estimated starting price is $1,000.