Asus unveils dual-screen notebook/tablet hybrid

Computex—We're rarely surprised at trade shows these days, but Asus CEO Johnny Shih saved something special for the end of his press conference today. After discussing everything from cloud storage to all-in-ones to notebooks and tablets, he pulled out one more thing: the Taichi. It looked like any other notebook, and Shih took great pleasure in showing off the "beautiful black mirror finish" on the top panel. I couldn't help but shake my head and sigh; the glossy finish was covered in fingerprints and smudges.

And then it wasn't. In an instant, the fingerprints disappeared, overpowered by the backlight of a secondary display in the notebook's lid. This full-sized touchscreen offers both multi-touch and stylus input, and like the primary display, it uses an IPS panel with a 1080p resolution. The screens are fully independent, so different things can be displayed on each one simultaneously.

We don't have many details on the system, but Asus says it'll be available in 11.6" and 13.3" flavors. The notebook/tablet hybrid will purportedly be as thin and light as Asus' current Zenbook ultrabooks. Under the hood, you'll find an Ivy Bridge CPU, solid-state storage, and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi. Naturally, the Taichi will run Windows 8.

I've seen a lot of convertible tablets over the years, and the Taichi is easily the most impressive. It'll probably be expensive, too, but there's no word yet on pricing or availability.

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