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Notebook designs evolve at CES 2010

New notebooks and netbooks on show in Las Vegas this week indicate the future for portable computer designs
By David Meyer, Contributor
ces2010lenovoideapad.jpg
1 of 3 David Meyer/ZDNET

This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has seen the unveiling of several interesting new designs for portable computers.

Lenovo's 3G-enabled IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook, pictured above, is one of the fresh concepts on display. The device can be used in a traditional clamshell format or as a multitouch-enabled tablet PC.

The U1's detachable, 11.6-inch HD screen accounts for half the 1.7kg weight of the whole device. When the notebook is used as a complete unit, it runs Windows 7 on an Intel ultra-low-voltage processor. However, when used as a tablet, it runs Lenovo's custom Skylight Linux distribution on an ARM processor.

According to the Lenovo, its Hybrid Switch technology makes it possible to toggle between the two processors, so a web-surfing session can continue uninterrupted when the user detaches the tablet from the main body of the U1.

Lenovo says the U1 will support five hours of 3G-based web surfing in either clamshell or tablet mode. The device has an estimated retail price of $1,000 (£625).

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2 of 3 David Meyer/ZDNET

Many new netbooks are on display at CES 2010, but the main upgrade from last year's crop lies in a move to the latest versions of Intel's Atom processor.

The HP Mini 5102, pictured above, uses the new N450 or N470 Atom processors, rather than the N280 used in 2009's Mini 5101. However, the new version of HP's business-oriented netbook also adds a few new customisation options that were not available in its predecessor: namely, a touchscreen and a detachable handle.

The 1,366 x 768-pixel touchscreen is capacitive and offers multitouch input. The basic configuration for the notebook, which comes with a standard 1,024 x 600-pixel screen, the 1.66GHz Atom N450 and 1GB of RAM, will cost $399 (£250).

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3 of 3 David Meyer/ZDNET

Some of the more intriguing devices on show are not yet on sale. Asus used CES 2010 to show off a range of concept products that go by the name of Waveface.

The Waveface Light, pictured above, is an "interface to the cloud", Asus said in a statement. The device can be used in a standard clamshell format or as a single tablet screen. According to the company, the touch-sensitive screen is "backed by a soft, flexible material".

Other Waveface concept products shown include the Casa, a widescreen display that serves as an entertainment centre and internet portal, and the Ultra, a flexible touchscreen bracelet that can provide the time as well as other information and services.

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