Always Innovating Touchbook coming next month, full specs

Updated on 25 June 2009 by

touchbook The Always Innovating Touchbook, which made a decent amount of buzz several months ago, should be seeing its first batch of devices released next month, in July. The device is quite unique as the screen can be removed from the keyboard and run as a standalone slate tablet.

Always Innovating just released some new info stating that the first batch would be out in July, however the software isn’t yet finalized:

We are very excited to have nearly finalized the Touch Book hardware. As you know, we are at the cutting edge of innovation with a new processor, a new architecture, a new design and new applications. The Touch Book Operating System will continue to be a work-in-progress over the next few months. As beta software (and not beta à la Google News), you should not expect a flawless experience by July. But don’t worry, we will be here to provide support, and we intend to push frequent updates so as to continue improving the user experience. With your feedback, we will be able to test, refine, and prepare for a final software release later this year.

It is an interesting situation that they have essentially finished the hardware before the software and will now be pushing units out to get feedback from early-adopters. We should be receiving a Touchbook from the July batch, so stay tuned for coverage. Full device specs below:

  • Texas Instruments OMAP3530 with Micron 256MB (RAM) + 256MB (NAND) Memory
  • 8.9 inch 1024×600 A+ screen
  • Main storage: 8GB SD card — we decided to change from Micro SD to standard SD, so that you can easily upgrade it
  • Internal USB wifi 802.11 b/g/n powered by a Ralink 3070 chipset
  • Internal USB bluetooth class 2.1
  • FCC, CE, UL-certified, 5V, 3.5A power adapter
  • 8.9 inch pressure sensitive touch screen
  • US Qwerty 24cm-large keyboard — around 95% of the size of a standard keyboard
  • Cirque Touchpad
  • Two Owolff high-quality internal stereo speakers
  • 3D accelerometer
  • Two internal batteries 6000 and 12000mAh — it can be replaced with a screw driver
  • 7 USB ports: three external, four internal, three of them may be reserved for wifi, bluetooth and keyboard
  • Bi-color silver/black case — see photos — with a beautiful dark-red back cover (we decided to go only for red for the first batch as it really jumps out, you won’t regret it).
  • Secured attachment system of tablet into keyboard
  • Independent magnet system for the tablet — we don’t want your Touch Book to un-magnetize all your credit cards while carrying it in your bag!

touchbook2 I bolded ‘pressure sensitive’ in the touchscreen spec above as I’m not 100% sure what they are trying to imply. One could say that all resistive touchscreens are ‘pressure sensitive’ because they sense a certain pressure on the screen and translate that to input. However, the specific denotation of ‘pressure sensitivity’ in these specs almost seems to imply that it will have several layers of pressure sensitivity, like that of a graphics tablet. While I think it is unlikely that is the case, it would be quite interesting to have several levels of pressure sensitivity in a small slate unit.

The new info also lists the software that will be shipping with the early units as well as software that is on its way:

  • Linux 2.6.29 with all the required drivers
  • Xfce 4.4 desktop environment
  • A unique 3D interface for starting applications with your finger
  • Firefox 3.0 and Fennec beta 2
  • Youtube and daily motion support
  • A video and music player
  • Abiword and Gnumeric
  • A chat manager, Pidgin
  • Mypaint 5.1
  • An ebook reader, Fbreader
  • A printer manager, Cups
  • All usual accessories (zip, picture viewer, dictionary…)
  • Support for most standard USB accessories
  • Java support

Good to see that Fennec is going to be on the device. If you’ll recall, Fennec is a mobile version of Mozilla’s Firefox which focuses on touch input. See our short video demo of it here.

There is also some upcoming software improvements which they hope to bring to the 1.0 release. Those include the following:

  • Skype compatible application
  • OpenOffice 3.1
  • A full Adobe Flash solution
  • Recognition of the Touch Book by iTunes to synchronize your music and video
  • A Google-maps-based application with GPS support (GPS USB not included)
  • Some 3D accelerometer-based iPhone games

The ‘iPhone’ games mention is a bit iffy. I’m doubting that they are talking about having actual iPhone games on the phone, but instead probably some accelerometer based games, and maybe some based on existing iPhone games.

I suppose we’ll find out the answer to our questions in July when we get our hands on one.

10 Comments For This Post

  1. Ben Lang says:

    New article: Always Innovating Touchbook coming next month, full specs http://cli.gs/Gtv1H

  2. Elmstrom says:

    Any remeber what battery life it has?

  3. JP says:

    Something like ~5hrs with the stand-alone tablet, and ~15hrs with the attached keyboard : the keyboard houses a battery twice as large as the one included in the screen part -> 5+(2*5)=15

    Of course standby figures are much better, we’re speaking of an ARM device. Expect several days, if not more than a week (especially with keyboard attached) of stand-by time with instant-on capability!

  4. turn_self_off says:

    sounds like they are in the somewhat same situation as the openmoko phones…

  5. drebin says:

    im not an expert, but i dont understand why they have to keep making new linux software over and over again. why not just go with ubuntu or android?

  6. Rumplestilzken says:

    The reason why they didnt go with Ubuntu or android out of the box is because they added a lot of functionality that you cant find in either….

    One BIG thing is the support for Java on the ARM architecture.

  7. Patrick says:

    @drebin

    Ubuntu is still in pre-alpha development mode (gosh, even newest editions seem alpha software sometimes) and Android is a mockery that wants to be a real OS once it grows up. ;)

    I think they had Angstrom edition like Open Pandora scheduled, debian would be better because of good packaging system but Angstrom would not be bad either.

  8. Richard De St Croix says:

    $300 touch netbook on it’s way – http://bit.ly/N4phz – not sure about the format but 10 hrs battery life? – will it be fast enough on ARM

  9. focus says:

    The price is the key,as usual.

  10. murphy says:

    I loughed when i saw the prices. The complete package costs 399$ when i add the display (299$) and the keyboard (99$) as seperate items in the shop they will cost 398$. This seems to be a hidden 1$ rebate :) I think this is a bad error, but i’ve seen it otherwise too in other shops, because 99$ is better looking than 100$ ;)

    Cheers, murphy

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