So you’re two hours into a long-haul flight trying to watch a DVD on your laptop when the person in front of you decides to go to sleep, throws his seat back an obnoxious 30 degrees and shoves your tray table and notebook into your stomach.
Time to watch a bad in-flight movie? Not necessarily. Taiwanese notebook maker Dialogue Technology will begin selling a slender notebook in Japan, Taiwan and parts of Europe next month that’s designed for easier use on cramped aircraft.
Called the Flybook, it has a special lid that can be extended upward on a bracket, pulled toward you and then folded back, so the screen faces up at you. That means it fits neatly behind the reclined seat in front. The Flybook isn’t just for use on planes, however, and with the lid in its usual position, it functions like any other notebook.
The notebook is based on a low-voltage Core Duo processor from Intel running at 1.66 GHz, with Intel’s 945 GMS chip set, which has an integrated graphics chip.
The Flybook has a 12-inch screen and includes up to 2GB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. It will be priced at US$1,800 to $2,000, depending on the configuration, said Dialogue President Jack Lee. He hopes to sell it in North America too, but is still fixing up a sales channel there, he said.
Battery life is modest, at least in the Flybook’s first iteration: The standard, three-cell battery offers just under 2 hours. If you want to watch a full-length movie, you’ll have to invest in an optional six-cell battery, which gives four hours of battery life.
That should improve with a future version of the Flybook, which will incorporate Intel’s first dual-core “ultra-low power” processor, which was unveiled at Computex in Taiwan this week. Using the Core Duo ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) should improve the Flybook’s battery life up by about 15 percent, Lee said. He’ll also increase the Flybook’s hard drive to 60GB.
The Core Duo ULV just went into production and will appear in notebooks in the third quarter, said Keith Kressin, director of marketing for Intel’s mobile platforms group. He showed a prototype 12-inch notebook from Hewlett-Packard that also will use the new chip. It weighs about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms), he said.
-James Niccolai, IDG News Service
Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.