The netbook market is set to get a lot more interesting, if Always Innovating’ Touch Book is any indication. Revealed this week at DEMO 2009 in Palm Desert, Calif., the Touch Book is, well, a different take on the typical netbook. Always Innovating is billing the computer a combination between handheld PC, notebook, gaming device, and e-book reader. In a sense, it’s kind of a cross between an iPhone and notebook. The really intriguing twist on the netbook is the display. Its rotating screen is completely removable, becoming a touch pad. The magnetized Touch Book can also be opened 180 degrees and mounted on a wall or refrigerator, if that’s practical. Even if it’s not, it makes a great conversation piece. (see video below)

Another quirky thing about the Touch Book is that its USB slots are internal, designed that way so that cables aren’t accidentally disconnected.

The two-pound netbook will have massive battery life, between 10 and 15 hours. It can run multiple operating systems, and will ship with Mozilla’s upcoming web browser, Fennec, built for touch computing. It ships with a Linux OS and has a 3D user interface. Apple's also working on a 3D interface, and I can't wait to see one in action.

Though the Touch Book's features are definitely not standard for a netbook, the price is. The tablet itself will sell for $299, and adding the keyboard will cost an additional $100. Always Innovating says the netbook should begin shipping later this spring.

It’s great seeing a company bringing a funky new look and functionality to netbooks, generally utilitarian in design, while at the same time keeping its product in the proper price range.

[credit photo]

By Mark Alvarez