As expected, Sharp has launched its first entry into the crowded netbook space. And as hoped, Sharp is thinking outside of the box — but maybe a little too far.
The Sharp Mebius PC-NJ70A has all the specs you’d expect from a netbook including a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and a 10.1 inch 1024 x 600 pixel display. But in the spot where most netbooks would have a touchpad, the Mebius PC-NJ70A has a 4 inch touchscreen LCD display. This secondary display acts as a touchpad, but it can also function as a program launcher or display calendars, email messages, or other information. You can even use it’s handwriting recognition software to input text.
All told, the secondary display is a pretty nifty feature, and one that we haven’t really seen in full sized, expensive laptops yet, although Asus did demonstrate a similar feature on a laptop prototype at CES in January. But innovation doesn’t come cheap. The Mebius PC-NJ270A is expected to retail for ¥80,000, or about $814 US.
Now, Japanese computer prices tend to be higher than US prices, but I still don’t see this hitting the US market for under $600. And that makes me wonder whether we can really call this laptop a netbook. Sure, it has a 10 inch display and an Intel Atom CPU. But part of what makes netbooks stand out is their low price.
Still, it’s exciting to see companies like Sharp and Sony pushing the boundaries of the space with innovative new designs — even if the high prices put devices like the Sharp Mebius PC-NJ70A and Sony Vaio P out of the picture for some netbook fans.
You can check out a video showing how the Mebius secondary display works after the break.