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Dialogue demos 'total wireless' sub-notebook

Flybook even works as a tablet

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Computex We're big fans of sub-notebooks at El Reg, lauding their compact size and - crucially - low weight over more macho specifications like CPU clock speed, graphics chip fill rates and hard drive capacity.

Wandering the seemingly endless stands at Computex Taipei this week, we were struck by a rather impressive model from local vendor Dialogue. Its Transmeta Crusoe-based Flybook is a rather cute - and colourful - sub-notebook that borrows the best bits of the Tablet PC and provides comprehensive wireless connectivity.

Dialogue Flybook at ComputexThe 23.5 x 15.5 x 3.1cm machine weighs just 1.2kg, but crams in both 801.11b Wi-Fi and tri-band GPRS networking. For the completist, there's an internal Bluetooth module option, too. For wired connections, there's an 10/100Mbps Ethernet port and the usual 56Kbps modem.

The unit is powered by a 1GHz Transmeta TM5800 processor backed by 512MB of DDR SDRAM and a 2.5in 40GB hard drive. The graphics come by way of an ATI Mobility Radeon part, which is nothing to write home about, but sufficient for a machine like this.

The screen is a small 8.9in, 16:9 ratio, 1024 x 600 job, which would be ideal for DVD playback if there was a built-in optical drive. Alas, the Flybook's size prevents such a feature, although Dialogue will sell you a external drive. The screen is touch-sensitive, to allow the machine to work with a stylus rather than a touchpoint or touchpad. Like a Tablet PC, the Flybook's screen not only hinges in the traditional clamshell fashion, but can swivel round to leave the display facing outwards.

Dialogue ships the machine with Windows XP Pro or Home Edition rather than the Tablet PC version - it feels they provide sufficient note-taking and information access functionality.

The Flybook is well-stocked with outputs: there are both TV and VGA connectors, along with two USB 2.0 and two FireWire ports, a PC Card slot, plus microphone and earphone sockets.

The notebook comes in a rather natty bright red, glossy cover, though Dialogue also offers black, iBook-like white, silver and blue versions. Our quick snap fails to do the Flybook's looks justice.

Pricing and worldwide availability is not yet available. ®

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