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Intel pitches netbook-cum-tablet 'hybrids'

Best of both worlds - or neither fish nor fowl?

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IDF 2011 Can't decide whether you want a tablet or a netbook? Have both, says Intel.

The chip giant today pitched the notion of a hybrid device, skinnier than a netbook but thicker than a tablet by bringing the latter a built-in keyboard.

It's not a new notion, of course. Dell launched the Inspiron Duo last year, and during 2011 the likes of Samsung, Acer and Asus have demo'd tablets with slide-out keyboards.

But Intel reckons the time is right to start doing such devices with proper tablet functionality.

So the hybrid has the touch capabilities of a tablet, yet is designed to be 16mm thick or less, so it's not as chunky as a netbook. Why buy a netbook at all, then?

According to Intel, because it's cheap. It expects hybrids to sit above tablets, pushing into the low-end notebook space, though well below pricey Ultrabooks.

Interestingly, Intel sees Ultrabook versions of hybrids too, though since Ultrabooks are specified with 13in screens, that's going to make for a big tablet.

Between netbooks, tablets and Ultrabooks, you'd have thought all the mobility bases had been covered, but why deny someone a netbook-cum-tablet just because other devices offer similar features?

Hybrids will typically have Atom CPUs - specifically 'Cedar Trail', Intel's next-gen platform due Q4 2011 - and 10in or 11in touch-sensitive displays. They may even come with a stylus, and certainly USB and networking ports at the very least. They'll also sport all the usual sensors familiar to tablet users: accelerometers, gyros, GPS, user proximity and such. ®

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