30.03.2010 23:18

Yang Yonchang brings full-size, folding keyboards to UMPC users

Category: new notebook models
By: Morgan Jones

The designer has created the iWEB 2.0: a 6.5” UMPC with a folding keyboard and a thickness of only 18mm

Folding keyboards aren't a new concept…

Folding keyboards aren't a new concept…

…but the iWEB 2.0 is only 18mm thick!

…but the iWEB 2.0 is only 18mm thick!

Designer Yang Yonchang has created the iWEB 2.0, a UMPC with a full size, folding keyboard. The release date, specifications and price of this machine are elusive. However, a series of photographs reveal some of the innovative gadget's features. The folding keyboard is a three-piece contraption, which features large 'mushroom head keys' finished with a 'soft material'. The keys certainly look comfortable, with sufficient width for accurate typing. Having a keyboard such as this would normally increase a device's height disproportionately, however the iWEB 2.0 still seems slim.

The design is attractive and presents a cumbersome concept in an uncluttered manner, with a glossy black and gray finish and unusual logo on the lid. It has a 6.5” capacitive touch screen, with multitouch support and a G-sensor. One diagram states that the machine's width is 160 and depth is 106, but it fails to mention what units are being used. They could be millimeters, as the hypotenuse would come to 191.93mm, which would give plenty of room for the 6.5” (165mm) screen and the surrounding bezel. If this is the case, however, then the 18mm height quoted is remarkable, especially considering the folding keyboard.

The machine's tiny size means certain features have been shrunk or removed completely. The touchpad is now a slim rectangle, which resides below the spacebar, and a trackpoint is placed in the middle of the G, H, V and B keys. A few function keys are placed on the right-hand side, and the keyboard seems to contain all the keys one would expect to find on a normally-sized one, bar a numeric keypad. If the aforementioned measurements are accurate, then Yang will have managed to design an accomplished product.

A larger screen version would have been even better, as typing on machines with such small screens has its drawbacks. Nonetheless, the iWEB 2.0 is a step in the right direction for portable computer users. It's certainly an advancement over the the sliding keyboard design of the Pomera D10, which has a disproportionately small screen. If the cost of the DM10 is anything to go by (27300 JPY/~294 USD), then the iWEB 2.0 is likely to compete with some very good netbooks on price.

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Author: Notebookcheck, 2005-09-20 (Update: 2011-05- 3)