LITTLE KNOWN AMERICAN FIRM Imerj has previewed its 2-in-1 Smartpad, a prototype smartphone that transforms into a tablet.
The device runs Google's Android operating system and uses a clam shell design to offer one or two screens. Details are scarce but the preview video gives us a look at what could be the future of mobile devices.
In a nicely cheesy fashion the video said, "Is it the next generation phone? Is it a pocket tablet? It's neither, and it's both. You decide."
At first, the Smartpad looks like a regular smartphone but hiding at the rear is a hinged section which folds round to turn the device into a small 6in tablet. It is similar to the Sony S2 and Nintendo 3DS but hinged in the opposite way.
There is a touchscreen but what is also apparent is that the bezel is touch-sensitive at the top for what Imerj calls Smart Gestures. Using the top part to swipe, you can do things like move apps between the two screens.
If you then rotate the device round to the left or right it can auto-expand applications into full screen view. For example you can view a message thread across the two screens and then use one screen for the keyboard whilst still viewing the thread on the top screen.
The video also showed the device being docked to connect it to a TV. It was shown outputting video to the TV whilst browsing the web and playing Angry Birds on two screens.
The screens are Gorilla Glass, use Super AMOLED technology and are only separated by a few millimetres of bezel.
The Smartpad is a prototype, so don't expect it to be in shops any time soon. It certainly looks pretty cool but we're concerned that both screens will be exposed when the device is in the closed position.
It's also going to need a pretty speedy processor and a decent amount of memory to be able to cope with the multi-tasking shown in the video.
Imerj said that in the coming months it will release a Software Development Kit specific to the device so developers can take advantage of its unique set up. µ
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