Jetting off to San Francisco last Thursday to appear at the live Netbooks and Tablets CNET Showcase event, I thought the most interesting part might be seeing which systems the guest vendors were going to demo for the live audience.
With Toshiba, Asus, Panasonic, Nvidia, Samsung, and Archos on hand, there were plenty of examples of both traditional Netbooks and touch-screen PCs, including a few on our most-wanted list. While the upcoming Asus Eee Pad didn't make it, two other very interesting laptops did.
First was the Toshiba Libretto W100. With its dual screens and lack of a physical keyboard, this buzzed-about system resembles nothing so much as an oversized Nintendo DS. When I first saw it in person a few weeks ago, I thought it seemed like a very clever approach, but one that might be a little too unusual for mainstream laptop users.
In fact, Toshiba likely agrees with that assessment, as the W100 is being pitched as a special project for the 25th anniversary of Toshiba's laptop line, and the company plans to make it available only in limited quantities. That didn't stop it from being hands-down the most popular product of the evening, with a non-stop line of Showcase attendees lining up to check it out. If you want to see more, there's a gallery of Libretto W100 images below.
The other laptop we were most interested in seeing was an updated version of the 12-inch Asus Eee PC. We recently reviewed the current model, the Eee PC 1201PN, with Nvidia's second-generation Ion GPU, but it failed to impress, as overall performance and battery life suffered compared with last year's Ion models.
This new version, the Eee PC 1215, which was spotted at Nvidia's table, is much more promising, at least on paper, with a dual-core version of the Atom CPU and Nvidia's power-saving Optimus technology.
Hopefully both of these laptops will make their way into the CNET Labs in the near future, and you'll be able to read full reviews and benchmark results. In the meantime, check out the video of the entire event below, as well as more images of the Libretto W100.