CES: NEC dual-screen tab great for packed trains

NEC's LT-W Cloud Communicator, weighing only 18 ounces, is a compact Android dual-screen tablet with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and optional 3G connections.

NEC's LT-W Cloud Communicator tab features a travel app with mapping and sights info. Tim Hornyak/CES

LAS VEGAS--We've seen a few dual-screen devices at CES so far, including the massive Kno Textbook Tablet and the 14-inch hybrid tablet-laptop Acer Iconia. Japan's NEC, though, has introduced a dual-screen tablet compact enough to use on those notoriously crowded Tokyo trains.

The LT-W Cloud Communicator has two 7-inch TFT LCD touch screens and weighs only 530 grams (18.6 ounces). It feels like it can almost fit in a large pocket, and would fit well in a satchel or purse.

The device, which runs Google's Android 2.1 operating system on an ARM Cortex processor, has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and optional 3G connections. It has a 3.0 megapixel camera, a speaker, an SDHC card slot, USB connectivity, as well as GPS navigation and an accelerometer to change display orientation. Battery life is about five hours.

Manipulating screen content is a snap with the included stylus, which allows handwriting input, or circling and cutting out blocks of text from, say, a newspaper article. The LT-W's bright split screens seem made for reading manga comics, a popular time killer for Japanese commuters, or paging through e-books.

The demo device had a few onboard apps, including a travel feature (above) that shows a map of your destination on one screen, and info on local sights and activities on the other. Further possibilities include watching a lecture on the left screen and taking notes with the stylus on the right.

NEC has a software development kit for the LT-W to increase the number of available apps. The tab is slated to come out later this year in Japan at an undisclosed price.

The company released the 7-inch, single-screen LT-S tablet (weighing 370 grams) last November for about $520, so the LT-W could go for at least $800.

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