LAS VEGAS -- Toshiba is showing off an under-development prototype at CES 2014 that the company hopes will be a perfect middle ground between different styles of laptop-tablet hybrids.
At first glance, this still-unnamed system looks like it works in a manner similar to Lenovo's Yoga line, with a 360-degree fold-back hinge that permits either a kiosk, table tent, or tablet shape, in addition to the traditional clamshell laptop.
The new twist in this model is that the keyboard also detaches from the chassis, much like a standard Windows hybrid. But instead of the screen pulling away from the keyboard and base, the front roughly two-thirds of the chassis pulls away, leaving you with a wireless standalone keyboard, and a tablet screen with an attached hinged stand.
The remaining part of the laptop body can be folded back to form a stand, while the keyboard sits farther away, making this feel like a small all-in-one. You can also use it flipped over as a low-angle drafting-style tablet, and a Wacom screen and stylus may be included.
The real kick is that the detached keyboard can be plugged back in upside down. That lets you fold the 360-degree hinge all the way back and end up with a tablet, but unlike the Lenovo Yoga, this prototype's keyboard and trackpoint (sorry, no touch pad) are hidden away.
It's an interesting potential solution to the design limitations most hybrids have, and playing around with early hardware, the hinges and connections felt like they worked well, and weren't overly awkward to use. That said, it's still a very complicated series of maneuvers to move through the different physical modes, and the entire thing may be a case of overthinking the problem.
This system currently has no name, price, release date, or specs, but Toshiba expects to release it sometime this year.
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