CES: Razer reveals Switchblade, a concept touch-screen PC gaming portable

Gaming Netbook of the future, or bizarre concept device? Check out the Razer Switchblade and decide for yourself.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Razer Switchblade: gaming fetish item of CES 2011.
You voted the Razer Switchblade as this year's People's Voice award winner at CES 2011. Razer

LAS VEGAS--Every year at CES, there are the concept devices and out-on-a-limb concepts that inevitably grab headlines and rapt attention. The Razer Switchblade, announced today, is certainly one of these.

Razer Switchblade (photos)

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Described as a way to bring desktop PC gaming to a portable form factor, the concept device comes from Razer, a company known for making mice and computer peripherals. And yet, the Switchblade is a full Netbook of sorts, an actual PC product, albeit not one that's set for production yet.

The Switchblade is Intel Atom-based, with a touch screen and a dynamic tactile keyboard that adjusts its layout and configurations on the fly based on the game being played. Razer's concept video seen here shows the device in action.

Watch this: Razer Switchblade concept video

Quotes from Brad Gaff, director of gaming platforms for Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, sound bullish. "PC gaming continues to attract innovation with rich 3D graphics, high-definition video, and lifelike animation...The Intel Atom processor, combined with Razer's expertise in bringing gaming solutions to market, will help make it possible for consumers to have a powerful gaming experience in mobile devices."

Razer's CEO, Min-Liang Tan, believes that mice and keyboard development have led to a natural evolution to a full portable gaming system. "Razer isn't just about bringing innovation to the PC, but creating products that will change the future of gaming. The Razer Switchblade is one such product."

We'd like to be optimistic, but we've haven't yet seen an Atom Netbook that's offered anything close to the experience of a regular PC gaming laptop. The 11.6-inch Alienware M11x came close, but also utilized Nvidia GeForce graphics and a midlevel Intel Core CULV processor to accomplish the task.

Is the Switchblade a real product in development, or merely a demonstration of Razer's future directions in gaming interface technology? We lean toward the latter, but we'll provide more hands-on detail as CES progresses. Stay tuned.