The official website for E-Lead Electronic’s Noahpad UMPC has just gone live: www.noahpad.com. Along with the announcement emailed to me this morning came a full press release (below) containing several references to the Eee PC and some clarification about the "dual large touch pads" and backwards typing mentioned in the previous promotional material.
The two 2.76-inch squares are actually clickable touch pads that can be used as both a full QWERTY keyboard that "mimics the feel of pressing down the keys on regular keyboards" and an oversized trackpad to control the on-screen pointer. When the 7-inch display, which uses virtual screen technology to expand the viewing area to 10 inches, is flipped 360 degrees to lay behind the touch pads, it becomes "semi-transparent" and allows users to "see" their fingers and the keyboard.
This illusion was designed to "maximize users’ typing speed" because it allows typing with multiple fingers. Unlike most UMPCs, which rely on a user’s thumbs for data input, the Noahpad UMPC ignores the thumbs and puts the rest of the fingers to work. E-Lead is confident that this unique way of typing will quickly become "second nature," but I need to try it myself to believe it.
The company told me in a separate email that the Noahpad could be available as early as March 2008. Though my contact said that pricing would be divulged then, the press release (below) indicates that it will have a "similar range of pricing with the Eee PC," which means somewhere near the vicinity of around $500.
We’ll see what happens at CES and in the months leading up to the release. One thing’s for sure, though. E-Lead isn’t giving up on the "hang it on a hanger" and now "hang it from your neck" marketing angle.
Full press release below.
The leading supplier of car electronics in Taiwan
Noahpad UMPC by patented Noahpad technologies
Debut in CES 2008
The leading supplier of car electronics in Taiwan, E-lead electronics Co., LTD., will be announcing it Noahpad UMPC in CES 2008 in Las Vegas. The debut Noahpad UMPC is utilizing the “Noahpad” human machine interface (HMI) which has been developing for two and half years under E-Lead’s robust R&D system. With the similar range of pricing with Eee PC, Noahpad has different product positioning. Eee PC mainly focus on computer starter and emphasize its easy to learn and easy to use. However, Noahpad UMPC position itself as a second computer, namely, a pocket computer. You can use it wherever you like. No matter you are sitting, standing, lying or even you are walking, driving, cooking or gardening, you can use it comfortably. The characteristics of classmate, roommate and travelmate makes Noahpad UMPC a good company while you are studying, resting, or traveling.
According to E-lead’s interpretation, Noahpad interface technology makes two clickable touchpads can be changeable in between QWERTY keyboard and big size touchpad. Using this interface technology, Noahpad UMPC has only 2/3 size of Eee PC, but with non-crowded QWERTY function and big size touchpad. You can use it as a “Notebook mode”, or use it as a “Palm mode” if you fold it back all the way around 360 degree. Under the two operation modes, you can be typing or cursoring on the pad freely, not necessarily putting your UMPC on the table.
Furthermore, Noahpad UMPC integrates the virtual screen technology and Noahpad interface operation, so that 7”screen can be viewed up to 10”screen effect. Therefore, concerns in regard to the small size of 7”screen can be easily solved. A patented design of flip back structure aiding with special design holder can turn Noahpad UMPC an in car navigation device. This in-car navigation device carries the advantage of having super size screen in front without blocking driving vision. The unique structure of flipping back to 360 degrees can even turn Noahpad UMPC a digital photo frame and multimedia player. You can therefore put it or hang it everywhere you wish. Noahpad UMPC is built by using revolutionary technologies and has more than 40 patents worldwide. For more information, please visit our website at www.noahpad.com