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Computer maker Toshiba wades into the tablet competition with the Libretto W100, which can be used like a conventional clam-style notebook PC with a software keyboard, or turned 90 degrees for use as an e-book reader. Aimed at taking a bite out of Apple iPad sales as well as Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers, Toshiba said the Libretto would go on sale in Japan in late August and later in Europe, the United States and other markets. No pricing details were announced.

Powered by Windows 7 Home Premium and a 1.2 GHz Intel U5400 processor, the dual-screen device has 2GB DDR3 RAM and 7-inch (diagonal) touchscreens with 1024 by 600 resolution. A 62GB solid state hard drive, an ultra-portable weight of just 1.8 pounds and six virtual keyboard modes plus a virtual touchpad. The keyboards feature haptic technology, providing sensory feedback when the keys are selected.

Other features include an HD webcam with Toshiba face recognition technology, Bluetooth and wireless connectivity and applications such as Bulletin Board, which gives users greater personalization of their desktops with access to daily activities, tasks and projects, plus the ability to drag and drop photos, videos, links, documents and application shortcuts into one place.

"Since producing the first Intel 286-based clamshell laptop 25 years ago, Toshiba has continued to take a leadership role in bringing new mobile computing technologies to market," said Tim Bajarin, president of technology research firm Creative Strategies. "This new Libretto is yet another showcase of the company’s technological laptop prowess – they have their minds on the future and a unique, creative view on delivering innovations and form factors that provide a full computing experience in very small packages."

Toshiba’s ReelTime application helps users find files based on when they were opened with a visual history. With the flick of a finger, users can scroll through automatically generated previews of documents, photos, videos and more, filter by file type or use the calendar to go back weeks or months. The company said a limited number of the libretto W100 concept PC will be available for purchase later this summer from select retailers and direct from Toshiba

"Apple’s iPad is probably creating a new market in terms of consuming information, browsing and reading books," Masahiko Fukakushi, president and CEO of Toshiba’s digital products and network unit, said in a Reuters report. "But when it comes to creation or production , what we have been doing still has a lot of value. We want to continue to do both."