So you thought the inclusion of a QWERTY keyboard in the main form factor was only restricted to the e-reader domain and won’t ever spill over to the tablet segment. In fact, e-readers too are being increasingly seen adopting a touchscreen approach with the most notable exception to this design trend is the Kindle which still sees the justification of having a full fledged keyboard below the main reading area even in the new and much improved Kindle 3.
But then, here is a tablet PC that is characterized by the presence of a QWERTY keyboard below the 7 inch display, something that would remind one of the Kindle DX. Its the Newpad NP711 tablet that has been brought forth by the Beijing based company Newsmy. This perhaps is also the first tablet device in recent times to feature a complete keyboard below the screen. This, while tablets are supposed to be slick devices with a touch sensitive interface and are seen as a replacement of notebook PCs but without a physical keyboard.
The tablet though manages to impress with its unconventional looks that is done up in an attractive shade of white. The screen can boast of a 4:3 aspect ratio and (SVGA) resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. Thing on the other side of it is however a bit less impressive though at the same time, there is enough to pull off a surprise or two, like the 1 GHz RK2818 processor from Rockchip that has earned a fair bit of respect through out the tech world.
However, the operating system is Android 2.1 when its the Android 2.2 Froyo that everyone is clamoring for as a bare minimum. The Newpad NP711 is capable of playing back 720P videos without any fuss and has excellent audio and video codec base built into it. While its not known how much of internal memory the Newpad NP711 come with by default, there is still the microSD cards route to jack up storage up to a maximum of 32 GB each time.
These apart, the Newpad NP711 can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G and includes a USB 2.0 port and an accelerometer for automatic screen orientation changes. The 1600mAh li-ion battery ensures the tablet to continue operating for 6 hours Wi-Fi kept on all the time.
The Newpad NP711 however is unlikely to ever reach markets outside of China where its expected to go on sale soon. Pricing details has been kept under wraps as of now. In any case, it would be interesting to see if more tablet PC manufacturers adopt the Newpad NP711’s design theme that itself is classified under the ‘interesting and unconventional designs’ category.