2011-04-26

The Sony S2 tablet might make dual screens work, thanks to Android

There are some awful dual-screen devices out there. For example, the Acer Iconia 6120. It is a laptop where Acer made the wrong observation that tablet users love typing on glass and replaced the keyboard with a touchscreen [1]. Now Sony has given that idea another go and presented the dual-screen S2 tablet with Android Honeycomb [2].
This tablet has two 5.5" displays that each have a 1024 x 480 resolution.
The Sony S2 tablet has a clamshell design with two screens [2].
I’m always glad when someone tries something new in the tablet space (like Sony here or Lenovo recently [3]). And this time, the dual-screen idea might actually work. First, it’s not a phone where you have to solve the problem of how to use it quickly and where to put speaker and microphone. Second, the clamshell design is perfect for protecting the screen when closed. Third, Android is already prepared for multiple screens, because it structures its user interfaces as fragments [4]. Fragments were introduced for user interfaces that work on both phones and tablets. The idea is to break a user interface down into parts that can be presented one at a time on a phone and all at once on a tablet. For example, for an email app, fragments might be the list of all folders, the contents of a single folder and the current message. With the S2, one would obviously always show two fragments; one at the top and one at the bottom.
Left: one fragment per activity (=screen). Right: Two fragments on a single screen. [4]

Related reading:
  1. Acer's Iconia 6120: Are Two Screens Better Than One?
  2. Sony S1 and dual-screen S2 Honeycomb tablets with PlayStation Suite coming this fall
  3. New Honeycomb tablet from Lenovo this summer, with optional stylus and trackpad keyboard 
  4. Fragments | Android Developers

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