Italian vendor Dialogue has launched the Flybook, an ultra-portable full-featured tablet notebook complete with WLAN, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G and GPS functionality.
The vendor has also outlined plans to sign a gaggle of Australian distributors, retailers, service providers and telecommunications carriers to punt the product, which it believes is unique in the marketplace.
Shaddi Haddad, newly-appointed chief of Australian operations at Dialogue, said the Flybook was a full-featured hybrid notebook and swivel-screen tablet with mobile phone and GPS functionality.
The company would sign two major distributors, two carriers and a support services provider for Australia within four to six weeks. About 100 resellers were sought, Haddad said.
"Our main focus internationally has been Europe and the UK. We launched in the US two weeks ago and we're just coming on board in the Asia-Pacific," he said.
The Flybook had been on the world market seven months but Dialogue was now launching its Australian push, showing the product at CeBIT in Sydney and Computex in Taiwan, he said.
Dialogue was operating out of temporary premises in Sydney's North Ryde but was seeking a site for an Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney, he said.
"We're actually bedding down agreements with a services provider to do warranty and support locally," he said. "Our model is 100 percent channel."
Flybook's hybrid functionality had been sparking intense interest at CeBIT in Sydney last week. "It's a cross-over product, mid-way between a really small laptop and a PDA," Haddad said.
So far, the company had won about 17 percent of the European tablet market, but he couldn't release further detail, Haddad said.
The Flybook comes in six colours: black, blue, red, yellow, white and platinum. A handbag-type carrybag or briefcase-type carryall were included, Haddad said.
Haddad said the ultraportable, which weighed 1.2kg, had WAN connectivity to cover 2G, 2.5G, 3G, Wi-Fi-based WLAN and Bluetooth. It had FireWire, USB, LAN, PCMCIA and LAN ports too.
"You get the GPS receiver built into it and optional GPS antennae," Haddad said. "You add the mapping software."
Dialogue plans to offer a three year warranty and on-site support through its local service provider, Haddad added.
The company believed it was the world's smallest tablet so far, he said.
The Windows XP Professional for Tablet PC-loaded Flybook was 235mm x 155mm. Users could plug in a SIM card to make GSM voice calls or surf the web via GPRS, he said.
"You're not using a 'lite' OS," Haddad said.
Specifications released by the company boast for the $3499 Flybook a 1GHz Transmeta Crusoe TM-5800 processor, 512MB of DDR RAM, 8.9-inch TFT active matrix touchscreen display and 40GB hard drive.
The hard drive was upgradeable to 160GB and the memory to 1.5GB.
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