As news fiends may remember, Razer announced plans for something called the "Switchblade," an ultra-portable gaming computer. Now it seems that the fabled device (codenamed "Project Fiona") at will be making an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show, which begins in a mere six days.
An earlier video for the Switchblade, narrated by Razer CEO and "Most Serious Man on Planet Serious" Min-Liang Tan, gives an overview of the device. For those unfamiliar with it, the conceit is that it's essentially a gaming netbook. However, the main selling point is that every key on your keyboard is capable of displaying a separate image. While the QWERTY layout is the default setting, one can customize his or her layout for each game - for example, WoW players can have an icon for each of their abilities, essentially turning the keyboard into a giant controller - for a more efficient, intuitive experience. As for mouse controls, gone is the trackpad; rather, users are given the option of connecting a mouse via USB (whether the Switchblade supports Bluetooth is unknown) or making use of the "ultra-sensitive, multitouch screen."
It's an interesting idea, and does address my principal complaint with touchscreen keyboards: the lack of tactile feedback. Being a bitter old man, forever waiting to be plucked off a world that I simply no longer understand, I can't see myself ever leaving the old-timey charm of my clicky friend - take that, Star Trek.
As for those delicious, delicious pixels: Readers will be thrilled to know that with the zippy Atom processor, you can rest assured that you, intrepid gamer, can enjoy the cutting-edge, visual bounty of titles such as World of Warcraft, or... Quake III.
Jabs aside, and as a personal note, let me say that Razer does make some rather fine keyboards. I currently use the BlackWidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard. I've had no problems whatsoever, and it remains one of the greatest things I've ever owned. I'm really not sold on the idea of Switchblade, though for those fervent MMO enthusiasts, the crux of Razer's idea does offer some interesting prospects. The company currently has a keyboard with similar functionality (albeit with fewer fully-customizable buttons) on their website for a whopping $249.
No pricing or release date had been announced, but those interested should check the news coming out of CES January 10-13th!