Toshiba Debuted 5-In-1 Convertible PC At CES 2014

Convertible computers are nothing new. The concept of having a device that can transform itself from a laptop to a tablet is becoming more and more common among tech companies, though one company is looking to take this idea to the extreme. I’m referring to Toshiba, who is taking the idea of a convertible and expanding it into something that is capable of changing into five different devices.

Known to Toshiba as a shape-shifting PC, the device comes in three parts: a screen, keyboard and stand. These three components can be rearranged into different positions for different uses with the motherboard being housed in the stand.

With a simple twist and click, the device can be turned into a simple clamshell laptop. However, the device also has two different tablet models as well. One can be created by removing the detachable keyboard while the other can be formed by leaving the keyboard attached and simply folding it behind the screen like a traditional convertible PC.

The two other included modes are a “Presentation/TV” mode that involves the kickstand and a “Canvas” mode that allows the user to flip the keyboard 270 degrees, which is designed to make the device better for drafting with a stylus.

However, this is still purely a concept for Toshiba at this point, though the company tried to gather as much information on the device as it could while it was on display at this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. While on display, Toshiba was routinely tight lipped about pricing and technical specifications of the device.

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Since the device will be able to shift between tablet mode and PC mode Toshiba has said that it is considering installing both Windows and Android operating systems. Users would then be able to switch between each operating system as they switch between modes, with Android running in tablet mode and Windows running in PC mode.

Toshiba wasn’t the only company at CES promoting new convertible PC models. Lenovo also showed off its Yoga 2 and Miix 2 laptop-tablet hybrids while Asus also unveiled a convertible device capable of switching between both the Android and Windows operating systems with the simple click of a button.

This new concept from Toshiba, however, is extremely bold. While convertibles are becoming more and more well-known, I’m not sure that the market for them is quite there. I also find it hard to believe that average users will find a need for a device that can turn into 5 different things, albeit with two of those modes being very similar. As far as I’m concerned, this product will have a very niche market whenever it is released.

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