Usually known for myriad clones of popular devices such as the iPad, Chinese manufacturers can also sometimes produce something more interesting and original, with the recently revealed clamshell Android MID shown above being a prime example. Currently thought to be a prototype from Dion Computers without a final name or model number, the unit is a fascinating hybrid device combining an Android smartphone, tablet, and handtop into one design. Probably the closest existing device we have seen to compare it to is the fairly similar Sharp IS01 Android clamshell, but unlike the IS01's older Android 1.6 OS, the Dion device is currently using Android 2.1.
Looking very much like a miniature notebook PC when closed, the clamshell reveals a Samsung-sourced 4.8-inch WVGA capacitive LCD touch screen with LED backlighting and support for multi-touch as well as a full QWERTY keyboard which looks perfect for thumb typing when opened. The thin screen bezel also conceals a small 1.3MP webcam and microphone for video calling/conferencing.
Moving on to the internal hardware, the prototype is currently powered by a dual-chip arrangement of a Marvell PXA935 processor and NPX5209 chipset, which I assume is a DSP co-processor attached to the main CPU. Known to be one of Marvell's most powerful mobile chips, the PXA935 is a custom Marvell design featuring the "Sheeva" Tri-core architecture supporting the ARMv7 instruction set used by ARM Cortex processors, as well as the older ARMv5TE and ARMv6 instructions. No clock speed is mentioned, but the specifications of the PXA935 range from a minimum of 624MHz to a maximum of 1+GHz.
The device also includes a full complement of wireless connectivity including 2G GSM (voice), 3G WCDMA (data/voice), b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM radio, and TV reception. Unfortunately, being a prototype, no further hardware details are available apart from the fact that it supports microSD cards up to 32GB for additional storage.
Some other small touches included in the design are a small LED display on the side of the case to show information such as caller ID and date and time. There's also an optical mouse located on the top right of the keyboard.
Overall, the Dion Android clamshell looks to be a fascinating and impressive hybrid device that combines and replaces several devices with a single versatile form factor. It's hard to say whether it could successfully replace a smartphone/e-reader/MID/PMP/netbook without some hands-on time with it, but the product seems to have a lot of potential.
The big question now is when or if we will get to see the Dion clamshell hit the market, whether it will be available internationally, and of course how much it will cost. The device is said to still be in the prototype stage, so it's hard to get any answers to these questions currently, but hopefully more details will be forthcoming in the near future. What do you think of the Dion Android Clamshell? Do you think such a device could replace several of your gadgets?