[CES 2011] To say that the Razer Switchblade prototype that you see above will revolutionize gaming might be travesty, but as to whether it will change the face of gaming? Perhaps. Carrying a 7” LCD capacitive touchscreen display, this little “netbook” that could, so to speak, is still in its prototype phase after being fleshed out for the past couple of years. What is the Switchblade supposed to do? Cut its way into a new market?
The Razer Switchblade is in essence, a portable gaming machine. You will notice its keyboard (which isn’t touch sensitive but will have tactile feedback) being unique in a sense where it works in a rather similar manner to Art Lebedev’s Optimus Maximus keyboard, where the keys are actually tiny displays in their own right, changing to suit whatever game you’re playing. We’re impressed with how DotA (Defense of the Ancients) looked as seen above, where all the keys have been “remapped” visually. There is the issue of mapping your favorite keys to its actions though, since all gamers are different, so hopefully Razer will allow the keyboard to be remapped individually. We will let you know more about this interesting portable gaming machine in the extended post.
One thing that Razer definitely has to work on would be its LCD display – will future technologies allow it to be played just about anywhere, including outdoors where sunlight will wash out most, if not all LCD displays to date? The Razer executive I spoke to mentioned that that is something they will look into, so keep your fingers crossed that a viable solution will be reached as the device reaches the market.
For all intents and purposes, the Switchblade is powered by an Intel Atom processor at the moment, but Razer won’t say what kind of chipset will power it in the future. They are currently in talks with a slew of different companies on the kind of processor that will see action inside, so you can still speculate whether ARM, Tegra or a Marvell chip will be inside then when released.
There is a USB port to help you transfer data into the device, although there is no word on whether it will use a tiny 1.8” hard drive or flash memory (we would think the latter is a whole lot more practical, although it will definitely raise the final price point to a crazy level – beyond that of regular consumers). HDMI connectivity is also supported, letting you hook it up to an external HDTV for big screen action. Wi-Fi support is being considered at the moment, although when you think of all the juice such a small device consumes, they might think twice before throwing that feature into the final device.
Right now, Razer is concentrating on the kind of library and software for the Switchblade, using their time to optimize the graphics, firmware and software support. Hopefully the final product will not be gimped.
We think that the Razer Switchblade, if successful, will not step on DS and PSP territories since they are both fundamentally different gaming platforms. How much are you willing to fork out for something like this?