Eldorian pointed me toward a new device shown by Razer at the CES 2011: The Razor Switchblade 7-inch pocket gaming. This gaming handheld device is still in concept phase, but as I told Eldorian: “Razer is smart business”.
Razer has a Blizzard Entertainment license to make keyboards and mice based on Starcraft II and World of Warcraft. Razer is now jumping into the gaming handheld wagon, and giving World of Warcraft players a means to play the game outside their homes or office. That is so genius, and evil.
For months we have heard of WoW in the iPad with Gaikai (still in beta), but not everyone has or can afford an iPad. Thus, it’d be interesting to find out the street price for the Razor Switchblade to compare.
According to the concept shown at CES 2011 you can customize this gaming handheld’s multitouch displays.
It’s a bit hard to explain, if I got that right. Basically, you assign which keyboard-key will do [X] function, and customize the button image of that display. You can customize each game you play so that the keys shift to its custom arrangement. Warcraft III is one of the games shown in the concept photos with a customized Warcraft III buttons look. These are not stickies you glue on the keys. These aren’t custom keys like those sold by SteelSeries. No. These aren’t even keys. Each button is a tiny touchscreen display similar to the iPad.
The best way to explain this is showing you the following photos. Look at those custom-made buttons. How comes XBox 360, and PS3 haven’t come up with something like this for MMO and RTS?
Razer™ Announces New Mobile PC Gaming Concept Design – The Razer Switchblade powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor redefines Mouse/Keyboard Interface for mobile gamers with an all new ultra-sensitive multi-touch screen and dynamic tactile keyboard.
Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, Nevada – January 6, 2011 – Razer, the world’s leading brand of high-end precision gaming products announced today the development of an innovative concept design, based on the Intel® Atom™ processor, bringing traditional PC desktop gaming to a portable form factor.
The new Intel® Atom™ powered concept model, codenamed “Razer Switchblade”, brings an evocative level of design to gaming by replacing the traditional mouse and keyboard interface with an ultra-sensitive multi-touch screen, dynamic tactile keyboard, and an intelligent user interface that adjusts the configuration and key layout on-the-fly based on game content and user requirements.
The Razer Switchblade concept was created from the ground up by Razer designers and engineers, in collaboration with Intel; focusing on enhancing the entire user experience of playing the extensive PC game library on a handheld device.
“The main problem with mobile PC gaming so far is that no one has been able to port the full mouse and keyboard experience onto a small size portable solution,” said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and Creative Director, Razer. “By combining adaptive on-the-fly controls and display, we managed to maintain the full tactile keyboard in a miniature computer while saving valuable screen estate.”
“PC Gaming continues to attract innovation with rich 3-D graphics, high definition video, and life-like animation,” said Brad Graff, director of gaming platforms for Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group. “The Intel® Atom™ processor, combined with Razer’s expertise in bringing gaming solutions to market, will help make it possible for consumers to have a powerful gaming experience in mobile devices.”
“With our established focus on human interface devices, moving the mouse and keyboard experience to the next level was a natural step.” continues Min-Liang Tan. “Razer isn’t just about bringing innovation to the PC, but creating products that will change the future of gaming. The Razer Switchblade is one such product.”
About the Razer Switchblade Concept
The Razer Switchblade Concept is a breakthrough portable gaming device model that allows gamers to play on the go without giving up the precision and control ordinarily possible on a desktop gaming system. Integrating a multi-touch seven-inch screen and an innovative tactile dynamic keyboard, the Razer Switchblade Concept delivers the full desktop experience in a netbook sized solution.
Gaming on the Razer™ Switchblade is an experience unlike that found on standard PCs and laptops when the dynamic tactile keyboard presents the control-scheme of any video game visually and right at your fingertips.
When you start up any game, the keyboard intelligently recognizes the game’s specific interface and transposes the interactive visual elements such as command icons and control schemes right to the mechanical keys. Depending on the situation in-game, the keyboard can also change on-the-fly to give you only the controls you need.
And as the tactile keys are transparent to a vibrant, crisp display panel underneath, you’ll see those familiar icons in their original art design, bringing the game interface closer to you.
The Razer™ Switchblade Concept is a breakthrough portable gaming device design that allows gamers to play on the go without giving up the precision and control ordinarily possible on a desktop gaming system. The Razer™ Switchblade was conceptualized and designed by the Razer design team and incorporates an ultra-sensitive multi-touch screen with a innovative tactile dynamic keyboard that adapts and changes on the fly with the games being played.
For the full press release and contacts please refer to our press site.
Is there an online demonstration of the Razer™ Switchblade in action?
Yes – just watch the video here.
When and where can I buy the Razer™ Switchblade?
The Razer™ Switchblade is a concept design (think of it like a concept car) and will not be made available for purchase – yet. Razer will be working with selected partners to design and launch products based off the Razer™ Switchblade concept design. We will be announcing more information shortly so sign up on the registration page to get the news first.
How much will it cost?
Can I see working units of the Razer™ Switchblade concept design in action?
You can see working units at the Razer booth at CES – South Hall 3 #30754. If you are a member of the press and would like to schedule for a hands on session, please email Heathcliff.Hatcher@razerzone.com.
How big is the Razer™ Switchblade?
172mm x 115mm x 25 mm , although pictures speak louder than words, so check out the gallery.
Does the Razer™ Switchblade have an internet connection?
Yes, both WiFi and 3G are available on the Razer™ Switchblade.
Can I play any game genres on the Razer™ Switchblade?
Yes, the Razer™ Switchblade is conceptualized to cater to all game genres. The combination of the new dynamic tactile keyboard, a multi-touch-screen and, if required, a mobile gaming mouse, allows for the full desktop pc gaming experience and more.
What OS does the Razer™ Switchblade run?
What ports come on a Razer™ Switchblade?
MINI HDMI, USB3.0, Standard Headphone and Mic ports.
How do you setup a game for the Razer™ Switchblade?
The patent pending Razer software will allow you to build custom profiles for your favorite games or download them from our site pre-built for popular titles. Just populate the template designs with your favorite art and assign the keys or macros of your choice. Animated keys as well as static keys will be supported.
Isn’t Razer a gaming peripherals company? How did Razer design the Razer™ Switchblade concept design?
About 2 years ago, Razer made a secret acquisition of the engineering team of a global award winning ultra mobile handheld brand where the key lead engineers, who used to be from companies such as Apple, HP, Dell, joined Razer. The team has been working in the design labs of Razer in stealth mode for the past 2 years focused on the Razer™ Switchblade concept design to bring it to life as well as working on other skunk works design projects for the company. Razer isn’t just a gaming user interface specialist company – Razer is the world’s leading gaming hardware brand.
I thought Razer used predatory animals for the names of its products – why Switchblade?
The Razer™ Switchblade is a concept design and Switchblade is the codename for the project and not a product.