As the UMPC market continues to grow, manufacturers need to be innovative in order to get noticed. Is innovation for the sake of innovation the right direction to take, though? Apparently Taiwan-based E-Lead Electronic seems to think so. Known mainly for car audio / video products, E-Lead recently revealed its new Noahpad UMPC at CES, and preliminary info leaves us with little more than a big question mark. The Noahpad’s specs are respectable but the eye-catcher is supposed to be the form and keyboard. E-Lead’s freshman UMPC folds open just as many UMPCs and laptops do, but the screen continues to fold a full 180° to sit flush with the bottom of the unit. The keyboard itself consists of dual touch pads that are supposed to somehow be conducive to blind operation as the user types…upside down. Hmm. Companies invest millions of dollars in alternative input technology but it looks like E-Lead might not be one of those companies. Has the UMPC market been clamoring for a device that will force its users to relearn the age-old art of typing? The Noahpad can also be used with the screen rotated open partially (as a standard laptop screen would be) leaving very little to separate it from existing UMPC offerings. We’ll have to wait for a full hands on before we come to any concrete conclusions but as of now, the Noahpad seems like it will definitely be eligible for a “WTF were they thinking?!?” award.

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Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.