Gigabyte's M912 nettablet

Only a year ago, the netbook was a mere niche curiosity—a promising concept, but one whose utility was far too limited to have mainstream appeal. Fast forward to the present, and netbooks have practically become a commodity product.

Fueled by an Atom platform that has become the de facto standard for the genre, the netbook market is littered with copycat designs and painfully devoid of original ideas. Some of the me-toos are better than others; a few, like the Aspire One and Eee PC 1000, are even exceptional. But I wouldn't call either particularly unique.

Gigabyte's new M912, on the other hand, is as close to a true original as any netbook we've seen. Like most popular netbooks, the M912 sports a 1.6GHz Atom processor paired with a 945GSE chipset and mechanical storage. The system also features an 8.9" screen, but unlike most contenders in the market, it has a relatively high 1280x768 display resolution.

There's more to this screen than just extra pixels, too. You see, it's a touchscreen—one that swivels and folds flat, transforming the M912 from a netbook into an, er, nettablet.

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