Acer has launched the Iconia, a laptop-cum-tablet computer with two touch screens. The new dual-screen laptop has two 14 inch displays, including one in place of a traditional keyboard.

The Iconia, which was unveiled at a press conference in New York, features two touch-screens protected by ultra-tough Gorilla Glass.

The device can be used like a traditional laptop, with the second screen doubling up as a virtual keyboard, or can serve as a tablet-style computer, reports the Telegraph.

A tablet computer is a portable computer equipped with a touchscreen as a primary input device.

Users can spread the desktop across both screens, or use one to watch a video or surf the web, and the other to write an email or edit photos.

The device features palm sensors to detect the position of the user’s hands, and automatically launch the virtual keyboard when needed.

Acer said the Iconia, which runs Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, would introduce “a brand new tablet experience”.

“This level of commitment to touch technology is something no other PC vendor can compete with,” said Jim Wong, president of Acer.

The Iconia, which goes on sale in Britain Jan 8, will cost 1,499 pounds. The device uses Intel Core i5 processors, and a minimum of 4GB memory and up to 750GB hard drive.

The success of Apple’s iPad has prompted scores of consumer electronics manufacturers to launch their own rival devices.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which runs Google’s Android operating system, is considered one of the closest competitors to the iPad.