At CeBIT Asus showed off a new concept for a laptop that gets rid of the keyboard in favor of a second screen. The two screens are both touch, and when coupled with software allows for virtual interface devices (such as resizable keyboards and trackpads) to be implemented.
Sadly, this dual panel laptop is currently the product of a corporate-sponsored entry to a design competition, so it is entirely possible that it will never hit the market. Though, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it will.
And so it has begun. CES is the time for companies to show off future products, and that's exactly what Asus is doing with its prototype keyboard PC the company is calling the Eee Keyboard.
A fully functional computer sits inside the QWERTY keyboard, and several ports run along the top edge, including two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and audio in/out ports. The sub 2-pound keyboard also sports an integrated microphone and speakers, and comes equipped with WiFi capability and support for Ultra-wideband wireless HDMI.
The laundry list of features doesn't stop there. On the side of the keyboard, Asus has installed a mini touchscreen. SlashGear spent some hands on time with the prototype and says the main menu grants access to the calendar, photo gallery, media player, and an internet browser, in addition to other usability apps.
Not all prototypes shown at CES ever make it to market, but this is one we wouldn't mind seeing on retail shelves.
Even notebooks and PCs that earn Maximum PC's coveted Kick Ass award leave room for improvement. Take Gateway's stellar P-7811FX gaming notebook, for instance. Somehow, Gateway managed to cram a bevy of high componentry into a package that's priced way below what gamers are accustomed to paying for pixel pushing laptops. But while the 9800M GTS and 4GB of DDR3 RAM are noteworthy high points, the integrated speakers and poor placement of the optical drive's eject button are both less than ideal. More SATA ports would make for welcome additions, too.
We all have different ideas as to what's important when it comes to desktop and mobile PCs, but we're ultimately left at the mercy of the manufacturer. Think you can do better? In a joint effort between Asus and Intel, your ideas can be heard and shared, and might even materialize on an actual shipping product.
That's the concept behind WePC.com, a new site by Asus and Intel that encourages visitors to share ideas and even create what they would consider to be a Dream PC. After selecting from three different categories -- Gamer PC, Notebook, and Netbook -- you can describe your idea(s) and name your creation, and even upload an image of what you're envisioning. Selecting the Dream PC option gives you even more options, including the ability to post a YouTube video, and greater control over the specifics, like what ports should be included, whether a large hard drive or an SSD is more important, and much more.
Once published, other community members can vote on your creation and leave comments. And if intriguing or popular enough, Asus might even build it. With Intel inside, of course.
What do you envision? Hit the jump and tell us all about it.
Web magazine Yanko Design sports a tag line that reads 'Form over function,' but one of its newest entries, the Glide Keyboard from Weston Boege, appears to have neither. The conceptial keyboard/mouse hybrid is a design that attempts to fuse both input devices into a single product. Underneath the keyboard would sit an optical sensor for tracking the keyboard's movement, and low friction pads purportedly make it easy to nudge the peripheral around your desk space. Let's break this one down.
We like funky looking gadgets just as much as the next person, but apart from the black and white color scheme, we're not impressed by the Glide Keyboard's looks.
We're not exactly sure what problem the Glide Keyboard has been designed to solve. Is it supposed to help users with limited desk space for multiple peripherals? If so, moving a full sized keyboard around in cramped confines just seems like a bad idea.
Maybe the picture misrepresents what the final product is supposed to look like, but from our angle, the curved plank won't be doing any favors for your fatigued digits. And what do you do when you reach the end of your keyboard tray before the on-screen cursor reaches its destination? Pick up the keyboard and reposition it? No thanks.
That's our opinion - what's yours? Hit the jump and sound off.
If there's one thing Nintendo's DS taught us, it's that there's some nifty uses for dual-screen electronics. The potential lies far beyond just gaming, and Microsoft Research's Ken Kinckley sees this perhaps more than anyone. Hinckley unveiled a prototype project he's been working on called Codex, which is essentially two OQO Model 02's fused together. The end result is a multi-tablet configuration designed to be more than a glorified eBook reader.
"The Codex has two screens, it's designed to be used that way, and you won't find any half-apologetic demos that try to mash them back together into one big screen," Hinckley writes in his blog. "Instead, it's all about the intelligent partitioning of tasks and interface elements across the screens."
As is essential for any would-be tablet, be it a single or dual screen version, Hinckley's concoction switches between portrait and landscape mode depending on the device's orientation. The screens can also be arched backwards in what he calls a battleship posture, or pop one of the screens right out of its binding.
Underneath the hood, the OQO Model 02 runs either Vista or XP with a 1.6GHz CPU, comes with WiFi and bluetooth, and uses either a 120GB hard drive or 64GB SSD. In other words, there's plenty of potential here for a kick-ass gadget.
Whether or not this ever makes it out of prototype form remains to be seen, and as such no information on pricing or availability has been made. Though as Hinckley points out, "the crass answer is you can have one now if you are willing to spend some dollars, build yourself a custom binder, and write a little bit of code."
Mozilla has issued an open invitation to all people with a vibrant imagination, regardless of their calling, to posit ideas that could determine the future of Firefox and the web. It is especially interested in bringing aboard designers that haven’t worked on open source projects hitherto. Mozilla Labs’ website is asking for people to turn in their ideas that can be “a sentence, paragraph, or even bullet-points kick-start the process.” If Mozilla sights real potential in the idea it will turn them into reality. The website also flaunts a number of exciting browser concept videos. If you have any fascinating ideas, feel free to deposit them in the comments section.