Know why your next notebook might sport two displays? Because the concept is pretty rad, for one. But the real reason is because it appears manufacturers are starting to jump on the double-screen bandwagon that hasn't even left the corral just yet.
It started back in January of this year when Lenovo released its dual-screen W700ds, and then more recently Alaska-based gScreen promised to release a dual 15.4-inch screen laptop dubbed the Spacebook in time for the holidays. The latest to enter the double-wide fray is Japan-based PC maker Kohjinsha, who's been showing off a laptop with two widescreen LCDs.
Both screens measure 10.1 inches with one of them sliding out from behind the other so users can still close the unit like a typical notebook. Other hardware includes an AMD Athlon Neo-MV40 processor (1.6GHz), 4GB of memory, Bluetooth, a TV tuner, a biometric fingerprint reader, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
According to Cnet, the unit weighs about 4 pounds. What isn't known is how much it will cost or when and where it will be available.
The future looks bright for touchscreen computing, which will get a boost from Windows 7's built-in support for multitouch technology. And in case you haven't noticed, touchscreen PCs are beginning to gain steam. But is the world ready for touch computing in its current form?
"The question is, can we rethink the touch interface as a first-class citizen and provide a fresh approach to the desktop?," says Anand Agarawala, founder and CEO of Toronto's Bumptop. "Not only is touch a more natural way to interact with your desktop, but it also adds to your productivity."
Up to now, there hasn't been much motivation to focus on touch. According to Display Search, only about 3 percent of desktops and notebooks currently come with a touchscreen. Touch technology is much more prominent in the smartphone market, so the first step is getting the hardware out there. Then there's the task of making touchscreens easier to use and functionally relevant.
"PCs with touchscreens look cool, but what do you do with them?," says Jennifer Colegrove, a director at Display Search. "When it comes to the iPhone there are 50,000 applications that use touch -- but what do you do on a PC with touch?"
That question might be answered sooner than you think.
BumpTop, the sexy 3D overlay for Windows-based operating systems, purports to make your PC's desktop act "like a real desk," but that's hard to do when you're still required to fumble around with a keyboard and mouse. Realizing this, the BumpTop developers have added multitouch support, including a handful of gestures the company claims to have patents for.
In addition to the typical gestures found on just about any multitouch device, BumpTop ups the ante with gestures that use all five fingers, both hands, and even the side of your hands. Gestures the company claims to have a leg up on the competition include "lasso," "shove," " scrunch," "fan out," and a few others.
You can download a version of BumpTop for free, but if you want multitouch support -- as well as the ability the toss files onto USB keys, thumbnail previews without watermarks, and other extras -- you'll have to shell out for BumpTop Pro, currently priced at $29.
Common sense dictates that most displays don't fare well under water, and that includes OLED technology. Or at least it used to. According to Kodak, OLEDs "are notoriously moisture-sensitive," so kudos to Kodak for demonstrating its flexible display under water.
The quirky demonstration consisted of a small flexible OLED screen submerged in a cup of water surrounded by Playmobil people. A fish (what else?) swam across the display just under the water line. Aside from the gee-whiz factor, a flexible underwater display opens the door to some innovative designs.
"Fleixble OLEDs have the potential to be a game-changer for the display world, realizing a unique form factor at lower cost," Kodak said. "They also have broad applications in the lighting industry."
Excuse us while we clean up our morning coffee off of our keyboard and desk - Panasonic wants how much for its 85-inch plasma display? The answer is $30,000, but hey, if you wait long enough, maybe you can catch one on sale for 'only' 20 Gs.
According to Panasonic, the exorbitantly priced TH-85PF12U is the industry's first 85-inch full HD, 1080p plasma display and equivalent to four 42-inch plasmas. The company also claims its Neo plasma display panel technology has made it possible to keep the 85-incher "significantly thinner and lighter than past plasmas," measuring 3.9 inches deep and checking in at 260 pounds.
Sounds groovy and all, but how do you convince your significant other that a $30,000 TV set would really complete your living room? Answer that question and you're halfway there.
It's not very big, but come November, LG plans to start selling a gorgeous-looking 15-inch OLED television set. It will first be commercialized in South Korea and then offered overseas sometime next year, LG said. Larger OLED displays are also expected to follow.
"We are planning to unveil a 40-inch grade (OLED) product in a not too distant future," an LG executive said.
It's anyone's guess what the 15-inch display will cost. High prices have kept OLED technology from being mass produced to compete with LCD technology, which has fallen in cost dramatically in the past several years. To put it into perspective, Sony's two-year old 11-inch XEL-1 still sells for a hefty $2,500 in the U.S.
Once you've rocked out with dual screens on your desktop, you'll wonder how you ever managed to do anything with but a single display. If you find yourself in that category, you should probably stop reading, lest you suddenly feel hobbled by your notebook.
Coming soon, Alaska-based gScreen will release a dual 15.4-inch screen laptop dubbed the Spacebook. Aimed at professional designers, gScreen also has dual 16-inch and 17-inch models on tap, all of which sport full sized screens for the secondary display.
"We designed this knowing that many may not need the extra screen at all times," company founder Gordon Stewart told Gizmodo.
To address this, the secondary display will feature a sliding mechanism so you can tuck it away when not in use. Of course, the obvious downsides to having a twin-display notebook are weight (think 12 pounds or more) and battery life, so ti will be interesting to see how gScreen tackles these potential roadblocks.
Stewart says he's trying to keep the price under $3,000 and hopes to have the Spacebook for sale through Amazon.com by December of this year.
The team behind this project consists of researchers from institutions in the US, Singapore and China. The new LEDs, though fully inorganic, possess qualities associated with both organic and inorganic LEDs. "We wanted to see if we could use inorganic LEDs in ways that exploit some of the processing advantages of organic LEDs,” John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois, told the journal Science.
Samsung this week announced two new point-and-shoot digital cameras -- the TL225 and TL220 -- both of which sport two LCD screens, a 3.5-inch one on the back (slightly smaller on the TL220) and a less traditional placement on the front with a 2.5-inch display. So what's the point of a front-mounted LCD?
"With one LCD located on the front of the camera and other one on the back of the camera, photographers can now step out from behind the camera and join their subjects in the photo," Samsung wrote in a blog post.
Samsung also says the front-mounted display will come in handy for taking profile pics for social networking sites. We think it's the perfect feature who can't stop looking at themselves.
Both cameras also boast a 12.2MP, 1/2.33-inch CCD sensor, 27- to 124.2mm, f/3.5-5.9 8.6x zoom lens, and the ability to shoot 720p HD videos at 30fps.
The TL225 and TL220 will be available in September for $350 and $300 respectively.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory are on the verge of launching the "world's first flexible electronic screen", The Times Online reports. The new display represents a decade of development and would compete with the various electronic readers currently on the market, such as Sony's e-book readers and Amazon's Kindle.
Plastic Logic, the company responsible for the device, says it doesn't plan to release a roll-up screen just yet, saying consumers aren't interested in that level of flexibility.
"People worry that it will break if they roll up a device and dump in in their bag," said Martin Jackson, vice president of technology at Plastic Logic.
Plastic Logic says its touch-screen reader only needs to be charged once every two weeks and that the screen uses no power when the image isn't changing. The device is expected to be especially popular for e-versions of newspapers.
Look for the device to be launched in the U.S. sometime in early 2010 at a similar price point as Amazon's Kindle.