When I got my original Vaio (the good one, not 2.0 aka “the trainwreck”) I was amazed by the thinness of the screen (even next to an Air it’s a very thin screen). I distinctly recall the day I dreamed up a dual-screen laptop, one that would work inside the existing context of Windows (or OS X) and be extremely helpful for a variety of different types of users. Since then I’ve heard of numerous forays into the Dual-Screen Laptop space, and in each case I simply don’t understand the efforts.
Three out of four of the concepts I’ve read about use one screen as a big “touchpad”, the other as a traditional display (here, here, and here). The fourth has a very bizarre “folding half-screen” approach, which just looks like it should be called the Picasso edition.
I believe the correct approach to a dual-screen laptop isn’t about replacing the keyboard, it just doesn’t seem like a high-want item. I’m a decent typist, but I don’t think I’d do well on an all-touch screen-keyboard (a la iPhone). Instead, I think about how people use both laptops *and* desktops with dual-monitors, and what options would make sense in a single unit.
So, without further adieu, here is my little “Recipe For Success” to built a useful dual-screen laptop (along with my terrible photoshopped prototype image):
Start by thinking of a thin-screened laptop like the (now former) Sony Vaio SZ series. Imagine on the side (left or right – you pick) a hinge, and on the other side a clasp. You release the clasp, then a second screen swivels out (via hinge) to appear next to your original screen. Attentive readers will realize at this moment that the screen is facing away from the user, which means the hinge needs a swivel as well (just like on a tablet PC). That’s the basics, but read on for it to all make a bit more sense. Also, I’m not stating that this configuration is for everyone, but, like a mini-notebook, it should appeal to… some?
First it gives the user an instant two-monitor setup, very familiar to many desk setups. Nothing like extra screen space when you spend your working hours with one. It probably wouldn’t work too well back in coach, but in a Starbucks or at home, would be a great solution.
Also, since there is a hinge/swivel mechanism it can be used to create a second screen facing away from the user. Super handy for anyone doing frequent presentations. If it’s not clear by now, the other fringe benefit here is this second screen works just like a second monitor, so it would be compatible with Windows XP or Vista (if necessary, ugh) with no special/new drivers.
If we want to get fancy, let’s make the secondary screen touch-sensitive, then we have a tablet interface running while we are at it. Not sure what the impact is to cost/feasibility here, but my hunch is it would be the least of the design concerns.
Clearly this isn’t the budget laptop, and this won’t be interesting to quite a few readers. But I have a hunch there’s a few people reading right now who really really want one. Chalk me up on the list.
cool concept; They could probably make this as an accessory too – imagine a small lcd screen that could attach to your existing screen, and be powered by usb. (usb bus doesn’t really have enough power now to drive lcd’s.. but in the near future.. oled anyone?) – and use displaylink technology or similar – to drive the lcd screen from the usb (instead of having to worry about plugging in two cables; one for power/other to vga..)
Technology is there – they just need to make it:)
I would *so* buy a laptop like you’ve pictured there. It’s basically replicating the experience of having a 2nd monitor plugged into your laptop at your desk.
Found this while googline for “dual-screen laptop”.
This is pretty much what I want to. I have two monitors both at home and at work. I’ts really essential to get a good workflow. Right now however I am on my laptop and it really annoys me to have just the one screen.
Like you, the planned dual-screen laptops that I have found while googling does not interrest me. What is the point of a second display if it is only used as a keyboard anyway? It’s in fact a step down, you loose the touch feedback a regular keyboard gives you and you gain nothing. Sure, you can use it as a touch screen dual-screen PC but what’s the point to me as a system developer? I need that keyboard…
Drop a third panel on the other side and you have my dream machine.
Here ya go
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That’s an interesting idea. If someone is carrying a laptop it is for portability, and granted this system is portable but is it practical? I dunno, Cool.. Definitely!
Yes looks cool. However I have developed a second screen for laptop that can be used by any laptop who have an extra connection for external monitor. I will release the product in 2011. BTW if anyone wants to know about the product please send a message on firstname.lastname@example.org. I may need some eyes to look on the product to be absolutely sure it fits the needs you may have.
Kindest regards Brian Faust
This is exactly what I had in mind! Incredible, but as they say ‘great minds think alike’. I have a VAIO now and I would definitely buy this if they decide to market it. In my opinion however, they should have a 180 degrees hinge, so you don’t have the extra weight and hassle of the clasp and just ‘flip and fold’ the extra screen. I btw found this site too by googling for my new duo-screen laptop.