Asus shows dual-screen laptop with touch input

Asustek Computer said on Monday it is showing a prototype dual-screen laptop that removes the keyboard, allowing for data input through a touch-sensitive display.

The two touchscreens provide the flexibility for the laptop to be used in many different scenarios, Asus said in a press release. It can be used as a conventional laptop, an e-book reader, or as a multimedia hub, according to the company.

The prototype is on display at the CeBIT trade show being held this week in Hanover, Germany.

One screen can turn into a software-based virtual keyboard for data input while the other can be used as a display, Asus said. By disabling the virtual keyboard, the laptop can also be turned into an e-book, which can be held like a conventional book in which pages can be moved through touch or gestures.

The two screens can also turn the laptop into a multimedia device, with both panels forming a larger display for wide-screen entertainment.

“The dual panel offers a flexible working space in which users can adapt to suit their prevailing usage scenarios, for example adjusting the size of the virtual touchpad and keyboard. Through hand gestures, handwriting recognition and multi-touch, users are presented with a control surface that is both flexible and intuitive,” Asus said.

Users worldwide contributed to designing the prototype laptop through the Web site WePC.com, a project initiated by Intel and Asus. The concept is still a “work-in-progress” and customers are welcome to provide feedback in its development through the Web site.

The dual-screen laptop concept is not new, though. One Laptop Per Child last year announced plans for a similar laptop that will include a software-based, touch-sensitive keyboard and two touch-screen displays. The XO-2 laptop will also allow for data input through a virtual keyboard and turn into an e-book to read text. The XO-2 is an upgrade to the nonprofit’s XO laptop and is expected to ship in 2010.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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