It has been almost 7 years since Windows 8 first launched, opening a period of strange but interesting laptop designs. We have just witnessed the introduction of Yoga laptops from Lenovo, laptops with a unique hinge structure from Acer, and even the rise of Surface products from Microsoft. While most of the quirky designs only existed in the blink of an eye, a new design experiment that promises to be even crazier is taking shape: a dual-screen laptop.
So far, every year, we are always waiting for better-looking laptops, more sensitive trackpads, better battery life … But by 2019, we will start seeing laptops. with multiple screens appear.
HP is a new trend when it introduces a dual-screen gaming laptop, allowing gamers to watch Twitch and fight games at the same time. Its 6-inch sub-screen is located just above the keyboard, and it works just like any other dual-screen system you normally see on desktops. ASUS also introduced a new ZenBook Pro Duo laptop with two 4K screens (a 14-inch screen above the keyboard, and a 15-inch normal screen like other laptops), with the same expectation of solving problems. limited working space on laptops.
Perhaps the most crazy idea to mention here is Intel's dual-screen laptop. Dubbed "Honeycomb Glacier", this laptop is Intel's concept of a gaming PC system of the future, with a 15.6-inch main screen connected to a 12.3-inch sub-screen via a unique dual hinge. As a result, we have a laptop with a stacked screen, which can be tilted to different angles thanks to a one-way mechanical roller. Intel showed an extraordinary enthusiasm for this design and insisted that PC makers after seeing their concept expressed their desire to bring it to future laptops.
Intel also encourages the development of dual-screen laptops with fabric-covered bodies, and other common dual-screen devices. We have seen Microsoft use Alcantara fabric on its Surface Laptop line, HP uses leather and even wood on some of its laptops. Intel concepts can be said to be particularly suited to a new era where laptops have dual screens, or even flexing. Lenovo has developed a folding PC for over three years, using folding screen technology that we have begun to see on phones. It is just a concept, but it shows the direction that PC makers are targeting with this technology.
However, all those strange designs and hardware will be nothing without software. We've seen it on Lenovo's dual-screen Yoga Book last year, and it was Microsoft that also failed to popularize Windows SideShow, a method that allows developers to expand applications. and announcing to small screens on laptops when they are off. Apple's Touch Bar also failed in such a way, although it brought a small touch screen that Apple thought was quite convenient right above the keyboard.
PC makers can experiment with unlimited hardware, but they still have to rely on Microsoft to make Windows compatible with new laptop formats. Microsoft is still dreaming of a dual-screen Surface device that can stuff bags for years, but that code-named Andromeda project is still in place within the company. There is information that Microsoft will integrate a touch screen onto the Surface Pen – the touchpad of the Surface product line. Will it be a half-hearted initiative, or a revolution?
Microsoft is currently preparing a lightweight version of Windows for dual-screen devices and devices that compete with Chromebooks. This version of Windows is called Windows Lite, and the company has not officially acknowledged its existence. Windows Lite is a compact version of Windows optimized for dual screen devices.
Microsoft has seen the efforts that OEMs and Intels spend on dual-screen devices, and want to be ready to support it. The Windows Lite interface will be similar to Windows today, but there will be elements that blend the shell interface that the company is using on the Surface Hub and the simplicity of the Windows Phone Continuum user interface.
Windows Lite interface mockup
Microsoft is slowly developing a new Composable Shell (C-Shell), with Windows Core OS, a modular version of Windows Shell currently integrated in many components of Windows 10 today. It is expected that Microsoft will talk more about this at its Build conference in early May, but ultimately what they say is a "more modern" future for Windows.
Software will be the key, whether those dual-screen laptops are really popular or not. Dual screens are a reasonable trend for gaming laptops, but what are the smaller benefits of competing devices with phones? Google is also contemplating support for folding Android devices, and they have taken advantage of the mobile platform to bridge the link between phones and tablets.
But that won't be hard for PC makers. We've seen strange 2-in-1 PCs, and with the folding screen, new types of hinges, and Intel's efforts to popularize dual-screen laptops, maybe we're about to see one. The new era of laptops is more and more exotic but no less interesting.