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Old 01-23-2007, 01:28 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Neat display-oriented laptop... but what is it?!

Earlier this year, The-eBook Russia had news of this interesting mobile gadget. It looks like a laptop computer, but instead of a keyboard it seems to have a touch sensitive screen. That allows a "soft" keyboard, or other types of displays.

As a result, the device would appear to be a chameleon of sorts, looking like a regular laptop or a multi-display device. It has configurations that look like an application which uses the bottom screen for graphic document editing controls, and the top screen as the finished product. Same idea for multimedia controls and final results on the second screen, and it might be very useful for video production work as well. Developers could use it to display program code on one side and program execution on the other side.

I assume it's a set of concept drawings, but as it's in Russian I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I hope the future includes one for consumers!
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:49 PM   #2
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The Russian text says pretty much what you gathered from the picture. It's a double display computer with one part showing an entry panel (letter keyboard, music composition panel, or special mathematics entry) and the other a display panel. It can also be converted to a dual-panel ebook reader. The comment adds that this appears to be a concept illustration and no date for a working model has yet been given.
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:03 PM   #3
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Something like this has been a favourite daydream of mine for ages...not the dual-creen laptop, but the display/input device combination.
It would probably not be as useable as a normal keyboard, but VERY cool...^^
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:37 PM   #4
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Yeah, I also did a concept design on that, years ago. Being able to toggle from control interface to control interface, depending on your needs and work mode at the time, always struck me as a given future development for input systems. I figured on the eventual development of an art-dedicated computer, with the menu and control items being all on the input surface (instead of cluttering up the workscreen).
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:50 PM   #5
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After tinkering with a Samsung Q1 UMPC touchscreen, I am now thinking that an onscreen soft keyboard could be very effective. You probably can't touch type like you would on a regular keyboard, but I thinkn you could certainly 2 or 3 finger it really fast. People that use only a few fingers with regular keyboards might not even notice much difference! So if that's the case, maybe more devices that seem to be almost all battery and screen might become more popular as the actual electronics continues to shrink. Why not a full functioned UMPC on a chip?
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:57 PM   #6
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Does the UMPC recognize multiple touch points at once? I know Apple was working on something like that. You'd need this for true touch-typing (e.g. the Caps key).
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
Why not a full functioned UMPC on a chip?
Gee, when I suggested putting just a single e-book on an SD card, folks were worried about losing that, think how they'd react to an entire computer on one!

Of course, I love the idea.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:29 PM   #8
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I am a touch (and fast) typist. I don't look at the keyboard when I type, which is why, in the end, I like full-sized normal keyboards. My experience with virtual keyboards tells me that real touch-typing is difficult, and that entry is best done with a stylus, which reduces you to very slow input indeed. I agree that the idea is clever, but such a keyboard is a poor substitute for a the real thing.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami
Does the UMPC recognize multiple touch points at once? I know Apple was working on something like that. You'd need this for true touch-typing (e.g. the Caps key).
Two iPhones hinged together! Making it a small laptop!
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
After tinkering with a Samsung Q1 UMPC touchscreen, I am now thinking that an onscreen soft keyboard could be very effective.
The idea probably has a niche market for first-adopters. Along with all the cool abilities are some down-sides to doing this people should be aware of. 1) The notebook just got a lot heavier, 2) Power consumption went up dramatically, 3) There's no tactile feedback or intuitive positioning for the virtual keys unless the maker uses a SAW touch screen and, 4) Cost also went up due to having two LCDs, added GPU capability, memory, mechanical support, etc.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:58 PM   #11
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Why does SAW (surface acoustic wave) make a difference in tactile feedback? Granted it would be more durable....
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:23 PM   #12
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Okay, so it could use some tactile feedback. Maybe a slight electric current, tuned to create a feeling of resistance in your fingertip when you touch the screen... that, or synthesized "click" and "tap" noises...

Hey, I'd still buy it!
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:44 PM   #13
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Or maybe we could just add a Virtual Keyboard to what we already have. If they can do a QWERTY they should be able to do an 88 key piano.
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami
Why does SAW (surface acoustic wave) make a difference in tactile feedback? Granted it would be more durable....
SAW uses piezoelectric transducers. If you run them backwards, in laymans' terms, you can turn the panel into a speaker, or induce a vibration you can feel with your finger. It's not nearly that simple but that's the principle.


On the piano topic, I saw, somewhere, a virtual piano version of the virtual keyboard but don't think it was for sale. It looked more like a virtual product. I'm trying to imagine how the virtual keyboard would figure out how hard I mean to strike the key. The funny thing about the VLK is it would work just as well without the laser. I could trace the projected keyboard with a pencil on a sheet of paper and tape up the projector, which is there so I know where it thinks the keys are.

Edit----
Oh, by the way, Bob mentioned this...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob
You probably can't touch type like you would on a regular keyboard, but I think you could certainly 2 or 3 finger it really fast.
... and it got me thinking. Lots of touch screens average multiple, simultaneous inputs. I'm not sure which, if any, touch screen technologies don't. It would be something of a problem if attempting a chord gave an altogether different single key output.

Last edited by Anchoku; 01-23-2007 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 01-23-2007, 10:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anchoku
Oh, by the way, Bob mentioned this...
... and it got me thinking. Lots of touch screens average multiple, simultaneous inputs. I'm not sure which, if any, touch screen technologies don't. It would be something of a problem if attempting a chord gave an altogether different single key output.
Actually, I wasn't talking about simultaneous fingers (some adjustment is necessary for shift or cntrl of course), but one finger at a time, only using a few fingers instead of all 10. If you spend time around coders, or even other analyst type people that work on the computer all day, you've probably seen someone do that, haven't you? Some of the fastest guys can type with just a few fingers and I guess they just never learned to touch type the normal way. But it doesn't seem to slow them down. Crazy, but it works. And if you try it on your keyboard, you'll see what I mean... it's a little painful compared to touch typing without looking at the keys, but once you get used to it a little bit, you can go pretty fast without much discomfort!

Plus, the shift key can be set up to be sticky for one letter, with option to have caps lock. So that's really not a big deal either.
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