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Intel’s New Dual-Screen Honeycomb Glacier Laptop Prototype Drives Computex Buzz

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One of the interesting things about Computex is that we get to see what sort of innovative ideas PC manufacturers are working on. Computex and CES are both often used to debut PC concepts that run the gamut from bizarre to brilliant, and while not every prototype makes it to market, some of these concepts do.

Intel’s Honeycomb Glacier is a dual-screen laptop that seems far more effective in that role than one might first think, based on hands-on reports from people at the show. The prototype has a 15.6-inch screen with a 12.3-inch half-height vertical display below it. The result is a pair of panels at different angles.


The prototype folds closed like an ordinary laptop, but the two screens are hinged to each other. The top screen tilts upwards, pulling the second screen into position. According to reviewers, the top screen then retains whatever angle you set it at. Engadget writes:

The elevated screen brings everything up to the perfect eye height — think iMacs and other all-in-one PCs, making it a comfortable fit for activities that need a lot of attention, like video editing, writing or gaming. My mediocre efforts playing League of Legends were hampered more by the trackpad without buttons than what I was looking at. Even at a trade-show, the screen positioning seemed spot-on, and less like I was playing awkwardly on a laptop…

Look a little lower and the 12.3-inch companion screen is just that — a companion to the main event. You could keep your Slack chat app open while you focus on tasks, monitor your gameplay stats while fighting away on LoL or monitor Twitch chatter as you stream. Because it’s also propped up, unlike the ZenBook Pro Duo, it’s easier to casually scan — it’s already in your field of view.

According to Engadget, the secondary seam between the laptop displays is a perfect place to put Tobii eye-tracking equipment, which worked well in this configuration compared to previous tests.

Toms Hardware also praises the design, though noting that the prototype is “A little bit rickety.” It’s not particularly quiet, at 42dB, and the 175W of components in the laptop (an unnamed eight-core CPU and an overclocked GTX 1070) were obviously intended to push the limits of performance rather than building a quiet machine.

THG is a bit more skeptical than Engadget on the net impact and possible future for these designs, but manufacturers are apparently convinced they could represent the Next Big Thing for laptops. Given that these machines will invariably command higher prices for specialized hinges and components, and the various questions about reliability, app support, and usefulness, we’ll have to see if consumers are willing to pony up top bucks to buy them — or if developers will adjust apps to take advantage of them when they are available.

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