Prototype Acer laptop has touch screen instead of keyboard

If there’s one thing we all just love, it’s typing on a flat, featureless multi-touch screen with no tactile feedback. Slates and smart phones already let us partake in this highly pleasurable activity, so why not laptops?

Something along those lines must have been going through the head of someone at Acer, because as TechReviewSource reports, the company is developing a 15" notebook with a multi-touch screen in place of a keyboard and touchpad. The system seems more like a desktop replacement than anything, at least judging by the 15" display size and the 2.67GHz Core i5 processor inside.

TechReviewSource says its, er, source is quoting a fall 2011 release time frame… "if the device makes it out of development." That’s a big if, because the system is purportedly "still slow and buggy."

I could see a big multi-touch input area coming in handy for multi-language typing, iSketch, and potential user-interface gimmicks. Not including a hardware keyboard on a laptop seems like a deal-breaker for me, though, especially if I’m going to be looking at one screen and typing on another. The potential for typos would be too great. (Thanks to CrunchGear for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • Farting Bob
    • 11 years ago

    Touch screen keyboards are a bad development that is spreading. In a handheld device it works, but on a full size keyboard you dont need it, theres no advantages.

    • ludi
    • 11 years ago

    The keyboard replacement part is pure gimmickry for gimmickry’s sake.

    Now, if they could app it in such a way as to aid graphics developers — a Wacom tablet with visual memory on the “keyboard” half and the graphics application on the “screen” half, for example — that would be worth something.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 11 years ago

    It would suck if a software screw-up/crash caused your keyboard to stop functioning….this kinda thing seems like yet another solution without a problem involving touchscreens.

    Or maybe it’ll be just a dream to use, who knows. But it seems kinda silly to me.

    • zqw
    • 11 years ago

    I think Swype is the future for text entry. I haven’t used something this good since the original Palm glyphs for text entry. It’s standard on several new android phones, most/all android phones should be able to run it – find it and give it a try. For your first attempt, try a long/difficult word like alphabet. Swype actually does better the longer the word, you can get amazingly sloppy and fast. It feels slightly magical.

    Once you’ve used it for a while, you’ll get the size/position of ‘keys’ on your screen into muscle memory. Then, you can enter stuff w/o looking and maybe one-hand it, using your thumb.

      • blastdoor
      • 11 years ago

      I’m pretty surprised by how quickly I can type now on my iPad. I’m still not as fast on the iPad as I am on a full size physical keyboard, but I suspect that has as much to do with size as it does with the physical keys. I can imagine that with a full size multi-touch keyboard, I *might* be able to reach a point where I can type as quickly as on a regular keyboard. It really is amazing what one’s brain/muscles can be trained to do (although it took me a couple of months to reach this point on the iPad, so maybe it’s not *that* amazing)

    • Trymor
    • 11 years ago

    Now this segment of ‘book PC’s’ (at least that’s what I like to call them…heh.) need that ‘force feedback for onscreen keyboards’ tech. I forget the name of it, but the tech allows for the user to feel different textures via a transparent layer over the screen, and could be used to give the edges of the ‘keys’ some feel.

    • Skrying
    • 11 years ago

    Why? You can’t type on it comfortably, the software isn’t made for it, the size doesn’t allow you to comfortably use it like a tablet. Why?

    • Spotpuff
    • 11 years ago

    Nintendo DS – Huge edition?

    • TwiztidSef
    • 11 years ago

    I believe that they should have a detachable tablet screen that can plug into a docking station. Essentially i would build the docking station with a keyboard, touchpad, cpu, gpu, etc. Everything a laptop would normally have basically. Then just have the docking station transmit video and input wirelessly back and forth when it is not docked.

    I guess all i am saying is make the Tablet a thin client so a special wireless card can manipulate it. This may work for desktops as well.

      • TwiztidSef
      • 11 years ago

      Also i do like the idea of 2 screens for this laptop. I just don’t think they can get enough sales out of this particular niche.

    • Joel H.
    • 11 years ago

    Since when is a 15″ screen a desktop replacement for *anything?* Seriously. Maybe in 1999, but in 2010 you’ve got to have a 17″ display at the very minimum to consider it a replacement. Desktop replacement systems aren’t just about horsepower.

    • zdw
    • 11 years ago

    While the concept is pretty neat…

    The backlight in any device is one of the most power hungry parts, doubling the number of screens seems like a bad idea from a power use perspective.

    Neat tech demo, probably will never be all that useful in real life.

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    I’d actually be interested in one of these as a mobile workstation – just toss a keyboard and mouse into the travel case with it.

    I’m hoping/assuming that you could open it book-style and use the two screens in portrait orientation. If that’s not a built-in feature, I suspect that the video chipset -maker’s utilities – or even a 3rd-party utility like multimon – would do the trick.

    If it’s rugged enough, this could make a pretty cool vehicle-based system, too.

    • sweatshopking
    • 11 years ago

    This would be amazing! i wouldnt want to type on it, but it would be awesome for gaming! DS style! Inorite! your emulator would be running beautifully! this would be better for things like arts students, who could draw on the bottom while looking at the top screen (cause looking at a book or real thing is SOOOOOO 2000’s) But seriously, i would buy this. the reality is, my computer is used for very little productivity. I’m not a producer of anything but annoying posts. I would buy this. if nothing else than because then i could smirk and look cool.

      • Mourmain
      • 11 years ago

      Please, please don’t use “you’re” like that again…

        • sweatshopking
        • 11 years ago

        complain at me, though it was valid, and actually that specific grammar mistake i find quite annoying, but don’t call out mr:

        “LAME! oh wait… im meant INNOVATION!”

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    I’t scary that some people don’t think that first paragraph is sarcasm. *shudder*

    • jalex3
    • 11 years ago

    LAME! oh wait… im meant INNOVATION!

    • blastdoor
    • 11 years ago

    Throw everything against the wall to see what sticks — that seems to be the approach to design being followed here.

      • Firestarter
      • 11 years ago

      Well, if you can crank out more designs than your marketing department can find markets for, that doesn’t seem too bad of an idea.

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