The more I use my notebook, the more enamored I become with the multitouch gestures built into its touchpad. There’s something natural about gliding one’s fingers across a smooth surface, and Acer has taken the interface one step farther with its latest Aspire Ethos notebooks. The systems come with a removable touchpad that can be freed from the chassis and used as a multimedia remote.
Although the official press release isn’t available on Acer’s website, Akihabara News has the scoop on the new Ethos line. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of details on the touchpad itself. As far as I can tell, the touchpad has a backlight to illuminate icons associated with its remote functionality. Acer also claims there’s a sensor to account for landscape and portrait orientations. Nothing in the press release explicitly says that the touchpad can be used as a pointing device when it’s detached from the system, though. As Wired points out, there’s also the matter of what to do when you inevitably lose the remote.
With 15.6" and 18.4" screen sizes, members of the Aspire Ethos family aren’t really my bag. But it does make sense to pair such large screens with a multimedia remote. Having that remote maintain its touchpad functionality while separated would be very slick indeed.
I’ve been using a mouse since before you needed one to navigate a GUI, so you can have my precision pointing device when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. However, a new generation brought up on notebooks, smartphones, and tablets may prefer navigating with multitouch surfaces—especially if applications dumb down their interfaces to cater to less precise input mechanisms.