Asus teases the Project Precog dual-screen concept notebook

New notebooks are announced all the time, but the basic formula hasn't changed that much over the years. The screen flips up revealing a keyboard and touchpad and most of the internal hardware fits into the base. Asus has a concept notebook in the works that challenges this formula. The Project Precog notebook ditches the keyboard and touchpad entirely and replaces them with a second screen.

It's not hard to imagine use cases for a dual-screen notebook with a 360° hinge. When the notebook is in the “traditional” laptop orientation, the lower screen's real estate can be split between a virtual keyboard and windows for lower-priority tasks. There'd be intriguing possibilities for two people to use the same device while it's laid flat on a table or put into tent mode. Asus envisions a “book” mode that would involve the notebook fully opened up and placed on a stand, too.

The success of Project Precog will likely depend on how intuitively and comfortably users can actually interact with the device. Unsurprisingly, Asus is coming up with flexible and hassle-free input options. The company is implementing an “AI Touch” system that changes the notebook's virtual interface depending on which input device is active. The system can bring up a keyboard directly underneath the user's fingertips, or switch to stylus mode when it detects a stylus. Furthermore, the company installed the requisite microphone array for full Cortana and Alexa integration into the Precog.

More intriguingly, Asus noted that Project Precog supports Intel's Movidius visual processor unit, a SoC dedicated to translating vision information. The company didn't specify how the notebook would make use of this chip, but among other uses, Movidius might give the device the spatial awareness necessary to detect how the device is being used and adjust the interface accordingly.

There are many challenges that Asus would have to surmount for Project Precog to be successful. I, for one, have yet to find a virtual keyboard that's comfortable for enough for a significant typing session. However, the concept notebook is an exciting look at what might be coming next in notebook designs.

Comments closed
    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    On a related note, Asus also announced the [url=https://www.tomshardware.com/news/asus-zenbook-pro-15-screenpad-specs-details-price,37182.html<]Zenbook Pro 15[/url<] in which the touchpad is a screen. ......I totally called this....

    • Growler
    • 2 years ago

    Project Precog? Does this mean [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minority_Report_(film)<]Project Precrime[/url<], with it's holographic controls, is coming Soon[super<]TM[/super<]?

    • BIF
    • 2 years ago

    A dual-screen notebook with an on-screen keyboard on the lower surface? Not a new concept!

    Acer had one back in 2011: [url<]https://www.cnet.com/products/acer-6120-dual-screen-touchbook/review/[/url<] I'm intrigued by this, but typing on a flat screen is not a lot different than my iPad's onscreen keyboard, and I never use that.

    • BillyBuerger
    • 2 years ago

    So yeah, typing on this thing is going to be so terrible. BUT, I find it interesting that they layout uses a consistent 1/4u offset between the rows instead of the standard 1/2, 1/4, 1/2. And since it’s just a software keyboard, this means you could do whatever you wanted in theory. Would be nice to have a laptop with an ortho or ergonomic layout. Still wouldn’t type on it but the idea is nice. Although I don’t really expect they would have an SDK or something to let you move the layout around. That would be too convenient.

    They could also make keyboard “covers” that place a sheet of domes or something over the on-screen keyboard so you can get a tactile feel. Then just pop it off for when you don’t need it.

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]They could also make keyboard "covers" that place a sheet of domes or something over the on-screen keyboard so you can get a tactile feel. Then just pop it off for when you don't need it.[/quote<] Weren't there gaming keyboards in the 00s that you could put game-specific overlays over the membrane switches? I remember thinking they were a giant waste of money and not particularly practical at the time.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Did anyone else notice the home key bumps on the F and J keys for the [i<]on-screen keyboard[/i<]? I wet myself laughing.

      • morphine
      • 2 years ago

      Why not? Those are still meant to be guides of where to place your fingers.

        • Wilko
        • 2 years ago

        The feedback you would normally get from those bumps by touch is lost when it’s translated to a 2D image on a screen (virtual keyboard on a screen in this case).

        Which has me curious. Is there any haptic feedback on this thing?

          • morphine
          • 2 years ago

          I was referring to pure visual feedback as you’re setting the hands down on the keyboard. That’s still pretty useful for newbies, and really, it costs nothing to have the markers there.

            • Wilko
            • 2 years ago

            I’m assuming the touch vs visual part is what Chrispy’s referring to. All the onscreen keyboards I’ve seen on various devices don’t include the home key bumps, so I’ve grown accustomed to not seeing them on virtual keys.

            • psuedonymous
            • 2 years ago

            Newbies (or anyone, for that matter) are not going to be touch-typing on an on-screen keyboard. If you need [i<]visual[/i<] feedback for where to put your fingers, one would expect the [b<]actual letters on the keys[/b<] to suffice.

    • odizzido
    • 2 years ago

    I think this would have looked way better before everyone knew what it was like to type on a tablet. It kinda reminds me of that underworld quote…something like “Half laptop, half tablet, but more terrible than both” Abomination.

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      LapTopPig.

      Half lap, half top, and half pig.

        • Kretschmer
        • 2 years ago

        +1 for making me laugh at work.

    • Kretschmer
    • 2 years ago

    I’ll be the first to Krogoth this. Two screens will be murder on battery life, and typing on a virtual keyboard will be vexing,

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    I think Apple just innovated an [i<]insanely great[/i<] solution to its keyboard problems! Now they just need to sue Asus for stealing the idea from them [after they get done suing Microsoft for stealing it from them first with the Courier].

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      Also, suing lenovo for the [url=https://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/tablets/windows-tablets/yoga-book-windows-series/Yoga-Book-with-Windows/p/ZZITZTWYB2L<]Yoga Book[/url<], which afaik was the first commercially available implementation of this idea (albeit, the second, input screen was only monochrome).

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