Dual touch screen laptops may be coming closer to the market as companies vie to produce a reliable machine that hinges, swivels, or slides two touch screens together in a portable package. The dual screen combination expands screen real estate to tempting proportions for those who find a single laptop screen too limiting. The introduction of Windows 7 has boosted the entire touch screen market by providing the underlying support for touch capabilities. High costs, however, may limit first adoption of these laptops to professionals such as graphic designers, filmmakers, and programmers who already use two monitors on the job. Serious gamers in the market for high-end products are also talking about the possibilities of two touch-sensitive screens to enliven the gaming industry. Dual touch screen laptops supporting both multi-touch gestures and stylus use could include features such as a virtual keyboard, e-book reader, and improved voice recognition, as well as a seamless interface for music, photos, and movies. Asus demonstrated a dual touch screen model called the Flipbook at the May 2009 CeBIT, the world’s largest computer expo, but is currently developing the concept as an e-book reader. The final product may have color touch screens and may include laptop-like features such as web browsing capabilities and a keypad. Heavy power drains from the dual screens, weight issues for a portable machine, and price remain challenges for this market.
Joel Johnson imagines gaming on a dual touch screen laptop and displays a photo of a mockup of World of Warcraft done by Niero Gonzalez. Serious gamers might be willing to spend more for these laptops if game designers are able to capitalize on the pertinent features of touch technology.
A gallery of photos shows the Dual Panel touch screen PC demo that Asus displayed at the huge computer expo CeBIT in May, 2009. The model wasn’t quite ready for hands-on use, as indicated by the photo of the “Don’t Touch It!!” sign prominently displayed in front of the laptop.
The non-profit organization One Laptop Per Child is developing a second generation laptop, the XO-2, that aims for low cost, low power consumption, and small size, but includes dual touch screens designed by Pixel Qi. The organization is aiming at a machine that will be affordable and usable by children in the poorest countries.