Massive Dual-Touch Screen Acer Laptop is All Kinds of Wrong

By  |  Monday, September 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

Over the weekend, TechReviewSource scored some photos of what is allegedly an Acer laptop with dual touch screens.

I’m not familiar with the website, which doesn’t name its single source that provided the photos, so take these details with a grain of salt, but the 15-inch laptop reportedly packs a 2.67 GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 7. The goal is to release the laptop in fall 2011 — it’s still slow and buggy right now, says the source.

A lot can change in a year — my gut says this is a prototype that will never see the light of day — but for now I’m wondering if any PC makers really think the dual-touch screen Windows laptop is a great idea to begin with.

Toshiba has already attempted one product, the Libretto W100. It runs Windows 7, but is more of an ultra-portable tablet than a full-blown computer, with each screen measuring 7 inches. From the start, Toshiba held this creation at arm’s length, referring to the Libretto as a “concept PC” with limited availability, but at least is has some allure as a book-like e-reader and personal planner.

A full-sized laptop, like the one Acer is reportedly developing, faces a bigger challenge than Toshiba’s experiment: It would be expected to replace the traditional laptop. In a full-time work environment, touch screen keyboards become a serious burden. Without tactile feedback, typing on a touch screen is nearly impossible without looking at your fingers. Pointing and clicking would be another source of confusion; TechReviewSource’s screenshots show a virtual trackpad on the botton screen, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Without some really good software for the bottom screen, it would just be a more frustrating replacement for physical keys and trackpads.

Also, the memory of Microsoft Courier is still too fresh in my mind to enthusiastically back a Windows laptop with two touch screens. If anything, the Courier proved that a new operating system, built completely around the hardware, could capture the tech world’s excitement. Acer’s alleged laptop is more of an amusement, and not in a good way.

 
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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    It isn't that a touchscreen keyboard is necessarily bad, it's that it would need massive, massive software support, of the kind that is unlikely to come from anyone but Apple.

    When you run a video editing app, the keyboard would have to change to be controls that are useful for video editing. You would not want to have to remember that J is rewind, you would want the J key to go away and a rewind button to be placed in an ergonomic location. You'd want a jog wheel instead of cursor keys. When running Photoshop, you'd want the V key to have a pointer tool on it, M to have the marquee tool on it.

    But if the screen just keeps showing a keyboard and when you're in Photoshop you still have to remember the V key gets the pointer tool, then the benefit probably doesn't outweigh the cost. The app platform itself has to be upgraded so that it knows about the soft keyboard in the same way it currently knows about keyboard shortcuts.

  2. Henry Reed Says:

    As an owner of three copies of ACER's original tablet pc, that uses a special pen and has terrific, fine resolution… I create art on them, used the first one as my all around PC, then got a desk for that job, and now use my tablet pc for art alone. I bought two used backups when I realized that "tablet pc" was not going to mean what it used to, high resolution sensitivity. Touch screens have the resolution of your finger tip and are quite different animals. I'd like to see the vocabularies get settled, so that "tablet pc" would refer to high resolution pointable screens, and "touch screen" would be used for the finger touching type.

  3. jhon4512 Says:

    I've been using this laptop for about a week and overall I am very happy with this purchase. The machine is fast, the screen is looks amazing (glossy, FYI), very bright and no dead pixels. Another plus is that there was not excessive bloatware on this unit, and I only had to remove a handful of trial software, un-needed apps and desktop shortcuts to clean it up. The speakers sound good, and HDMI out is a nice option (though we're unlikely to use it). I like, too, that the outside of the case is matte, so it does not attract fingerprints.See Here: Acer Aspire AS5741Z-5539 15.6-Inch HD Wi-Fi Laptop (Black)

  4. jhon4512 Says:

    I've been using this laptop for about a week and overall I am very happy with this purchase. The machine is fast, the screen is looks amazing (glossy, FYI), very bright and no dead pixels. Another plus is that there was not excessive bloatware on this unit, and I only had to remove a handful of trial software, un-needed apps and desktop shortcuts to clean it up. The speakers sound good, and HDMI out is a nice option (though we're unlikely to use it). I like, too, that the outside of the case is matte, so it does not attract fingerprints.See Here: Acer Aspire AS5741Z-5539 15.6-Inch HD Wi-Fi Laptop (Black)

  5. Touch Screen Laptop Says:

    One basic thing which all seems to forget is Touch Screen is meant for hand held devices. When it comes to laptop due to a large screen size and various other factors the performance will be not upto the mark. Another big drawback is most of the touch screen laptops use Windows 7. Microsoft does not have a great support for touch devices. They should be switching back to Android which is a special OS for touch devices like Samsung Galaxt Tab.

  6. u899 Says:

    it is not that bad for acer to strive for a big thing.. the only thing must be considered is to release in market with a full blow.. that means to say without any constraints with the features..

  7. nemonemo Says:

    keyboard is not a problem if you are a typer, as the keyboard should be adjustable for hand size.
    things are just getting futuristic than before, looking forward for the revolution =D

  8. unknown Says:

    I love it when you a-holes have to eat your words!