Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Multi-monitor laptops?


Looking at my laptop, the lid is only about 3/8" thick.

So why not put another LCD in that swings or slides to the side, giving laptops a multi-monitor capability? It could even be modular, so you can add it on later.

Sure, it's not for everyone, but it's a better solution than putting a 17" screen in.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

It's a nice idea actually, two slide out screens so they'd be by the side of each other...

The only downside I can see is that it might seriously reduce battery life. But I could see there maybe being a niche market...

Andrew Cherry
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I think Philo is on to something. I think at some point we might move on to headsets that provides a virtual display. Somewhere between that future and huge 17" laptop displays of today we'll make to make do with what Philo's suggesting.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Let's all make icons 512 x 512 pixels!!

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Courtesy of Gizmodo:

http://www.maxvision.com/maxpac/maxpac8200x.cfm

Okay, it's not really a laptop, but Philo's not the only one to have the idea.

Steve Barbour
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Aww, that is pretty nice, I have to admit.

Pity I just bought my new development PC, or I might have attempted to justify to myself that this beast was what I really needed !!

It's got a pretty scary price tag too, $16,900.24. Hold on a sec, I get the $16,900, but what's the extra 24 cents for ?

Steve Jones (UK)
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Forgot to say: Good idea btw Philo. I'd like to be able to do that too.

Steve Jones (UK)
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Gizmado.

At $16k, might be simpler to buy a second laptop :-)

Mr. Analogy
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Instead of having the second screen slide out to the side, why not have it fold out from behind the first screen, so that when both are in the closed position, you have a screen facing up like on the tablets?

Emperor Norton
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I remember another laptop that was out a couple of years back that had 2 screens that were independantly adjustable (I think the reason was to allow 2 users to look at the document when they weren't actually sitting at the same place relative to the laptop.  Looked very kludgy to me. 

Might be a good idea, but I'm not sure how much benefit you'd get as most of the areas I've seen for use with a laptop are pretty horrible.  Those that aren't can generally support a fixed monitor which would be much less expensive (the display is generally half the cost of a laptop) and easier to sell to Those Who Write The Checks.

I'd be happy to be able to convince said group that we'd profit from getting developers with desktop systems to do better than cast off monitors as second displays.  (Nothing will give you a screaming headache more than using 2 mismatched 17" CRT's which are slightly out of focus with each other.)

Unfocused Focused
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I remember the laptop too.  I saw it in PC Magazine, however I can't find any record that it ever existed now online.  The laptop folded into fourths.  It was a full size keyboard with numberpad, and had two 12.1" screen that would fold up in a letter format (not landscape) for a screen resolution of 1536x1024.  They locked together for a single screen, or you could spin one around and use it for giving presentations and such.  A shame I can't find it.  It seemed pretty cool, but weighed in heavy at almost 11 pounds.

Elephant
Thursday, May 06, 2004

For those who haven't yet see it, feast your eyeballs on THIS:

http://www.go-l.com/monitors/grand_canyon/features/

George Illes
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Philo,

A built-in second monitor would be great, but most laptops have a VGA connection point for an external monitor.  You can configure the OS to do dual headed to this second monitor.

Maybe a portable battery powered flat-panel connected via the VGA port would fit your modular request?

XYZZY
Thursday, May 06, 2004

On the topic of cool stuff

http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?productId=47792992&storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&langId=-1

It's a 5'x1' rollable solar panel for powering cell phones, laptops, etc.  It rolls up into a 3" diameter!  I don't know where in the hell I'd use it, but I _really_ want one just in case I ever had to!

Elephant
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Why not just have a higher resolution LCD and sit closer to it?  Or why not just have a laptop monitor that can do portrait mode?  I just switched to a portrait mode lcd for my desktop and I greatly prefer it.

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Hey Philo,
I take it you're watching the WinHEC info.  :-)

I just found this on one of the news reports during my lunch news binge.

"The Hermes design can fold out, for additional flexibility, and to allow a group of users to gather around it for a small group meeting. Conrad said the HP label on the prototype Hermes design slides off to reveal a secondary display, connected via a high-speed wireless link to the computer. The secondary display could be used to drive a presentation on the PC's panel itself, which will be removable and include its own battery. "

Unfocused Focused
Thursday, May 06, 2004

"Maybe a portable battery powered flat-panel connected via the VGA port would fit your modular request? "

Eh, kludgy.

I know it's not for everyone, but neither is a 17" 10lb laptop.

Actually, my full vision would be to have three displays that fold out - left, right, and top... [grin]

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

17" laptops weigh only 6.9 pounds.  There are actually 10lb laptops?  What kind of schmuck buys those?  ;-)

http://www.apple.com/powerbook/index17.html

bedle
Thursday, May 06, 2004

That's a great idea, Philo.

What I'd rather have is a dual-processor laptop.  That would be far more useful than the $7,000 it would probably cost to get into a dual-screen job.

Karl Perry
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Dell's top-end laptops are generally 9-10 lbs. I've never minded - at 6'4, a few pounds either way are not a big deal.

While I agree that either a niche producer or niche marketing would make a dual-display laptop $10k+, from a parts and engineering perspective there's no reason the first machines couldn't be $6k or less.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I've never understood the laptop weight issue. I play a variety of musical instruments and have often found myself lugging a tuba up 3 flights of stairs after having carried it 2 or 3 blocks from the nearest parking space. Yeah, I have to stop for rests occassionally, but a 10 lb laptop is a cakewalk. Besides, it goes in this lovely thing called a backpack. I'll lug a 30+ lb pack when I'm hiking for a week so 15-20 for laptop and accessories doesn't seem like that big a deal. And I have one of the aforementioned 10 lb Dells :)

Ron Porter
Thursday, May 06, 2004

"have often found myself lugging a tuba up 3 flights of stairs after having carried it 2 or 3 blocks from the nearest parking space"

Kinda goes with the name, doesn't it?

[g,d,r]

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Well dual screens is a good idea although I do not think very cost effective and practical (like the tablet pc they never will get enough volume to justify a price decrease).

I actually would like a similar but inexpensive solution.

Most laptops can be configured to show the display either on the laptop LCD and/or on an external monitor. 

There is not much practical use for seeing the same screen on the LCD as well as monitor and I think in such cases they should be able partition the display such that the two screens are treated as a single "side by side" screen like a multi-monitor setup does. This way one could move the mouse from one display to another smoothly

Code Monkey
Thursday, May 06, 2004

That's the way my laptop works now.

But I don't carry an LCD around with me. Hmmm... maybe I can...

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Philo:
... and to make matters worse, I used to work for the railroad, although as brakeman/conductor

Ron Porter
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Ron Porter:

Re the weight thing...if you can find a way for a businessperson in a suit to wear a backpack to carry their laptop about without reservation, get it to market quickly - you'll be a zillionaire in no time.

If my wife (who has one of those midget Latitudes) was asked by IT to use a 10 Ib laptop, you'd need to call CSI to find DNA traces in lieu of a body.  Her last issued laptop was an IBM luggable desktop replacement model - too heavy to carry everywhere so spent a large proportion of it's existence siiting on a desk unused.  Her Latitude gets carried everywhere so it's fully utilised, better value for money and ultimately more useful.

Weight is a major issue (OH&S if nothing else) for those who are not 6ft 100kg types.

Motown (AU)
Thursday, May 06, 2004

As long as we're discussing notebooks with weird form factors, has anyone else seen this?  It's a Tablet PC that folds around like a Trapper Keeper:

http://www.ecs.com.tw/products/pd_spec.asp?product_id=387

Rather novel, but I'm not sure that I'd want one....

Robert Jacobson
Thursday, May 06, 2004

What I personally want is my computer on my belt.  Wirelss headphone for voice commnads, responses.  Maybe some simple heads up readouts in my glasses.

Display?  When I want a display I want to be able to pick up one or more flexible, wireless, self contained displays, key them to my personal computer and use them to interact with it.  Displays cheap enough to throw away, but hopefully reusable enough that I won't be forced to.  If I want to read a document, I use an 8.5/11 display (we humans change so slowly.)  If I want to work on a huge spreadsheet, I pull out the roll of material and get what I want.  If I just need to see what time it is, I have them paint the stuff onto my arm.

(This hallucination brought to you by the promise of Organic LED technology.)

Unfocused Focused
Thursday, May 06, 2004

---"Weight is a major issue (OH&S if nothing else) for those who are not 6ft 100kg types. "----

Actually weight will be very much an issue for those with that weight and height. Their BMI will be right at the top of the overweight category, and only a decimal point or so off the obese category.
http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmi-m.htm

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 07, 2004

Estari announces dual screen laptop called the 2-VU.

http://www.dualscreen.com/

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, May 07, 2004

check this out
http://www.xentex.com/

It's a little heavy, but now I don't have to poke around on the little laptop keyboard and have the power of a workstation.

Kurt w
Thursday, May 27, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home