Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

Summary: People love to complain about the virtual keyboard found on the iPhone and iPod touch (myself included) but in reality it's quite good after the requisite learning period. It still needs haptic feedback but that's a topic for another blog post.

SHARE:
61

Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

People love to complain about the virtual keyboard found on the iPhone and iPod touch (myself included) but in reality it's quite good after the requisite learning period. It still needs haptic feedback but that's a topic for another blog post.If you're ok with a virtual, touchscreen keyboard, would you be able to tolerate one in your notebook? Wired's Leander Kahney gushes about the concept of "two big iPod Touches joined by a hinge" ala the OLPC v2 concept by designer Yves Behar (pictured) which he blogged about on Cult of Mac.

The term "brick" was mentioned in a 9-to-5 Mac rumor piece on 10 September 2008 when their source said that the MacBook update is "all about the Brick." I take that to mean that additional features will be crammed into Apple's ever-shrinking AC adapter (a.k.a. the brick). It wouldn't be that hard to build an Airport Express into "the brick" combining two road warrior favorites into one uber-accessory.

Oh, that OLPC v2 concept is pretty sweet too.

[poll id=146]

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Laptops, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

61 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Well, given that you could carry a folding keyboard, why not?

    But, how about touch screens that somehow gave you a feeling when your fingers were in the right place??? You could possible put at least a raised "dash" on the screen for the F and J keys, so you could feel home row. The trick might be to add some raised edges that are transparent, that would not interfere too much with the viewing (when used as a pure screen).

    But, in general, how could we create touch screens, that you can not only draw things on, but command it to create a sensation on the finger tips when they are moved over an area. That would have lots more applications that keyboards!!
    DonnieBoy
    • Practical Application

      The best answer to all this is to think about practical uses of a notebook vs a touch-screen device - who uses them and why? Here's two quick questions:

      1. Would a writer type up an article, novel, report, or other lengthy written items on a touch-screen PC?

      2. Would a gamer try to play Halo or some first-person shooter game with a touch-screen keyboard?

      The answer to both of these is probably not, because a screen keyboard isn't suited for those applications. It's like trying to cut down a tree with a pocket knife. Sure, you COULD do it, but if you know you're out to go cut down trees, you're going to bring the chainsaw, even if it's awkward and doesn't fit in your pocket like the knife.

      There will have to be some major developments in software and infrastructure before you can do away with a keyboard on a notebook PC. And if you just can't stand the keyboard, well, like someone else in this discussion mentioned, there's a tablet PC for that audience. More power to them.
      jhilgeman
  • I need a keyboard.

    I'd need a keyboard. I used to have a Tablet PC (that's all this really is), and I went for a "hybrid" model with a real keyboard rather than a "pure" model without a keyboard. I used the keyboard all the time, so yeah, I'd need a keyboard.

    What you're showing in the pics has a hinge, and could have a touch keyboard - that [i]might[/i] be acceptable, as long as it's not cramped, and as long as it's touch and does not require a stylus.

    As a touch typist, a stylus is a last resort for me, not a preferred method of typing.

    To be honest, a real physical keyboard is always ideal, especially an ergonomic one. On my primary computer at home, I have a Microsoft Natural, and it's the best way to input text, especially if you want to avoid cramps. I can type all day on it.
    CobraA1
    • If they could develop something to give some kind of tactile feedback,

      some kind of sensation in the fingers, that was programmable, to tell you if your finger was on or off the center of a key.

      In other words, as a programmer, you could program the feeling of a ridge or valley at a certain xy coordinate. The feeling / sensation would not have to be the same as on a real keyboard, just some kind of sensation that would let you "feel" where the keys are. Of course there could always be sound to let you know that a keystroke was registered.
      DonnieBoy
      • liquid gel?

        could they not have the 'keyboard' screen overlayed with a mask that's divided up into cells, with semi-transparent little pockets of silicone (or other gel substance) inserted into them, to provide a level of tactile feedback and also to prevent damage to the actual screen?

        the mask could then be sold separately (with various international keyboard configurations and/or application specific configurations) whilst the screen underneath would be useable with or without it.

        also, with the video-printing technology coming along, surely that would be another way of creating an input device with feedback and flexibility?
        murshed
  • Sure, why not

    A phone is a difficult device to not have a physical keyboard or a clear delineation of keys, especially for typing without looking with one hand.

    A laptop with a graphical keyboard is a different story. With proper haptic feedback and perhaps some bumps on the screen to find "home" keys, this could be a very feasible device. The question would be, though, what to do with the extra screen real estate.
    ErikJacobs
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    Sure, would even be better if you could use a pressure sensitive stylus.
    plumley@...
    • I don't agree.

      I have worn keys enough with finger nails to make them unreadable with deep grooves. This would have to be a very light use machine.
      deowll
  • No...

    ...simply because I'm a technical writer and a touch-typist, and would be uncomfortable with a keyboard lacking tactile feedback.
    GrizzledGeezer
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    Why only settle for key board, Like most other handheld
    devices, the screen can also be used as a write pad. Also If
    you want the touch of key board, rubber skin over the skin to
    give a feel of the keyboard can also work. Thought about this
    for last 15 years - thinking it will be the ultimate book and
    note combination - that is if the battery lasts...
    Jinseh
    • Keyboard skin

      Instead of a rubber skin, how about a pull down overlay that would be able to retract when you are just using the tablet feature.
      alpuod@...
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    Sure. You could always set it up so that it has some haptic feedback and program it so that if you don't touch it for several minutes it will disappear to save on the batteries. When the keyboard comes back from sleep mode where ever your index fingers are would become "home row".
    Make the screen flexible and folding and you will be well on your way to a dream media machine.
    mr1972
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    It all depends on what you are using it for. Writing a novel or
    maybe coding would be a drag without a "real" keyboard, but
    for lots of uses, like the OLPCv2 concept, it would be great.
    Email, short notes, etc would not be a problem.
    chadpengar
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    This married with the patent I've seen where the input side
    can change from a keyboard to a mixing board, etc. would be
    an amazing piece of technology. Much better then keeping
    your arms up in the air to manipulate a touch screen. My
    arms get tired as is.
    steev7
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    No! would you buy a car with no wheels?
    psivert@...
    • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

      Yes, if it was a hover car. Responses like yours are assinine. Did you also refuse to buy a touch tone telephone because the dialing wheel worked so well?

      Everyone has adapted to the standard keyboard, and over many years of practice, have become adept at data entry using this method. I'm sure after enough practice, we can all learn a new way to input data with as much ease and speed. It will probably not be our generation though (gen x, gen y) too many of us are stuck in our stubborn ways.
      Drazil
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    I recently purchased an HP TX2510 Tablet PC. As much as I enjoyed using it as a touchscreen and I was amazed at how far handwriting recognition had come, I found myself using the keyboard more than I expected because I can type 10 times faster than I can write.

    Its a great little computer and I would have loved to have one as a student.

    Would I buy an all-screen notebook? No
    Animal13
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    I think like some phones that have touch screen and physical keyboards, that a laptop with these advanced features should start with a flip-out or pull-out keyboard in conjunction with the all screen keyboard. Some may say that would defeat the purpose, but in order for a successful sale, sometimes abrupt change is not good, though the iphone kind of proved that theory incorrect, it depends on how it's marketed and the hype of, and of course the actual funtionality. Just a thought. Brian ebrianj@hotmail.com
    ebrianj@...
  • I already have a Tablet PC

    Haptic feedback isn't going to help the usability of an on-screen keyboard. The reason hardware-keyboards are so fast and easy is because you can feel the buttons with your fingers without looking at them. That's not going to happen with a screen-based keyboard any time soon.

    On the other hand, I love my HP tx2000z's handwriting recognition! If I feel like laying on the couch with a computer, putting two hands on that keyboard is no where near comfortable. Holding the Tablet PC with one hand and writing on the screen with the other is a total joy though, and the Tablet PC's interface for editing and entering text is very very well done.
    AdamzP
  • RE: Would you buy an all-screen notebook computer?

    No. As much as I would like a bigger screen, I really need the tactile feedback of a keyboard.
    tome1