Intel has shown off a new dual-screen laptop prototype that could be in stores by the end of the year.
For the past three decades laptops have stayed faithful to the concept of a screen combined with a physical keyboard, but Intel and PC makers may change that status quo if the dual-screen laptop is embraced by consumers.
Gregory Bryant, Intel's senior vice president of client computing, told CNET to expect foldable displays, bendable objects, and "things that fit in your purse", presumably meaning mobile computing devices running on Intel and not Arm-based chips.
At Computex, the chip maker showed off its Tiger Rapids dual-screen PC prototype, which mimics a Moleskine pen-and-paper notebook and is slimmer than an iPhone.
The main or left screen is a standard 7.9-inch LCD display running Windows, while the right screen is a low-energy E Ink or electronic paper display, purpose-built for scribbling on.
The prototype device has a battery life of 13 to 15 hours and just one USB-C port to demonstrate that the Tiger Rapids concept is aimed at mobile wireless computing.
The idea of a part-smartphone-part-laptop has gained momentum among some consumers captivated by the idea that Microsoft may be building a dual-screen mobile device.
As PC World reports, the rumored Microsoft device is closer to a second Intel prototype that uses two traditional displays connected by a hinge. However, unlike Tiger Rapids, Intel hasn't confirmed that any PC brands have adopted this idea.
Nevertheless, Asus and Lenovo are on board with the dual-screen idea. Asus showed off its Project Precog dual-screen prototype that has two 4K screens that can fold and flip in every direction. The display uses artificial intelligence to predict what the user wants to do and how to configure the two screens.
For example, by holding your fingers out it predicts you'll want a keyboard and surfaces a soft keyboard. The device is due out in 2019 but Asus also has the 2018 ZenBook Pro with a 5.5-inch touchscreen built into the touchpad.
Lenovo also teased a Yoga Book 2 that has dual touchscreen displays, enhanced inking and an AI-enabled keyboard that will be available later this year.
As for Intel's Tiger Rapids, which is more a model for PC makers than a product for consumers, it's meant to be a fully fledged PC but focused on mobile computing. The prototype has a 7th generation Intel Core processor and runs Windows 10.