Computex 2019: The future of laptop keyboards looks bleak as screens multiply

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 04 Jun 2019

The redesigned ZenBook that Asus debuted at the conference stole the spotlight with its three screens and full-size mechanical keyboard.

At this year's Computex 2019, an annual conference in Taipei dedicated to all things PC, a slew of new laptops and concept models were announced, the most innovative of which demonstrate that keyboards are being pushed to the side in favour of secondary and even tertiary screens.

As the smartphone industry upgrades screens by reducing bezels, shrinking notches and adding flexibility, those in the laptop industry, too, have been revamping how displays are used within PCs and have apparently concluded that the more screens the merrier.

Computex 2019 showed this trend on full display where a series of notebooks were unveiled donning extra screens that push keyboards nearly off the edge of the model. 

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

The redesigned ZenBook that Asus debuted at the conference stole the spotlight with its three screens and full-size mechanical keyboard – which was pushed down to the very bottom of the base to make room for the touchscreen display that measures in at 14in and the trackpad that doubles as a digital number pad.

The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo will be available for purchase in Q3 of this year when the price will also be announced.


HP Omen X 2S

Though HP announced the HP Omen X 2S a couple of weeks before Computex 2019, the company still used the conference as an opportunity to showcase the dual-screen gaming laptop. The second display on this model is in a similar location as that on Asus's new model and is also a touchscreen, but it's significantly smaller at just six inches.

The trackpad has been pushed to the right of a full-size keyboard, but it serves no other purpose than a trackpad. The HP Omen X 2S will be available in June with a starting price of US$2,099 (RM8,780).


Intel Honeycomb Glacier concept

Intel, on the other hand, only had a concept to show with an innovative new design. Though Honeycomb Glacier isn't expected to hit the market anytime soon, it features design that definitely turned heads at the conference with its two screens and two hinges.

When opened like a conventional laptop, the model looks similar to the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo; between the second screen and the keyboard, however, there's a second hinge that lifts the main display up to eye level and the second display up enough so you don't have to hunch over to see it properly.

Honeycomb Glacier is still only in the prototype stage, but it may become a commercial reality over the next couple years if the trend for more multi-screen laptops further gains momentum. – AFP Relaxnews

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