Lenovo preps dual-display Frankenlaptop
3,353,088 pixels, at your service
Word has leaked out that Lenovo plans to release the world's first dual-display laptop at next month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Not since Ray Milland had his head grafted onto Rosey Greer's body in 1972's The Thing with Two Heads has a more unlikely two-headed beast been seen in the wild.
And "beast" is not an inappropriate descriptor. At 16-by-12-by-2.1 inches and 11 pounds, the Lenovo W700ds is a hulking heavyweight - but there's a lot of hardware packed into that prodigious poundage.
First and most obvious are the two LCD displays gracing the W700ds. The main display - placed where you'd expect it to be - is a 17-inch, 1920-by-1200, Widescreen Ultra eXtended Graphics Array (WUXGA) display. So far, normal - if impressively large.
Sliding out from the right side of the main display, however, is a vertically oriented 10.6-inch second display, with a 1366-by-768 Widescreen eXtended Graphics Array (WXGA) resolution. We'll do the math for you: between the two displays there's a total of 3,353,088 pixels.
The W700ds doubles up on these double displays with twin bays for hard drives or Solid-State Drives (SSDs), as well as two built-in input devices: a standard trackpad and a Wacom digitizer built into the right side of the palm rest.
Although Lenovo has yet to list all of the options for the W700ds on its website, one report claimed that it will be available with a quad-core Intel Core 2 processor - possibly the QX9300 - and Nvidia Quadro graphics - possibly the FX 3700M. We add "possibly" because Lenovo hasn't responded to our requests for clarification. Their media-relations staff appears to have begun their holiday breaks a bit early. Possibly.
One display for your work, a second for all those Photoshop palettes
Although pricing for the W700ds has not been officially announced, various web reports place it somewhere between $3,000 and $3,600 - although we'll have to wait until CES to find out what accoutrements come at what price points. One assumes that, pound for pound, it won't be cheap.
While a two-display laptop might be overkill for most users, picture a videographer in the field or a digital photographer on remote assignment, and you can understand the allure of all that extra pixelage. Besides, any content-creating professional who can afford this beast will also be able to afford an assistant to lug it around. ®
Is this the time to introduce a niche product?
Clearly, sir, you have never worked as a field engineer.
Did you see my "nearly"? As in "nearly a workstation"? Besides, where is it written, oh great guru, that a workstation is not meant to be portable ... other than in the portmanteau that is it's name? Remember, a name is just a sound we use to identify a thing. It doesn't necessarily describe the object in question. For example, most people drive on the parkway and park in the driveway.
In my tractor shed I have a pickup with a generator, lathe, table saw, drill press and a small mill. Comes in handy when fixing stuff in odd corners of the ranch. I have to lift the table saw out to use it, but the mill and drill press swing out from one side of the bed, and the lathe swings out from the other. Are you seriously suggesting that I'm maintaining my ranch incorrectly because I can take the lathe to the job site?
And what's wrong with 80 columns? I'm typing this on an 80 column IBM 3151 monitor, with a model M keyboard that I've had since 1984. It's running a terminal session over a serial port on my laptop's docking station. I could type it up on the webpage, with the laptop's native keyboard, or the wireless keyboard, but I can't get close to the WPM as I can using vi and the model M ... the third head of this kludge is a 24" flatscreen.
Just because you, personally can't make a tool do what you want it to do doesn't mean that the tool isn't the right tool for other jobs. Learn to think outside the box, youngster. You'll have a happier and more productive life.
 Which I take great delight in pointing out is itself a portmanteau, the first half of which comes from the old French verb "to carry" ... Circular humor appeals to me, even for small values of "humor" :-)
 Before anyone says it, the last time I was on a Parkway I was pretty much parked ...
 Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know ... So shoot me.
"It's a transportable Workstation"
Is it really? Let's think about that word 'Workstation', then, shall we?
A 'station' is something that is meant to be 'stationary': Stations are things you travel between, not things you carry with you. This is a machine that is trying to invent a new way of working around itself. It's like making a portable flat-bed lathe, for the machining industry, and saying that it would allow latheworkers to opperate out in the field. If the job cannot be done without something like this, then it's the job that is wrong, not the machine, that is right.
This thing represents an eighty-column mindset for the 21st century, and will end up burried nine-edge first - alonside all the other things that we'll look back on, in a few years time, and think 'Oh yeah. i remember a guy who had one of those. he was a dork. I wonder what became of him?'.
"But any chance we can get some SI measurements in there for those of us who wouldn't know a pound in weight if they held it in their hands? Maybe a few centimetres too, because well, I like centimetres."
According to Google, 11 pounds = 4.98951607 kilograms.
(apparently, you can use google's search bar as a calculator/unit converter. Nifty.)
Naysayers ... &@Barry
This isn't intended to be a laptop, or notebook, or netbook. It's a transportable Workstation (well, nearly a workstation, anyway).
It's not supposed to be used in planes, trains or automobiles. Battery life is pretty much immaterial. In fact, with another slide-out screen on the left and a built in printer out the top, I'd be happier with a lot more more RAM, a couple quad core CPUs, and 750+ gigs WITHOUT a battery.
This is designed for field engineers doing field engineering, be it material, civil, software, network, systems, process and what have you ... It's a transportable, high-powered tool that was built by folks who grok that unless you can display the results of what you are computing, the proles probably aren't going to understand. It's not supposed to be used out of reach of AC power.
It's not a toy. It's not a gamer's rig. It's a serious piece of hardware designed for people who are serious about their computers, and make money with them. A professional's tool, if you will.
Yes, I plan on purchasing one. Hopefully with the above mentioned enhancements ... I've been looking for a tool like this for about a decade now. If they could throw in hardware RAID and a weather-resistant titanium or carbon fiber case, I'd be happy paying US$8,000+ ... even if the thing weighs in around 13 pounds.
@Barry: 24 pounds? Luxury! See my first post in this thread ;-)