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Insights Into the Future of the Laptop 142

Posted by Zonk
from the small-and-fun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ThinkPad founder Arimasa Naitoh sat down for a chat with CNET.com.au about the future of the laptop. The article includes a few concept design images, as well as details on why Lenovo believes that fuel-cell technology is poor and that Origami will never succeed as a primary device." From the article: "Although Lenovo has traditionally targeted the business crowd, it recently released the consumer-targeted Lenovo 3000 series, as 'many people want to have a ThinkPad that is not black'. Naitoh shuns the use of aluminium in laptop manufacturing, calling it 'weak', instead praising titanium (used in the construction of the 3000) for its light-weight and scratch-resistant properties. Naitoh also showed off a number of ThinkPad concept designs with innovations such as raising displays and removable keyboards. He didn't give any word on whether these would be incorporated into official ThinkPad models, but we've snagged some pictures for you anyway."
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Insights Into the Future of the Laptop

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  • by Sam Haine '95 (918696) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:41AM (#15815998)
    If somebody made an ARM powered laptop with solid state storage then I'd be very happy. No moving parts, silent, incredible battery life.
    • by simp (25997) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:08AM (#15816068)
      It was made 10 years ago, the Psion 5MX. For it's time it was very good. The included agenda/database software is even today a good match for the modern PDAs. Unfortunately these days everybody seems to be facinated with running Windows CE on a small PDA screen and call it an improvement... I'm getting old.
      • The Psion was excellent (I owned a Psion 3M) however, nowadays we want to be able to browse and e-mail with the software we regularly use. To use an analogy: I have always had Nokia mobile phones. Why? Because I know the menus by heart. Would it be such a hassle to relearn another interface? No, but why bother?
      • these days everybody seems to be facinated with running Windows CE on a small PDA screen and call it an improvemen

        There are alot of PDA's out there that would be very good laptops if they just added usable keyboards to them. Somehow I just don't seem to get it I guess. What's so damn great about a large touch screen, when you could have a keyboard to go with it and it would be the perfect device for surfing, writign and communicating?!

        • What's so damn great about a large touch screen, when you could have a keyboard to go with it and it would be the perfect device for surfing, writign and communicating?!

          Think of the millions of computers users who cannot type (well, with more than 1 finger at a time).

          For a time, I was seriously considering getting a portable keyboard for my PDA---but nearly all of them are crappily small, one might as well just peck with that pointer thingie than type with 1 finger on them small keyboards.

          Why can't a PDA co
    • Windows Mobile 5.0 based Pocket PC? They have everything you described. And if you want a larger keyboard, you may use most of bluetooth desktop keyboards.
    • you can buy one for as low as $100. Look in google for ARM boards with PXA255 and PXA270.

    • Right. Like my Treo that lasts for days (up to a week) depending on usage.

      Could be better (bigger screen, better camera) but it does all that I need in a portable device. MP3s, camara/video, PDA, read pdfs, word/excel, web, and others.
  • As long as they run for a whole day (16 hours plus) when running Ubuntu or FreeBSD they will be fine.
    • As long as they run for a whole day (16 hours plus) when running Ubuntu or FreeBSD they will be fine.

      16 hours isn't quite there yet, but I do get 6-8 hours with my current laptop, a 1-year old battery and Ubuntu (the higher number when I'm offline (no wifi) and basically just read text). Add another hour with a brand-new battery. If I put it to sleep whenever I don't use it, it easily stretches to a 10-hour workday. And with a spare battery (which itself is a small unit for this laptop) I can go a whole wak
  • SHOCKER! (Score:5, Funny)

    by linvir (970218) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:43AM (#15816006)
    When asked about the future prospects of Microsoft's "Origami" mini-tablet design, Naitoh was sceptical. "I'll have a hard time to convince myself that Origami will be a primary device," he said.
    LENOVO LAPTOP DEVELOPER IN COMPETITOR-DISLIKING SCANDAL SHOCKER!
    • I know you're trying for funny, but origami is mostly software, MS is relying on partners such as lenovo to build them. MS and lenovo are not competitors per se.
      • Re:SHOCKER! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tambo (310170) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:29AM (#15816684)
        origami is mostly software, MS is relying on partners such as lenovo to build them. MS and lenovo are not competitors per se.

        Not really.

        The UMPC (formerly known as Origami) is a hardware/software specification set by Microsoft for this new class of devices. The software specification contains exactly one requirement: Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005.

        The hardware, on the other hand, has several requirements:

        • Screen: Approximately 7" LCD, with a resolution of at least 800x480
        • Weight: Approximately 1kg (2lb)
        • Integrated touch screen
        • Integrated 802.11b
        • Integrated Bluetooth
        That's it - anything with those specifications can be considered (and labeled) a UMPC.

        Now here's the important question: Who would ever consider a machine with those specifications their primary device? The minimum specification doesn't include any kind of drive, speakers, or even a keyboard. As a standalone device, the UMPC is really cripped - without a drive, how do you load software?

        But that's the point. Please, please repeat after me: THE UMPC IS NOT MEANT TO BE A PRIMARY OR STANDALONE PC. That is not its intended niche. It is a companion PC - a souped-up version of a PDA that runs all of the software you'd expect, and with a screen large enough to do actual work. (The tiny screen was the primary factor that limited the PDA to "address-book" status.)

        It irritates me to see so many tech rags criticizing the UMPC as underpowered for primary computer use. They're just not understanding its purpose. I'm an ardent supporter of the platform (and I have no attachment to Microsoft, any UMPC manufacturer, the project, etc.) - I think it will be an excellent new device, with novel computing applications.

        - David Stein

        • It is a companion PC - a souped-up version of a PDA that runs all of the software you'd expect

          If that's the case, I'd expect it to sync with another Windows PC. I have yet to see any evidence that standard "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005" (holy long-winded name, Batman!) can do that.

  • What I want... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:50AM (#15816026)
    What I want is something small that I can plug a keyboard and monitor into for desktop use but also use on the move. Not a laptop - much smaller.

    The closest I've seen is this thing:

        http://www.dualcor.com/ [dualcor.com]

    But it looks like it's not aimed at the general market, and has a corresponding "business class" price tag.

    • Re:What I want... (Score:3, Informative)

      by cerberusss (660701)
      You're describing this [laptop.org] except it doesn't have an ARM but some AMD processor. From the FAQ:

      The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode display--both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband

    • Re:What I want... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ronanbear (924575)
      Or the UMPCs that are just coming out. The markets gonna be full of these things but you're the first person I've seen who actually wants one over a laptop. I suppose the 2.5 hour battery life sorta spoils it.
    • And it runs Windows CE. How could you.
    • google PXA255 PXA270 development boards. some of them come in nice packaging with built-in or plug in LCD screens and peripherals like USB, WiFi, etc. you can order Linux or WinCE preinstalled
    • I've been waiting for this for several years now:

      Paul Allen's Vulcan FlipStart [flipstartpc.com]

      Development of the FlipStart seems to have flagged a bit [wikipedia.org] since this website hasn't changed appreciably in over 2 years. What the heck has Paul Allen been working on [space.com] that could be more important than what I want!?
    • There are a few others, some mentioned often on Slashdot too... http://www.oqo.com/ [oqo.com]

      They're very expensive for the performance, but you're paying for the portability.


    • You can do this with a Treo. They have keyboards and VGA out SD cards if you want them.

      You can do email and edit MS files, read PDFs and listen to MP3s. Great machine.
    • I agree 1000%. Look at the specs of what exists today: A Dell Axim X51v has 256MB Flash memory, 64 MB RAM, 16 MB VRAM, and built-in 640x480 screen, all for $499 (on sale for $374 right now.) Windows XP requires a 233 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM, 1.5 GB HD, and 600x800 screen. Why can't someone make a tiny little machine that is as small as can be but runs a real OS? The Toshiba Libretto came close, but it needs to be the size of a PDA, not a paperback.

      I'd love to have a palm-sized device that runs a real OS. The cap
  • by The Mutant (167716) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:08AM (#15816066) Homepage
    "...praising titanium (used in the construction of the 3000) for its light-weight and scratch-resistant properties..."

    So what did Apple get wrong then? My TiBook was looking pretty ragged after two years of use. By contrast, my 15" Aluminum G4 PowerBook doesn't have a scratch on it....

    • Same here. I just gave my 2 year old Albook to my Mrs and it looks like new! The last time I did that (with a TiBook) it looked like it had been drop kicked all over the road!
    • There is much more to metal then just the type of metal; there is purity and tempering. A well tempered Aluminum plate would be much better then a badly tempered steel plate.
      • There's also the entirely different matter of stiffness (rigidity) and its relationship to mass. Steel, Aluminum, and Titanium are all plenty strong for building a laptop, but because their densities are dramatically different, a given mass of each translates to different thicknesses, which becomes the dominating factor in determining the plate's stiffness.

        The stiffness of a plate is approximately proportional to the cube of the plate's thickness multiplied by the material-specific flexural modulus. Mos

    • by dbIII (701233) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:32AM (#15816129)
      If you treat the surface to make it a nitride you get a very hard surface and a nice gold colour - take a look at industrial cutting tools for an example. Titanium alloys are a bit stronger than aluminium alloys but are a pain to work with and very expensive. As for strength - the same thickness of a half decent steel is stronger than a titanium alloy but of course the titanium alloy is lighter in weight.

      Alumiumium alloys can also be fairly scratch resistant if they are anodised to give a thick hard oxide layer - probably what has been done with the alumiumium powerbook.

    • If you got you Aluminium G4 after the Ti, then perhaps you just used it more carefully? You know, some thought like "I'll never let this happen again" after observing the scratched Ti surface and the brand-new Al?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So what did Apple get wrong then? My TiBook was looking pretty ragged after two years of use. By contrast, my 15" Aluminum G4 PowerBook doesn't have a scratch on it....

      The scratches are not in the titanium, but in the paint that Apple used to make it appear more "metal-like". The anodized aluminum on the AlBooks don't need paint to look like metal (although some parts are painted, like the keycaps which are actually plastic). It holds up better against scratches, but is also easier to dent.

    • by engagebot (941678) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:19AM (#15816294)
      The problem is that not all of the TiBook was actually Ti. Only the casing of the screen is actually Ti, and the whole bottom casing is just silver-colored plastic. The white frame that goes around the edge of the machine is some other kind of metal thats painted white. All these painted surfaces scratch off and look beat up, whereas the AlBook is actuallly silver.
      • No, the top layer and the bezel around the screen were Ti and tne bottom case layer is Ti. The polycarbonate layer ("the white frame") has a Ti top panel surrounding the keyboard. So, most of the visual/tactile surface of Tibooks is Ti.

        The Albook is constructed in a similar fashion - the top and bottom case long with the bezel and keyboard layer are AL. I don't know if you've owned either but Ive owned both and they are still in mint condition, of course I tend to be protective/carefull of things I pay th
    • My wedding ring is Titanium. It was the most amazingly shiny and sparkly piece of metal when I got it but that didn't last long - it dulled down to a "brushed steel" look through thousands of tiny scratches within two weeks. So "No" titanium is not scratch-resistant.
    • by dhovis (303725) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:36AM (#15816375)

      Well, it may depend on the specific alloy they use. The Ti-Powerbooks were made using CP-Ti(Commercially Pure). Frankly, that isn't a structural alloy. In fact, it has no alloying elements at all! Now the lay person would say "It's really pure, it must be really strong!". Bzzzzz....Wrong. That makes it fairly soft compared to, say Ti-6Al-4V [alleghenyludlum.com], which is kind of the standard titanium alloy that is used for most things titanium.

      With the Al-books, Apple switched to an "aircraft grade" aluminum alloy. That can mean a lot of things, but generally, aircraft grade aluminum alloys are some of the strongest, lightest alloys on the market. It is also a lot easier to form aluminum. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Al-books were forged, which would increase their strength. There is no way they could have forged the Ti-book parts, forging titanium is a very expensive process. Also, the Al-books were hard anodized, which leaves them with a thin, hard, adherent layer of Al2O3 on the surface. Al2O3 is also known as sapphire, so it adds to the scrach resistance, at least for superficial scraches, anyway.

      Now, I am a Ph.D. Materials Scientist, so I would be remiss if I didn't mention that scratch resistance and strength are two entirely different things. Generally, making something scratch resistant will also make it brittle. If you had to choose between your laptop scratching or shattering, I know which one I'd choose.

      That is as much insight as I can probably provide. My expertise these days is on the high temperature oxidation of Ni-based superalloys.


      • >>That is as much insight as I can probably provide. My expertise these days is on the high temperature oxidation of Ni-based superalloys.

        You're designing bomb casings?

    • Also, the Apple Titanium's cracked underneath the wrists of people who used them often. My "weak" aluminum powerbook has not cracked, however, even though it goes through extensive use. Learning from others mistakes is a much easier way to learn than learning from your own.
    • "...praising titanium (used in the construction of the 3000) for its light-weight and scratch-resistant properties..."

      So what did Apple get wrong then? My TiBook was looking pretty ragged after two years of use. By contrast, my 15" Aluminum G4 PowerBook doesn't have a scratch on it....

      I'm sure that fit and finish figured into Apple's decision to abandon titanium, but judging from the temperatures of my 15" Powerbook (Aluminum), Apple also figured out that titanium has lousy thermal conductivity co

  • Interesting stuff (Score:3, Informative)

    by 99luftballon (838486) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:18AM (#15816092)
    Lenovo appears to be playing a smart game, looking to expand from the business market to the professional consumer. With companies like Acer and HP looking more a the entertainment machine concept Lenovo is looking to a higher value market. The Origami stuff is interesting too. The whole idea is a loser (sub laptop capability for more money) and he's wise to stay out of it. All this stress on using titanium could also be a nod towards industry fears that Lenovo might compromise quality for price. Maybe they've decided to rely on low manufacturing costs to keep prices at reasonable levels.
  • I have to say, I'm completly on the side of "PCs are powerful enough already" - especially where Laptops are concerned. If I really wanted something that powerful, I'd just use my desktop - nothing is so important that it has to be processed on the spot, on a laptop instead of just waiting till I get home. I'm very happy that there is hope for a laptop running a full day on a single battery, in the next 1-2 years, I've been waiting for this news for a long time.

    I guess it's just a waiting game now, until
    • by steve_l (109732) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:44AM (#15816166) Homepage
      My Compaq nc6000 (disclaimer, I work for hp) has
      1. 1GB ram
      2. 1.8GHZ single core.
      3. 6+ hours battery life when I pull out the DVD drive and stick in the extension pack. Three hours otherwise.
      4. The more ram you have, the worse the resume from hibernate, and there is too much corporate security junk (firewall, VPN, Symantec) to take up memory and battery life. The extra battery pack is very good for conferences, as I dont need to sit glued to power cords all day long.

        The problem with long-life laptops is most people prefer performance over battery life. And with reason -most people don't go that far without a recharge. The most definitive data gathering on this topic was actually an experiment I did in 1999, logging how different people used a laptop for six months, in a paper called "the secret life of laptops" [hp.com]

        The conclusion we came to then was that power at home and work was unimportant, compared to the wide variation in network state. Getting consistent networking mattered much more to people.

        Now that we have near-universal, WLAN, maybe being unwired matters more. I should rerun the experiment, but first I need to finish the analysis of my ongoing experiment, that of capturing the bluetooth ID of every discoverable mobile phone that goes past my house. Embrace experimental computer science!

      • Okay, so I just bought a compaq v3019 (and, by the way, video performance is a dog).

        The things that matter most to me? Reasonable performance, strong battery life and wireless performance. This laptop has what I need. Oh, and weight makes a huge difference. My previous laptop (a Uniwill N258Ka0) was a 15.4" widescreen that weighed a gazillion pounds (okay just 7.3 or so), while my new one is only 14.1" screen, and is much lighter.

        I haven't tested the battery life yet (bought it on Saturday), but I was i
        • I'm sorry to hear that video performance is a dog. Presumably the laptop is targeted towards power efficient 2D than decent gaming.

          It's going to be an interesting problem for Vista, which uses the GPU aggressively; I dont know how many of todays laptops can handle aero, and of those that do, it's going to kill their battery life.

          The irony is, Vista Aero gui is a client-side GUI; you dont want it on your servers. But desktops are going away; apart from the home gaming/media desktops, laptops are all people n
      • Interestingly enough, there are three things I look at when buying a notebook:
        1. Weight
        2. Size
        3. Battery life.

        And I think it is in these three properties that we need a real improvement. Granted, maybe size is not much of an issue (although doing laptops slimmer would help). I like 15 or even 14.5 inches screens because I cant see on smaller screens.

        Now, about the weight, That is a *big* issue for me. I have an HP notebook ZV5000la, the whole beast weights 3.5 Kg, and although it is a great machine it is no
        • What has effectively happened is that the vendors have decided that 2-3 hours is the max battery life that "Desktop replacement" laptops need. If ever battery power gets above that, they crank up CPU or GPU power, and battery life goes right down again. Its the way that all the SUV manufacturers give their SUVs fuel tanks that do 300 or so miles; that's the expected range of the truck, regardless of its fuel consumption.

          Displays are a major battery hog, so is eclipse. crank back on the brightness and you w
      • I'm not sure if it is Windows' fault or not, but I've noticed the hibernate problem with more RAM as well. A periodic hard drive defrag seemed to fix it for me (I know, I know... it shouldn't matter!).
        • How is that a "problem"? It sounds to me more like an unavoidable consequence of the hibernation concept. I mean, when you're dumping all the data from RAM to disk, and then reading it all back in, it only makes sense that the time it takes is going to be proportional to the size of the data!

          Of course, that doesn't mean Windows has an excuse for not instantly waking from (non-hibernation) sleep, like a Mac does.

    • until I find a laptop that packs 1gb of ram, something between 1.5 and 2ghz of processing power (seriously, anything more is stupid overkill), 8 hours battery life

      the Sony TX series come close, although you do need good eyesight to run windows with standard sized icons and fonts... even though I'm used to PDAs (Zaurus, Palm T3) I had to use "large icons" and "big fonts" settings (which makes windows quite fugly IMHO as it's never understood device resolution independent display). I've only had it a few days
  • In terms of shape and size, I'm a bit surprised that peope are willing to lug around laptops with 17" displays while portrait-oriented displays are not widely available. Instead of having the whole LCD panel being the "lid" on the laptop, a smaller panel would do that and then hold the pivot to allow switching between landscape and portrait orientation.
    these days I tend to keep the dock on OSX taking up the right hand side of my 16:9 screen and the only reason I don't do the same with the Windows taskbar i
    • by CFD339 (795926) <andrewp @ t h e n o r t h.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:52AM (#15816193) Homepage Journal
      The wide aspect screens offer two key benfits. One of course is that movies are now shownin that aspect. The other turns out to be space. A short wide screen opens on an airplane much better than a taller one. The laptop requires significantly less room between you and the guy ahead leaning back so far you could do dental work on him.
      • 4:3 at 12.1" diagonal is 70.3 square inch of LCD,
        16:9 at 12.1" diagonal is 62.6 square inch of LCD

        At face value, that's 12% of saving on LCD cost, and the consumer doesn't notice.
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      At first I thought your idea was silly and then I realized you are absolutely right. I put the dock on the left side on my iBook with autohide so that i don't trigger it but gain the added space when surfing.

      I wish laptop vendors would figure out a few things.

      1. vertical space is more important than ever. Digital paper! Let me see a webpage. I still don't feel like going beyond 1024 x 768 when designing a page. I looked at my sites on my new cell phone the other day and realized how bad that is.

      2. Not
    • I can understand your point if you are coding, browsing or word processing but if you are involved in creating graphics a 16x10 screen is much better than anything else. Everything adobe or quark has palettes that you can place to the left or right of the artboard and leave you with enough visual space to get some work done. With a 3x4 or portrait screen you can't see the artboard for the palettes, not good. The more complicated pivot will eventually wear and develop play, especially in a sub $1000 laptop.
  • by writermike (57327) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:38AM (#15816148)
    ... I am having a Seinfeld moment.

    Why is it that, in nearly every printed interview, people "sit down for a chat?" Does this actually happen? Does sitting down precede chats that will be put to the printed word? What happens if the interview is almost over and the two realize they were actually standing through it? Does that mean they can't use the material committed in the upright position? Should they sit down and perform the entire interview again?

    One day, I am going to conduct an entire interview leaning against a well.
    • I think it is more a description of the type of interview. Rather than a formal interview, when questions are agreed upon ahead of time and answers are well thought out, this is more of bumping into someone during a tradeshow, and firing of vague questions and getting silly answers back. eg.

      According to Naitoh, fuel-cell technology still has a "long way to go", particularly in terms of "longevity".
       
        Yes, thanks for that. We all know this, this wasn't revolutionary.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:49AM (#15816179)
    These people are on the active promoters list [trustedcom...ggroup.org] on the official website of the trusted computing initiative.

    I can tell you one thing about their future, it won't involve my dollars.
  • Screens in sunlight (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teh kurisu (701097) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:51AM (#15816188) Homepage
    It would be nice if laptops used displays that could be read in sunlight. I'm working at home at the moment, it's a beautiful day outside, I have a laptop and a wireless network... the only reason I'm not working outside is because I wouldn't be able to see the screen.
    • In addition, it can provide an excuse to justify for the higher price tag in the case of ThinkPad. If with a half way decent reason, many companies allow their professional staff (surveyor, engineers, salesperson etc) to choose the "tool" that suits. Especially backed up by a decent Ti case, a good screen that is readable outdoor will be very suitable for any work that requires the laptop to take outside.
  • My ideal notebook:

    - 8"x5" screen area (1024x800)
    - high-contrast b/w indoor/outdoor screen
    - 30 hour battery life
    - runs on 4 AA hot swappable batteries plus internal battery
    - removable solid state storage
    - an open OS made for mobile work, or Linux
    - full size keyboard, or BlueTooth foldable keyboard
    - USB, WiFi, bluetooth, and SIM
    - weight under 1lb
    - thickness under 0.5"
    - price around $250
    • by Anonymous Coward
      for $250 I'd expect a leather carrycase too.
    • THis is the newton, except for the wireless stuff, and keyboard. Imagine if they had continued developing that. How great would it be. Surely a colour screen and wireless wouldn't drain the batteris that much.
    • That's pretty good, but here's what I'd really like:

      - 8"x5" screen area (1280x1024)
      - high-contrast b/w indoor/outdoor screen
      - 40 hour battery life
      - runs on 2 AA hot swappable batteries plus internal battery
      - removable solid state storage
      - an open OS made for mobile work, or Linux
      - full size keyboard, or BlueTooth foldable keyboard
      - USB, WiFi, bluetooth, and SIM
      - weight under 0.5lb
      - thickness under 0.4"
      - free pony included
  • by youngerpants (255314) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:25AM (#15816318)
    Kinda off topic, but... in the last couple of years I bought myself a new watch. I spent a bit more than I wanted to, but I really wanted a Breitling Aerospace. Specifically the one made from Titanium & Gold.



    With a christmas bonus in my pocket, I walked into Sefridges jewellery department, tried on the watch I wanted (still wearing it) as the salesmans pitch started;


    Salesman: Now this watch is made from titanium, are you aware of the properties of titanium


    Me: Yes, very light and very strong, this its why its used in the aerospace industries


    Salesman: Thats correct, and its also a self healing metal


    Me: Excuse me?


    Salesman: thats correct, if you scratch titanium, it will heal the scratch like your body will with a scar


    Me:


    Salesman: I know, amazing stuff


    Me: sooooo, you wouldnt mind if I took a serrated knife to this breitling then


    Salesman:


    Me: I think someones been telling lies to you, but I am going to buy this watch anyway.



    Not a great story, but some people areally are gullable.

  • I like to do old-fashioned CLI C programs, and pretty much all of my word processing is with LaTeX source code. I survived quite well and was extremely productive back in the VT220 days, and wouldn't mind having a little equivalent I could carry everywhere.

    So here's what I would like, although the market is probably too small to justify. Or maybe it exists and I'm not aware of it.

    The smallest, lightest device possible with (1) >=128M RAM, (2) several GB disk or maybe no disk and just a USB port for


    • a Zaurus with an extended battery would probably fit the bill.
    • Re:RetroPad (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cederic (9623)

      I want that, but I also don't want to carry a separate computing device and mobile phone.

      So I bought a Nokia E70. I need to upgrade the mini-SD card to a decent capacity, and I need to find/write a decent shell for it, but I can already use Putty over wifi and it's quite fantastic.

      The keyboard isn't touch-type, but it is two-finger-touch-type, which is adequate, and I don't even notice the device in my pocket.

      Anything larger would need specifically carrying - I'd need a bag or a coat (with large pocket) or
  • He sounds like a petulant child. Cnet just did this "article" gave him some free ad space. I mean, c'mon... He didn't say anything we haven't already thought or heard already many times over.

    I don't know about you but after reading this, my opinion of Lenovo is worse now than it ever was. I don't think this guy has a clue.
  • Now, that's something I want!

    A small, cheap, rugged, wireless, linux-enabled laptop! Something I could use for web browsing, email, IM, chat and text-editing but also capable of running a ssh shell and a freeNX session! I don't know about you, but I think that the OLPC reached a nice balance between PDA and Notebook.

    Oh, and probably it's powerfull enough to run Wesnoth, NetPanzer and a SNES emulator!
  • by Spacejock (727523) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:11AM (#15816565) Homepage
    ... I'd say the future of the laptop is hot.
  • by neo (4625) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:05AM (#15816890)
    The main thing missing from the Laptop market is Modularity. He addresses this slightly by showing a model that has a detachable keyboard. What is really needed are inter-operable components that can be mixed and matched to fit both budget and requirements. For example, allowing users to choose screen size from several different screens, and let them all attach to the same connector on the motherboard. Allow different motherboard configurations. Allow for different sized keyboards, some with or without number pads, and some with or withough touch pads.

    This is clearly the next step, but Laptop creators aren't getting the hint that desktop creators learned a long time ago. Don't put it all in one machine unless that's the low end model. Let us choose which pieces we want for our laptop and have them work together seamlessly.

    Personally I want:

    Full sized keyboard
    15 inch screen
    No touchpad
    No battery
    Wireless mouse
    2-3 GHZ processor
    3 gigs RAM
    Detachable 10 gig drives

    What do you want in your laptop?
    • But then their hardware would become a commodity. And we'd all be buying cheap korean laptop monitors. Didn't we learn anything from Appl... nevermind.
    • The problem with modularity is that it always has a tradeoff. The glaring example here is the copious reliability problems present in Windows because it'll run on everything, compared to MacOS, which will only run on a system built by Apple.

      In their present state, laptops are already quite modular. Most allow for hard drive upgrades, drive swapping, battery swapping, RAM swapping, PC Card swapping, and have full USB support. There is also the Mini PCI standard. Both Dell and Leveno laptops have a full

  • Never expected it to be, and I doubt MS did either. It's an expansion on the PDA device.

    I'd expect this kind of 'stating the obvious' from a pundit, but from the head of Lenovo?

    Even in the web-mercials we saw of the device, it was web-vertised as being used in conjuction *with* workstations, Media-PCs, etc...
    • I'd rather Microsoft and Palm quit *expanding* on the PDA and concentrated on making a better PDA.

      Higher resolution screens - great, so long as they don't shortchange battery life.

      Bluetooth - great, but give me a standard USB or serial interface as well... you can't charge via BT.

      Wifi - my experience with wifi on PDAs hasn't been terribly good. But that may have changed.

      Faster processors, huge memory, multimedia support - include me out.

      Unfortunately you can't get a better screen without getting all the res
  • From TFA...

    ...it recently released the consumer-targeted Lenovo 3000 series, as "many people want to have a ThinkPad that is not black".

    I'd love to own a more affordable ThinkPad that is not black. But not if it doesn't have a TrackPoint [mamboat.com]!

  • but first, i dont think the origami is intended as a primary device.
    and i liked the looks of those concepts, atleast the first one that rise up as a kind of desktop system, complete with tilted keyboard.

    but what i want to comment on is that multimedia talk at the end.
    what i forsee is a kind of modular system, maybe based on that rise up concept, where you have a kind of "dock" that when attached will provide the desktop with a stronger graphics card, tv tuner, and all that other stuff you need for multimedi
  • Naitoh shuns the use of aluminium in laptop manufacturing, calling it 'weak', instead praising titanium (used in the construction of the 3000) for its light-weight and scratch-resistant properties.

    Yeah, because what we consumers really want, is something ridiculously expensive, with a perceived feeling of exclusivity. No matter that most of the parts are plastic anyway. No matter that aluminium seems to work fine for other weight/strength-sensitive tasks, such as in the aero-industry, mountain-bikes, etc

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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