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A Dual-Screen 10.1" Laptop In Time For the Holidays 104

Posted by kdawson
from the netbook-with-a-two-page-spread dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japanese computer manufacture Kohjinsha has announced that it will begin selling a 10.1" dual-screen laptop on Dec. 11 — in Japan only. While it is not the first dual-screen laptop, a title claimed by the monstrous 17" Lenovo Thinkpad W700ds series, the Kohjinsha sure looks much more portable and stylish. The Thinkpad's extra screen pulls out slightly from one side for about a 40% increase on its display, whereas on the Kohjinsha's two full separate screens spread out symmetrically from the center. While specs are admittedly lower than the Thinkpad, the DZ series certainly wins on cost. The starting price will be ¥79,800, about $900, in Japan (exporters will likely mark that price up slightly), compared with the Thinkpad at well over $2,000. Kohjinsha says the laptop is great for working on 'large business documents' (e.g. excessively wide spreadsheets), or watching videos while surfing the Web, which is likely what most users will be doing with it. The timing and the price certainly make the Kohjinsha DZ series a tempting toy idea for holiday giving — perhaps to oneself."
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A Dual-Screen 10.1" Laptop In Time For the Holidays

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  • More than a gimmick? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kjart (941720) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:29PM (#30256852)

    While I obviously understand not every product is tailored to my needs, I can't really see much of a need for this. The netbook level tech specs likely mean doing more than one thing at once would be painful. Plus, if you actually need a lot of screen real estate, you could likely get a larger laptop with more pixels (and more power under the hood) for around the same money.

    Anyone around here think they would want one? Actually curious to hear about the appeal.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dual screens are a lot like garbage disposals and trash compactors for your kitchen: You can get along fine all your life without them, but once you use them, it's just not quite as nice without them. Think of it as a desktop where you can A) spread your papers out or B) have to keep all papers in a single stack. Option A can make many tasks quicker and easier. Dual screens are a nice convenience.

      • Agreed. For my new PC I went with a large (26") screen instead of 2x22" for the same price, and I regret my choice.

        • by iamhassi (659463)
          "For my new PC I went with a large (26") screen instead of 2x22" for the same price, and I regret my choice."

          Glad I went the other way. I had the option of going big screen or adding a second LCD. Went with the second LCD and I love it, couldn't imagine life without it. Great having one page load while reading another, or a video running on one screen and searching with the other, and full screen games take up just one monitor while the other remains open. I'm actually considering going with a third
      • Dual screens are a nice convenience.
        Dual screens are indeed nice to have but IMO there are two big problems with this machine

        1: The individual screens are 1024x600 which is just too low for many apps to be used comfortablly.
        2: When unfolded this machine will be very wide, how often will you really have space to fully unfold it while on the go.

    • by RobVB (1566105) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:35PM (#30256878)
      Dude, it's a frickin' dual screen laptop! I want one and I want it now. Who cares what it's good for.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:36PM (#30256880) Homepage

      Good lord... 1.6Ghz CPU and a gig of RAM will make "doing more than one thing at once ... painful"?? You must have a very low threshold for pain.

      I'd love something like that just to have documentation on one screen while I code on the other. Or to have email/IRC/whatever open on one screen while I browse on the other.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kjart (941720)

        Good lord... 1.6Ghz CPU and a gig of RAM will make "doing more than one thing at once ... painful"?? You must have a very low threshold for pain.

        Perhaps I didn't phrase that properly. For tasks that I would actually want multiple monitors for, the specs are rather low, though for things I typically use my own netbook for (mostly web browsing) it's fine. Basically, to me, 2 screens on a netbook is overkill or low powered hardware in a dual screen laptop is not good enough.

        'd love something like that just t

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          You would actually want to code on a 10" netbook form factor keyboard?

          Sure, why not? The keyboard would be a tad cramped, granted, but how much screen real-estate do you need for a screen session with Vim running in it? It'd probably make a decent little device for hacking a bit of code while hanging out at the local coffee shop.

          • by PitaBred (632671)
            600 vertical pixels aren't enough to properly code with. Even really stretching it and using 8 pixels for characters and 2 for line spaces, that's only 60 lines of text full-screen. And your eyes would go crossed trying to read it.
            • by Abcd1234 (188840)

              600 vertical pixels aren't enough to properly code with. Even really stretching it and using 8 pixels for characters and 2 for line spaces, that's only 60 lines of text full-screen. And your eyes would go crossed trying to read it.

              Good lord, that's ridiculous. 60 lines of text is *plenty*, and half that would be perfectly fine. You know, some people actually used to code with just 25! I know, shocking!

              Hint: If your subroutines are so long that you need >60 lines visible to be able to comprehend them,

              • by PitaBred (632671)
                Or you're doing something complicated. Programming has changed since 25-line VT-100's. Sure, that's fine for "Hello World" and basic, non-GUI software. But modern software development tends to be a bit more complex and verbose.
                • by Abcd1234 (188840)

                  Yes, I'm sure people developing the Linux kernel, for example, aren't "doing something complicated".

                  Hint: Just because you're using a GUI builder, doesn't mean you're doing anything complicated.

            • Geez, someone never went on an anal retentive Computer Science Degree course.

              All source files should be no more than 20 lines, so they can fit, together with the editor's status bar, on the screen of a VT-100. If you're doing more than 20 lines per source file, then you're doing it wrong.

              Also lines shouldn't be more than 80 characters in length. And the first 19 lines of your file should be comments.

        • I fully agree... I'd love a netbook but the keyboards are too small for me. Now, on 12.1" and 13" laptops, the keyboard is full-size and it's easy to type. If they could do this double-screen trick on a 12.1" laptop they'd have a real winner, I think...
          • by Fred_A (10934)

            I fully agree... I'd love a netbook but the keyboards are too small for me. Now, on 12.1" and 13" laptops, the keyboard is full-size and it's easy to type. If they could do this double-screen trick on a 12.1" laptop they'd have a real winner, I think...

            12.1 is a great form factor for a laptop. It's large enough that it's quite usable and compact enough that it's easy to lug around.
            This model is useless, especially with the tiny vertical resolution.
            It kind of reminds me of my old Sony Picturebook. The 1024×480 was painful at times even if the tiny machine was lots of fun.

            • by darthflo (1095225) *

              12.1" was awesome back when they still made non-widescreen laptops. ThinkPad X series with SXGA+ (1400x1050) on 12.1" were made of pure awesome with ground unicorn sprinkles on top. Nowadays, if you want 1000+ rows, you'll probably have to go 15" or more.

        • IMHO, anything benefits from 2 screens. One for the "focus" stuff (internet, word...), one for the "always there" stuff (IM, media, social net...). I'm not a coder and I can barely live with only one screen :-p

          • Isn't that what virtual workspaces where made to fix? I use 9 virtual workspaces, and each has at least one window open. And if you're used to keeping your hands on the keyboard, doing a two key combo isn't mush slower than turning to the left.

      • Funny thing I was looking for something similar, ideally a vga input or usb powered screen (with linux drivers please) and ideally a touch screen or discrete buttons around the same size as my netbook screen possibly smaller.

        I saw a few products which almost suit.
        one was a lcd display small enough to fit in a couple of 5.25 drive bays which could be cute in a tower based server. Unfortunately the price was over $200 (and not even a touch screen) at a lower price point it would get interesting.

        Ideally i'm lo

      • by mqduck (232646)

        I'd love something like that just to have documentation on one screen while I code on the other. Or to have email/IRC/whatever open on one screen while I browse on the other.

        Modern computer operating systems have these things called "windows". You can resize them and have two (or more!) showing at the same time! With this amazing technology, a larger screen can be used like two screens *or* one big screen!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sammyF70 (1154563)
      I'm running Mint Linux on a 10'', 1GB Ram, 160GB HD Acer Aspire 1 here, and I can definitely do multiple things at once on it without everything grinding to a halt ... well I would if I had the screen real estate. As it is, I'm bound to switch between workspaces, so a second screen would come nicely, especially if I don't have to lose the low form factor which was, at least for me, the main attraction about the AA1 (I had a 8.9'' previously, but the SSD died and all I could get my hands on afterward was a 1
      • by bhtooefr (649901)

        Myself, I actually used a 10.1" Aspire One as my main machine for about a month, until I could get a replacement motherboard for my main machine.

        My main machine is a 15" ThinkPad T60p with a 2.0 GHz Core Duo, 2.5 gigs of RAM, an ATI FireGL V5200 (now V5250, the replacement motherboard was an unexpected graphics upgrade,) and a 2048x1536 display.

        The Aspire One wasn't pretty when it came to multiple Flash apps running at once, but for everything else, it was more than acceptable. Except for the screen real es

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:44PM (#30256910)

      I only find that dual screens are useful in two situations:

      1) When you have an app that needs a whole screen to work. A video editor would be an example. They often wish to use a dedicated screen as a preview screen. As such you want a second monitor to dedicate to that, regardless of size of your first one.

      2) When you need more screen real estate than you can get in a single monitor, or for a cheaper price than large single monitors. This is by far the most common. You want more room, but a 30" screen is too much money so you get 2 22" or 24" screens instead. The whole reason is more room.

      Ya well, in this case a larger laptop, or external screen (or both) would seem to be the way to go. I'm not seeing the second monitor as useful.

      There's also the fact that the divide is right down the center. In dual monitor setups I've encountered (including mine at work) one monitor is directly in front of the user and is the primary screen, the other is off to the side and contains the less important stuff. I've never seen one where both monitors were in front and the split was centered. That would be very noticeable and very annoying.

      To me, this looks like nothing more than a gimmick.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "In dual monitor setups I've encountered (including mine at work) one monitor is directly in front of the user and is the primary screen, the other is off to the side and contains the less important stuff. I've never seen one where both monitors were in front and the split was centered. That would be very noticeable and very annoying."

        My experience is exactly the opposite. I've never seen anyone using the setup you describe. This laptop would work perfectly for me.

        • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @06:22PM (#30257074)

          By having the two screens split down the middle you can never look at the objects directly in front of the keyboard. You're always forced to look slightly left or slightly right of the divide. This isn't exactly the most ergonomic position for your head. If the secondary screen is off to the side, with the primary screen dead center, then most of the time you will be looking straight ahead (which is a good ergonomic position) and occasionally looking off to the side (say to preview a video).

          • by mikael_j (106439)

            Well, it's not like you have to turn your head 45 or anything, and these are fairly small monitors, it's a lot worse when you've got typical large "desktop monitors" in the 24-30" range, and even then it's not really that bad as long as you don't have to position the monitors in a weird way to fit them on your desk.

            Of course, personally I prefer three monitors with two flanking monitors but I think that would be way too unwieldy for a netbook or laptop...

            /Mikael

            • Three monitors actually would work better on a laptop... you'd open up the lid and then fold out the left and right sections. The laptop while being quite wide, would still be balanced.

    • I'd buy a device that is only 600 pixels tall only if it were handheld and a good price. For a laptop, no way. That's not a usable screen height.

      • Yeah, the 2048x600 resolution seems a bit limiting. Looking at the photo, good for side-by-side spreadsheets?

        Rotating these screens to portrait, you'd get dual 600x1024 = 1200x1024. There's your vertical pixels back! Can't someone manufacture a laptop these days that isn't widescreen?

        • Rotating these screens to portrait, you'd get dual 600x1024 = 1200x1024. There's your vertical pixels back!
          Two screens next to each other are not equivalent to one wide one. While technically you can drag a window across if you do then you are going to end up with a horrible line right in the middle of your window.

          Not that I think multimonitor is bad but I think having at least one screen with decent resoloution (not less than 1024 pixels wide, not less than 768 pixels high) is more important.

  • Butterfly Keyboard (Score:3, Informative)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:33PM (#30256868) Homepage

    I can remember when IBM first tried this trick, but with the keyboard instead of the screen [wikipedia.org].

    • I was exited about your post until I clicked and found out the IBM machine did not in fact have dual keyboards.
      • Yeah me too. Just think about it, with two keyboards, you would write with both hands! Imagine how productive this would make you!

    • The time has come for a dual screen tablet PC.

      Both the pen and the keyboard are very good input devices now, and touch screens are very good too. So let's have tablet PCs with no keyboard and two touchscreen tablet screens instead. Bingo - you have double the screen area if you want as well as tablet and keyboard interfaces even in the standard laptop look and feel of a horizontal and upright screen.

      The price of a tablet screen is really affordable now - maybe around $600 now (6 months ago the price was aro

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:39PM (#30256896) Journal

    Sorry for the mildly off-topic post, but wow! I wonder what kind of battery life that beast gets? Does it have a portable nuclear reactor on board or is the battery reduced to being useful only for trips across the room to switch outlets?

    • I have a HP Elitebook that is roughly in the same class as the Thinkpad only without the second monitor. After I installed Windows XP 64, and replaced the graphics card drivers with the CUDA drivers I get a whopping 32 minutes battery life.
  • Ah, another slashvertisement.
    It might look good on paper, but maybe not in actual usage. There is probable a depth difference between the two screens due to screen thickness, unless one folds back and/or the other one forward. I can't tell from the picture. Another more obviously issue is the black edge right in the middle of your view. Am I supposed to use my perifial vision or turn my head constantly?
    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      you got a point about the edge being in the middle. As for the way it fold, it doesn't : The screens slides. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing how it works.
      • Thanks for pointing out that video, I missed it. So, there is a depth difference between the two screens. That could be annoying in actual usage.
        • by hitmark (640295)

          from what i can tell, the top screen angles its inner edge backwards while the bottom screen angles its outer edge forwards, so that the result is two screens thats set up as a very shallow caret when viewed from above...

    • You get use to such things. I've been using multiple monitors for a long time now, and for most programs (where a window stays on a single monitor), those don't matter too much.
  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:59PM (#30256972) Homepage Journal

    The screens are still limited to 600 pixels vertically. Use the ones from the 11.6" version, at 1366x768 each, and I'll be buying one.

    I stopped carrying around a 14" notebook because it was just too much to carry around everywhere. A 9" netbook fits the need much better. After playing with someone else's 11.6", I was struck by how much more useful the 1366x768 screen is over a 1024x600 screen (the full-size keyboard doesn't hurt either). If I could have two such screens, which fold up for convenient carrying, I would be all over this.

    I have to imagine this will be thicker than a typical netbook, but I could deal with that if the other dimensions do not change.

    Mal-2

  • No comment has yet cited this blog post citing several sources [dubroy.com]. Basically you can assume that an extra display pays itself back in productivity.

    The mentioned uses in the article of the summary ("very wide spreadsheets" and "watching video while surfing the web") are laughable though. That's pretty narrow. Think about ANY copy/paste routine, keeping documentation open, keeping an e-mail app open etc, THESE are the productivity increases.

    • Think about ANY copy/paste routine

      If I'm viewing one app in virtual workspace (tag) 2, and I want to copy paste something from app in tag 5, I do Windows+Shift+5 and my WM will merge the tag 5 with tag 2, and present the two apps side-by-side. After the copy, I just press the same combo to return to tag 2.
      It's not that more screen estate isn't useful, but a good tilling window manager really helps you by dealing with the window management by itself.

      I use Awesome, by the way.

      • Very interesting window manager. At work, I use Debian (and boot into Gnome). I'm sure to take a shot using Awesome.

  • of the basic notebook design, why connect the screen to the keyboard with a hinge at all? It's not a very good ergonomic design.

    Why not have three pieces connected by cables like a desktop, but each part designed to pack for travel? You'd have the CPU and battery in a brick, a keyboard/pointing device, and a separate monitor (or monitors) with its own stand. Then you could leave behind one of the monitors if you wanted to save weight; your could face them in different directions to do demos. You could u

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, then every time I get into a class at school, or set up in a coffee shop, I unpack the CPU brick, unfold the keyboard, set up two monitors with stands and connect 4 cables, and then do the process in reverse about 6 times per day.

      I might as well be bringing my own chair as well.

      I wouldn't do this - but I would totally use that single-piece laptop. It would be very productive for my uses.
       

      • by hey! (33014)

        It's possible to make the packing/interconnecting process a lot more convenient than you are imagining. The whole thing could snap together into a carrying case without disconnecting any cables. You already pack your brick; so why couldn't the brick contain your computer? Why couldn't the keyboard lift out of the base of the monitor and connect wirelessly?

        By the time you are twenty years older, years of typing on notebook computers is going to do a number on your back.

  • Remember the Thinkpad 701 with the folding, "Butterfly Keyboard?" Combine that screen with this keyboard and you'd have quite the portable "transformer." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj-5OI2tPlY [youtube.com]
  • Pong! (Score:3, Funny)

    by marciot (598356) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @06:51PM (#30257222)

    Holy crap! Imagine playing Pong on this thing!

  • I would so get one, if only there wasn't a massive bevel between the screens.
    Having two screens if useful, but having two that can combine into one, would be brilliant.
    How hard is to make the split not stand out so much.
    All then need to do is make the inside edges of the screen bevel really thin and then have the two halves lock in to place with some latch at the back of the screens. If you get them lined up enough, It would make the split a lot less noticeable.
    They could even go all the way and have no bev

  • I guess the LCD manufacturers have finally figured out how to dump all of the outdated crap 10.1" LCD screens that manufacturers have warehouses full of and still get people to pay top dollar for them - and sell 2 at a time.

    Dumb public, they'll buy anything.
  • Obviously it was meant as a workaround to Microsoft's limitation on screen size for Windows 7 and above!
  • What's next, 8000x50 pixel desktop displays? Give me some height already.

  • You thought you had trouble finding room for your elbows, now imagine trying to encroach half a foot to the left and right.

    I'd say a 17" laptop is almost too big in those cases. 15" seems to be about the right compromise unless you absolutely need maximum space.

    I know I'd have a problem with someone hanging half their display over my lap when I'm trying to read a magazine or my Kindle.

    • by tuxicle (996538)
      How about if they hung half a newspaper in your face while you tried to sleep? Happened to me too often.
  • 1. Why did they have to use 15:9 displays? I think 4:3 displays would be better for this sort of use.

    2. I'd rather they start selling portable LCD monitors, with stands that fold flat so the monitor will fit in your laptop bag. I could set up the second monitor in a hotel room, but not have to deal with it when I'm going portable.

  • Much better than the Thinkpad in terms of design and way better than the Intel prototype "dual" monitor laptop.
  • Kojinsha labels the unit as a netbook, it is small and smaller numbers (1GB RAM) also reflect that. They are not trying to compete with Lenovo.
  • If you need use two screens on a laptop, wait until you get back to your desk and plug in an external screen. Hell - I've got three external screens connected to my MBP 15" and it works great.

    This is just engineering out of control - if they sell 10,000 of these I'll be shocked.

    Someone call the pointy-haired boss and have Dilbert-san clean out his desk. . .

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