What will Windows 8 touchscreen laptops look like?

Windows 8's touch-centric interface may make tablet-style touchscreens possible on laptops

By Melanie Pinola, PC World |  Personal Tech

Windows 8's touch-centric interface will help to usher in a new wave of laptops with tabletlike touchscreens. To make it easier for users to tap and swipe on even superthin Ultrabooks, laptop makers will break out of the traditional clamshell shape and introduce laptops with more unusual designs.

What will these new Windows 8 hybrid laptops look like? The new operating system will make rotating, sliding, and flipping possible on Windows laptops. Here are a few examples of existing hardware designs that offer a taste of what a laptop with Windows 8 capabilities could do.

Going Beyond the Clamshell

Although laptop manufacturers could simply add a touchscreen to a laptop without changing the traditional clamshell shape, that could pose a few problems, especially in the case of the new category of superthin Windows laptops, Ultrabooks.

When trying to interact with the thin touchscreen panel on an Ultrabook, you could easily end up pushing the screen down. And according to DigiTimes, laptop manufacturers can't just strengthen the hinge to compensate, because that could cause the bottom of the lightweight laptop to flip up when you press the screen. Aside from the physics problem, reaching over the keyboard for extended periods of time with the screen at an angle might not be ideal for users from a usability or ergonomics standpoint.

Thankfully, we've seen many innovative laptop designs that manufacturers could adopt successfully for Windows 8.

Convertible Tablet Design

Convertible tablet PCs, such as the Fujitsu Lifebook T580, have screens that rotate 180 degrees and fold flat to work in tablet mode. Since their introduction about a decade ago, convertible tablet PCs have never really taken off outside of niche business and student circles, owing to their bulky size and high cost.

Windows 8 convertible PCs, however, will likely be not only much sleeker but also much more budget-friendly than previous tablet PCs--ditching optical drives and arcane, expensive pen-optimized displays. Relatively thin Ultrabooks with rotating touchscreens could take advantage of the finger-friendly Windows Metro interface like a slate, but then could transform back into laptop mode.

Fold-Over Design

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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