There are a lot of ways to build a dual-screen laptop, But up until now, it never occurred to me that one of those ways would be to build it out of fabric.
That’s what Intel did for its “Twin River” dual-screen PC prototype though.
Intel’s device features two 12.3 inch, 1920 x 1280 pixel touchscreen displays held together by a case that The Verge explains is made of polyester, polyamide, and lycra.
Inside there’s a 15 watt Intel Whiskey Lake U-series processor and a vapor chamber cooling solution plus a custom motherboard that’s split between the two sides of the device. There are also batteries on both sides, which helps distribute weight and keep the fanless system running cool.
The Twin River prototype weighs just about 1.7 pounds and you can open it up and read it like a book, with content displayed on each side. Or you can prop it open like a laptop and use an on-screen keyboard for typing
Prefer tactile feedback from a physical keyboard? Tom’s Hardware reports that Computex in Tapei this week, Intel is showing off a small Bluetooth keyboard that you can stuff between the folded screens like a bookmark when you’re not using it.
This isn’t the first dual-screen concept device we’ve seen from Intel. Last year the company showed off a “Tiger Rapids” dual screen prototype at Computex, which seems to share some DNA with the Lenovo Yoga Book C930 which came to market later in 2018.
But while Tiger Rapids had a metal body and a combination of color and E Ink displays, the Twin River prototype has dual color displays and that unusual fabric case.
I say unusual rather than unique, because PC makers are increasingly experimenting with materials beside metal and plastic.
Last year HP launched a Spectre Folio tablet with a case made partially from leather, ant this week the company announced that its upcoming Envy laptops would feature wood palm rests. And Microsoft has been offering Alcantara fabric-covered keyboards for its Surface tablets and laptops for a few years.
Still, Intel’s decision to combine these trends into a single device is interesting… although I’m not entirely sure it’s useful. Twin River reminds me of Microsoft’s long-canceled Courier project, which was either way ahead of its time or maybe just a bad idea.
While extra screen real estate is always nice, I’m not sure I’d want it to come at the expense of having a physical keyboard on a device meant for productivity. So I’m personally more intrigued by Intel’s Honeycomb Glacier prototype and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo which were announced this week. Both devices feature dual displays and physical keyboards, which may be the best of both worlds… if you don’t mind compromises like the lack of a palm rest and a touchpad on the right side of the keyboard.