There’s no shortage of 2-in-1 tablets with detachable keyboard docks on the market. But if you’re looking for an idea of what the next generation will look like, Intel’s latest reference design is always a good place to start.

At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the company revealed a reference design for a 2-in-1 detachable ultrabook with the latest hardware, including Intel Skylake processors, USB Type-C connectors, wireless charging, WiGig wireless docking support, and more.

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The chip maker has been talking about a wire-free future for a few years, and the latest reference design seems to include just about everything you’d need for a totally wireless device.

Wireless charging means you don’t need to plug in a power cable (although you’ll still need one for the charging pad). WiGig technology lets you connect to a docking station if you want to use a keyboard, mouse, storage devices, or other peripherals. And Intel WiDi technology supports wireless displays.

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But Intel figures you might still need to plug things in from time to time, which is why the company recommends a Thunderbolt port with a USB Type-C connector. It’s a versatile solution that lets you charge the tablet and connect a range of accessories including displays and even external graphics cards.

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Alright, there’s nothing too surprising about most of those recommendations. But how about this one? Intel also thinks 2-in-1 tablet makers should consider adding a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel E Ink display to the back of the tablet.

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This secondary screen could be used to display static graphics, convey status updates or other messages, or let you use the tablet as an eReader for reading long articles or eBooks in a low-power mode while the primary color screen is turned off.

Intel also notes that advertisements could be shown on that screen.

Other features Intel is recommending for modern 2-in-1 systems include active stylus support, 13MP, 4K cameras, multiple microphones for noise cancellation, a keyboard base station with a ForcePad touchpad, full-sized keyboard, and an extra battery.

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14 replies on “Intel’s 2-in-1 tablet reference design: USB Type-C, wireless charging, and a secondary E Ink display”

  1. The e-ink screen is really neat, though I wish the design recommended a full-sized screen. A laptop with dual 13″ e-ink and LCD screens would be a godsend for students, provided they find a way to protect whichever screen is not in use.

  2. eink option should be same size as LCD screen. Depending on if you are outdoors or want to use low power you can use the eink as primary screen, flip it over and disable LCD.

  3. eink is a great idea. Its just for the bling and you could see notifications without opening laptop. What’s with the QHD? I’m sure they meant QFHD / UHD /4k? FHD is dead.

  4. I hope Google and Intel adapt this design for Android.
    I’d like to see a bigger e-ink display, say 8″-10″..

  5. One of my dream devices is more of a convertible than a detachable, like the XPS 12, but with a full size, mirrorable eink display on one side for outdoor computing or traveling to keep the battery alive longer when you’ve got document creation/consumption tasks and go easier on the eyes in the process.

    This design does look like a gimmick. But so was the first yotaphone, whose eink was also limited to specially developed apps, and eventually they got it right too. The concept is a promising step in the right direction.

  6. Everything looked good to me up to the point of the E-Ink Display on the Back Side.

    1. Yea it sounds pretty gimmicky at first, but if they manage to keep cost low, and make it durable enough, then it can be EXTREMELY useful. There are times when I rather read from an e-ink a book than a bright LED screen radiating on my face. This could fuel demand for Windows tablets especially for students.

          1. Have you tried reading a 200+ page novel from an LED screen, and compared it to reading from an e-ink display?

          2. I keep my Backlight at the lowest on everything for this reason. lol. Also I agree with reddick I would rather have a LED for notifications.

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