Intel's wild new idea for the laptop of the future involves 2 screens and a hinge that lets it stand up on its own


intel honeycomb glacier 2x1

  • Intel, the company behind the processors that power a majority of laptops, showed its concept of what high-performance laptops should do moving forward at the Computex 2019 event in Taipei.
  • Intel’s idea of a modern, high-performance laptop has a “companion display” that acts as a second screen for secondary apps and functions.
  • The companion display lets your primary apps occupy the main display without overcrowding it with apps or windows. 
  • High-performance laptops of the future should also prop themselves up to give you a better view of the companion display, according to Intel. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Intel’s vision of the future of high-performance laptops props itself up and comes with a large secondary display above the keyboard.

It’s total madness, but there is reason behind this insanity. 

The secondary display called the “companion display” — acts like a second computer monitor. As someone who craves a second monitor when I don’t have one, I can see the allure.

As for the propping up part, it’s to let you see the companion display without looming over the laptop. This particular idea is a little far-fetched, and would surely destroy any ounce of portability a laptop might have. Still, it comes with good intentions. 

Right off the bat, there are a few glaring questions that need to be answered, like cost, portability, and battery life. 

But for now, get a better sense of Intel’s vision of the future of high-performance laptops:

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Intel’s Honeycomb Glacier concept calls for high-end laptops to have a second screen, or a “companion display,” as the company calls it.

The companion display is designed to act like a second monitor for secondary functions and apps, like a chat app, and it leaves the main screen for the primary app you’re working with.

For example, you could have a chat app on the companion display while you use the primary display for work or playing games.

The companion display can even complement your primary apps. It can show you a map of a game’s level while the game occupies the main display.

Or you can monitor a game’s stream online, which would typically require a second monitor.

Or it can show you all the files you need for a work project without crowding the main display.

The concept is already better than Apple’s Touchbar on its MacBook Pros, which hasn’t proven to be very popular.

Intel also thinks laptops should prop themselves up to give you a better view of the companion display, so you don’t have to lean forward to see it.

While the companion display has merit, Intel foretold a potential issue where you have to lean over the laptop to see the companion display. The solution, according to Intel, is a laptop that props itself up with a hinge mechanism so you can better see the companion display.

Still, a laptop with such a large secondary display and a beefy hinge to prop up the laptop itself surely comes at a price, and I’m not just talking about the price tag. Apart from adding to the cost, a secondary display and hinge would surely affect a laptop’s portability. 

And who knows what kind of effect a companion display would have on a laptop’s battery life. Suffice it to say, the future of high-performance laptops appears to be more sedentary than mobile.

We’ll have to wait and see for ourselves when laptops with secondary displays and hinges start coming out. So far, Asus and HP have at least adopted the secondary companion display idea with the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo and the HP Omen X 2S.