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Acer Planning Laptop With Frameless Screen & Touchscreen Keyboard

Gordon Kelly


Acer Planning Laptop With Frameless Screen & Touchscreen Keyboard

Looks like that MSI dual screen netbook (middle) may be just the first of many...

Following on from concepts such as this and the 'Frame Zero' (left) from Fujitsu and dual panel prototype from Asus (right) is news Acer is about to take things a step further by bringing its own model to market in the second half of 2010.

Main attractions of the model will be its ultra-thin design thanks to a frameless screen (much like the Frame Zero) which uses a reinforced glass substrate and combining it with a touchscreen keyboard that means no depth is required to fit raised keys or accommodate their travel when pressed. Quite how Acer would pull off this keyboard to make for a comfortable typing experience over prolonged periods is unknown at this stage, but haptics may well play a key role.

Interestingly, while such ideas sound closer to science fiction than science fact at this point - DigiTimes does say they hold water with the design actually reducing typical material costs. Still not convinced? Neither am I, but then again there are few PC makers more obsessed with slim than Acer...

...well, apart from MSI... and Dell... and Sony... and Apple.


via DigiTimes


March 10, 2010, 3:20 pm

My inner Luddite says: How will haptics make the virtual keyboard any more comfortable for prolonged use? Surely all they will do is create an illusion, and do nothing to solve the basic problem of repeatedly tapping a solid surface with no give?

Tim Sutton

March 10, 2010, 6:54 pm


Firstly, great handle. For some reason it makes me want to find old episodes of Rainbow on Youtube :-)

I agree that a touchscreen keyboard can't be an exact replacement for physical key travel, but in my experience it doesn't take long at all to adapt your typing style to suit a flat surface. You just have to remind yourself to type with flat fingers rather than pointed. I don't think haptic response will actually be that important.

Back a few years I played with a laser projected virtual keyboard. It shone a full qwerty keyboard onto any flat surface, and actually worked really well in terms of comfort. There were response issues which ultimately put me off, but the lack of physical keys certainly didn't discomfort me.

What was I saying? Oh right. Yeah, I think this could work nicely. I like the dual screen format that seems to be in vogue, and slim and pretty is always good too.


March 10, 2010, 9:22 pm

@ Tim Sutton

Interesting to hear your experience of touchscreen keyboards. The only touch screen keyboard I have experience of is on my iPod Touch, which is practical and easy to use quite proficiently when I need to. However, with a netbook/ notebook where using a keyboard is more essential for use I would find it hard to touch type proficiently without the physical feedback of a regular keyboard. I too like the concept, but would feel that such a touch oriented device perhaps requires a whole new approach like voice recognition software for typing, with the option of the touch keyboard.


March 10, 2010, 10:19 pm

The problem with touchscreen keyboards for a laptop style device is resting fingers. On a touchscreen phone, for example, you're using thumbs mainly so you just hold them away. With desktops, especially when touch typing, you're mostly resting your fingers on the keys. With capacitive screens, resting fingers registers a touch event. Resistive screens allow you to rest your fingers but only registers a touch when you apply pressure. This was pretty much what Blackberry were trying to do with the SurePress screen. If you were to have a capacitive keyboard screen, then you would have to constantly hold your fingers above the screen at all times, which may not be pleasant for long periods...

Then there's the palm rest issue, which could be sorted through software interpretation of multitouch (Large area + one small area = palm + fingertip => only register fingertip)


March 11, 2010, 10:07 am

I really wish they would stop using the terms frameless and borderless. If there's a big border round the screen that isn't showing anything - that's a frame. These companies can boast when they've figured out how to mass produce all-screen devices - no black border, nothing, just the rim.

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