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David Zax

A View from David Zax

Forget the MacBook Air. Here's a 10-Pound, Dual-Screen Laptop

Nimbleness be damned! You wouldn’t think you could pack this much screen space into a single laptop. But you can.

  • July 28, 2011

The world of emerging hardware is filled with hype, vapor, and false promises. Which is why we’re delighted to learn, via ThisIsMyNext, that gScreen is finally accepting pre-orders for its rather unbelievable-looking dual-screen “Spacebook.” All this after two years of promises that many thought were destined to be broken.

When shut, the Spacebook looks much like an ordinary laptop (that is, if your ordinary laptop is 10 pounds heavy and two inches thick). But oh, how appearances can be deceiving. Open it up, and in place of a single display like the one you’re probably looking at now, you have a double display – two giant screens that spread out to either side. Each panel is 17” with full HD glass; you can choose between a glossy or matte finish, depending on your preference. Ben Rudolph of Windows had a hands-on recently, and gave it rave reviews. He notes that clever design – namely, frontloading the weight through atypical battery placement – keeps the thing from toppling over like a clumsy giant. It all makes Lenovo’s effort at a similar concept, only with smaller screens, look quaint.

On the face of it (on the faces of it?), the device seems ridiculous. But the laptop’s creator, gScreen’s CEO Gordon Stewart, has completely legitimate use cases for such a device. There are people who really do need to pack this much screen space wherever they go. As he explained to Rudolph:

“A few years ago I was working on a film project in Hawai’i and realized that I was going to have to move my entire desktop setup down there from my home in Anchorage to get the computing power and screen real-estate I needed. That hassle made me realize that I couldn’t be the only one who needed a powerful laptop with massive screen size, so I set out to build one.”

As Stewart had actually told Gizmodo years back, it’s really aimed at anyone who needs screen space and mobility – artists, designers, photographers, and their ilk. He also mentioned, back then, being in “talks” with the military.

The specs on the device are laid out neatly on gScreen’s own site, if you’re seriously thinking of buying one (act now for free shipping!). In essence, the entry-level model is $2,395, and if you shell out an additional $400, you get a faster processor and twice the memory.

You have to love the sheer, breathtaking, anti-zeitgeist spirit of the thing. With the new MacBook Air refresh, mobility, nimbleness, levity are all the buzzwords of the laptops of the day. But as Stewart jollily said, two years back, of his monster, “It is absolutely the opposite of a netbook.”

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