I friggin’ love multiple monitors, to the point that I often pack them in my travel bag in an attempt to replicate my giant desktop on the road. Portable monitors are great, but they lack something in elegance. Compal, a Taiwanese OEM, is looking for a distributor on a laptop-tablet hybrid that makes multiple, portable monitors feel natural.
At first glance, the FullVision looks like a standard 15-inch laptop. But at any time you can slide its screen to the left, allowing you to slip in a second screen onto the dedicated rail. That gives you a dual-screen setup perched atop the keyboard deck, ready and willing to handle a plethora of Windows programs. Combined, the two screens replicate a 32:9 workspace—basically an ultrawide monitor you can fit into a laptop bag, albeit a hefty one.
Compal says that the secondary screen can be used independently, functioning as a large tablet if you don’t want to use the full kit and caboodle. Exactly how that will work—a low-powered Atom board inside? Wireless video streaming from the base unit?—isn’t mentioned on the showcase page.
I’m digging this design because it’s the most compact way I’ve seen to replicate a dual-screen setup on the go. Existing USB monitors require a good bit of extra desk or table space, not to mention even more clearance around both your laptop and the secondary screen for the cord. This solution will let you set up in a few seconds and, in a pinch, even use the full dual-screen action in your lap. (The pinch would be the skin on your thighs supporting all that weight.)
Compal is showing off two other designs. The Duo360 looks a lot like the Surface Duo with its dual-screen, convertible form factor, and keyboard cover. The Duo360 X (above) adds a kickstand, allowing it to expand out into a dual-screen desktop setup if you add a mouse and keyboard. The PivoBook has only one screen, but you can flip it up into portrait mode for reading longer documents, and it features an OLED panel, still a rarity among laptops.
The company is hoping to sell these designs to a larger company, which would handle the marketing and distribution later this year or next. Someone please pick up the FullVision concept. I’m getting the paperwork ready for a second mortgage, just in case.