I've been working on a side project with ASUS called WePC.com. The idea is pretty cool: ASUS is tapping the community for ideas on what they'd like to see from its users in future notebook designs. 

ASUS brought in several authors from around the web to talk about various aspects of computing. I wrote a handful of posts about everything from my dream notebook to the future of input devices on PCs

I'd really like your feedback on some of these things I posted over there. They are very short blog posts atypical of the type of writing I normally do here at AT, but I'd like to know your thoughts. 

If you want to comment on the content specifically, head over there and take a look at them. If you want to let me know if you'd like to see similar styled articles over here, respond to this post. For those of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving :)
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  • gmoney7771 - Thursday, December 04, 2008 - link

    Anand-
    Cool article, I always wished more OEM's would come to consumers to ask how they would want their PC's.

    Just curious, what ever happened to the home theater blog? Did you ever get it all finished? I am anxious to see how it turned out. Keep up the good work like you always do.
    Reply
  • Holly - Tuesday, December 02, 2008 - link

    copy&paste from the link, noticed just now author asks to post comments here.

    ---
    Honestly, you don't take Catepillar to win you a Formula One as well as you don't take F1 to raze old building. Notebooks are nice for light office use (sincerely have you tried working with BIG excel data without very big or two screens?) and allow a lot when you try to present something somewhere (like closed beta of software you developed and you know is working on that certain machine).

    For some heavy duty use, there are severe drawbacks... For the PC you get ergonomic keyboard so you don't screw your wrists coding one software, you have huge screen or two+ so you can actualy have the huge pile of windows spread all over and avoid alt-tab mining.

    Combining the notebook screen and monitor screen won't work due to different size of screen pixel (aka we'd like to be able to use our eyes after we get the job done). Nowadays you can also have desktop computer running more silent than a laptop (passive cooling, liquid, huge slow rpm coolers...) Though it is quite clear laptops have decent performance nowadays to serve well to most of average users - surf the internet, type few pages in Word and send an e-mail.

    AS for users who look for more the laptop won't simply do (especially long term) - no dual disk drives for raid-1 backup, not enough performance to do some heavy duty work (and when there is the machines tend to go "red hot").

    Also, somebody should realise that 512MB RAM and Vista simply won't do (waves to various laptop manufacturers... honestly 512 won't do with XP as well)

    So... each of his own. If I were a traveling bussinesman, laptop would be my best friend. If I was to let's say video editing, 3D Max etc... I am going to hug my desktop.
    Reply
  • datasegment - Monday, December 01, 2008 - link

    Here's my picks for the future gaming laptop.

    1) *no* builtin display, use one of those fancy headset things that project an effective 50"+ display into thin air infront of your eyes. Surely they would use less power than a real LCD with backlight?

    2) Fuel cell battery technology. Dispensing with the screen should provide much more space in which to fit a more effective power supply.
    Reply
  • ET - Sunday, November 30, 2008 - link

    For me the perfect gaming PC would be a server sitting in a room somewhere in my hourse that's connected wirelessly to any display I want, such as the living room TV, and wireless controllers. Reply
  • CSMR - Saturday, November 29, 2008 - link

    The post was about gaming notebooks but here are the two main features I'm waiting for before converting to notebooks:
    -dual external display support (most promising solution: dual displayport or displayport with daisy chaining, when the standard supports it)
    -SSD at reasonable price
    Reply
  • Penti - Sunday, November 30, 2008 - link

    There are displayport laptops around now (does the macbook/pro support daisy chaining? I know there's a DP > Dual-link DVI-D anyhow that you can use with a triplehead2go to get dual DVI that works as one large screen) and for example ThinkPad docking stations that support dual screens, but of course you can't buy cheap consumer stuff and expect it. For professional workstation stuff and business laptops then yes you can demand and get it. At least in some fashion. But mostly just through docking stations. Or through a matrox triplehead2go digital via dual-link DVI. It's really a limitation of the mobile videocards. So you won't see two ports on a laptop if it's not one DVI-I and one VGA. Reply
  • CZroe - Friday, November 28, 2008 - link

    A DVI/VGA interface for the integrated LCD would be a GODSEND for field techs and is something I've wanted for 10+ years. With the LCD often being the most expensive part, it just makes sense to get more use out of it. Reply
  • Xavitar - Saturday, November 29, 2008 - link

    That's not going to go over well with the suits who see notebooks as consumables and repeat notebook sales as profit.

    Right now the fact that notebook screens are one of the single greatest points of failure AND they are always built into the unit is an accepted fact of the market. People just buy into it, so there is no need to change.

    Until somebody takes the hit on service contracts and new sales and actually makes the things replaceable, that attitude is going to persist.

    All that being said, I agree with you that easily replaceable screens would be a godsend.
    Reply
  • Penti - Friday, November 28, 2008 - link

    I fail to see the point of a gaming notebook as the one you describe in your post at wepc.com. And here's why.

    * There are as far as I know (i have looked for them anyway from the manufacturers) none IPS, S-PVA or even MVA laptop screens.

    * They use so much power and are so large that a battery in it is essentially useless regardless of notebook parts.

    Regarding the screen, sure you can squeeze in an say 17" desktop TFT panel that is IPS, or even 20" panels when it comes to those units where the battery is useless and pointless. 18.4" are also quite common. But the problem is that desktop panels use much more power even if they make them the same size as the notebook panels. If the panel is a larger one they of course will use a lot more power regardless of the type of panel. Even though screens has gone down a lot in use of power, having a unit with a screen that draws 20-50 Watts on battery is just useless. Neither TFT-panel nor battery technology is there.

    The best they get is as those Clevos and Compals like some of those that has been reviewed here on anandtech. Rebranded under different names.

    Another solution would be external graphics as those FSC made a reality of and brought to market with the AMILO Sa 3650 and the AMILO GraphicBooster. Although it only has a Mobility HD3870.

    It seems what your asking for is basically an 24" iMac with a gaming-graphics card. The 8800 GS was okay when iMac first came with the offering. And there is just no way to power such a rig using batteries. But hey, at least you get an IPS-panel in the iMac 24".

    I agree about much of the other though, SSDs sure, upgradeable yes please.

    In terms of connectivity there's business laptops with docks, for the most time that is really the best option. For consumer laptops please provide at least a DVI-I. That's my recommendation any way. You just can't everything. Docking stations for some consumer products might be a good idea. But if they are mobile "workstations" we are really moving in to the business laptops then. But basically a designer business laptop with gaming graphics might be a good idea, Sony fall behind on it because they don't provide any options with faster gpus. Those OCZ Compals aren't really designer stuff, however a MBP with fast graphics and 1920x1200 IPS/PVA screen 18"? (or 17" 1920x1200 8 ms TN display as is available for multiple vendors if we want to stay in reality) just isn't possible on batteries any way.
    Reply
  • michaelheath - Friday, November 28, 2008 - link

    I am quite excited by the possibility of multi-touch and alternative input devices replacing the now-antiquated mouse and keyboard. As an avid computer user, I've come to realize that it feels more natural to me to double-tap a screen icon rather than a double-click. As a graphic artist, I'd much rather draw directly on screen than trying to trick my brain into associating what my hand is doing on a Wacom tablet will translate into a correct screen action, pressure, gradient, stroke direction, and all. As a designer, I'd the idea of re-sizing photos and text using my fingers to pinch and expand instead of going through menu options, guessing percentages, or clicking and dragging.

    How do I know this? I've been using multi-touch displays for quite some time now, in some fashion or another. I also know of people who purchased multi-touch tablet PCs who bought it mostly for the gimmick but wound up finding some features that absolutely changed the way they use their computers. They can write, draw, and touch pretty much anything instead of working within the confines of the current keyboard-and-mouse establishment.

    I'm also a believer that voice recognition is part of the future as well. Voice dictation has come a long way since it's introduction. Aside from adding in punctuation items while speaking, you can talk at a normal pace using dictation software and reach the same result as typing. Speech recognition software is already part of Mac OS X as well as Windows Vista for accessibility purposes for the visually impaired, and it works well for that purpose. If you ask you computer, "What time is it?", you get a response back. If you say, "Open My Computer", it opens 'My Computer'. I'd honestly purchase a multi-touch computer that did not have a physical keyboard but came with a wireless headset for dictation and accessibility.

    Apple made the first steps towards this multi-touch era, and they continue to do so as they update their laptops with gesture-driven trackpads. They are testing the waters before jumping in with both feet, as they usually do. While tablet, touch, and voice technology have been around for quite some time, they have not fared well in the general computing market, and I'd imagine implementation and ergonomics are to blame for their lack of acceptance. Apple is leading their customers to make baby-steps towards using these pre-existing functions in a way that makes sense and that are useful to them.

    Will there be people who refuse to give up their physical QWERTY keyboard and antiquated mouse? No doubt. Some people are just resistant to change. Heck, years after the 'death' of the floppy drive and the AGP card, there are still customers asking for them and there are still companies making them. Both technologies have effectively been replaced, but they did not go away overnight. I see the move to touch and voice as being a gradual move as well, and those who want to hold onto their keyboard and mouse will probably continue to do so for many years to come. I don't think that's a reason to hamper progress towards a better or more naturally useable interface, though.

    Apple and Microsoft are already heading in the right direction. It's just a matter of time before it all comes together.
    Reply

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