Old habits and old hardware can last much longer than expected.
Take your average laptop keyboard and screen (the same one I’m typing on right now), and it mimics the layout of a much older technology: the typewriter and the paper that came out of it.
Must Read: Best Laptops from CES 2023: Dual Screens, 3D Displays, and Twist
Certainly, when display technology was more basic, there was reason to stick with that basic format.
A few years ago, the craze for 2-in-1 laptops with detachable and swivel screens exploded and are now mainstream. And now, CES 2023 shows some more fun options like dual-screen laptops that work in landscape or portrait mode, laptops with secondary E Ink displays, tactile numeric keypads, or screens that fold and slide. I was. Admittedly, every year CES tends to have some weird laptops (last year there were some laptops with folding screens). So what’s different about this year’s crop?
For me, it’s probably the rise of hybrid working that’s making the difference.
No longer stuck in the office every day, many knowledge workers are looking for new places to work, such as sofas, kitchen tables, and beds.
Perhaps the traditional clamshell laptop form factor just doesn’t work well in these new places. Maybe one flat screen is not enough. You may need two, or several E Inks, or a bend or folding screen to get the job done the way you want it. Perhaps you want to recreate the two-screen setup you have in your office while sitting in a cafe. (Actually, even if you have the technology, please never stop.)
It could be argued that ever since Windows introduced resizable windows for various applications in the late 80’s, it has been possible to determine exactly which screen size to use.
Also, the shape and size of a laptop can seem like a trivial thing to care about or even mention.
But I think there is a connection between the tools we use and the things we make. PCs and laptops are still the primary vehicle for all kinds of creative work (much more than tablets and smartphones).
We are entering a new era of work. It means new ideas about how we work, and it means we need new tools as well.
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