SLIDESHOW

What Will Your Next Laptop Look Like?

Today's concept designs reveal that tomorrow's models may roll up, sport multiple screens or be reposition-able, Transformer-style.

Tangent Bay

With a 15.6-in. main screen and a trio of auxiliary 3.5-in. displays above its keyboard, Intel's Tangent Bay prototype helps you segregate and organize information. Put sticky notes, a clock, a menu from Word or whatever you want in the small screens; if you flick a screen with a finger, its content will move up and take over the main screen.

This image gallery accompanies our story Your next laptop: Concept designs point the way. Click through to that story for details about these concept devices.

Prime

Although it was designed as the ultimate gaming machine with two processors and a high-end graphics engine, the Prime laptop folds up to the size of a 13-in. notebook. Unfold it and it can be a huge tablet workspace, a clamshell notebook with a 26-in. ultrawide screen or one with a traditional 15-in. 4:3 ratio display. It's composed of six aluminum wings that slide and hinge to create several different configurations, each suited to a different style of work or play.

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Airo Origami

This prototype from Asus may look like a standard ultrathin notebook, but its parts can be folded in different ways to create a flat tablet or a clamshell notebook with an upright screen. Its keyboard slides up into place as the lid is opened, leaving a gap underneath for ventilation, making it a marvel of packaging and cooling.

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Multi-Fold

Composed of three panels held together by two piano hinges, Qualcomm's ultramobile Multi-Fold can be a long, narrow screen for watching movies or viewing a map, a traditional-looking notebook with a tall screen, or a table clock/Internet terminal. It all depends on how you fold it.

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Freescale/SCAD smartbook

With dual pull-out keyboards around a central 7-in. screen, Freescale's smartbook concept, developed in cooperation with the Savannah College of Art and Design, squeezes a lot of computer into a small package.

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Slider

This concept netbook borrows ideas from the disappearing keyboards on cell phones. The split keyboard has a track down the middle that the 9-in. screen slides on -- slide it up to type on the mechanical keys or slide it flat to use the touch screen.

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Rolltop

Like a small Oriental rug, the Rolltop computer unrolls to reveal a large open-screen tablet with a pop-out stylus. The system can also be folded up to create a good imitation of a traditional clamshell notebook with upright screen and keyboard below. The ports, speakers and power adapter are housed in a cylinder that the whole thing is rolled onto when you're ready to hit the road.

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SABRE

Freescale's SABRE smartbook is two computers in one: a tablet that is light and small enough to hit the road with you, with a keyboard-based docking station that makes the tablet feel like a desktop PC when you return.

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OLPC XO-3

The One Laptop Per Child project's concept for its next-generation XO device -- a superslim plastic slate tablet -- makes even the MacBook Air look chubby. Bonus: There's a loop at the top corner to hang it off of a backpack.

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Pocket Yoga

Lenovo's Pocket Yoga downsizes a netbook to the size of a stenographer's pad that can fit into a back pocket, but does so with a usable screen and keyboard. Elegant and clad in leather, the Yoga has a touch screen for scribbling, drawing or navigating, as well as a physical keyboard for typing. Alas, the Yoga was a concept design only, never intended to become a shipping product.

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Courier

Although Microsoft recently canceled the Courier project, it shows the possibilities of a system composed of two hinged screens. It can be an e-book or a traditional notebook.

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PC-Z1 Netwalker

Available today in Japan, Sharp's PC-Z1 Netwalker micronotebook is based on an early Freescale prototype system. It weighs just 13 oz., has a 5-in. screen and can run for 10 hours on a charge. Because it runs on Linux, it won't be for everybody, but the NetWalker comes with apps for Web work, e-mail, images and keeping up with your busy schedule.

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