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Your Guide to the Laptops of the Future

Will we see some of these concept designs in the laptops of the future? Only time will tell.

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Gadget concept designs are an idealized way to look at the future. Even if they don't become reality, some of their basic ideas may show up sooner or later.

Here are 10 concept designs that could hint at the future of the laptop.

LiM by Jeff Engelhardt

In the future, laptops may extend beyond their physical form, either by tracking our motions with cameras or projecting extra workspace to the surfaces around us.

The LiM envisions the latter concept, with a trackpad that's projected to the side by the keyboard.

[via Coroflot]

Custombook

Not much is known about this Custombook concept, but the idea of a laptop-tablet hybrid with a transparent display makes a lot of sense.

Instead of relying on cumbersome sliding or latching mechanisms, the Custombook would simply become a tablet when folded closed, with the display flipping over to the backside.

[via The Wondrous]

Chameleon Laptop by Google

Google apparently likes the idea of convertible laptop-tablets enough to patent one of its own. This device would have a virtual keyboard and an “electrostatic touch device,” and would slide between laptop, tablet and easel modes.

It could even switch between operating systems, so perhaps an Android-Chrome OS device is in our future

[via Patent Bolt]

Lifebook by Prashant Chandra

Transparent 3D PC by Microsoft

Okay, so this isn't technically a laptop, but it seems portable enough to consider as one. The prototype by Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group uses a transparent display and Kinect-like gesture recognition to create a 3D space beyond the screen, so users can manipulate objects with their hands.

Maybe in the future, all laptops will prop up in the opposite direction to allow for this possibility.

Intel's Nikiski

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Intel showed off a concept laptop called Nikiski, with a transparent trackpad that spanned the length of the device. This allowed the screen to show through when the laptop was closed for quick access to some basic apps.

But more interesting was the wide, palm-detecting trackpad itself. Let's see that idea in some real laptops soon.

Obento Note by René Lee

The Obento Note takes inspiration from Japanese bento food boxes, where an entire meal is stored in neat compartments in a single container. Here, a tablet and a phone serve as touch keyboard and trackpad, respectively, and the two other compartments hold a solar-powered battery and solid state storage.

Prime Gaming Laptop by Kyle Cherry

Tank-like gaming laptops are nice, but sometimes you need something more compact. The Prime concept converts from a 13-inch notebook to a 26-inch, 32:10 aspect ratio gaming rig using a pair of foldout screens. It also collapses into a tablet.

It seems utterly unrealistic unless displays become extremely thin and cheap, but it's something for gamers to dream about. [via Coroflot]

Smartbook by In-oh Yoo and Sun-woong Oh

The Smartbook concept aims to bring the physical keyboard back to smartphones, but not in the way you'd expect. In this design, the phone folds out to reveal a keyboard for a companion tablet. It may seem strange, but it could be useful if someday we have screens all around us, and no way to type on them.

[via YankoDesign]

Slate Concept by Sony

As PC makers wrestle with laptop-tablet hybrids, they're sure to find new ways to keep the screen propped up.

Sony's Slate concept, shown off at the 2012 IFA trade show in Berlin, uses some type of soft-touch material that extends from the tablet and keeps it upright.

[via Digital Trends]