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Asustek Computer, one of the world’s largest maker of laptops and mainboards, will release notebooks with additional screen by the time Windows Vista ships, it was disclosed during the most recent WinHEC conference. Auxilary displays may provide additional features, however, will also add cost.

Microsoft calls the new technology as SideShow and, in fact, the feature is not limited to notebooks, but, according to the company, the auxiliary displays supported by the new Windows Vista operating system can be incorporated into keyboards, LCD display casings, remote controls and cell phones. The devices may connect to their host personal computers (PCs) using various methods, including Bluetooth, USB or Wi-Fi, providing great flexibility and convenience to manufacturers as well as end-users.

The SideShow displays can be used to view the critical information if the laptop is on, off, or in sleep mode. The auxiliary displays will save time and battery life by allowing to quickly view meeting schedules, phone numbers, addresses, and recent e-mail messages without having to start up the laptop. Users will be able to predefine, which type of information will be accessible though the auxiliary screens using Windows Vista capabilities.

As usual, Microsoft is working closely with manufacturers of notebooks and other peripherals to push the technology into the market. At WinHEC the world’s largest software maker indicated that there will be at least two notebooks by Asustek Computer featuring auxiliary SideShow displays: one will feature a detachable display, the other one will boast with built-in screen. Innovation is something Asus is already known for: certain notebooks by the firm can play MP3 audio files when the computer’s lid is closed.

Slides published by PC Watch web-site claim that detachable monitor features 320x240 TFT display, PortalPlayer PP5024 and dual-core ARM7 processors, a battery, USB connection to host PC. The detachable monitor can also playback WMA and MP3 files, thus, can be used as a player. The attached display features ARM9 processor, 4MB random access memory, 4MB flash memory, USB connection for host PC.

It is yet unclear whether laptops with SideShow auxiliary screens will cost significantly more compared to notebooks without them.


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