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HANDS ON: Intel Nikiski concept laptop with transparent touch pad

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nikiski-1.jpgSince stealing the show at Intel's CES 2012 press conference, the Intel Nikiski has bowed out of the limelight. A concept laptop design unlikely to enter production any time soon, it remains one of the best-looking portable PCs we've seen in a very long time. At Intel's Triptych art installation in London last night, we once again got to ogle the machine. And we want it now more than ever.

The main draw of the Nikiski is its inventive exterior design. At first glance, it seems like a regular, clam-shell closing laptop, albeit with a touchscreen. However, the laptop also employs a gorgeous, transparent glass trackpad that's the length of the device. It looks great and feels very responsive, with the extra size seeming particularly well suited to elaborate gesture controls.
It really comes into its own however when the laptop is shut. The underside of that trackpad then doubles up as a clear touchpad for a preview strip displayed on the laptop's screen underneath. Here you could get snippets from your email inbox, Twitter feed, calendar, RSS reader and more. While it's usage is niche, it looks great, and gives a little added functionality to a PC that would otherwise be in sleep mode.

Though the preview strip looks similar to the Windows 8 Metro interface, it's actually a custom built Windows 7 app. Were the Nikiski ever to come to market, it'd be easy to imagine a plethora of touch-friendly Windows 8 apps making use of the preview strip. However, with a smartphone almost certainly in the pockets of the majority of the Nikiski's target audience, it's quick-look, widget-style functionality may be lost on some.
Intel are currently letting partners take a look at the Nikiski, in the hopes that the likes of Acer or HP will take the bait and bring the design to market. Even if its real-world usage is fairly limited, it's a beautiful, head-turning device that would stand apart from the growing glut of premium ultrabooks doing the rounds.

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  • The ultrabook market is clearly a bloated one. I think, even if this device never gets to the mainstream marketplace it's nice to know that there are designers who are still willing to make products like this and try to get them to the masses. Excellent work.

  • fteoOpty648

    The UltraBook market is one that Intel hatched to try and sell a lot of Ivy Bridge chips when the market is down and tablets seemed to be all the rage. This is why MicroSoft Surface tries to marry tablet and notebook and call it by some other name very different although it does not defeat the functionality of tablet/light notebook hybrid machine. There is attraction as long as the price point is not too high. On the right price points, the market will more towards the concept as it seemed like an upgrade. This is also the position of Win8 to be tablet friendly in order to stimulate the upgrade necessity, though there might not be a need at all. With user maturity, the market will fragment to its particular way as it unfolds. This is hard to predict until plenty of new devices are sold to create a demand following (if that happens, it might not).
    Innovation is not dead, it is slow due to shortage of funds in companies struggle to make ends meet.

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