Since 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.