Intel is developing its Honeycomb Glacier to bring two-screen PCs to gamers. The primary panel is 15.6-inch 1080p; the secondary one is 12.3-inch 1920×720. Up until now, laptops with a secondary screen have been uncomfortable and awkward to use, but the Honeycomb Glacier resolves that problem by using a double hinge to lift both screens into the air. The lifted screen automatically stays in the angle chosen by the user due to a mechanical one-way roller clutch. A button on the left side disengages it.
The Verge reports that underneath the hinge is a “a purpose-built cooling mechanism that draws enough additional air across the specially shaped and laid-out motherboard to cool up to 195 watts worth of components using a single fan.” The prototype relies on a 45-watt 8-core Intel CPU and Nvidia GeForce 1060 graphics, “currently overclocked to 60 watts and 95 watts respectively.”
With the second hinge at eye level, Intel inserted a Tobii eye-tracking camera, which could let the user “theoretically engage your Twitch audience, chat with your friends on Discord or even your co-workers on Slack without alt-tabbing away from your game.” (Click here for a video of the Honeycomb Glacier prototype.)
The prototype is “super early,” with somewhat buggy software, off-the-shelf components and “a secondary screen sourced from the automotive world.” Intel engineers told The Verge reviewer that they “aren’t fans of the buttonless trackpad or the big bezels around that secondary screen, and they don’t seem surprised when I have trouble dragging an Adobe Premiere timeline around on the secondary screen, or when I run into some stuttering and glitches.”
But, notes the reviewer, “this is the rare prototype PC that feels like more than the sum of its parts, where almost all the pieces feel necessary to build dual-screen laptops that actually make sense.”
Intel reported that “they haven’t built a prototype that’s been this desirable, generated this much interest from PC manufacturers in years,” an optimistic answer for those who would like to see the prototype become an actual product.
Visit the Intel Newsroom for more product details and company news from this week’s Computex show in Taipei.