Up Close with Nikiski, Intel’s Concept Laptop of Tomorrow

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Although Intel doesn’t build laptops, the chip maker showed off a bit of design flare at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with Nikiski, a concept notebook that folds up into a touchscreen virtual assistant.

Nikiski uses a dual-sided touch panel that comes into play when the laptop is both open and closed. In the open position, it acts like an ultra-wide track pad and knows to ignore palms when they’re resting on the laptop to type. When closed, a slice of Nikiski’s display shows through from the other side of the touch screen, with e-mails, calendar appointments and RSS feeds that the user can interact with.

(MORE: Check out Techland’s coverage of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show)

“When you close your PC and you’re running to another meeting … now you need to get your iPhone or your Android phone in order to get an immediate response,” Mooly Eden, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s PC Client Group, said in an interview. “I say, why can’t we deliver it on the same device?”

Intel tried to develop a similar concept four years ago, but it was too complicated and expensive, Eden said. Now, Intel has the computing power and technology, and Eden thinks device makers could execute on the concept in a year to a year and a half. “There’s nothing over here, like transparent touch screens, that cannot be implemented in the near future,” he said.

Despite the Metro-style look of the secondary display, Intel didn’t work with Microsoft on the concept. Eden said Intel is working with Microsoft on ways to innovate with Windows 8, but not specifically on Nikiski.

No surprises here, but Intel has no plans to monetize the Nikiski concept or sell it as an Intel PC, Eden said. Instead, Intel’s hoping to inspire the companies who manufacture Intel-based laptops. “Many of them will innovate on top of it,” Eden said, “and at the end of the day they’ll deliver something to the market that is very jazzy, very interesting.”

(MORE: Intel’s Big Double Push for 2012: Ultrabooks and Smartphones)