All tablets today generally follow the lead of the iPad. You can expect a large slab with a multitouch display, a bezel, and either an aluminum or plastic back. It’s a simple form factor that lends itself to versatility. It gets out of the way to let your content take center stage.
But what if you took the general tablet concept, and bred it with a physical book? Then you might have something like the device that we see in this concept video. It’s a book-like tablet (or e-reader?) that features two or three panels — all of which have multitouch displays on both front and back.
Most videos like this fall into one of two categories: a prototype device that isn’t ready for mass production, or a conceptualized fantasy created by talented videographers. This video doesn’t fall into either of these categories. As demonstrated in the video, the creators (grad students at Darmstadt University in Germany) use a folding dummy unit, and use 3D projectors to create the illusion of displays.
Though it’s basically science fiction that was created with unconventional methods, such a device would open the doors for some unique interactivity. Multitasking would become much simpler, with different panes displaying different open apps (similar to a multi-display PC). As you can see in the video, folding a new layer on top of another leads to the content of the submerged layer jumping to the top.
Who knows whether we’ll eventually see something like this. If we do, it will be many years away. The device would have to be thin enough to make page-turning a breeze, while supporting multitouch, bezel-less displays on both sides. You’d have to get the battery, processor, flash storage, etc. shrunk down to sizes that we aren’t anywhere near producing right now. It isn’t even clear if such a device would be beneficial, or just an unnecessary complication. The simple slab of glass and metal that we call an iPad tends to highlight your software, while something like this might put the focus on the device itself.
Still, all great innovations start with a vision. Consider this to be a sci-fi fantasy that possibly could come to fruition 10-20 years down the road. That is, if someone finds it worthwhile.
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