With the upgraded XPS 13 last week, Dell may have already announced its big laptop news, but the company brought two new prototype laptops to CES 2020: the foldable Concept Ori and the dual-screen Concept Duet. Together, Dell’s two designs encapsulate what might feel like the future of computing, and it’s one where laptops deliver much more screen space than they do now.
None of Dell’s devices is entirely new. The foldable Concept Ori looks incredibly identical to the Lenovo foldable PC prototype that the company showed off last year. In contrast, the dual-screen Concept Duet is similar to the upcoming Microsoft’s Surface Neo (which was announced as a real product, unlike the Concept Duet).
Of the two, modern is the foldable Concept Ori — like in “origami,” because it folds. You get it. Dell wouldn’t offer a lot of details on any of the specs, except that the screen is about 13 inches, and QHD+ resolution is available. Other specs— such as what the processor, graphics, or even which supplier creates the large folding displays — are currently being kept under the lid. Although the show looked good on the screen, mainly when it was folded, there was a noticeable crease.
The Concept Duet has a more common grounding: it seems like an XPS 13 2-in-1, except a second monitor, has completely replaced the lower keyboard and trackpad. The screens on the Concept Duet are 13.4-inch FHD panels that appeared at the same standard as any of the other displays from Dell.
Two screens can be used for multi-tasking either side by side or as a single massive display with content stretching around the two panels. For example, with each panel displaying a single full-page, Dell showed off an eBook, while another had two documents side by side plan a trip.
There’s also a keyboard accessory can be placed on top of one of the touchscreens. Whereas the rest of the screen also behaves as a trackpad for more “traditional” laptop work. Alternatively, the two monitors can flip around to form a single-screen tablet device — something Dell promotes as an advantage of the two separate displays compared to a single flexible folding mechanism. Because of an extra screen, the result is a bit heavier than a regular laptop, but not so much.
As these are only prototypes, Dell would not talk about what software these devices might eventually run if they become real products. But it’s important to note that with its upcoming Windows 10X software, Microsoft is already pushing dual and foldable screen hardware in a big way.
These designs aren’t running Windows 10X (it’s not even over yet). Still, the mere fact that software arrives from the Windows manufacturer designed explicitly for this kind of hardware could help improve Concept Duet and Concept Ori from cool prototypes to actual expensive products.
Dell doesn’t say when to anticipate whether Concept Ori or Concept Duet to hit stores — or even if they’re going to be available at all. But as it stands now, they’re fascinating searching at what might be the potential future of computers, one that might avoid traditional input methods to add even more screen space to our devices.