ASUS should pick up where Microsoft left off with a dual-screen tablet

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| Published: November 1, 2011

Many of you know just how much I love tablets. I've recently focused on doing as much work as possible from my Galaxy Tab 10.1 as humanly possible, to unexpected success. I still need the aid of a PC and full-fledged operating system to top off some of the harder tasks that a tablet can't handle yet, but the mobile computing devices are showing some promise for future months and years, especially with the added power of Kal-El processors and keyboard attachments.

To date, every high-end tablet has been pretty much the same. Well, the ASUS Slider is a bit of an exception, but it's a rehashing of an old idea from HTC (oh, how I wanted an HTC Shift back in the day), which initially evolved from horizontal QWERTY cell phones. The other 99 percent have all been flat, rectangular slabs with roughly 0.5-inch bezel and varying aspect ratios. Even specs between Apple-made tablets and Android counterparts have been mostly on par with each other.

Of all of the manufacturers, ASUS has been the most ... experimental, which has landed them as one of the front runners in the Android tablet race. The Eee Pad Transformer is perfect evidence of that. Even though it's still the same as every other tablet out there, the keyboard dock essentially turns it into an Android netbook on the fly. I love the Transformer, I really do. And I plan on buying a Transformer Prime when it's released. But there is one design that I really wish ASUS would at least attempt to tackle. In fact, it wouldn't require much of a change from their current design – just a repositioning of the HDMI port and another aftermarket accessory.

You may recall the covert operation by Microsoft that was never officially confirmed until it was canceled last year. They were developing a dual-screen tablet, called the Courier (pictured above), built for content creation. Bill Gates supposedly axed the operation after he found it "didn't clearly align with the company's Windows and Office franchises," claims Jay Greene of CNET. For those interested in the short-lived project by Microsoft, Greene gives an in-depth look at the life and death of the Courier – in other words, how Microsoft botched one of the coolest, most innovative pieces of tech that would have ever left their doors.

Believe it or not, the Courier actually sported one of the neatest looking tablet interfaces to date, and the dual-screen design was a spectacular idea. It obviously has some flaws, as the display is one of the largest culprits for battery drain in mobile tech. Two large displays would obviously make battery life an issue, and if it did have enough battery power to last through the day, it would have to be fairly bulky.

This is why I would love nothing more than to see ASUS pick up where Microsoft left off. I feel – no, I know – they could make it even better. I know this is a stretch, but bear with me. Imagine the original Transformer, or even the Transformer Prime, with a second attachment. Not only could you attach a full QWERTY keyboard for knocking out some emails, you could detach the keyboard and attach a secondary display for extreme multitasking. Just like the keyboard attachment comes equipped with its own battery, a screen peripheral could, too. The only modification (other than replacing the QWERTY keyboard with a 10.1-inch display) that would need to be made would be a hinge with a 180 or more degree pivot, and the inclusion of an HDMI port along the bottom (docking) edge of the tablet.

Call me crazy, but I think something like this would be nothing short of amazing. A second display that you could use or detach at your own disposal? The possibilities are endless and being detachable with its own power supply means it wouldn't eat away at your precious battery life. Not to mention, the new Transformer Prime design would pack all of this in a package under half an inch thick when closed.

The first manufacturer to come out with a functional design like this will have my endearing love and support forever. Pair two 10.1-inch displays with a Bluetooth keyboard and you have yourself a multitasking, productivity – or mass multimedia consuming – machine. Sure, it might be overkill. But who cares? The mere thought is enough to make a super nerd, such as myself, weak at the knees.

What say you, folks? Would you even want a dual-screen tablet? What if the second display is an optional, detachable, aftermarket accessory? Don't you think ASUS would be the perfect company to do something like this?

Image via Engadget