During last week’s CES, we stopped by Asus’ rather large booth to see what they’re working on, and I’ll tell you that we walked away surprised and impressed. The big show-stopper for us was a mockup of a product line that, through gradual revisions as technology improves, will eventually be so thin that the MacBook Air will look like a fatass.
Called the Asus Fold, the hypothetical laptop design uses sliding, collapsible and composite chassis elements to make the notebook not much thicker than the tallest internal component. Rather than a notebook, the structure of Fold-based laptops are more reminiscent of a three-ring binder. The first and most feasible entry to the Fold series shows what we mean:
Later entries to this imaginative line of notebooks get progressively smaller as Asus designers predict the course of technology’s quest for diminutive sizes:
We spent a great deal of time talking to Asus’ Lead User Experience Designer Daniel Alenquer, and he was clearly quite excited about this particular line of notebooks. He explained that Asus was close to realizing the first iteration of the Fold laptop, but lynchpin technologies like OLED made the project prohibitive or elusive. He also explained Asus’ approach to prolonging battery life, which stems from constant analysis of the most draining components in a laptop’s configuration. This analytical process inspired them to completely abandon fans for the Fold notebook in favor of convection cooling which is ideally suited to laptops of such thinness.
Regarding battery life, I inquired if Asus was working on fuel cell technology which elicited an awkward smile that could have spawned a sentence that started with “we can neither confirm nor deny…”
Other projects in Asus’ labs include an expanded line of bamboo-clad items such as the mouse on that was on display:
Asus was also displaying their current lineup of motherboards, notebooks and coolers, but none of it was as awesome as what you’ve just seen. Asus has some amazing products up its sleeves, and Mr. Alenquer’s team is clearly a merry band of geniuses.