Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Computex 2018: Asus launches Zenbook Pro with a touchpad that works as a secondary display

The Taiwanese manufacturer has also shown off a concept convertible laptop that replaces the keyboard with a display.


Asus has started down the path of replacing laptop input with displays, unveiling a pair of laptops that do away with the touchpad and keyboard to varying degrees at Computex 2018.

Arriving in July in Australia, the ZenBook Pro series will be the first Asus device that has a touchpad functioning as a secondary 5.5-inch full HD display, dubbed the ScreenPad.

The company said the ScreenPad allows for use akin to that of the touch bar found on Apple MacBooks, with adaptive menus and controls changing with the app in focus -- this functionality is currently limited to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint -- and using apps specifically made for the ScreenPad such as calculator, music player, numeric keypad, and launcher.

Asus added that browser extensions could be used for the ScreenPad, such as adding YouTube playback controls to the second screen.

Users will be able to switch between touchpad and display mode of the ScreenPad with an F6 keypress.

Beyond its new display, the Zenbook Pro series of laptops will have up to an Intel Core i9 processor, handle up to 16GB of DDR4 memory, be available with Nvidia GeForce 1050Ti GPU, and potentially have a 1TB NVMe SSD for storage.

The laptops will also have built-in support for Amazon's Alexa.

The ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 will retail in Australia from AU$3,000, with its 14-inch model yet to have its availability confirmed.

Also on Tuesday, Asus took the wraps off a dual-screen convertible laptop called Project Precog, which has a full second display in place of where the usual keyboard and touchpad reside.

The company said the product, which may appear sometime next year, has features enhanced by AI, such as a virtual keyboard that appears where the user has their hands. Precog has both Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana, with the company saying the assistants will "process other tasks on the second screen" while a user has the main task on the other.

Asus also unveiled a gaggle of updated Vivobooks -- the S15 S520, S14 S430, S13 S330, and Flip 14 TP412 -- as well as a smartwatch that measures blood pressure.



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