Asus, Bang & Olufsen team for dual-touch-pad laptop

Looking to break away from the standard rules of laptop design, Asus has teamed with Danish consumer electronics maker Bang & Olufsen to create a multimedia system with some unique features.

Designed by award-winning B&O chief designer David Lewis, the Asus NX90 features a polished aluminium exterior and palm rest, contrasting nicely with a matte-black keyboard and twin touch pads.

If you're scratching your head at that last detail, the NX90 actually has two separate touch pads, and neither one is located in the traditional wrist rest location. Instead, the twin touch pads are situated on either side of the keyboard, representing another break from the typical laptop.

Of his design, Lewis says, "The customer wants a bigger laptop good enough to enter the living room and take the central position. The user cares about what he has in his house and does want to have quality items. Also, he may not be afraid to stand out a little from the crowd."

The concept is that you would use the two touch pads, one with each hand, to control the laptop in new ways. Asus says the touch pads "provide users with an intuitive DJ-like control", and work with Microsoft's Windows 7 multi-touch gesture controls. Asus has a software suite it calls Rotation Desktop Control, which provides two-handed control for music and other media.

We haven't had a chance to run it through a hands-on test session yet, but the possibilities look promising, even if they may have a steep learning curve.

Audio quality is also a major part of the NX90's appeal, with two large speaker panels that flank the 18-inch display. Using something Asus calls Sonic Focus technology, the speakers have a dedicated power system, and a speaker box that's much larger than normal. Perhaps more importantly, the vertically mounted speakers actually point the sound at the user, rather than up in the air.

While the companies' claim that this laptop's "laser-cut polished aluminium surfaces" and "silky tactile feel" make it look and feel "like a hand-crafted musical instrument" may be a bit over the top, this is certainly a striking system that looks like it belongs in your living room or media-centric den.

The tech specs are nothing to sneeze at either. The NX90 has an Intel Core i7 CPU (either 7200QM or 8200QM), an 18-inch 1080p display, an Nvidia GeForce GT 335M graphics card, dual hard drives, and a Blu-ray drive. That config will run you US$2499.

The Asus NX90 will start at US$1999, and be available sometime in the second quarter of 2010.

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Jonah posted a comment   

Great story on the new ASUS laptop. I just wanted to mention that Sonic Focus, audio enrichment software that enabled the audiophile sound quality of the new NX90, is provided by Virage Logic Corp. Here is what the audio expert at ASUS had to say about the software. "Until now, no one has successfully built an audiophile-quality laptop PC. The ASUS NX90 has achieved our goal of creating the ultimate audiophile experience, previously only available in high-end home theater speaker systems," said Henry Huang, senior specialist, ASUS. "With Virage Logic's Sonic Focus software we have exceeded our original expectations for audio fidelity. The Sonic Focus audio enrichment software tools enabled our sound designers to manage and configure unique digital signal processing software blocks, create a wide and believable soundstage and enabled ASUS to achieve optimum audio for movie and music from our specially crafted notebook speakers. The result is superlative sound that you'll have to hear to believe and remains true to the original intent of the artist. We are delighted with the result."


Rob Cliffeild posted a comment   

Looks perfect with the lid closed but is ugly with screen up. touchpad idea is a first and could be very good if windows will allow dual cursors.

as stated before it looks ugly with the screen up only because of the speakers... could have been better just having it as a wifi remote with an os on it for your tv.

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