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Razer Unveils Portable Gaming Device Concept 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the dude-what-if-the-keys-on-your-laptop-were-huuuuuge dept.
MerelyASetback writes "Razer has shown a new concept for a gaming device that uses a pair of 7-inch multitouch displays as well as a layer of tactile, dynamic keys on the lower screen. Much like the Optimus Maximus of yesteryear, this keyboard would enable gamers to place different screens underneath depending on the title, and even within a game — you could imagine the keys shifting to account for different POVs, levels, scenarios, etc. Internally, the concept is based around an Intel Atom processor, but there's no word on what kind of GPU would work alongside of it."
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Razer Unveils Portable Gaming Device Concept

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  • That's be great but it better damn well support my Nostromo. I don't game on a PC without it.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I'd say it is more of a meh. I mean c'mon it has a fricking Atom CPU! even if they went dual core Atom that is just double shitty. Seriously look at how many games like L4D already will pound the hell out of an older Pentium Dual or even a Core2Duo, and you're gonna build a gaming laptop on the Atom? Maybe it is because the screens are gonna suck serious money as well as power, but why cripple your device with such a shitty CPU?

      I could see it if they went with Bulldozer or a ULV I series with an NV GPU,

      • L4D already will pound the hell out of an older Pentium Dual or even a Core2Duo

        Uhh. I got Core 2 Duo and I'm playing L4D2 at max settings at 1600x900 perfectly fine, CPU usage never reaches even 80%. If you bring a Core 2 Duo to a grinding halt with L4D then you're doing something seriously wrong.

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          Software-emulated DirectX? :P

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I bought an Acer Aspire One back in April (it was stolen a month or so ago). It had a 1.6 Atom N270, and I never saw anything except a weak wifi signal slow it down. Of course, I wasn't playing a modern game on it, but it streamed video flawlessly. if you used one as an IO device and had the PC doing the heavy processing, and Atom would work just fine.

          What does an X-Box or Wii use for a processor?

          • by tepples (727027)

            What does an X-Box or Wii use for a processor?

            Original Xbox: Intel Celeron at 733 MHz, and its GPU is essentially a GeForce 3. Wii: PowerPC G3 at 729 MHz, and I haven't been given a solid comparison between the AMD Hollywood and PC GPUs.

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              Wow, that seems WAY less powerful than an Atom, with its 1.8 gHz dual core processor. So I'm left scratching my head here.

      • and you're gonna build a gaming laptop on the Atom?

        As Anonymous Coward pointed out [slashdot.org], the Atom is more powerful than the CPU in a PSP, 3DS, or older iPod touch. (I'm unsure about comparing it to the A4 in the iPod touch 4.) I'd imagine that games designed for an Atom-based platform, especially one with the GeForce 9400 in an ION chipset, can look better than games for almost any existing gaming handheld.

        An in order CPU like Atom

        Each of the three cores in the Xbox 360 CPU is also in-order. But like the Xbox 360 CPU, the Atom CPU has multithreading so that if an instruction gets stalle

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          There is a couple of SERIOUS PROBLEMS with your comparison. One, you are talking about CPUs that were custom designed for gaming compared to an off the shelf in order Atom, and Two, You are talking about devices that had custom ultra low resource gaming OSes VS running Windows 7 plain Jane.

          I'm sorry, but that is some pretty big fucking differences there tepples. That is like saying "A Cesna and an F16 are just alike, since their both planes" but if you put one against the other I don't think anybody here wo

          • One it was made to be REALLY cheap, and Two it was made to be REALLY low power. Now does anyone here actually associate really cheap and really low power with WINDOWS GAMING?

            No, but it's precisely what we expect of handhelds. You assume that should this device take off, no developer will target it. I could even see the device containing a stripped-down Linux to run games that the developer cares about porting.

          • The PSP has a MIPS R4000 CPU. A MIPS R4000 was not specially designed for gaming. The PSP (the original) also had only 32 MB of RAM.

            The 3DS is rumored to have (I haven't seen official specs yet, maybe they're handy online somewhere though) two ARM 11 CPUs. The ARM 11 is not specially designed for gaming.

            The PowerPC in the Wii, the PowerPC-based processor in the XBox 360, and the Cell (PowerPC main core with eight specialized media-processing cores) of the PlayStation 3 are not especially designed from the g

    • It could be the start of something interesting that brings console users back to PC Games. I would be rather wary of buying one after my own personal experience with the razer lachesis mouse which for a 40 something pound mouse it was unusably glitchy. Took it back and replaced it at the store and the next one was just the same. So yeah once bitten.....
      • by ifrag (984323)

        I also tried to use Razer mice for a while, but have too decided to be done with them. Had a diamondback that had random pointer spasms, mouse twitching around when not being moved. Have heard stories of other users having ridiculous problems with more recent Razer's as well, such as the mouse getting occasionally stuck into horizontal movement only. Tried the Lachesis for a brief time but that mouse was a lot of wrist pain to use in long sessions. Supposedly some of the Razer issues are firmware relate

        • Yeah the Lachesis I have random and frequent locks on x or y axis.. mouse pointer spasms if you click on a non hard mouse mat, tiniest piece of dust makes it go nuts and sometimes it goes all exorcist on me and jumps around the screen. Tried it on my girlfriends computer with the exact same issues, updated firmware, drivers and nothing. Whats the point of a mouse that has all fancy LED's, macro software and an arsenal of buttons if it fails to move your pointer accurately from A to B.
  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:17AM (#34788780) Homepage

    ..it looks like the game needs to support this thing for it to work properly, and that's where all these fancy ideas usually fail; it'll get 2-3 games that supports it, but in a year everyone's already forgotten about it and moved on. It'd be different if they went ahead and developed an actual standard API that games could use to display parts of their UI on other devices and that API worked with every manufacturer's devices, it might actually catch on! But.. well, given how short-sighted and greedy companies usually are they will just try to lock people to their own devices and then wonder why it didn't work.

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:29AM (#34788810) Homepage Journal

      Who has time to look at their keyboard and decipher icons when gaming? Once you've got the basic keys down you rarely need to look down, and the letter keys are just as useful for finding your bearings when you do. I used to really want an Optimus just because it is such a cool gadget, but now I don't actually care.

      It might help slightly for learning shortcuts in stuff like design applications and games, but I'd like to see some research. I think it maybe would actually just act as a hindrance as people come to rely on looking for the icons rather than their muscle memory and spacial awareness.

      If I always have a reference available, it stops me from trying to remember things as I would if I didn't have the reference (where I'd probably recourse to trial and error, which would reinforce my memory of what's right and what's wrong). Examples of such things that I tend to still look up these days being the syntax of lesser used control structures, string processing commands and regexp stuff in PERL. If I couldn't Google for this stuff I'd have memorised it by now.

      • Who has time to look at their keyboard and decipher icons when gaming? Once you've got the basic keys down you rarely need to look down, and the letter keys are just as useful for finding your bearings when you do.

        If we were talking about a full-blown keyboard then sure, but you quite obviously missed this is about portable systems where space is limited. And in such cases being able to change the glyph the button represents is actually useful.

        I think it maybe would actually just act as a hindrance as peopl

        • When I'm at home I'm on my 9 inch netbook (I actually use it at work too, but with a full sized keyboard attached). You can't get much more limited than that while still having a fully blown PC, but I can still touch type on the keyboard.

          Of course they'd still be able to develop it, but if they are in the habit of looking at the keys to see where stuff is, they're going to be slower than if they just get used to simply pressing the key they want without looking. Eventually they should get to know the keys (

          • by tepples (727027)

            you will have to look down to see the controls instead of the game just saying "press X to do blah".

            Nintendo DS games appear to work around this.

            • Indeed, but they do also have fixed buttons with fixed names for more action oriented games. I'm not saying the customisable button area is completely pointles. If games are designed with it in mind like Gaygirlie suggested then I'm sure it could be used in interesting ways. But for PC games where everyone has different hardware, using one of these things is not really going to have any advantages over just using a keyboard or having clickable icons on-screen.

              I still like my idea of being able to use your p

              • by tepples (727027)

                If everyone has USB connectible touchscreen phones anyway

                The service for such phones typically costs 70 USD per month. My phone costs me less than that per year through Virgin Mobile USA. So we can't depend on all players having a phone.

                • Well, maybe not right now, but in say 10 years perhaps. I thought service costs were completely independent of the phone model, at least if you buy the phone outright. I bought my Droid outright and just put my company SIM in it, so I get free calls and data on a nice phone.

                  • I thought service costs were completely independent of the phone model, at least if you buy the phone outright.

                    Smartphones aren't commonly sold outright where I live. For example, I can't walk into an electronics store, try a phone, flash my credit card, and walk out with a paid-for unlocked phone. Instead, electronics stores sell unactivated phones that are still locked to a carrier. Some (e.g. T-Mobile G1) won't even start apps without a SIM inserted, instead being locked to only make voice calls to emergency services. I could buy an unlocked phone online, but I'd have no way to try it first (cue return shipping a

                    • Hmm. With my Dell Streak I tried it in an O2 store to see if I'd like it, then ordered online. Thankfully our company uses O2 anyway so there was no unlocking to bother with. I do appreciate being able to browse on the go with my phone at a decent resolution, and can read books on the Kindle app etc. There will probably always be people who just want a simple rugged phone, but I think the majority of folks will have smartphones in 10 years. There must be a lot of cheap used iPhones and the like around alrea

                    • With my Dell Streak I tried it in an O2 store

                      For one thing, O2 doesn't operate in my home country. For another, a Dell Streak without service is still very expensive (twice the price of iPod touch or Archos 43).

                      then ordered online

                      As I understand it, trying in a store with the intent of buying online marks one as a "demon customer" to the store's management. And it still doesn't address the problem of discovering that a phone fails to run apps without a SIM, or products that one can't find in any nearby store. For example, back in May, I tried three local stores that sel

                    • a Dell Streak without service is still very expensive (twice the price of iPod touch or Archos 43).

                      Indeed, but it's bigger, it's in the gap between the iPhone and the iPad, and I do consider it worth it (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it!). I might still get a 9 inch tablet at some point, since the Kindle reader isn't available for Linux, but the 5 inch Streak is fine for now, even for reading eBooks.

                      Even primary-school children, whose parents make much of the market for E-rated games?

                      Actually, yes. I don't know many kids that young, but I have heard of kids that young having iPhones..

                      Such a time horizon is off the radar of home entertainment product makers.

                      I wasn't offering them any advice, I was just considering what will likely be possible by th

      • by Toy G (533867)

        Available research tells us two things:
        1) It's easier for people to use well-designed icons than to memorize keys or key-combos, especially in the short and medium term. (this is still contentious among power users, but it's a long-proven fact, originally established by Xerox and confirmed by Apple research)
        2) people don't really like interfaces that dynamically change too much. This was determined the hard way by Microsoft (see XP Start menu and Office 97/2003).

        So we can probably deduce:
        1) this sort of int

        • This said, I'd love to see a full laptop trying out this concept

          It was out a couple of years ago, the Optimus. There's a link in the summary. I don't think it can have been a very big hit, haven't heard much about it since, though I heard loads about it in the years leading up to its release.. and was excited at first, but then lost interest after a year or two. I think it was around £150/$300, so not really impulse buy territory, you'd have to have a seriously good use for it.

          I think you're right that the icons on buttons would be useful when it comes to using co

          • Optimus was a regular keyboard not a laptop.

          • by Toy G (533867)

            Optimus was a standalone keyboard, too heavy and expensive to be really attractive outside specific niches (plus, they made some very controversial decisions, and didn't really push hard to get into the mainstream).

            This is supposed to be a ultraportable gaming laptop, a concept I find really "meh" (would you really play WoW on a 7'' screen?), nevermind the keyboard.

            I'd like to see the likes of Toshiba or Fujitsu marketing a full 15'' laptop with this sort of keyboard under $ 1500 / £ 1000, I'm sure th

            • Yeah I wouldn't want to do all of my gaming on a small screen (though handheld consoles are okay when away on holiday or whatever). I think putting this kind of tech into a laptop is pretty wasteful unless we get nice modular designs where you can re-use the keyboard.

              In fact that's just a great idea overall, as having to buy a new screen with each laptop is also pretty wasteful - better to just be able to upgrade the base and attach your own flat panel to the top. The manufacturers would make less money if

    • by Etiko (1391455)
      One of the comments in TFA actually had a quite clever way of dealing with this.

      Since the top LCD is also a touch screen, let the user define his own icons by touching the relevant space on the top screen and then that image block will automatically map to the bottom LCD.

      Problem solved. And no special support needed from the game.
    • You're probably wrong as this emulates a keyboard, so probably in the driver you map what button on this thing is what button on a regular keyboard, and then you map commands in your game to those regular keyboard keys.

      So no real need for games to specifically support this, it'll work for everything right out of the box.

    • ..it looks like the game needs to support this thing for it to work properly, and that's where all these fancy ideas usually fail; it'll get 2-3 games that supports it, but in a year everyone's already forgotten about it and moved on. It'd be different if they went ahead and developed an actual standard API that games could use to display parts of their UI on other devices and that API worked with every manufacturer's devices, it might actually catch on! But.. well, given how short-sighted and greedy companies usually are they will just try to lock people to their own devices and then wonder why it didn't work.

      It looks like this is aimed at running PC games... In which case it could probably be handled much like my Nostromo (or just about any decent gaming mouse). Typically you'll have a layer of middleware that makes the device talk to the game correctly. With the Nostromo, I'm able to program a single button on the device to execute a series of keystrokes that the game then responds to. The game doesn't need to know how to talk to my Nostromo, the game needs to know how to respond to a keyboard and mouse.

  • I don't know what uses there are for a keyboard displays like this and the Optimus. It's one hell of a cool gimmick and is sure to be a great conversation starter, but to actually use it? I hardly ever look at my keyboard. I don't want to!
    • by muntis (1503471)
      Vote parent up. On screen buttons are designed to bee easily accessed by mouse but shortcuts on keyboard for fingers. If I'm not looking at keyboard then how it will improve my SC2 gameplay? Was the screen touch screen? If yes then game controls should be redone, I don't think that using finger as mouse pointer will work good enough. It's strange how seemingly unintuitive mouse have become more simple and intuitive than pointing a finger.
    • by jaggeh (1485669)

      one handed gaming taken to a whole new dimension :)

  • Why can't they pick something more normal and business oriented, like "Biggus Clickus"?

  • by Tom (822)

    Obviously designed by people who are not gamers. Where is my analog input device? Keys only? Hello? How am I supposed to look around in a 3D game, or point and shoot, or turn, or do practically anything else that requires more than just keys?

    Nope, these jokers think that PC gaming is all about the keyboard - just watch the ad video. Yeah, right. Because the keyboard is what makes PC gaming what it is. Errr...

    • pro-tip: it has as usb port for a mouse, and shows it with one.
      • by Tom (822)

        Because on a mobile gaming platform I want to carry a USB mouse with me and find a flat surface to use it?

  • by tero (39203)

    So, how'd you go around playing something like Quake - or even World of Warcraft without being able to use the mouse for free-look/turning?
    Seems like a cool little gadget for quick remote login - but I'm quite sure the pricetag will make it rather useless for that purpose just as the lack of mouse (together with small screen) will make it useless for "real" gaming.

  • the awesome scooter technology from the 90's. Now that would be a wicked awesome company to define a new innovative gaming device for future generations!
  • Looks like this experimental keyboard from Microsoft.
    https://www.microsoft.com/appliedsciences/content/projects/uist.aspx [microsoft.com]

  • Notice what they were demoing on the screen? Quake 3. That's 12 years ago, sir. Not even Call of Duty, or Joint Operations, or Battlefield 1942? And you're talking about modern gaming in the portable platform? As a developer, I would be simply too ashamed of myself to show that in public, as if my target audience wouldn't be able to identify it. "Oh look, flashy pictures and things that move! Is that a new awesome game? Yeah, sure it is..." I'm sure it's probably a licensing thing, they could have

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