Asus is hoping that Vista will create a surge in already booming laptop sales as vendors are spurred to manufacture external mini screens to facilitate the independently running SideShow function.
The Asus W5Fe is the first Vista specific laptop to emerge, and will be compatible with SideShow. The feature is a stripped down operating system controlled on an external screen such as the one included on the W5Fe. It allows users to check email, locate a phone number, display a map, or look at a schedule without starting up the main system. The mini screen on the W5Fe measures 2.8 inches with a resolution of 320 x 240 and is attached to 1GB of NAND Flash storage. Asus is predicting that laptop sales will receive a boost as more and more models adopt the new form factor.
"The SideShow screen revolutionizes the way notebooks are used on the go – now you don't have to turn your notebook on to check your e-mail, to do list, or how to get to a meeting, a quick flick through the SideShow menu will give you everything you need to know,” said Asus’ Ben Berraondo. “This means no more worrying about your battery dying by the end of the day and no awkward fumblings trying to look at your notebook while between meetings. Windows Vista means you can have the convenience of a PDA with the power of a notebook. Vista means that notebooks become a companion as opposed to merely an office tool and when something becomes indispensable, like a mobile phone, sales rocket."
Office 2007 on the other hand looks set to fare less well for Microsoft in the near future, according to a report from research firm Forrester which says employers will be cautious of the more than anticipated training that workers will require and the drop in efficiency they will incur for weeks after as they get familiar the new system.
Traditionally new versions of Office have suffered from a relatively slow uptake anyway, however some are claiming that the new interface pushed by Microsoft as a key selling point – which detracts from the familiar drop down menu screen– will actually work against uptake, amplifying the recurring problem.