As sci-fi geeks, we crave the future — in art, design and technology. We're dreamers. We know that everything starts with a concept. For us, CES isn't only about the new gadgets that we'll actually get to buy and use, it's also a playground for companies to show off their creative designs. This year, we were blessed with gorgeous bendable UHD TVs, virtual reality systems, and even a slick modular gaming PC. Another concept gem we found tucked away in Toshiba's booth was its 5-in-1 shape-shifting concept PC.
To be frank, there weren't many interesting laptops announced at CES 2014. Sure Lenovo had some new ones, and Sony had a smaller hybrid tablet/laptop and Auros revealed its new thin gaming laptop, but none of them pushed the boundaries in terms of thinking outside of the box. Toshiba's own 4K-resolution laptop doesn't really count either.
Toshiba's 5-in-1 shape-shifting concept PC apes some of the transforming modes from Lenovo's popular Yoga Ultrabooks and then adds more. You get your laptop-mode with familiar clamshell and keyboard layout. A "canvas mode" where the keyboard base is flipped 270-degrees gives artists and designers better comfort for using a stylus on the screen. The keyboard can be detached and the base folded back for "tablet mode". Then, there is a "TV/presentation" mode, which just props the screen up with the rotatable base. Lastly, the "convertible tablet mode" lets you flip the touchscreen back 360 degrees from the keyboard to use as a big-screen tablet.
It's not quite as wild as, say, some of the concepts Sony showed back at CES 2012, but it's still a weird one, even if it never gets produced. With Windows 8 turning out to be a dud and rumors of Windows 9 returning back to the desktop glory days, who knows if tablet/laptop hybrids will survive. At the very least, we just hope companies keep designing concepts and prototypes we can gush over.
Posted on location at CES 2014. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.