At Intel's 2012 CES press conference, it showed off a prototype laptop with something you never knew you needed: a completely transparent ultrawide touchpad. What's the point? We'll show you.
This laptop is called "Nikiski," which according to an Intel dude told is a place in North Korea, but Wikipedia says is a region of Alaska. Intel had a non-operational design concept last year, and this time around presented two fully operational models at its press conference, which we were given a little bit of time to ask about (and molest).
Nikiski's touchpad is, as you've noticed, totally see-through. You can use it as a normal touchpad, and when you want to type, it senses your wrists and helpfully pacifies itself. And since the touchpad is transparent (and double sided), you can still use it (and see a bit of the screen) when the computer is shut. Intel's gotten clever with this, and set up a little dashboard thing that pops up when you shut the Nikiski, allowing you to browse through a little suite of mini-apps that include news and weather and email and stuff. And if you need to fullsizeify something, just open the laptop, and whatever thing you've been using through the touchpad will pop up onto the big screen.
Eventually, Nikiski will also come with some fancy Siri-style voice recognition that will allow you to yell at it to get to to do stuff, thanks to a partnership between Intel and Nuance (the folks behind the Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation program). Supposedly, this'll work even while the laptop is closed and on standby, so that you can ask it to read email and check out your calendar and stuff without having to drag it out and turn it on.
Intel wouldn't tell us if or when Nikiski will be available, but their reps seem optimistic, and were even willing to speculate that it'll cost under $600. Intel is also working on a more powerful ultrabook-class version of Nikiski that won't be nearly as affordable. Our advice: if that's the one you're gonna want, start saving now.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. All photos by Evan Ackerman for DVICE.