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Two Videos of E-Lead's Noahpad in Action 114

Engadget has a couple of great videos depicting the new 'Noahpad' laptop offering from E-Lead. This laptop offers a new kind of touchpad that is integrated with the keyboard. An interesting idea to be sure, but I doubt I could ever get used to typing on something this strange.
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Two Videos of E-Lead's Noahpad in Action

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  • funny video (Score:2, Interesting)

    Ok, I know its not the point of the article, but if you want to make a serious product demo video (which it seems like they did), wouldn't you first want a native English speaker to massage the copy a bit before the British guy reads it? Excellently dictated British Engrish (Britgrish?), its a first!
    • by Crizp ( 216129 )
      I'm glad this was the first reply :)
    • At least you've got the ears to understand what they're saying. I found listening to it a rather painful experience. For a "serious" product demo, the audio production was pathetic! Seriously, this is worse than the worst that can be found on YouTube!

      Are we sure this isn't some sort of early April fools joke?
    • Sounds like they've just done:

      festival -voice british voiceover_script.txt
    • My ears!!!! The earplugs, they do nothing!
    • The English language IS the native language of the English. Hence the name of the language! Honestly I'm amazed at this comment. "You speak real good American for a foreigner!"
      • Uh, try watching the video and reread my comment a little closer. Don't worry, you'll get there and catch up with every other person who read it!
  • by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @07:20PM (#22268298) Homepage Journal
    I'm fairly sure I saw that same design on a recent list of 'worst keyboards of history'--I'm getting carpal tunnel just thinking about typing on that abomination. Not to mention it's one of those flat things of the same type as your typical McDonald's cash register of late '90s vintage--and the chief difficulty of that kind of keyboard, besides the anti-ergonomic layout, was that frequently used keys would wear away, and the contact would become exposed--and shortly thereafter, break.

    The designer should be either shot, or forced to use it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You must have missed the part around 3:30 in the second video, when the user of a normal laptop keyboard experiences extreme arm discomfort. Clearly the Noahpad is superior.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @07:24PM (#22268358)
      From the look of the video it was something a bit different... the trackpad appears to detect where your finger is (what letter you want to type) but to actually type it you seem to have to press the WHOLE half of the keyboard down for some reason. Watching the short bit where the guy was "typing" looked really painful. You can't type properly when the whole keyboard has to depress and then return for every keypress!
      • Not to mention that it's going to put an increased strain on each button--and so it's likely to break a lot faster.
      • by ksheff ( 2406 )
        not to mention that the display is scrolling around like mad while you're trying to type.
      • I'm pretty sure that's to give you some tactile feedback. I think if they could do it JUST RIGHT it might work, but I'd have to try it out to say for sure.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by KublaiKhan ( 522918 )
      Wait, hold're supposed to use this thing SMS style, with your thumbs?

      Now I know the designer's braindamaged. Nintendo thumb is bad enough; this guy apparently wants to turn us into thumbless lolcats or something.
    • Harsh (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > The designer should be either shot, or forced to use it.

      That's WAY too harsh a punishment for the poor keyboard designer. I mean, all he did was design a hard-to-use keyboard, so he can't possibly deserve a punishment that awful.

      Better just to shoot the poor guy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by YuuShiSann ( 793626 )
      If you watch carefully, the guy using the keyboard needs to look at the keyboard while he is typing and his sleep is slow too. So I think the guy doesn't know what a typist needs. Typist needs to touch the 2nd key before the 1st is releasing. Merging all keys together will disrupt the feel for the typist. The design is good for those who type by using a single finger. That's why I think the inventor is not a good typer. It is an interesting design but without much practical usage. I feel bad that he
      • I'm not a good typist also. My "sleep" is too fast ;)
      • Hey I type with two fingers. :)
        Always have, always will.

        Its surprising how fast you can do it with a lot of practice.
        • hehe, i did the two finger thing for years... even while taking typing classes in each year of school middle and high school, hey easy A!, but yeah IM'ing eventually got me using all my digits. With HTML/CSS editing in notepad further refining my skills to 80+ wpm

          still I concur, I was rather speedy with two fingers
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @08:30PM (#22268916) Journal
      that frequently used keys would wear away, and the contact would become exposed--and shortly thereafter, break

      It looks like this design is different. It looks like two gigantic "keys", that are actually touchpads with a keyboard printed on top that have a switch underneath to tell the difference between just touching it and pushing down on it.

      The keys would eventually rub off, but then you're down to a blank touchpad. Anyone know how long it takes for laptop touchpads to wear out? Most likely, the switch underneath each side would break first.

      The virtual desktop thing is what amuses me most. I remember the bad old days when XFree86 defaulted to allocating the largest screen possible whether your monitor could handle it or not, leading to endless streams of newbies on IRC asking how to turn the damn screen scrolling thing off.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mikee805 ( 1091195 )
      They say in the voice over that a user us more likely to accept a bad keyboard than a bad pointing device(in windows). And they are trying to fix the pointing device, since most laptops have the emphasis on the keyboard. In short they are admitting the keyboard sucks, but thats not their focus.
      • I never understood why they didn't put trackballs on laptops. they could take up much less space than the standard trackpad, and provide much better accuracy. I use a trackball on all my desktop computers. I even find it superior to the mouse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Samgilljoy ( 1147203 )

      The commercial reminds me of nothing so much as when Homer Simpson introduced that monstrous car he designed for his half-brother Herb's company.

      I'm also a little confused by the CEO's assertion that "most people have laptop computers".

      Most people in the world don't have a computer at all, so he can't mean them.

      Most people who do have computers own desktops, so he can't mean them.

      Perhaps most people he knows have laptop computer, in which case, he can expect to sell the Noahpad to his mom and his friend

      • maybe he was referring to laptop sales overtaking desktop sales?
        I seem to recall reading that recently...
    • With 1.3 billion people in China, their sewers must be overflowing with shit, but does that mean they should wrap a turd in plastic and try to sell it to America? It's innovative, but the concept fails because it relies on an unsustainable level of stupidity in the market to function.
  • Interesting concept for sure, and I like the way virtual resolution is implemented.
    • I like the way virtual resolution is implemented.

      Take it you've never set your DEs resolution to greater than your Xorgs? The behavior shown is pretty standard, all they've done is separated screen movement from mouse movement.
      I appreciate that you have to try out new ideas, but somebody should have told this guy that splitting the keyboard in 2 isn't a good idea. I also don't like the idea mouse buttons used by a separate hand, the main advantage to using a touchpad for me is 1/2/3 finger tapping.

      There is a good goal behind this teribale product, if you

      • I actually prefer the "nipple mouse" to a touchpad or even a conventional mouse, especially when combined with a scroll button for my thumb. Switching between typing and using the mouse requires a lot less movement.
        • I actually prefer the "nipple mouse" to a touchpad

          Agree, but not all nipples were created equally. There was something about the ThinkPad nipple on my old school (circa 2001) T-22 that made it a pleasure to work with. If you really want to make a great UMPC (Ultra Mobile) then take the technology that went into the old school ThinkPad T-series nipples and use that. Honestly... beats the Trackpad hands down, and Toshiba nipples just never seemed to cut it.

          • I actually prefer the "nipple mouse" to a touchpad

            I actually prefer not using the word "nipple" to describe an input device...
            • I actually prefer the "nipple mouse" to a touchpad

              I actually prefer not using the word "nipple" to describe an input device...
              As if nipple [] is the most obscene way to describe it.
    • Geez, the Osborne I did something similar: 24x80 text screen with something like 52 characters wide displayable at once.

      And, let's not forget virtual displays in X bigger than the physical display (as others have noted).

      Not a bad idea, but already done. And, there are times when I'd just plain prefer the physical and logical screen resolution to match, say when I've maximized an input window for data entry.
      • by zienth ( 890583 )
        It was a 54 column screen, I had one. And it was a bad idea. You had to scroll left and right for every single line of text. It sucked a quarter of a century ago, I can't imagine it would be much better now.

        Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @07:25PM (#22268370)
    Add this one to the heap... []
  • Agreed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    It certainly is strange, and I'm not so sure I could get used to it either. But then wasn't the same said for many of the things we use daily when they first came out?

    My question is why? The video seemed to emphasize the idea of having a 10" screen on a 7" device. Where is the great application for this? I mean where is it you are needing to bring a portable that you have room for this but not a 10" version? It's not like it will fit in your pocket.

    • What I don't understand is why would carry around a 7" portable when a 12" would do just fine. Like you said, you can't put it in your pocket so why not just go for a regular sized laptop. My Dell D420 is only 3.5 lbs with a 12 inch screen and 6 hour battery, and I don't even notice it in my bag. I don't really understand this 7" craze because if it can't fit in your pocket why bother sacrificing usability.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
        You obviously haven't seen the size of pants most teenagers are wearing today. You could easily fit a 7" laptop in those those pockets.
  • why would you want this on an origami PC which is just totally useless. I wouldn't mind having that built into my full size laptop keyboard though. no more reaching for the mouse just move your hands around the keyboard. wouldn't be good for gaming but how many plan hard core games with a track pad anyways?

    Something like that even a desktop could be useful too, you don't need the resolution focus so much but you could use the other side to implement other functions.

    It is at least something different.
    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
      Just use a good laptop. I can easily reach touchpad on my laptop with right thumb with only a little movement of my hand. It's certainly much faster than using a mouse.
  • by El Cabri ( 13930 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @07:28PM (#22268410) Journal
    Finally, using a point-and-click interface will resemble using VI. The beard-suspender set rejoice !
  • by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @07:44PM (#22268556) Journal
    Summary: they are using "Virtual" screen option, available since years in X11. Throw in two touchpads (one for mouse, second for scrolling on virtual desktop) and totally DESTROY the keyboard layout.

    Two touchpads are nice. I don't mind the lack of per-key response when typing, probably could get used to it. But the keyboard layout? C'mon, that will be the next PCjr of "dual-touchpads". PCjr inveneted pc101 keyboard layout, see?, so I bet that they just invented "two touchpads" thingy.

    If this is ever gonna work, it will be touchpads overlaid on a classical keyboard, and the border frame between them will be just to fit between the keys.
    • most standard laptops have enough room for a couple trackpads below the keyboard. I think the only reason they don't have them on the sides is because your hands would hit them too often. But if you could just hit a key to turn it off and on, you could have 2 trackpads, or 1 really big one.
    • Summary: they are using "Virtual" screen option, available since years in X11.
      I thought all (MS Windows) computers did this when your video card puts out a resolution higher than the one your monitor can support.
    • This is all a software issue, though.

      I'd like to see the keyboard driver put open to redevelopment, because two touchpads is more than enough for almost any typing. But if you're going to go to a smaller layout, you'll have to relearn the keypad anyways. So at that point, it makes sense to get rid of the qwerty mode.

      I'd like to see some interesting new drivers, such as
      (1) quick-select typing (the one where the most probable letters and letter combinations fly from right to left at different heights, and y
  • Isn't it going to be a pain in the ass to play Duke Nuke Em Forever on it?

  •   Why not just make it a single rocker button instead of two? ouch
  • Reminds me of that other abomination of usability, the ZX80 keyboard. Also, I once saw someone use a PC monitor the same way, scrolling around different parts of the screen. It was painful just to look at it. I imagine it's like reading a vandalised web page where you have to scroll horizontally to read every line.
  • Fractured English (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rorschach1 ( 174480 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @08:06PM (#22268736) Homepage
    I love how the voiceover - done by someone who's clearly a native English speaker - sticks exactly to the fractured English script. You've got to wonder if it just wasn't part of his job to point out all of the errors, or if the non-native speaker who wrote it had too high an opinion of his own language skills to listen to him.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I love how voiceover - done by someone who clearly native English speaker - stick exactly to fractured English script. You got wonder if just wasn't part of job point out all of error, or if non-native speaker who wrote had too high opinion of own language skill to listen to."
      There. Translated it for ya.

      Agreed. The first time or two the speaker left out "the" I thought it was a mistake. "Wait, did I just hear that?"
      After the third, it was entertainment.
    • So... The Queen's Engrish.
    • It's like listening to John Cleese reading dialogue from a Samurai Shodown game.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Oh my GOD... I didn't watch the second video until after reading your comment. This is hilarious coming from a native speaker.

      "With this special feature, User can press any part of the touch pad... Just like the mouse, no matter THERE your finger tip touches any part of the touch pad, you just gentle touch, and it can execute input function."

      It's strange that the language in the first video is fine. You get the impression that the narrator tried to be nice and speak correctly for the first video, got in a
    • Probably the latter - Asians have a cultural thing about losing face and it's a big taboo to question things.
    • by pbhj ( 607776 )
      Fractured Engrish (sic): I assumed it was advanced text-to-speech.

      I like the opening with the guy typing on a regular keyboard on his dual screen setup ... then he shows us the great advance!!
  • Anyone else notice the uber-targeted ad campaign in the "Sponsored Links" section on the right?

    For the lazy (and in case it goes offline), quoted here:

    Attention: John B.!
    Would you like to go to Winter Formal with me? Love, Claudia
  • Slow typing speed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Friday February 01, 2008 @08:17PM (#22268808)
    This would _dramatically_ decrease your typing speed. On a normal keyboard, once you depress the first key, before the key has even traveled back to its starting position you've struck the next key. This is possible because the keys aren't physically linked. The key press isn't signaled once the key has returned to it's starting position, but after it's depressed completely. For you to type any two letters on the left or right hand side you have to wait for the "key" (the whole side) to return to the starting position.
    • Let me assume you're right, regarding this keyboard.

      I'm not sure you are.

      Quite simply, since the keyboard is also a touchpad, there is no need for you to actually depress the button to record a keystroke. A simple touch will do it. The depressing of the keypad is good for other functions, such as:

      (1) Mouse button. No different than a mouse.
      (2) Function keys/shift. Hit your key lightly, and it's a key. Hit it and depress, and it's a function key.

      I imagine tha
    • I'm a lazy typist, and I barely lift my fingers when I type... I wonder how this thing would register me moving my fingers about.

      For instance, if I have to type the letter 't' from the standard position, then I drag my index finger from the 'f' position to the 't' position. I'm guessing this system would register that as a mouse movement.

      - John
  • I did notice the Kaffeine icon on the desktop in one of the shots. Forgetting the keyboard for a moment, the whole thing looks like a big brick. And the "virtual display" is nothing new... I had a Pentium 166 laptop running Windows 95 that did the same thing.
  • There is quite a bit of audio, clearly spoken by a native English speaker, but not WRITTEN by a native English speaker. He reads exactly what is written though, without correction. But he obviously KNOWS that what he is reading is completely wrong. It's like a horribly racist comedy routine.
  • There is lots of video of someone scrolling around a virtual screen, but no one types more than three letters on the thing. I want to see it being used properly, not being held and stroked smugly by a Japanese guy in a turtleneck. (I already own enough Apple stuff, thank you!)

    In fact people are shown typing on regular keyboards several times in close up. You'd think the CEO could be shown typing on one at last, but no, he's typing away on a traditional 101-key keyboard. (And a full-size display).

    One thing
  • ... looks a little too much like Papyrus. Therefor, will not buy. Anything assiciated with Papyrus generally sucks.
  • by geophile ( 16995 ) <jao@geoph i l> on Friday February 01, 2008 @09:52PM (#22269498) Homepage
    Look, I know everyone is saying the same thing, but sometimes, you know, you've just got to express yourself.

    This has got to be the absolute worst computer I've seen since the Adam. That keyboard is insanely ill-conceived -- the key layout, the split, the two big buttons idea. The display is horrendous. I've seen that sliding window idea on laptops and it really just completely sucked. Horrible. And it's just about the ugliest laptop I've ever seen.

    An abortion.



    How sad that someone devoted all this time and money to such a piece of crap.

    Whoever invented this is the anti-Steve.

  • This is fricken retarded. The keyboard ergonomics are crap. The screen, wtf? Why limit it to 10" on a 7" display, you might as well make it 100", I'm still positioning all windows within the 7" area so I don't have to scroll around like a bxtch. I hate it when I remote into a machine and the screen resolution is larger than what I can see on my screen. It's a pain in the ass and as mentioned before, I just end up positioning everything into the area I can see and using alt+tab to switch between windo
  • the part about geographical restrictions had me flummoxed - yes, I confess to have actually WTFV.
  • This is really the worst and most annoying laptop I have ever seen. On top of that, the guy seems to have dual 20 in monitor in the beginning of the video. I really can't imagine him thinking he would better with scrolling 60 times per minute to type is freaking word document. I would prefer investing in high risk mortgage...
  • It's just a butt-ugly brick. I pity the poor Mums and Dads who have persuaded to invest in the company which produced this hunk of stupidity. I don't think I have ever seen such a absolutely stupid thing in all my days. Boat anchor material!
    • If that thing were only heavy enough to actually anchor my boat, I might give it a shot. Most definitely the fugliest computer on the market, in any form factor. All I can say is "WTF were they thinking?"
  • by Chysn ( 898420 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @01:09AM (#22270586)
    ...that British men sound smart regardless of the words coming out of their mouths.
  • first thing that came to mind after viewing that video []
  • I almost feel bad for the engineers on this project. This type of system really looks like something you would have seen a few years ago. Even then you would likely come to the same conclusion. No one is going to use this. There may be a market among the disabled where motion is limited but the masses just won't give up seeing the whole screen at once. Not to mention the fact that generally split keyboards haven't done well. I've always loathed even the so-called ego-keyboards.

  • I like the idea of two giant touchpads, but I really think that it could have been implemented better, say with 2 oled or sturdy lcd touchscreens so that you could customize interface- as it is you have to rely on "virtual mapped hotkeys" which makes you have to remember- oh yeah this is mapped to this and this is mapped to that, if you had say, a selector that would be able to have multiple stored interfaces when you change the mapping of the pads you would physically see the mapping change which would mak
  • I can imagine seeing this in use with soft synths and plugins in a studio environment .. finally!
    • Disagree entirely. I'm a laptop Musician, and I'd never, EVER use this thing in a live or studio environment. When you use a laptop on stage to DJ, run sequences or anything else, you need to be able to make precise, and very quick, changes to the DAW software you are using, both with keyboard and mouse. This thing's interface would be nothing more than a huge PITA to anyone who is serious about what they do with audio software. In addition, it's a little bigger than my right hand - that little bit of s
  • Remember the FingerWorks TouchStream and iGesture [], which also allowed both typing and mouse/scroll/zoom/etc. on a single surface, only without sucking?

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham