Intel’s wild Honeycomb Glacier prototype wasn’t the only one we saw in its Santa Clara labs. Today, we’re also giving you a first glimpse at another idea that you might see in your future flexible-screen laptop: a chassis made largely out of fabric.
This is Intel’s Twin River, and it’s remarkable not only for the amount of prototyping that went into figuring out how to wrap a pair of 12.3-inch, 1920 x 1280 touchscreen displays in that polyester, polyamide, and lycra textile combination, but also how much power it managed to retain inside that frame.
Intel says it managed to fit a full quad-core, 15-watt Intel U-series processor inside this fanless chassis without overheating, because it’s constructed an incredibly thin vapor chamber cooling solution and paired it with a unique motherboard design where the CPU is aligned diagonally — instead of horizontally or vertically — so it can be that much closer to the circuits that feed it.
Intel wouldn’t let us take pictures of that proprietary internal design since it’s worried about it being reverse engineered, but it did show us a whole bunch of the various textiles it tried in the lab to figure out the right feel, and a couple of the techniques it used to stretch those fabrics around the PC.
Honestly, we’ve seen a number of dual-screen laptop designs before at this point, and we’ve seen fabric a little bit like this in some of Microsoft’s Surface designs, so the combination isn’t necessarily mindblowing. But it’s nice to see more fashion-forward options like fabric, leather and wood arrive on the computing scene, and stretchy fabric might be a particularly useful choice now that folding-screen computers like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 are on the way.