updated 11:55 pm EST, Thu January 1, 2009
HP Firefly Preview
HP will reveal a concept notebook at CES that acts a showcase for the future of desktop replacement notebooks, Laptop reveals in a hands-on preview. A prototype known as the Firefly carries the 17-inch display typical of many notebooks its size but centers on a multi-touch trackpad borrowed from the Voodoo Envy 133 placed in an unusual location. Rather than ahead of the keyboard, the pad is placed at the side in a reportedly more comfortable position. The pad supports more complex gestures like pinch-to-zoom and scrolling but also supports left- and right-clicking and is said to be closer to a true mouse in terms of input.
Echoing Fujitsu's LifeBook N7010, the Voodoo-backed Firefly also has a second, 4.3-inch display that serves as a 800x480 secondary screen that can be used for IM and other small tasks without interrupting a game or reducing the amount of available space on the main panel.
The system as built is pitched as a gaming system and carries a 2.4GHz Core 2 Extreme mobile quad-core processor at its heart, and carries dual Mobility Radeon HD 3870 graphics chips teamed together in CrossFire mode. A 250GB, 7,200RPM hard drive and 4GB of memory also eliminate common complaints about slow load times on notebooks, while a customizable backlit keyboard and a unique infrared webcam mode tailor the notebook to nighttime gaming.
HP doesn't plan to put the Firefly as-is into production and is using it as a technology demonstrator, though the PC builder is one of the first with a multi-touch display notebook for the home and is known to translate at least some of the technology from its designs into production models.