Asustek Computer Inc. has prepared one of the first notebook PCs to use SideShow, a small display on the outside of the case that works with Windows Vista to allow users to scan e-mails and other information without booting up the laptop.

Dubbed the Asus W5Fe, it could be a hit with users who need to check some information on the go but don’t want to waste battery life or take the time for a full system boot-up. It also could end up adding little extra cost to a laptop. PortalPlayer Inc., which designed the technology used in the W5Fe, has said it only increases production costs of each laptop by around US$30 to $40.

SideShow periodically wakes up the sleeping computer, gathers information stored on the computer’s hard disk from Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Vista, Outlook and other applications, then returns the computer to its sleep state. The information, including recent e-mails and current calendar appointments, can then be consulted on the low-powered external display. However, users will have to wait a bit for the laptop, which isn’t expected to launch until the first quarter of next year, according to Beck Lee, an Asustek representative in Taipei.



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