Illuminating Laptops – still the missing feature.
An interesting image on CrunchGear shows a new Lenovo Laptop with a halogen bulb clamped above to illuminate the black keys. This is because it’s really hard to see a black laptop in a dark room. The people selling the laptop at CES realized that, so they clamped a light to the top of the screen so people can see the keyboard. But why haven’t manufacturers realized it?
Lenovo and other laptop manufacturers make laptop screens with integrated LED illumination for the keyboard. These microscopic LEDs are either on or off and their directionality makes them barely usable for the keyboard.
Most people who use computers often have to reference material outside of the computer. Usually this means papers on the table to the right or the left of the keyboard. These are left in the dark.
So for all those people producing webcasts and the production laptop is in the dark control room, they often have a hard time seeing the paper notes for the schedule, contact information, and more. I see too many people in ad-hock control centers (like in a hotel’s conference center back hallway) wearing headlamps.
Kensington and other manufacturers offer us LED lighting on goosenecks that plug into the USB ports of the computer, laptop or keyboard. These are very handy.
Apple felt the problem was the keyboard so they illuminated only the keyboard from below, on certain models. This is great to see the keys, but what about the desk to the left and right of the keyboard? Nothing.
You have to really wonder why manufacturers don’t really solve the whole problem. Lenovo already puts one LED in the top of the screen to shine down and illuminate the keyboard. Someone sort of gets it. But why not just add two more, on the outside corners of the screen, that shine to the left and right to illuminate any paperwork that might be around the computer.
Think about it for a minute. If I can touch type, I don’t need the keyboard illuminated, I need something else lit. If I hunt-n-peck, then I need that other item and the keyboard illuminated. At no point do I need the keyboard as the only thing illuminated.
You could even put those little LEDs in a “ball” housing so if the user needs more light on the keyboard and none left and right- they can rotate all three to the center.
Oh, and give us more than on and off.
The LCD backlight is dimable, let’s try that with the LED area illumination.