How excited we were when OLPC unveiled its XO-2 design a few months ago. The thought of a dual touchscreen laptop was mouth-watering, and the pictures of a touch keyboard had us all wondering if it would create a whole new way of computing. But someone actually beat them to the punch. V12 Design, an Italian industrial design agency, developed a similar concept four years ago. Valerio Cometti, the founder and managing director of the firm, came up with a dual LCD laptop called the Canova. The first-generation Canova had a dual-touchscreen form and Cometti told us, "it was developed for creative types, such as artists." The first-generation model, of which we have a whole slew of images below, actually existed and was made of stainless steel and carbon fiber, but it didn't run an operating system or software. It was envisioned to transform from a sketch pad, to a writing pad with an electronic pen, to a newspaper. Cometti pitched the idea around to laptop manufacturers, who took interest. Which is where the Canova Generation 2 comes in. Cometti said that V12 Designs has been working on a second-gen version of the dual-screen laptop along with a U.S. manufacturer. He believes the laptop, if you can call it that, will be complete in as soon as 16 months and will come to the U.S. market. He could not reveal the name of the U.S.-based company with which V12 is co-developing and designing the system. "We developed a brand-new style for the second generation. We did stretch the potential of the Canova noticeably, making it able to do things no notebook has been able to do so far," Cometti told us over the phone. Unfortunately, he could not provide images of the new version. He did tell us that it will be a portable personal computer that will support multi-touch input. As he designed in the first version, a software keyboard would appear on the screen. He recommends that the keyboard use haptic feedback since typing on this sort of keyboard is less comfortable than using a traditional one. Cometti also stressed that a microphone would be built into the design because "voice recognition will become a more popular and widespread feature in these dual-screen notebooks." The Canova 2 will also have the ability to transform into an e-book, letting users swipe a finger to turn the page. So will we really see the arrival of a dual-touchscreen laptop before the year 2015? This news from V12 Designs indicates that the concept may be a reality by 2010, around the time OLPC is also promising its realized concept. Now we're left wondering what U.S. company V12 is in talks with? Not that Apple needs any design help, but that pairing would be even sweeter than an iPhone 3G.
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