Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

For nearly a century, since the 1930s when the first Z1 computer was created, computers have undergone significant changes. Following the Z1 are large machines like the ENIAC, which take up the entire room. In the 1960s, computers moved from professional use to personal use when the first personal computer (PC) was introduced to the public. In 1990, Intel started producing the first processor for mobile personal computers – the Intel386SL, and computers became even more popular in a new form. Today, computers, including tablets and smartphones, come in many different shapes and sizes.

But what will the next generation of computers look like? It can be speculated that the next phase will involve integrating AI into personal computers or working on computers through AR/VR. This would be a logical progression. While we can see the evolution of AI first-hand, the situation with AR/VR is not as promising. This is the category startup Sightful hopes to grow with its new “augmented reality laptop,” which combines AR glasses and a keyboard, allowing users to carry a 100-inch desktop for three. lot.

Spacetop is a compact computer developed by Israeli startup Sightful. It only has a keyboard, touchpad, and HD augmented reality glasses. It is positioned as the world’s first “augmented reality laptop”. While the laptop is obviously thicker than a 13-inch laptop, it’s equally light and portable. The device has no screen, making it simply the bottom half of a standard laptop. By wearing glasses, users can project a 100-inch augmented reality screen, regardless of their location. There have been people who have had the opportunity to try the laptop, and their conclusions and impressions are mostly the same.

Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

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At first glance, it really is an impressive piece of technology. Users can have a clear view of their screen but also see what’s behind and around them, allowing for movement while using the device.


The best way to describe the experience of using Spacetop, which runs on a dedicated operating system called Spacetop OS, is like a giant projector projecting your desktop screen into the air in front of you. . This view stays in place—it doesn’t follow you as you walk—and you can see different parts of the screen by moving your head with the head-tracking camera. It differs from a projector in that you are the only one who can see what is being projected.

Similar to Chromebooks, Spacetop OS’s user interface, based on Android, works with web or cloud apps, and features a taskbar, app panel, and multi-window support.

The keyboard is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera (2560 x 1920 resolution) that can be used for video calls. With 1080p resolution for each eye, the graphics and text displayed are sharp enough to last for long periods of time. You’re also free to move around the room—all you need to do to rearrange the windows is press two buttons.

Specifically, only two main functions have been added:

  • Pressing both Shift buttons will reset and center the screen.
  • In addition to the function keys at the top of the keyboard, a special user button minimizes the augmented reality screen.

While Spacetop’s centralized features and “all-in-one” design may have some advantages for virtual desktop productivity, the main screen-related issues remain; namely field of view, resolution, ideal spot for optimal perception and comfort.

Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

Spacetop uses an individual pair of Nreal Light glasses with 6-degrees-of-freedom head tracking, 60° field of view, and 1920×1080 resolution for each eye. The glasses offer augmented reality rather than virtual reality, allowing you to see through their transparent glass and screens even when they’re powered off. Once activated, a set of small 1080p displays appear, giving the illusion of a 2K display to the eye. As the user looks around, the screens obey the software, creating a 100-inch virtual screen. The glasses also have 2 small speakers located near the ears, not right above like Bose Frames. The sound is quiet enough for others to hear, providing a separate listening experience but lacking in bass.

The glasses are lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods of time, unlike other smart glasses. Users who wear prescription glasses or contact lenses can order special Spacetop AR glasses based on their prescription. While the portability and 100-inch screen are certainly appealing, not everyone likes the idea of ​​wearing augmented reality glasses all day. If you’re sitting in a coffee shop, you can rest assured that no one will see what you’re doing. However, despite the lack of fancy gesture controls, the “strange” glasses can attract unwanted attention.

While the Nreal glasses aren’t heavy, their relatively small field of view contradicts the idea of ​​having a large virtual screen ready to work at any time. Instead of slightly turning your head and eyes, you’ll need to actively move your head to bring the augmented reality screen into view, which can cause motion sickness. This problem is often aggravated by the fact that when you roll your eyes, the image at the edges becomes blurred.

Considering that Nreal glass uses a transparent screen, this complicates resolution and clarity, as the windows floating in front of you will always have a certain degree of transparency.

Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

The most serious disadvantages are the narrow 60-degree field of view and the lack of peripheral vision. As a result, you won’t be able to view the entire 100-inch space at once. Instead, you will look through a smaller viewing window, the size of which is not specified in Sightful’s specifications. Anything beyond your direct line of sight will be dark. While Spacetop can technically display more windows than you can put on a 13-inch monitor, you can still only see a handful of windows (just like on a 13-inch monitor).

This has led to some interesting situations where users lose their cursor somewhere and can’t find it or forget where they placed a tab and they turn around trying to locate the tab. It. Sightful claims that in future updates, the cursor will instantly move where the user’s eyes are directed.

virtual laptop

Specifications of Spacetop

  • Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • Kryo 585TM 64-bit octa-core processor, frequency up to 3.1 GHz
  • AdrenoTM 650 . Graphics Processor
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Quick Charge PD 3.0 (up to 65 W)
  • Charge from 0% to 85% in less than 2 hours
  • USB Super Speed ​​up to 10 Gbps
  • DisplayPort 1.4 (supports external Full-HD displays)
  • Keyboard and trackpad: Full-size keyboard and interactive trackpad
  • Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1, 5G NR Sub-6 . feature

Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

The laptop runs on its own operating system called Spacetop OS. Sightful claims that they chose the 865 in part because of its real-time computer vision capabilities combined with extremely low battery consumption. Users also get 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage. As for battery life, Sightful claims a full 5 hours of use, which is relatively low compared to other laptops that typically last 9 or 10 hours or more. Port selection includes two USB-C ports, one of which will be used by the charging device most of the time.

Based on these specs alone, it’s not a powerful machine. The performance of the laptop also leaves something to be desired. The testers crashed during demonstration sessions and had to restart it. Some users have reported slow window scrolling and loading, while YouTube videos hang. A Sightful representative says that the first batch of 1,000 devices will only be available to those with web application-related workloads. In other words, gamers and video editors shouldn’t buy this laptop.

Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

Spacetop with Snapdragon 865 chip certainly cannot compete with conventional laptops in terms of speed and performance. Spacetop is also not suitable for multitasking. Laptops are not designed to handle graphics-intensive work or resource-intensive programs. At best, you can use it for basic tasks like browsing the web, sending emails, video chatting, and messaging simultaneously. However, even in this scenario, Spacetop in its current iteration is not ready to fulfill its own mission. Developers market it as a laptop that can display multiple web pages on a wide screen, but its processor simply isn’t for that purpose. Its chip is optimized to handle only a few tabs simultaneously. Opening more than ten tabs will strain the hardware. While there’s some doubt about how promising this initial version is, the laptop isn’t going to fly off shelves with its $2000 price tag, and the gadget isn’t going to be the next iPad.

The evolution of computers

Is this the new evolutionary milestone of the future for computers? Not yet. However, if tweaked versions are released, this utility can become a really useful everyday tool for users who prefer spacious personal workspaces. Spacecraft can effectively operate during flights or train journeys. The launch of Spacetop laid the groundwork for the next step in computing, but its successor will require a wider field of view and more power to become an everyday utility for everyone.

At present, the advantages have not outweighed the cons. It’s unlikely that Spacetop (or any virtual desktop app) will become popular until it can significantly replicate the experience of a basic laptop display with 1080p resolution, rather than a basic laptop display. let alone an unlimited virtual desktop with multiple application windows.

Currently, the growth of AR and VR raises doubts, especially when it comes to the workplace. We still don’t use Meta Horizon Workplaces for our workspace. It turns out that the only thing worse than a work meeting via an AR/VR headset is a work meeting where you teleport into an animated meeting room, sitting next to your coworker’s shrunken avatars. .

Spacetop: The future of mobile computing?

Aside from the tech giants, Spacetop isn’t the only startup trying to bring augmented reality to the masses. Another example is the Nimo smart augmented reality glasses, still somewhere in utility purgatory. These examples can teach us to appreciate “boring” laptops, monitors, and webcams.

Perhaps the current laptop market is really boring and outdated, and Spacetop offers much-needed innovation. However, there is a reason why modern computers look that way. A device that aims to rock the market must first address the reasons why the market works the way it does.

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