Photos: Asus M50 packs touchscreen trackpad

It was raining Asus products here at CES 2009. The latest -- and potentially most awesome -- to fall from the skies is a new version of the Asus M50 with an innovative trackpad

It's raining Asus products here at CES 2009. The latest -- and potentially most awesome -- to fall from the skies is a new version of the Asus M50. It's the first laptop we've seen that uses a touchscreen display in place of a mouse trackpad.

While the original M50 used a dual-mode mouse trackpad that let you switch from mouse mode to multimedia playback mode, this new model comes with a fully featured PDA-type device that occupies the space where the mouse trackpad used to be.

Its 109mm (4.3-inch) touch-sensitive display can be used to move a cursor around and operate Windows Vista on the main 15.4-inch display, but that's not all. It can also function as a separate computer in its own right, as it's based on Nvidia APX 2500 hardware and software, which was originally designed for high-performance Windows smart phones.

APX 2500 comes with a funky '3D' graphical user interface and a horde of widget-style applications including an email client, mapping software, an IM client and a Web browser -- all of which can be used without powering up the main laptop.

It doesn't seem too gimmicky, either. One particularly useful feature, for instance, is the ability to launch a movie on the small screen then 'projecting' it on to the larger display. It's also possible, we're told, to enter text using the large keyboard above the display, into an email.

Right now, we're very excited -- Nvidia reckons its APX 2500 system is capable of 10 hours of 720p video playback and 100 hours of audio -- and that's on handheld devices, so just imagine what it can do once it's connected to a laptop battery.

Touchscreen aside, the new M50 is pretty similar to the previous model. It supports Blu-ray playback, has Altec Lansing speakers and is even capable of playing the odd game. We'll have to wait for final specs, but you can take a look at the exciting pictures we've snapped by hitting the 'Continue' button below.

More as we get it.

Yes, the trackpad is actually a full-colour, touch-sensitive display. How ridiculously cool is that?

Based on the Nvidia APX 2500 system, the device gives you access to widget-style applications that can be used independently of the primary operating system.

You can play a movie on the small screen and project it on to the larger display without having to boot into Windows.


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