There is additional speculation right now regarding what the ScreenPad is.
One particular suggestion is that the ScreenPad screen could fill in the touchpad location. So instead of the touchpad, the ScreenPad could potentially takes its place as sort of a dual role feature.
Does this seem plausible?
People have mentioned the Macbook Pro Touch Bar and whether the ScreenPad is a variant of that type of feature. In terms of enhancing the user experience, the Touch Bar is along the similar lines but clearly the ScreenPad is a more substantial or prominent feature or accessory. The Touch Bar is a strip and the ScreenPad is a secondary screen.
If the ScreenPad is plopped in the place of a touchpad, would this create some usability issues? Afterall, the current touchpads offer gesture support. However if a mouse is being used, then a touchpad has no purpose and in that situation, the ScreenPad would be an extremely logical use of the touchpad space.
If you take a logical look at this, having to use a touchpad for navigating and interacting with your laptop means there is very little room (figuratively speaking) for throwing in an entirely different feature into the mix. Would switching between using the touchpad as a touchpad and going into a “ScreenPad” mode be a hassle? Seems like that dual use would cause some headaches.
Here is an interesting quote from the ScreenPad Calculator app description:
User could conveniently do some basic calculation via it on the ScreenPad when the system panel is showing another full-screen application.
So when reading that description, it says “system panel”. As in, laptops display? When they refer to a full-screen application, that would suggest that if you were playing a full-screen movie or working in Microsoft Office, you could simultaneously use the ScreenPad functionality for a completely unrelated task. So like using the Calculator app in this example. But even with this description, it certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility that the ScreenPad is a stand alone accessory.
Then there is the question of space or size. Let’s look at the most current touchpad as found on the ZenBook 13 which is a 13-inch laptop.
Of the ScreenPad app screenshots on the Microsoft App store, the aspect ratio is interesting:
Just on a very superficial and unscientific perspective, the ScreenPad screenshot seems much more panoramic. Sure, ASUS could redesign the size and aspect ratio of the current touchpads on their laptops but that seems like a major redesign and would that cause potential accidental touchpad presses via palms if the touchpad was in fact stretched out in a more panoramic nature? Touchpads have evolved over time and they have been a certain size and location for good reason.
Additionally, what about the left and right clicks of the touchpad? Typically the lower left/right areas of the touchpad is for “clicking”. So would this limit the size of the ScreenPad screen because it has to stay clear of the lower portions of the touchpad?
Let’s not overlook the rounded edged of the touchpad. Certainly those could be changed in design, but should they be rounded, that reduces space for the ScreenPad screen itself or it will cut off part of the already small screen which isn’t ideal.
As you begin to notice, the logic here starts to show some cracks when you take a hard look at the current touchpad technology and nuances. Then again, ASUS truly are the masters of innovation so it’s VERY DIFFICULT to rule anything out at this point.
So to answer this question, we say that if a mouse is being used? Sure, a ScreenPad in place of the touchpad makes perfect and logical sense. When not using a mouse with a laptop, the dual use of the touchpad seems like a usability nightmare.