Captain Intense & The Dude Revolutionise PC

By Alec Meer on January 6th, 2011 at 6:00 pm.

I’m being rude. I’m sorry. It’s just that the sheer intensity and earnestness of this video holds me back from taking the Razer Switchblade entirely seriously. Which maybe I should do, as essentially it’s a 7″ clamshell PC with special adaptive and touchscreen controls that in theory make playing ‘our’ games possible on something so minute.

So it’s the PC as portable console – it’s probably picked a bad time to make itself known, what with all the squillions of Tablets being announced at CES this week, but if it works like it says – hey, that’s nice. We can play proper PC stuff on the move, rather than awkwardly unfolding a laptop onto a train table and trying to make room for a plug-in mouse.

Much depends on the specs, I guess: the mention of an Atom CPU has me fearing it won’t be up to much. Apparently it’s still halfway conceptual, so no concrete specs or prices are available yet. Anyway, for more details I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Captain Intense and The Dude:

That adaptive keyboard thing seems troublingly ambitious. Presumably you’ll stuff macros into it that autoconfigure to certain games, but surely that’ll leave a whole lot in the cold, requiring a fairly laborious programming session before you can get playing?

Nice idea, hilarious video, probably no substitute whatsoever for a lightweight laptop, but we’ll see. More here.

, , .

90 Comments »

  1. limbclock says:

    They HAVE to be making fun of themselves a bit, in this video.

  2. Excalibur101 says:

    It’s a small laptop?

    *mind blown*

    • Merelia says:

      That pretty much sums up what I thought.
      I doubt this will take off.

  3. Soon says:

    I thought you were starting with some sort of tangent about toiletries.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    If, as I suspect, that keyboard has tiny displays then it’s going to be prohibitively expensive. For example the Art Liebedev OLED keyboard? Even if the small presumably OLED screens only cost $3 a pop thats over $100 just for the keyboard displays.

    • mandrill says:

      It would make a lot more sense if there were no individual screens under each key of the control surface but rather a single multi-touch screen which just had a series of fixed keys above it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Maltose says:

      I’m pretty sure they explicitly say that it’s an actual keyboard. With keys and what have you.

      EDIT: The important part is at 30 seconds. Serious asian guy says that the machine has both a multi touch screen and a tactile keyboard. Presumably, this means the top half is multi-touch while the bottom half is an optimus maxmius style keyboard.

    • Poindexter says:

      @mandrill

      They are indeed making dual-touchscreen laptops where one screen acts as the keyboard.

      See here.

    • bob_d says:

      @ Poindexter: I’m guessing the keys are transparent with simple lenses that show part of the underlying touchscreen? (Which makes me think all their product images are simulated…) That just leaves the issue of how you transform in-game icons into keyboard icons… if you have to do it manually, it’ll be an impossible pain.

    • Waltorious says:

      From the website:

      “And as the tactile keys are transparent to a vibrant, crisp display panel underneath, you’ll see those familiar icons in their original art design, bringing the game interface closer to you.”

      So it’s a single display underneath the keys, and they imply that the images displayed on the keys will be the original icons from the games themselves. How that will actually work remains to be seen; they might need to actively add specific support for each game in order to get the pretty icons to show up, but I see no reason why one couldn’t just use a normal qwerty in cases where a game isn’t specifically supported. Oh also they mention “mechanical keys” elsewhere on the site so it’s not just a touchscreen with pictures of keys on it. Not sure exactly how the keys work.

      Anyway, it’s just a prototype so we’ll see what happens with it.

    • Lightbulb says:

      Whilst I am semi-interested in it if they pull it off (I am not sure I believe they will but one can hope) I am actually more interested in the keyboard concept.

      I have spent that last 2 days trying to learn to play MWLL (Mech-warrior Crysis mod) which has quite a complex interface. Well no it just has a lot of buttons actually.

      Anyways: If I had one of these adaptive keyboards I could load up a config file that the mod maker made and suddenly my keyboard becomes a Mech interface. When I change to a tank, a tank interface, when on foot – well you get the idea.

      I mean once you know all of the binds for a game its not hard but it would help immersion and learning in the first place.

      Not something I would spend £100 but maybe £50? I mean a “decent” keyboard apparently costs that much anyway…

    • Xercies says:

      I’m also pretty interested in the Keyboard concept I think that looks and sounds pretty cool, and if they decide to just release a Keyboard like that i wouldn’t mind buying one.

  5. Pop says:

    Most amusing misquote competition?

    “PC gaming has always been impossible… “

    • Berzee says:

      I thought the same think. Inopportune pause =P

    • MDevonB says:

      Edit: Woops, thought you were talking from the article.

      “I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Captain Intense and The Dude”

      Capable hands. Does that make it rape, or pre-consensual sex?

    • Thants says:

      He goes on to say “… in a portable form factor.” Which is also wrong.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Pop: We’ve always been at war with Eastasia too!

    • Premium User Badge

      kregg says:

      Indeed, I nearly spat out my 7up.

      The video looks and sounds like they are trying to emulate Apple marketing videos. This would be a good idea, except 90% of the possible consumers are absolute cynics, unlike Apple consumers.

  6. Sander Bos says:

    So it’s like an ipad, but with less games…
    Seriously though, they speak of ‘on the move’, but the mouse is apparently separate, I wonder what OS they expect us to even launch games from without a mouse handy (just tried starting a game wihtout a mouse within Steam, got nowhere).

    • mandrill says:

      Its a touch screen. he says so in the video.

    • Rich says:

      That might cut it for an RTS* but it won’t help in an FPS.

      *They actually showed about 2 seconds of a SupCom 2 trailer, which is probably all of that game that it’ll be able to handle.

    • Sander Bos says:

      @mandrill Oh, your’re right, I stand corrected. I’ll definitely get one then.

      I browsed some more for this and also now learned:
      – Captain Intense is actually CEO of Razer. Maybe he is just squinting at the autocue.
      - The conceptual switchblade would come with Windows 7, doesn’t that have a virtual keyboard thing, because that would make portable PC gaming even better, using the virtual keyboard on the touch screen for input.
      – Selective quote but still: “The team has been working in the design labs of Razer in stealth mode for the past 2 years focused on the Razer Switchblade concept design to bring it to life…”

    • Stevostin says:

      If it’s a PC, it’s more game, and IMO way better games. I’d be very happy to play an RPG while traveling with this.

      Seriously, it’s all about form factor. If it’s able to let you play hours without a cable, if it feels hand while playing, etc., if it *really* allows you to play XBOX 360 fps @ 30 fps and if the price is reasonable it’s an intersting product for me.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      It’s a Touchscreen, but in the movie we see a mouse. It’s for gaming, but the games we see there are QUAKE 3 (what the fuck???) and DOTA.

      This thing probably won’t run even a two-year old game, let alone a new title.

      The keyboard, however, looks really cool and it surprises me that they haven’t thought of selling it standalone for PC users.

  7. Eclipse says:

    well it’s cool, but I don’t think they’ll ship it with windows, and will surely cost around the price of a much more powerful laptop

  8. Berzee says:

    If you do try playing while traveling with a laptop, get one of these and you won’t have to worry about having space to move a mouse. This rests nicely on the stomach as you slouch:

    http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Trackball-Receiver-910-001799/dp/B0043T7FXE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294338205&sr=8-1

  9. zeekthegeek says:

    So hardcore that you could never ever play ARMA on it. lol

  10. Shatners Bassoon says:

    Mmm, that voice. I want him to read me a bed time story.

  11. kirkbjerk says:

    They would’ve sold me if they had gotten Shatner on board.

    Guess I’m stuck with these non-sensible high power lightweight laptops….

  12. Po0py says:

    Is this a joke?

  13. Inigo says:

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS

    • kutkh says:

      Bravo, sir.

    • battles_atlas says:

      My reference engine took a good three seconds to process that, then it rewarded itself with a chuckle. Then I googled your mangled version and found the video of which I was previously unawares, and I chuckled again. Then I got the ‘callback’ to this page’s title, and nodded sagely. That was a good 60 seconds of my life there.

    • lumberjack_wannabe says:

      And a good day to you, sir!

  14. thesundaybest says:

    For the first minute I was thinking, “This guy is funny as hell.” And then everything else happened and I realized it wasn’t a joke…or at least, not that kind of joke.

    Then I watched the first minute again and dammit, it’s still really funny. Comedic genius on the timing.

    • Jake says:

      Yeah he is really funny, I think he missed his calling. ‘And quite frankly, the result is just phenomenal’ was hilarious.

  15. derf says:

    The market for mobile gaming to this extent is too small.

    So for that reason, i’m out.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Yes small markets get terrible products! I mean, look at the PC indie game scene…

  16. ZIGS says:

    The part when it zooms in on his face and he says “And quite frankly, the result is just phenomenal” is simply priceless

  17. Crumpled Stiltskin says:

    Is that the guy from Iron Chef?

  18. pakoito says:

    That’s DOTA in there?

  19. Flint says:

    I really can’t imagine that touch screen is a comfortable replacement of a mouse.

  20. Rond says:

    Optimus Maximus Portable, anyone?

  21. Navagon says:

    Serious Asian Guy stars as CHIEF GAMER!

    What a job title.

  22. MDevonB says:

    Theres an icon for the machine gun, but not the plasma rifle? And wheres the BFG love? :(

  23. Barnaby says:

    I’m just curious if they watched the video after they made it to see how out of touch and over the top it looked. This was hilariously painful to watch.

    I also have no idea how an FPS would be playable on this. Can’t imagine keeping up in a game like Quake Live with no mouse (not sure which Quake was actually in the video). I’ve never actually used any of their products and I can’t say this makes me want to.

  24. Computer Spirit says:

    I can’t believe no one has yet mentioned the obvious…the significant tone, the pauses, the deep pensive look…he took public speaking classes with Jon Ives!

    Compare:

  25. Computer Spirit says:

    I can’t believe no one has yet mentioned the obvious…the significant tone, the pauses, the deep pensive look…he took public speaking classes with Jon Ives!

    Compare: Jon Ives Introduces the iPad”

  26. Computer Spirit says:

    I can’t believe no one has yet mentioned the obvious…the significant tone, the pauses, the deep pensive look…he took public speaking classes with Jony Ives!

    Compare: Jon Ives Introduces the iPad

    - Click the “Watch the iPad Video” link. Man, I’ve gotta learn how to link…

    • stahlwerk says:

      I’ll take this post then to reply to and say, you’re spot on!
      The first guy was in heavy Ives channeling mode, talking ’bout a revolution, blaming magic for everything. I also liked how the music got even more nerdy (beep beep bop) when the Intel guy spoke.

  27. Computer Spirit says:

    Whoops…sorry about my epic fail on posting my first comment. Er…I guess I should say, my first THREE comments…

    • zeekthegeek says:

      You know you can edit your own posts right?

    • Computer Spirit says:

      Yeah, but I couldn’t figure out how to delete it. I didn’t want to delete the contents and leave an empty box sitting there. I’m sure there’s an obvious way…I’ve just obviously missed it.

    • adonf says:

      What we usually do here in case of multiple posts is that we replace the text with a poorly written add for Ugg boots or Christian Louboutin shoes. Don’t forget to say that you ACCEPT THE PYAPAL

    • adonf says:

      I had something funny to suggest but the RPS spam-o-tron thinks I am processed meat. Oh well, nevermind.

  28. bascule42 says:

    Bollox…Martini did this in the 70′s.

    Sitting. At my desk. With my man-sized PC. Unimpressed. Like a man. A great manly man man.

  29. Dodoman says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing for the first 30 seconds. That guy tries to be so serious it just comes across as campy.

  30. Mike says:

    Dude loves his work.

    So, they showed Quake. But the keyboard has no trackpad. So, um. Yeah.

  31. snv says:

    I imagine everyone – except Seriuos Guy ofc – involved in making and publishing this thing must have been constantly snickering.

    Also, i hope they got a new way to make such a keyboard for cheap, because i want one for my desktop PC which is way below the pricerange of that: http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/

    Not just for gaming, especially also for Coding

    Maybe you dont need many small display for every key, and can use one large one below the keys, or something

    • Premium User Badge

      JonWood says:

      Why do you want one for coding? Every keyboard available comes with letters on it ;)

  32. otzenGulasch says:

    I bet a hundred bucks that THIS:

    http://open-pandora.org/index.php?lang=de

    thing will kick the “switchblade” right in the nuts.
    (sounding like Captain Intense, please)

    • Vague-rant says:

      I fear the Pandora has taken far too long to come out. Numerous delays means I, and I suspect others, lost interest.

      As an aside, this is exactly the kind of gadgety thing I would buy if I were a gazillionare. Cool but too impractical to use on the move (especially since a mouse would still be preferable for any fps), and once the sense of awesome fades it’ll go in the garage. Like I expect a hover board would.

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      I thought the Pandora had started shipping units. Still, it isn’t exactly achieving mass production.

    • subedii says:

      I love the fact that the Pandora always advertises emulation as one of its key features, but no company officially sells ROMs like that for use on the Pandora.

      “Please note: Depending on the country you live in, using, downloading or reading out ROMs might be illegal. Please respect the copyrights of the authors! We do NOT endorse that you use the Pandora for anything illegal!”

      Oh of course not, perish the thought! I’m certain they expect everyone will have bought the original SNES / Megadrive / N64 cartridges first. :P

    • DOLBYdigital says:

      I agree the Pandora has had a rough ride but they are slowly getting to ‘mass production’. I just want to try out the nubs and if they work like they seem to then I’m in. I also like the keyboard for some good VNC to my main PC.

  33. Premium User Badge

    Shakermaker says:

    The Asian dude is the Chief Gamer of Razer Inc. Chief Gamer. What a boss.

  34. RiptoR says:

    The Atom CPU can be rather powerful, especially when it doesn’t need to power a huge screen.

    My 1201N (Atom 330 dual core with ION GPU) plays a lot of games perfectly. Ofcourse not with all options open, but on a small 12inch screen that doesn’t matter that much anyway.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      Yeah, my laptop (Atom powered eee) is capable of running Dwarf Fortress rather well, Portal (although with some slowdowns in big rooms or dynamic floors), and most recent indie games (Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV, World of Goo, Recettear), which isn’t bad. I was actually impressed.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      It won’t be a true gaming platform if the CPU is doing all the rendering? Surely they can fit a mobile GPU in there. That’s essentially what makes any gaming laptop viable. Then they can spend all their IP money optimizing the power so it runs longer then 2 hours.

      Otherwise eh. Even the IPAD has a new GPU (the A4?) that saddles up with it’s ARM proc and does the job really well for a touch screen / thin client and runs 9-10 hours.

  35. perfectheat says:

    This is similar to the Panasonic Jungle.Except for the controls.

  36. dogsolitude_uk says:

    A little colour screen under some plastic buttons? Which reconfigures itself?

    I have a theory on this: Windows runs a lot of services in the background (we’ve all seen the weird stuff going on when you hit the ‘Processes’ tab in Task Manager), maybe they have one which works out what you’ve launched, and configures the keyboard accordingly using data you download from their website, which contains a sort of hashtable of games and required keys.

    Or something.

    I interrupted listening to a Jethro Tull album to watch that.

    Hm.

  37. Freud says:

    How often do you actually have to look at your keys while playing?

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      Never. Which is good, because this keyboard is so old half the keys have had their letters rubbed off.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      That was gunna be my response. When a keyboard works well you don’t look at it all, you just stop thinking about typing and think words. Your fingers are trained to do the rest. I’m sure enough of you have accidentally typed a completely different word to the one intended.

      I don’t think it’d be too painful to set up the icons in question but the problem really is that you wouldn’t bother because you’d be looking at the screen.

      Also I fucking hate the miniturisation of technology. I have a Blackberry that helped me to realise this. It’s buttons are 5*5mm if you’re being generous. My thumbprint is 30*20mm. So I can cover half a fucking keyboard with one thumb. Did I miss something? Was there a flier handed out that I didn’t get about how we all have to really endeavour to inconvenience ourselves with tiny pieces of shit that we don’t need? With respects to Laptops; cooling is worse, battery life suffers, the power of the device suffers and the visual enjoyment of such a small screen must suck too. And you still apparently need a flat smooth surface for a mouse. Oh and top marks on advertising two online games for it. Cause you can always get a smooth no issues connection online when you’re on the go.

      I think my latent Blackberry hate kinda spilled over to this product but, really, I fail to see what this does that a small laptop wouldn’t. I hate everything.

    • Wulf says:

      I have to say – laptop cooling being worse is pretty much an incredibly outdated myth, these days. It’s an out of touch thing to think. There are some laptops that can keep up with and even surpass desktops when it comes to extremely efficient and quiet cooling. The reason for this is because cases can be specifically built to siphon heat in a certain way, and a number of manufacturers have been building laptop cases which do just that.

    • cjlr says:

      While portable cooling is obviously much better than it used to be, a smaller surface cannot radiate the same amount of energy as a larger surface, given the same temperature differential. That’s just physics. It is quite possible, however, to, as Wulf mentions, build a laptop case for heat distribution from the ground up – but you still have to dump the energy somewhere, and the little jet exhaust on a laptop is not going to be as good as the square metre of grilles and exterior fans on my desktop case. This becomes less of a problem as the laptop becomes more and more gigantic (19″+ and you’ve got a heck of a lot more real estate), but personally I fail to see the point of a “laptop” computer that is barely portable.

  38. Sunjammer says:

    My first favorite video of 2011. Congratulations Razer! Not only do you have a retarded name, you have funny accent and delivery!

  39. Thule says:

    “The touchscreen keyboard is like magic”

    MAGIC people, MAGIC!

  40. Grey_Ghost says:

    Not sure that I have any interest in the device itself, but it might be pretty awesome to hook up the keyboard part to a real PC as a gamepad. Like my old Saitek PCdash. I’d probably buy one if a heartbeat if so.

  41. JuJuCam says:

    The video is cool, and kinda makes me want one if I had way too much disposable income. The ability to automagically decouple the GUI of any given game and shift it to the keyboard would be quite extraordinary, if not quite game-changing. The top picture, however, if it is an accurate portrayal of the scale of the device and it’s intended usage, completely turns me off. I just can’t see playing any of the pc games I like as if the keyboard were a gamepad of some sort.

  42. mwoody says:

    So am I understanding this correct? Do they really expect me to play an FPS using the touch screen on top? Their next project better be cybernetic transparent hands.

  43. DigitalSignalX says:

    I play an MMO with a guy who uses a logitech G-14, it’s like an add-on keyboard with thumb stick you can fully customize.

    http://computertotaal.nl/upload/1477169_610_1228928682374-57159_G13-435.png

    He loves it, has a couple of dozen skills macro’d on it that makes life a lot easier.

  44. bill says:

    The Nintendo DS works great for FPS if you have one of those “stick it on the end of your thumb” pointers. They need to integrate that instead of all this OTT stuff. It wouldn’t even need to be a screen, just a decent touch interface that works with a pointer.

    And surely making the whole keyboard into screens is a little overkill – i don’t look at the keyboard 90% of the time. They just need a small touchscreen strip along the top instead of the function keys – which would work for things like macros and obscure commands in RTS/RPG games.
    (like that color strip at the bottom of the eInk Nook).

  45. Zogtee says:

    Not sure where this collective kneejerk “ha, ha!” reaction comes from, because it looks and sounds really interesting. You know, if you’re a PC gamer. But hey, Alec poked fun at it, so now we must all continue to do so.

    I would like to see some actual gameplay, though. I don’t trust the video for that.

  46. Calabi says:

    I think they’re confused the problem with gaming on a laptop/netbook is not the keyboard, its something else, I’m not giving them clues. Their next idea might be “The problem with laptops is they dont fit ergonomically on the lap, we have come up with a genius idea, whereby with six simple operations, laptop and your legs are combined to fit perfectly together.”

  47. mingbai98 says:

    Hello. My friend

    w w w . a e o o e . c o m

    Dedicated service, the new style, so you feel like a warm autumn!!!

    WE ACCEPT PYAPAL PAYMENT

    YOU MUST NOT MISS IT!!!

    thank you !!!

    w w w . a e o o e . c o m

  48. bjohndooh says:

    I was under the impression that this was a concept, not an announced product.