Vista SideShow could possibly be one of Vista’s greatest features, and with the consumer launch of the operating system quickly approaching, devices are starting to emerge. There has been a lot of anticipation with the SideShow, yet the majority of people will not be equipped to use such an awesome feature for months, maybe even years to come. You may have heard of Sideshow, or have seen a demo of it. In case you haven’t, Vista Sideshow makes use of a secondary display (one location might be the top of your laptop) to allow a user to view important information regardless of whether the laptop is on or not. This means that you’re able to view recent e-mail messages, phone numbers, addresses, and schedules, without even turning your laptop on. This of course saves you time, and precious battery life. With this new feature comes new peripherals that will enable you to make use of this built-in Vista feature.

One such peripheral is the Asustek 12.1″ SideShow-enabled W5Fe notebook. It features the secondary display on its’ LCD lid which can do a variety of things from playing your MP3s, to reminding you of meetings.  This particular notebook uses Preface technology from PortalPlayer, and when your notebook is off, using the SideShow you can get:

  • Relevant information at your fingertips
  • Intelligent organization with access to calendars, emails, addresses, travel itineraries, movie show times, alerts and more.
  • Ability to play games, enjoy music, and share pictures.
  • Longer battery life for improved productivity.
  • A way to personalize your notebook, making it uniquely yours.

Another peripheral that you can expect is the SideShow remote for Vista Media Center from Ricavision. It is considered an IR and Class 1 Bluetooth device which means that you have a 100 meter operating radius when used along with the USB RC6 receiver and Class 1 Bluetooth receiver. Pictured to the right, it has an awesome 2.5 inch display so that you can make use of the SideShow feature and view your emails, RSS feeds, etc.  You’ll also be able to control your Media Center with this remote which means you can schedule TV recordings, view your pictures, and your music library. This remote is expected to be available in April 2007, a few months after the release of Vista, and will cost around $199.00.

While this is awesome technology, unfortunately, a good portion of the Windows Vista population will not have their hands on any of the devices for quite some time. First because of availability, but secondly because of the cost.  Certainly adding an additional display, as used on the Asustek 12.1″ laptop will increase the price. Typically in all of the demonstrations that we’ve seen, the SideShow devices have been on the external case of the laptop.  One such device that you might see in the future breaks away from this by making the device removable as pictured here.

With CES just around the corner, you can bet other such SideShow devices will come forward, and with any luck there will be some affordable options for those who are wanting to make use of this technology. Hopefully this won’t be like the Tablet PC where the devices start out expensive and decrease at a much slower rate compared to “normal” laptops, which will discourage people from adopting the technology.