Sure, Intel revealed a lot about its future ultrabook platforms at its press conference a few minutes ago, but its prototype Nikiski laptop was the star of the show. The laptop has a transparent touchpad that spans the length of the palmrest. It's a clear piece of glass that does double duty as a touchpad for the Windows 7 laptop, but also transformers into a exterior touchscreen when the laptop is closed.
The exterior touchscreen is a pretty interesting trick. It reminds me a lot of what Microsoft tried to do with SideShow a couple of years back, except this runs on top of Windows 7. When you close the laptop, a strip of tiles pops up on the actual laptop's display; the glass simply functions as a touchscreen overlay. The software looks very, very reminiscent of Windows 8, but it is not Windows 8. Intel was very clear about that; this is software they developed, and according to a rep on hand, even before Microsoft showed Windows 8 or tiles. Regardless, it seemed to work pretty well, you can bring up your calender, email and even a web browser without opening the laptop.
When you open the laptop, the glass pad works as any touchpad, and naturally, it has special palm rejection for when you aren't using the touchpad as a touchpad. It's an interesting concept indeed, but that's all it really is. Intel will now shop the Nikiski around to its partners (Acer, HP, etc.) and if if one of them wants to bite. Hey, we would!