One of the coolest prototypes at CES 2017 was Razer’s design for a 3-screen laptop. In a scandalous turn of events, someone walked off with the prototypes, leading many to suspect some form of industrial espionage. Trade secrets are important in the tech industry, and having an original product stolen by competitors could drastically cut into profits if they release a copy-cat version. How practical Razer’s laptop really is remains to be seen, but prototypes are just concepts and might never materialize into anything. It’s possible that the laptops shown will be the only ones of their kind, never released for the public to enjoy. However, for those who have some cash to burn and don’t mind dealing in illicit laptops, the devices that were stolen from Razer’s CES booth have been listed for sale on Chinese webite Taobao.
Razer offered a $25,000 dollar reward for information leading to the apprehension of the thief, and it looks like for close to the same price you can have yourself a Razer prototype. The thief listed the laptops for the equivalent of $21,733 USD. Razer may be able to recover the laptops, or at least get the listing taken down, as Taobao’s terms of service prohibit the sale of stolen goods. Those looking for a three screen experience in a laptop can experience the magic for far less than 20 grand, however. Though current options don’t include screens that are attached to the main screen and fold out like the fancy prototypes, you can easily hook up external monitors via USB or HDMI for far, far cheaper. One might argue that having bulky external monitors reduces the portability of a laptop, but with three screens that are sure to be power-hungry, Razer’s model will likely need to be plugged in for any serious gaming. The model represents the latest in the recent trend of “portable desktops” – laptops that are rather bulky and pack the punch of a more stationary machine.
It remains to be seen whether we’ll actually see a 3-screen laptop on the market, but if the reaction and press regarding the scandal is any indication, there definitely seems to be a demand for such a product. Razer’s priority right now, however, is getting its stolen tech back and protecting its IP.