Why Vista Sideshow is Still on the Sidelines

Sideshow-compatible gadgets and hardware compatible with Microsoft's external display standard have been slow to arrive. One of Windows Vista's most intriguing new features has yet to fulfill its promise, as Microsoft Corp. wrestles with issues of hardware support and developer scarcity.

Windows SideShow was introduced with Windows Vista as a way for time-pressed users to find out the weather forecast, check for new e-mail, see the status of an eBay bid and more, all without turning on their PCs.

SideShow enables a secondary screen -- such as the 2.8-in. color LCD display mounted on the outside of AsusTek Computer Inc.'s W5Fe notebook computer -- to display information from special-purpose mini-applications called "gadgets" that reside on Vista's desktop.

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10 Comments

Personally when I buy a laptop I wouldn't buy it based upon whether or not it has "SideShow" or not. I like a choice when I buy a computer and wouldn't buy it soley based upon the fact it has a cool screen on the outside. There are far more factors to consider. I'm sure if it were an option on every make of computer, it would catch on. For now there are only a handful of laptops that actually use it.

Sideshow relied on prices for widescreen displays staying high, while smaller secondary display pricing dropped. However, as we all know by now, that certainly did not happen; instead, smaller LCD panel pricing has stayed constant, while prices for WS displays in the 20" and 22" sizes have headed floorward (retail prices for 22" widescreen displays for PCs have halved in the past year; typical retail prices for such displays are around $300USD today). Who needs a secondary display when the *primary* display has more than adequate real-estate?

Personally I think the Sideshow feature scores more points when it comes to the initial coolness factor than it's actual day-to-day usability.

Maybe because Microsoft was counting on Sideshow to excite the laptop market, but it's not even practical there. A screen on the back often looks tacky if not done right and requires extra bulk ont he top of the laptop.

No, the desktop market will probably get some USB peripherals that use this tech, but probably nothing worth noting in the near future.

dagamer34 said,
Maybe because Microsoft was counting on Sideshow to excite the laptop market, but it's not even practical there. A screen on the back often looks tacky if not done right and requires extra bulk ont he top of the laptop.

Maybe they should contact Apple to design them a proper laptop with Slideshow ability. ;)

But I agree. The hump on top of the Acer laptop doesn't exactly help to make the feature appear more attractive. Maybe in a couple of years when the required technology can be slimmed down.

What intrigues me the most about sideshow is not the secondary screen on laptops, but the remote display option sideshow promises to bring. It would be very cool if I could check all the aforementioned stuff on my mobile phone, say, or monitor my desktop computer remotely using my laptop when I'm out of the house.

FluidDruid said,
What intrigues me the most about sideshow is not the secondary screen on laptops, but the remote display option sideshow promises to bring. It would be very cool if I could check all the aforementioned stuff on my mobile phone, say, or monitor my desktop computer remotely using my laptop when I'm out of the house.

To go further I think it would be a great feature for remote controls tied in with, say, Media Center and home automation. Furthermore it would be great to get Windows Home Server tied in with it as well...

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