Redesign the laptop
In my office I work on a large, 2560 * 1440 resolution, screen and that is approximately four times the resolution of the laptop I'm currently using to write this article. The screen is so large that it's not comfortable to work with full screen applications, except for photo and video editing. When dealing with text, the lines get to long and become difficult to read. My usual set up is to divide the screen in 2 sections with for instance 2 browsers running side by side. One for keeping track of email, news and social status updates and the other for real work that involves writing documents. Working this way makes sure the width of the applications is still comfortable for reading lines, they don't get too long and I really appreciate the height and overview of the documents I'm looking at. When working on a laptop I don't really miss the additional width, but I do miss the additional height and overview of the document.
For me the vertical screen real estate has become more important than the horizontal screen real estate and I do anything to maximize the vertical viewing area. This involves turning off task- and toolbars, menus, etc. So when Microsoft announced the increased usage of the ribbon in the Windows 8 user interface I immediately got worried about the available vertical screen real estate.
It's time to rethink laptop designs, why not creating a laptop with a portrait oriented screen. I doesn't have to be any bigger than a current model 13" laptop, because that would be large enough to hold a reasonable sized keyboard and the screen would still be wide enough for comfortable viewing. There would be more space for a larger trackpad so it could combine keyboard and touch interface very well.
Call to action for all laptop vendors that want to created a competitor for the Apple Macbook Air: Don't try to compete by doing more of the same, but really rethink the design. When you do launch, be cool and give me some credit.
Credit for the image: Sie-Hang Cheung, a great interaction designer too.