In Q4 2011, Lenovo stepped over Dell to become the second largest PC OEM in the world and some analysts now believe that they're headed for number one this year. On that note, we decided to check out Lenovo's published intellectual property over at the US Patent and Trademark Office to see what we could find of interest. In today's report we'll briefly take a look at three new inventions from Lenovo regarding two notebook advancements and even a new trick for tablets. If you're interesting in this rising star, then you just might find some of these ideas worth checking out.
Invention One: A Waterproof Convertible Notebook-Tablet
In the first Lenovo invention that we look at today, we see that Lenovo is out to create a waterproof hybrid Notebook-tablet. The new hybrid unit is being aimed at the socially-minded consumer who is likely to work or surf the web while being at a coffee shop, restaurant or bar where the likelihood of spilling a beverage on your device is relatively high.
In Patent Figure 1 below, Lenovo is illustrates various steps for converting a convertible PC from a tablet mode to a keyboard operation mode.
Waterproofing with Gaskets
Broadly speaking, Lenovo states that the exemplary embodiments noted above also provide a waterproof structure for preventing liquid from getting inside electronic devices. More specifically, exemplary embodiments of a convertible PC have a gasket for affecting a seal between an upper housing and a lower housing of the convertible PC, thereby preventing liquid from getting into circuit boards of the PC.
According to exemplary embodiments, a folding linkage may be used to connect the upper housing and the lower housing. The folding linkage may provide a mechanism for the upper housing to move pivotally from a tablet mode (with the upper housing covering the lower housing and the screen facing outward) to a keyboard operation mode (with the upper housing being disposed in an angled position with respect to the lower housing) similar to a conventional laptop.
In the tablet mode, a sealed enclosure may be formed by sealing the upper housing to the lower housing with the gasket sandwiched there between. A keyboard, connectors, the folding linkage, and other electronic mechanisms may be located within the sealed enclosure. In exemplary embodiments, to convert from the tablet mode to a keyboard operating mode, the upper housing may pivot over substantially 180 degrees of angular movement with respect to the lower housing.
Built-In Carrying Handle, Photo Frame and/or TV Stand
In Lenovo's patent FIG. 2 we an exemplary embodiment of a convertible PC which may further include a carrying handle 140, a mechanical latch 191, and a photo frame stand 150. The stand could, as Lenovo describes it, serve as a TV stand, e-book reader or photo displayer.
Lenovo's patent application was originally filed in Q3 2010 and published in Q1 2012.
Invention Two: The Acrobatic Notebook Display
In the second Lenovo patent that we look at today, we see that they're working on bringing a notebook to market that could provide users with a Portrait Display option.
Lenovo states that current laptop computers offer wide-screen format displays for viewing multimedia content such as movies or website contents. This wide-screen format display may allow users to perform word processing or to view documents in a landscape orientation. However, for working with word processing documents, the portrait orientation would provide a particular advantage in that a full page of the document would be able to be viewed.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a rotatable display on a laptop. Such display would enable users to view contents designed in both landscape and portrait orientations while maintaining a keyboard in a horizontal position for easy user inputs in either of the orientations.
Lenovo's patent for the rotating display on a notebook in Q3 2010 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in Q1 2012.
Invention Three: Combining Tablets to Create a Larger Image
In the third and final Lenovo patent that we look at today, we see that Lenovo has a cute one trick pony idea for tablets. The patent covers a device, system, and method for enabling the combination of multiple tablets to form one or more larger displays. The system is designed to allow the tablets to automatically communicate with each other via detection contacts points that are noted below in patent FIG. 3 as patent points 314. These contact points detect the presence of the other similar sized tablet(s) when put side by side. The contact points can be RFID or NFC sensors.
The Multiple Display Tool
Lenovo's multiple-display tool noted below as patent point #108, controls operation of the communication devices 112 to facilitate connection to and communication between the tablet device 100 and other like devices. For example, the multiple-display tool may initiate "hand-shake" communications and then enable configuration data and video data to be passed between the electronic devices.
An Added Dimension to Group Applications like Games
Lenovo's patent application is a little light on examples. However, they do provide two examples relating to group applications. Lenovo states that in some instances, the orientation module of the system may utilize user input to orient or re-orient a particular display. For example, a user may select an orientation for or change an orientation for a particular device.
In a further embodiment, the orientation module may be used orient or re-orient the larger display formed by a combination of devices. For example, suppose a group is sitting at a table such that the large display is upside down to part of the group. User input may be used to reverse the orientation so that the image turns right side up for the group.
In another example, a group may be playing a video game on the larger display where each player takes a turn in the game in order around a table. The orientation module 204 may be configured to interface with an application to automatically adjust the orientation of the larger display to be right side up, for example, for the person whose turn it is in the game. Lenovo states that a user may be able to initiate rotation of the display image in increments such as 90, 180, or 270 degrees.
Optional: Master Tablet Controller
Lenovo's patent FIG. 9 is a schematic block diagram illustrating one embodiment of a display configuration 9 consisting of five tablets numbered 902, 904,906, 908 and 910, with the master tablet being number 910. In this embodiment, the larger display formed by the combination of displays is controlled by an additional master tablet that is not used to form the larger display.
Although the primary graphics illustrate tablets, the fact is that the invention also relates to other tablet like devices such as smartphones, MP3 players or PDA's. All three patents were originally filed in Q3 2010 and published by the USPTO in Q1 2012.
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