In June 2011, Intel introduced the "Ultrabook" at Computex. The theme of their keynote was the "Transformation of the PC." Two of the many breakthroughs announced during that keynote related to a giant leap coming to the Ultrabook in 2013. This particular iteration of the Ultrabook is to be powered by their next generation processor coded named "Haswell." Specifically, Haswell is designed to support multiple operating systems and multitouch displays. These capabilities will provide OEM's with the ability to sell one device into several dedicated markets. In order to better accommodate and capitalize on this advancement, Samsung is looking to introduce a new hybrid tablet-notebook device sometime in the not-too-distant future. The timing of this patent application coming to light so close to Haswell's introduction is seen as a promising development.
Samsung Invents Hybrid Tablet-Notebook
Samsung's invention covers a hybrid tablet-notebook as illustrated above. Figure one shows the unit as a multitouch tablet. Figure two shows that the unit is able to slide back to expose a full keyboard for power users wishing to work on productivity apps such as Windows Office or another form of word processor and accounting program.
Samsung's patent application is so deadly focused on the mechanisms relating to the hardware's conversion from tablet to notebook, that it never really delves into any other specific features that would be of interest to consumers.
In fact, the underlying mystery of what operating system will power this new unit went unanswered. Yet with Samsung selling both traditional Intel notebooks and the all new Chromebook, it would appear that they'd be the perfect candidate to take advantage of the 2013 Haswell driven platform which supports multiple operating systems. With Asus just unveiling their sexy new Ultrabook hybrid design for Windows 8 this fall, Samsung doesn't have a moment to lose in getting their new design out the door.
During Microsoft's Surface event last week, Microsoft made it clear that the pricing for their pro tablet running Ivy Bridge would be comparable with the Ultrabook. I didn't think much of that statement when it was being made, but in hindsight it's clear that Microsoft wants a pure showcase vehicle for Windows 8 that's different from the Ultrabook. Why? Because the 2013 Haswell driven Ultrabook will be able to run Windows 8 and other operating systems such as Chrome and Linux. Microsoft wants a unique Windows 8 experience without another operating system interfering.
While it's an interesting preemptive move on Microsoft's part, it's clear by Samsung's patent application that they're not committing to a single OS for their new device at this time. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out in 2013.
Samsung's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2011 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in Q2 2012 under serial number 315461. The good news is that the original patent filing was made a year earlier in Korea. So a 2013 release just might be a realistic time frame.
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