Last month Microsoft surprised many when they announced that they were entering the tablet market with a slick unit called Surface. Now a new patent application from Google has surfaced and it clearly indicates that they're working on a chameleonic notebook tablet based on a virtual keyboard and touchpad. Google even hints that their chameleonic device may run different operating systems. Considering that it's no secret that Google is working with Intel, we could expect to see some innovative devices emerging over the coming years. For now, the focus is on Google's hybrid notebook-tablet that delivers a few interesting twists.
Google's Future Chameleonic Notebook
In Google's Patent FIG. 1 shown below we're able to see a new computing device with a touch sensitive display that could be any type of touch sensitive display. In some embodiments, the display 122 could be an electrostatic touch device, a resistive touchscreen device, a surface acoustic wave (SAW) device, a capacitive touchscreen device, a pressure sensitive device, a surface capacitive device, a projected capacitive touch (PCT) device, and/or so forth.
As a touch sensitive device, the display could function as an input device whereby the display could be configured to display a virtual keyboard, one or more buttons and an electrostatic touchpad to control a mouse cursor, etc.
The display portion of the new device could be configured to rotate and translate from a laptop configuration to that of a tablet-type device as is shown in patent figures below.
As shown in FIG. 1, Google's chameleonic computing device 100 could be a personal computing laptop-type device. In some embodiments, the computing device could be any type of computing device (a server device (e.g., a web server), a mobile phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA) and/or an e-book device). The computing device could also be configured to operate based on one or more platforms (e.g., one or more similar or different platforms) that could include one or more types of hardware, software, firmware, operating systems and runtime libraries.
Google's patent FIG. 3B noted above illustrates a configuration file which includes indicators of activation states of the new device.
Switching to Tablet Mode
In Google's patent FIG. 2A illustrated below we see that the display of FIG. 1 could be moved forward along a set of integrated guides which could include rolling wheels or ball-bearings to facilitate smooth translational movement. The guides could be longer or shorter depending on the configuration of a particular product.
Google notes that the configuration of FIG. 1 is considered the easel mode as noted in FIG. 3B above. In this mode, the virtual keyboard is deactivated while the display's touch capabilities are activated. This would be handy for performing mini-presentations to individuals or small groups and/or used for multimedia purposes such as playing movies and so forth.
Google's patent FIG. 2B noted above illustrates the notebook configuration of FIG. 2A converted to tablet mode. Google states that a switch (which isn't shown in the patent graphic) could be triggered to activate or deactivate one or more input devices (e.g. virtual keyboard) and/or touch sensitivity of the touch sensitive display when moved between various configurations. In some embodiments, the switch could be an electronic switch, a mechanical switch (e.g., a mechanical relay), and/or so forth. In some embodiments, the switch could include one or more sensors configured to detect one or more positions of the chameleonic notebook.
Notebook Slide Guide Alternatives
In Google's patent FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 illustrated below we're shown three different slide guide configurations. Patent figure 5 illustrates the slide guides on the outside of the notebook; patent 6 has the guides on the inside of an elevated side body design; and patent figure 7 illustrates a single guide construction style which will allow the display to rotate freely.
Google's noted patent FIG. 8 above illustrates a pin 831 (which can be referred to as a hinge portion) is embedded inside of the display portion and the pin of the display portion is configured to rotate in a clockwise direction.
Google's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in Q2 2012.
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