Recently the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Microsoft that revealed a new Convertible Ultrabook-styled device that possesses a unique clutch system. The new clutch is designed to allow the touch display to be positioned in new ways that have never been possible before.
According to Microsoft, pivotable components are mechanically-linked and pivot in coordination to position the device housing in a display position, and sensors detect positioning inputs that are received to re-position the device housing.
Clutch mechanisms are implemented to limit and/or resist movement of the pivotable components based on the positioning inputs. A stability controller can be implemented to control the clutch mechanisms based on sensor data from the sensors to position the device housing in a display position that is stable.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 2 noted below illustrates examples of unstable or undesirable display positions of a display device, or a computing device that includes an integrated display device.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 3 illustrates examples of stable display positions of a display device, or a computing device that includes an integrated display device.
Despite Microsoft's noted position that a "Floating" display as shown in patent FIG. 2 is an unstable design, Samsung and Lenovo have taken opposing positions as we illustrate below.
On June 20, Samsung presented their new ATIV Book 9 design which is a convertible notebook design. It's a tablet when you want it and a notebook when you need it. Note the top graphic below represents an Ultrabook design that is able to support the "floating" display position that Microsoft considers to be unstable. Time will tell if that's true in any material way.
Interestingly, Samsung may not be alone with this form factor for very long. A new Lenovo patent application revealed today by the US Patent and Trademark Office illustrates that they too may decide to support the "Floating" display positon as noted in their patent figure 3 below.
Microsoft filed their patent application under serial number 312448 back in Q4 2011 which was published by the US Patent Office last month. Whether Microsoft intends to use their new clutch design in a full blown Ultrabook to complement their Surface tablet line-up in the future is unknown at this time.
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