Google Patents A Notebook Computer With Two Foldable Parts

August 16, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Google was recently awarded a patent detailing a notebook computer with two foldable parts, with its application being granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The keyboard doesn’t seem to be detachable from the device, with the two being connected by a hinge that can rotate 360 degrees and end up on the back of the computer’s display module when the device is in tablet mode. Unlike similar solutions that are already commercially available, the notebook patented by Google also sports another cover on its bottom part which can either cover the keyboard entirely or be used as a kickstand, as seen in the two sketches below which were reportedly attached to Google’s filing with the USPTO.

The secondary panel that rises from the bottom one also houses a trackpad and amounts for just under a third of the surface of the bottom part of the notebook, according to the same sketches. Apart from the touchpad, the same slate also features a fingerprint scanner and a wireless transceiver, the Alphabet-owned company revealed, adding that the latter could also be used for near field communication (NFC) applications which would subsequently allow the device to recognize the position of the secondary panel without having to rely on readings from other sensors. In theory, such a solution may reduce manufacturing costs while still being just as effective as its alternatives. It’s currently unclear whether the Mountain View, California-based Internet giant actually made a prototype of the device detailed in its latest patent, though that doesn’t seem like a probable scenario; being one of the most versatile tech companies on the planet, Google also boasts a robust patent portfolio that’s constantly increasing but most of its IP holdings never lead to commercialized products.

Likewise, it’s currently unclear whether the company envisioned the newly patented device as one that’s powered by Chrome OS or another operating system, though its solution would likely work with most popular alternatives that are currently available on the market. Google doesn’t have a policy of commenting on its patent holdings and it’s unlikely that the company will make an exception in this case, though more details on its other hardware efforts should follow soon, with the Pixel 2 series being expected to launch in just a few months.