Today, Patent Bolt covered a newly published Google patent application that details what appears to be a hybrid notebook/tablet design. We noted recently it would not be too shocking to see more Google-made hardware following the company jumping into end-to-end manufacturing of its new U.S.-made Nexus Q hardware. With that in mind, it is certainly interesting to see innovative notebook designs are at least being conceptualized at Google.

As noted in the report, aspects of the patent application cover a notebook device with virtual keyboard and trackpad in place of a traditional physical keyboard. While the patent covers a wide variety of possible configurations, some highlights include:

-The display could rotate and fold down to allow single slab, tablet-like design. The patent also covers other possible methods of rotating and reconfiguring the display.

-The device could operate on multiple platforms “that could include one or more types of hardware, software, firmware, operating systems and runtime libraries.”

-In different embodiments, the device could function as an e-reader, personal assistant, or mobile phone

-“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”

The patent drawing below shows various phases of conversion for the display:

Google’s patent application was published in Q2 2012 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, but it was originally file by Google in Q4 2010. You can get all the details at Patent Bolt. 

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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.