In the wake of ongoing patent infringement lawsuits between Samsung and Apple, it looks like the Korean tech giant is trying to get the jump on the competition for future product ideas. Samsung has just patented what looks to be the ultra-hybrid machine, a combination smartphone-notebook. According to the application posted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, this possibly forthcoming Samsung device appears to be comprised of an Android smartphone and accompanying laptop/notebook dock. Samsung has confirmed that assumption, describing the design as a device that runs Android and is able to switch over to Windows when inserted into the dock.
Since the device is only in the patent application stage, there is no guarantee that it will actually end up coming to fruition. Several other companies over the last few years have tried dual-OS devices and smartphone docking ideas (think Motorola’s 2011 Atrix HD smartphone and Laptop Dock accessory), but Samsung’s new patent appears to be the most straightforward and cohesive model for success in this market. The plans show a docking area between the keyboard and display where your smartphone or phablet would go while the “laptop” would function only as a docking station for the phone, which would need to run both Android and Windows for this configuration to work. The station itself is equipped with a keyboard and display with the possible option to add a trackpad, according to the patent application. Samsung provided a great deal of detail in regards to the functionality of such a device, adding even that the docking station may not need a trackpad at all, as the smartphone’s touchscreen could be used instead. Conversely, with the addition of a trackpad, the smartphone could then be used as a second display screen. According to Samsung’s proposal, one of the end goals is to create a hybrid machine that could display Android on the smartphone at the same time the dock itself displayed Windows.
Samsung’s patent application comes at a time when the market is finally primed and ready for such a device, on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement of their Continuum feature last month. Continuum, if you’re not familiar with the platform, allows Windows 10 to adapt to different form factors. For example, a smartphone can be turned into a PC simply by connecting the handset to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Once connected, the Continuum smartly scales the display from handheld mobile view to that of a traditional desktop computer. While this may initially seem counterintuitive to the success of a product trying to trail blaze the future of the market, the technology behind it actually indicates a high probability for success if it does come to fruition. The people are ready, the technology exists; all that remains is for Samsung to put the idea into production. And I’ve got a sneaking feeling they will.
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