Laptops

Fantastic folding laptop designs

Double-screen, folding laptop

Laptops are thinner and lighter than they were in the past, but their basic clam-shell design has remained relatively unchanged. Even convertible laptops with their rotating or flippable touchscreens have a main body and lid, which are attached with a hinge.

There are those however, who have challenged the standard, two-piece laptop design. The U.S. patent drawings in this gallery show a few of the more interesting designs, from a three-layer device that folds up into a cube to a laptop with two screens.

Image taken from U.S. Patent 6,667,878 - Digitized by Google

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

13 comments
Dukhalion
Dukhalion

What [b]would[/b] be fantastic is a pair of light videodisplayglasses. They would go greatly with the whole laptop idea. No more flimsy hinges or minimal displays or heavy 'fat-tops'. Unfortunately currently available videodisplayglasses are either too heavy or have a resolution that is way too low. Also, if You expect 3D computing with such glasses, be prepared for some very irritating flickering.

Amin98
Amin98

I fail to understand why we have to come up with a new design just because "we can"? Improve the battery life instead of designing a multifold lapton that will fall down because of its own weight! Amin

virtualburn
virtualburn

How this is considered a laptop is beyond me as it would just fall over from it's own weight. Why try and re-invent the wheel, why do phones have to get smaller and laptops thinner? there is in fact only so much that can be done to improve the design. It's the components that count.

brent3600
brent3600

I use a 14" portable LCD screen from Toshiba which connects to my laptop via two USB plugs. I find it invaluable when I'm on the road. It's very light, has a sturdy cover, and has the same form factor as my laptop, but half the thickness, and fits nicely inside my laptop bag. So, aside from the book holder, I'm already there. I don't think hinging it to the laptop would add any value.

Regulus
Regulus

As in, 'Where is the Blog, and/or PDF' ? Maybe I missed it?

psymmonds
psymmonds

There's a reason you'll not see most of these. They don't really solve any problem and only serve to add bulk to a device manufacturers are striving to make slimmer and lighter. That said, I do rather like the one with the lecturn. It does solve the problem of a screen that is not at optimal height. I think it would be more usable. But it would still add bulk, I think.

paul
paul

Why not design one with three screens for gamers etc. Similar to those ones they use with PC's One could unfold to left, one to the right and the main one in front ! Maybe then they would bring out 22" laptops again !! Tri-screen gamers lappy !!

AtlantaTerry
AtlantaTerry

If I remember correctly, back in the late '70s or early '80s Radio Shack (Tandy, Inc.) claimed they owned the patent on laptop hinges. Do any other old-timers remember this and what happened with that? Terry Thomas President PC Tech Support Atlanta, Georgia USA

pfyearwood
pfyearwood

The design with the built-in printer is great for on the road sales. Like insurance agents or contractors. Leave printed contracts behind when the sales are consummated. I am sure that the best tech at the time was thermal paper. Not good for archiving. Or dot matrix. Now, a laser printer would be available for about the same weight. A model with the secondary display facing a table full of board members would be better than a tablet. would not have the kindergarten effect of someone making marks on a tablet then holding it up and saying "Looky at what I did. Ain't I a smarty?" All the other designs had great benefits. But, as the first poster said, "If it ain't Apple, it's dumb."

Nashphil
Nashphil

A little complex for a CEO to figure out, if you ask me. The true innovators don't always get noticed, usually because they can't get past the corporate mindset that if we don't make it happen it doesn't get done. Unless, you have Steve Jobs telling you it's the greatest thing ever and you Have to get it, no matter the cost.

ladman1
ladman1

Just wait and you'll see Apple release something like this which will be a revolutionary event LOL

steved
steved

A patent troll probably bought it and is waiting for the right time to bring it to court. From the latest tech news this seems to be the ugly future that is upon us. This troll company would know that all laptop sales "hinge" on this patent ~ I couldn't resist :)

Dukhalion
Dukhalion

I have here before me an old -486 Canon laptop that has an inkjet printer built into it. But just like then, all those extra functions make the laptop too heavy.