Laptop innovation flop: Detachable displays

Removable stand alone display for laptop computer

Not every invention becomes a successful product. Some failures are just a matter of timing, while others just weren't fully hatched to begin with.

Laptop innovations, like the trackpad and built-in webcam, have been wildly successful. Nearly every modern laptop has both.

But, not every portable and laptop computer "improvement" has caught on with consumers. The US patent drawings in this gallery showcase a definite miss--removable displays. Check out these early detachable display designs from tech heavyweights like IBM, Toshiba, Unisys, and others.

U.S. Patent number: 5,196,993
Filed: Apr. 15,1991
Issued: Mar. 23, 1993
Inventors: Matthew A. Herron and Dennis J. Boyle
Assignee: Unisys Corp.

In 1991, a pair of inventors from Unisys designed a laptop with screen that could be removed from the base computer and used as a "free-standing" display.

The patent describes the device as "a portable computer having a base housing and a removable display pivotably mounted thereon, the display being removable from the base housing to be made free-standing on pivotable support feet, while having a removable electrical cable to the base housing."

Image taken from U.S. Patent 5,196,993 - Digitized by Google

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic 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 support specialist in the ...