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HTC dual-screen 'Courier' patented

HTC dual-screen 'Courier' patented

HTC's patent demonstrates a device with two touchscreens - but is it a slate, a smartphone, or something else?

If you're still waiting patiently for Microsoft's Courier concept PC to become a reality, perhaps you should be checking out smartphone specialist HTC in the meantime.

A patent filing spotted by Chinese site Zol and translated by GadgetMix reveals that the company is working on a dual-screen clamshell-type device - although with no scale provided it's hard to say whether the proposed creation is a slate, a netbook, or a smartphone.

What is known is that the patent describes a folding device featuring a pair of touchscreens, and that when opened the touchscreens merge into a single logical display - so hopefully HTC is working on a way to minimise the size of the bezel, otherwise users will have to deal with an irritating gap in their videos - turning the as-yet un-named device into a slate of sorts.

When the device is half-opened - in the sort of orientation that will be familiar to owners of Psion PDAs - the bottom screen will function as a QWERTY keyboard, although as there will be no travel to the 'keys' it looks like a platform for entering short messages and web addresses rather than typing out a novel.

The overall feel of the device from the patent is of something similar to Microsoft's proposed dual-screen Courier device - or the Mini 9 mod by Pak-Kei Mak we featured back in 2009. Until HTC chooses to make more details available - in particular whether the device is designed to be a slate, a smartphone, a netbook, or all three - we'll just have to keep guessing as to the company's intentions with this particular patent.

Does the idea of a dual-screen device interest you? Would it be most useful as a smartphone, a netbook, or a combination of the two? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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Shagbag 8th April 2010, 13:27 Quote
I honestly can't see how such a patent could be legally enforceable. I don't see anything innovative in it at all. It's two touchscreens. Big deal.

People should remember: just because a patent has been issued by the patent office, it doesn't necessarily mean the law will respect it.
Cupboard 8th April 2010, 13:31 Quote
those hinges look silly!
A big meh from me for now
Autti 8th April 2010, 14:52 Quote
I think Nintendo beat them to it.
Sloth 8th April 2010, 17:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
those hinges look silly!
A big meh from me for now
I believe the hinges are dramatized to show how the two screens should behave in relation to each other, an actual product would probably have much more discrete hinges (like a Nintendo DS, as Autti pointed out these devices would at least look vaguely similar). Patent drawings aren't meant to be exact representations of real products, just a way of clearly and concisely explaining what specific ideas are being patented.

All the patent talk aside, smart phones, slates, or any other device that doesn't have a dedicated keyboard just isn't something I have a use for so I'm not terribly excited, but the ability to fold shut is something I'd like to see be more common. Much like the DS compared to the PSP, this device is something I would prefer over an iPad or the HP slate because of this feature. My coat pocket, for example, isn't wide enough to hold the latter two slates yet if you folded either one in half there would be no problem. Also, there is no case or cover required to protect the screens since they are not exposed in a closed position.
TWeaK 8th April 2010, 18:56 Quote
Could it be that when the device is fully opened the hinges become part of the screen? Kind of looks that way to me..
HourBeforeDawn 8th April 2010, 19:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagbag
I honestly can't see how such a patent could be legally enforceable. I don't see anything innovative in it at all. It's two touchscreens. Big deal.

People should remember: just because a patent has been issued by the patent office, it doesn't necessarily mean the law will respect it.

Ya well the same could be said about most of Apples Patents.... so HTC is just having to do similar to stop all of Apples BS lawsuits...
DirtyH 8th April 2010, 23:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autti
I think Nintendo beat them to it.

Maybe, but technically its time for an update.
Imagine this thing with the power and two screens from the HTC HD2 for example.
That would be awesome :D

I really hope the next Nintendo handheld will have similar high resolution screens.
HourBeforeDawn 9th April 2010, 00:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyH
Maybe, but technically its time for an update.
Imagine this thing with the power and two screens from the HTC HD2 for example.
That would be awesome :D

I really hope the next Nintendo handheld will have similar high resolution screens.

Ya nintendo does for a hand held console, they patent for a dual screen cell phone.. see the difference and how thye could get away with it ;)
sompo 8th August 2011, 08:00 Quote
dual screens is to much for individual usage......i think single screen is enough.
wuyanxu 8th August 2011, 09:17 Quote
if you can't run two apps side-by-side, it's useless.

only reason to use hinged dual-screen device is for more functionality, in sacrifice of sturdiness. so the dual-screen must behave like Courier concept where two different apps can run side-by-side and stuff can be dragged between them.

which is currently not possible using any of the mobile OS. HTC will have to sit on this for a while.
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