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.

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