The Digital Reader

Got eBook?

The Digital Reader header image 1

Amazon Files Patent for Dual Screen Tablet

August 30th, 2012 by · 11 Comments · hardware news

While Apple, Asus, Lenovo, et al, are looking at designing the best single screen tablet, Amazon has been thinking outside the box. Today they filed for received a new patent for a dual screen tablet.

As you can see from the diagram above, the concept device has a screen on both the front and the back. Now that’s relatively novel; past dual screen tablets like the Entourage Edge, original Nook, or the SpringDesign Alex had the screens side by side so the user can see both of them.  While that offered more screen real estate it also led to a bulkier device which sometimes took up more space than desired, particularly when you’re only using one of the screens.

Amazon’s concept also has a pair of cameras, a mike, and g-sensor. It’s not clear from the filings exactly how you would use the device (other than the obvious details) but I bet Amazon has put some thought into it.

What I find most interesting about this patent is how closely it fits a rumor I heard last year. According to an unnamed source, Amazon was working on a dual screen tablet, a device with an E-ink and an LCD screen. I didn’t think the rumor was real at the time, but it does agree with this patent to a surprising degree.

So it looks like Amazon really did have a prototype dual sided dual screen device in their labs last July. Who knows, that could be the Kindle Fire which will be unveiled next week.

That’s actually not such a wild supposition. The FCC paper has suggested that the new KF2 is a slab style device without a hinge. The demo diagram above shows a device with a screen on the front and the back.  They could be the same device – if not for the placement of the FCC label in the middle of the back of the device.  That kinda kills the possibility that there’s an extra screen.

Still, this is an interesting patent. It’s also Amazon’s second patent for a dual screen device; the first covered the original Kindle, and we all know how that turned out. But unlike that earlier patent I don’t expect to see this device hit the market.

The thing about patents is that companies usually only receive them after the related device is on the market. Filing for a patent usually takes years (the average is 7+ years), and working the bugs out of a device can almost always be done faster.  Of course, that rule might not apply in this case; Amazon only applied for this patent last February and they got it today. That is exceptional turnaround.

Then again, if Amazon really were planning to release this device they would likely have stalled on the paperwork so as not to leak details.

Update: According to a reader I misread the paperwork. It looks like Amazon doesn’t have the patent yet; the reason we saw the filing yesterday was that Amazon chose to have it revealed to the public, not because the patent was awarded. So I guess I was right; Amazon probably isn’t going to make this device.

via

Tags:

11 Comments so far ↓

  • cookie

    As long as it doesn’t weigh like a brick.

  • carmen webster buxton

    So, I’m thinking you’d need a lightweight case so you don’t get fingerprints or scratches on the back screen. And then you would take the tablet out and flip it over when you want to read the other screen? The patent for the case might be even more interesting as it could affect usability as much as the tablet itself. Getting my Kindle Touch out of its case is a chore.

  • Anne

    I picture a hinged case…..which can also serve as an easel style stand. That would be nice!

    Does the diagram indicate the size of the device?

  • Tony Hursh

    I would love to have a dual monochrome eInk/color screen device — eInk for standard novels, or when away from power sources, color for things that need it.

    Would I love it enough to buy one? It depends on how much it costs and how much it weighs, and whether it gains anything over the eInk Kindle and Kindle Fire I already own.

    The last isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for all people, though — probably not that many already own both devices.

    • Ingo Lembcke

      Yes! Me2! But it would be preferable to have it in book-form, with a hinge in middle, one screen left, one right. Front/back seems not very user-friendly nor practical.
      An updated Entourage Edge would be great (hardware-wise). But even this one might be interesting. The photos in the other article are nice, but the Windows-GUI turns me off.

  • cateva speculatii despre noul kindle fire | bookreader.ro

    [...] nu va mai fi vandutAmazon lanseaza AppStore in 5 tari europene: UK, Germania, Franta, Italia, SpaniaAmazon a primit patentul pentru o tableta dual screen; unele zvonuri spun ca Amazon avea un astfel de prototip inca din iulie 2011Supozitiile mele:noul [...]

  • Jim T.

    It must be for video chatting with the person across the table.

  • charlie

    wait this has been awarded? i thought it was only the application? where is it shown to be granted? I looked at it as having been filed last year and only just revealed today much like the FCC blocks most things from a public view of the report until a certain time. I cant see how anyone can get a patent approved in a single years time.

    Plus this is completely un-patentable

  • charlie

    yeah i just looked at it again. its not a granted patent its the “patent application publication’ or the first time the patent application was made public. it has not been granted.

  • Amazon’s Dual Sided Tablet Idea Shows up at IFA Berlin – as a Smartphone | Teachers Tech

    [...] Amazon was awarded a patent for a dual screen LCD/E-ink tablet which had a screen on both the front and the back of the device. It was a cool concept, but at the [...]

  • Eric Welch

    How is this different from the Asus Taichi which has a double screen and which is already on the market? Except that Asus combines the tablet and laptop, an even more sensible idea.

Leave a Comment