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Google Files for a Patent on a Family of Dual-Screen eBook Readers

google dual screen ereader 3While most companies would be satisfied with filing a patent on a single hardware design, not Google. The search engine giant revealed a patent last week for a family of ereaders with a variety of screen configurations.

Patent application 20140035794 was initially filed in November 2011, and it was published last week by the US Patent Office. It covers not just a dual-sided ebook reader or even one which folds in half, it actually covers a wide variety of possible configurations including having 2 screens on the front of the device, an optional camera, a model which can fold so the screens are face to face or back to back, and more.

You can find a PDF of the patent application here, but the short version is that Google filed a patent that was far broader and more detailed than Amazon’s patent on the original Kindle or Amazon’s other patent on a dual screen tablet.

Based on the figures included in the patent application, it looks to me like Google is trying to patent the widest possible variety of  screen configurations, not just a single device. It’s not clear to me what Google is working towards, but it does seem likely that most of the designs Google is trying to patent have already been tried on the gadget market and found wanting.

For example, this device looks a lot like the Spring Design Alex or the original Nook.

google dual screen ereader 3

And here we have a dual screen device that would look a lot like the Entourage Edge, except that late ebook reader had a mismatched pair of LCD and E-ink screens. It also had a different hinge design, although it did have a camera and an ability to fold itself in half.

google dual screen ereader 2

And last but not least, Google also included a device with a screen mounted on the front and the rear. No one has made a tablet or ebook reader like this, though it does share certain similarities with the Yotaphone.

google dual screen ereader 1

According to the patent, Google is expecting that you might want to use a keyboard or mouse with one of these devices.  One of the blogs that reported on this story also said that there is a mention of a camera, and while we can see it in the diagram above I cannot find of it.


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Gary February 10, 2014 um 9:17 pm

I guess I’m naïve.

I always thought that you could get a patent only for an invention that was a) new and b) not immediately obvious to any person. What is novel and not immediately obvious about an electronic device with two screens and a camera?

Are they also going to patent the cardboard box that they will "invent" to package their new device?

What about the plastic bag they will use to protect the device from moisture during shipping and storage? Surely they can try to patent the plastic bag as well.

Lisa February 12, 2014 um 3:23 pm

Thanks for the chuckle. Also, I wonder if anyone at Google ever saw a kid playing a DS.

Honkie McGee February 11, 2014 um 8:14 am

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but didn’t B&N release a Nook that looked a lot like Fig. 9?

Nate Hoffelder February 11, 2014 um 8:29 am

Yes, the original Nook resembled that diagram.

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