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Weird (and not so weird) laptop designs



swivelconvertibleTechnologizer dug up some patents for unusual portable computing devices and put them together in a segment entitled “Laptopia! The World’s Weirdest Portable Computers”. Indeed, there is some weird, wild stuff in their list, but I have to say, I’m really not pleased with their pick for #10, “Pivot and swivel mechanism for laptop display” (top image), and their analysis leaves me nonplussed.

Maybe it’s unfair to include this design in a gallery of weird laptops—it swivels like a desktop monitor in a way that was both clever and useful. Zeos sold this design as the Freestyle in the early 1990s; I don’t know how successful it was, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a huge hit, since it didn’t last long.

On one hand, they admit its inclusion might be unfair, so I’m kind of cool with that. On the other, they don’t even acknowledge that the design is alive and well in the convertible Tablet PCs, notebooks, and now netbooks that have been in the market for years (and are usually posed in that exact same way to show off the swivel screen, like in the second photo). That particular device didn’t last long, but swivel screens are here to stay.

Couple other designs on the list are reminiscent of devices that are on sale today, and there’s even a wearable computing rig that looks pretty familiar.

Via jkOnTheRun



  1. SAM

    09/14/2009 at 9:16 am

    I remember seeing a model that a sales rep had years back.

    The screen was on tracks and slid up and down over the keyboard into slate mode. The thing I didn’t like about it is
    the screen was up when in storage. His screen had scratches on it from sliding in and out of his bag.

    I don’t recal what model it was.

  2. Nameless

    09/17/2009 at 6:43 am

    Sounds like something along the lines of the HTC Shift, with the sliding screen design and all.

    I want to see more convertible tablets like that. Swivel hinges don’t look as practical to me as the slider design, though the screen is, admittedly, always exposed and thus very scratch-prone (an issue I’ve had with my TC1100 the instant I got it second-hand from eBay, and it’s tempered glass!).

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