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A new Microsoft patent titled “Collapsible Shell Cover for Computing Device” got published yesterday in the US. In this patent, they are describing a new type of collapsible shell cover for tablets. Unlike the current Surface devices, this cover will not require kickstand to be present on the device. Removing kickstand may allow Microsoft to further reduce thickness of the Surface device making it easier to hold in tablet mode.
The collapsible shell cover includes a holder portion, an input device portion, and kickstand portion.
- The collapsible shell cover is configured to support a computing device having a slate form factor at a viewing angle in an open configuration and to form a shell cover for the computing device in a collapsed configuration.
- The holder portion is configured to receive the computing device between edge members having support lips to support the computing device.
- The input device portion and kickstand portion are rotatably secured to the holder portion along opposing ends of the edge members of the holder portion.
- The input device portion and kickstand portion are configured to rotate relative to the holder position to assume the open configuration in which the holder portion is positioned at the viewing angle, the kickstand portion is rotated to a support position at a rear of the holder portion, and the input device portion is rotated to an input position that extends outward from the front of the holder portion.
- The input device portion and kickstand portion are also configured to rotate into the collapsed configuration in which the holder portion, input device portion, and kickstand portion are aligned in a common plane to form the shell cover which corresponds to a shape of the computing device.
With its Surface lineup, Microsoft first came up with the concept of kickstand and keyboard cover. Since then, many other companies including Apple have copied Microsoft’s idea of transforming a tablet into a productive device with a keyboard cover.