July 1, 2019
Google has filed a patent for a smart book with multiple screens
by Ryan Harrington
The concept of the foldable smartphone—a device like your average smartphone that can fold out and connect screens into something more like a tablet—is already in play.
But what would the eReader equivalent of that look like? It turns out that Google has already raised this very question, and a recently-surfaced 2018 patent filing shows one potential version of the product.
As Andy Boxall writes for Digital Trends:
Like other folding smartphones we’ve already seen—the Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X, for example—the Google folding smart book has a central hinged spine, to which the internal screens are attached. Folded up, the smart book would have solid, non-flexible screens on the cover and on the back for rigidity. Open it out, and instead of turning paper pages, you’d be turning flexible screens.
[ . . .]
Google’s patent shows the unusual directions companies are going in while exploring the potential behind folding smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The multi-screen folding smart book shown here may seem fantastical now—and it is, given the technology and work needed to currently create something like this—but as folding, rollable, and flexible devices become easier and cheaper to produce, and the tech around them evolves, it’s entirely possible this could be a future replacement for the modern eReader.
But before we get too carried away exploring the future, we must remember that this particular design may just represent the patent for a specific type of hinged multi-screen set. That is, there is no confirmation that such a device has gone, or would ever go into production as an eReader per se.
But then again . . . it could. And that would probably be very weird.
Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.