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Publication numberUS20070159466 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/697,195
Publication dateJul 12, 2007
Filing dateApr 5, 2007
Priority dateOct 30, 2003
Also published asUS7224345, US20050156903, WO2005043506A1
Publication number11697195, 697195, US 2007/0159466 A1, US 2007/159466 A1, US 20070159466 A1, US 20070159466A1, US 2007159466 A1, US 2007159466A1, US-A1-20070159466, US-A1-2007159466, US2007/0159466A1, US2007/159466A1, US20070159466 A1, US20070159466A1, US2007159466 A1, US2007159466A1
InventorsLeonard Kawell, Mary Heinen, Patrick McGowan, Alan Ball
Original AssigneePepper Computer, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pad Computer
US 20070159466 A1
Abstract
A computer can include a high-resolution color display, built-in keypad, wireless LAN connection, hi-fidelity audio system, and a multi-gigabyte disk drive. The screen can be formed in a top face of a computer and a keypad can be a split on opposite sides of the screen. The computer can also have various other controls and features, including function keys, scroll wheel, game D-pad, stylus, and fingerprint reader. Speaker covers for built-in speakers can be provided in the top face.
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Claims(21)
1. A computer, comprising:
a microprocessor;
a multi-gigabyte hard disk drive;
a housing for enclosing the microprocessor and hard disk drive, the housing having a top face, a left side, and a right side, the top face being of unitary construction, wherein the left and right sides have a length, wherein the top face has a length that is greater than the length of the left and right sides, and wherein the housing is less than one inch thick;
a display screen formed in the top face, wherein the top face surrounds the display screen, the display screen positioned between the left and right sides to define a first region between the left side and the screen and the right side and the screen, the display screen having a landscape orientation and extending for most of the vertical dimension of the housing, the display screen comprising a touch screen;
a QWERTY keyboard having some of the QWERTY keys in the first region and some of the QWERTY keys in the second region;
a plurality of additional input devices, including:
function keys for volume control;
a menu button;
a joystick;
a microphone; and
a stylus having an associated stylus holder formed in the housing;
a plurality of networking devices, including a Bluetooth wireless radio chip and a Wifi PC card capable of providing 802.11 b connectivity;
a USB 2.0 port;
a flash memory card slot;
stereo speakers; and
a headphone jack.
2. The computer of claim 1, further comprising a fingerprint reader.
3. The computer of claim 1, further comprising a digital camera.
4. The computer of claim 1, wherein the housing comprises elastomeric plastic grips.
5. The computer of claim 1, further comprising an interface for a DVD drive.
6. The computer of claim 1, wherein the top face has an upper half and a lower half, and wherein the QWERTY keyboard is completely located in the upper half of the housing.
7. The computer of claim 1, further comprising a circular area within the top face and positioned between the QWERTY keys in one of the first and second regions, the circular area comprising a user input device.
8. The computer of claim 1, further comprising a fingerprint reader; a digital camera; elastomeric plastic grips; an interface for a DVD drive; and a circular area within the top face and positioned between the QWERTY keys in one of the first and second regions, the circular area comprising a user input device; and further wherein the top face has an upper half and a lower half, and wherein the QWERTY keyboard is completely located in the upper half of the housing.
9. A computer, comprising:
a microprocessor;
a hard disk drive;
a housing for enclosing the microprocessor and hard disk drive, the housing having a top face, a left side, and a right side, the top face being of unitary construction;
a display screen formed in the top face and positioned between the left and right sides to define a first region between the left side and the screen and the right side and the screen;
a QWERTY keyboard having some of the QWERTY keys in the first region and some of the QWERTY keys in the second region;
a first circular area within the top face and positioned beneath the QWERTY keys in the first region, the first circular area comprising a first user input device; and
a second circular area within the top face and positioned beneath the QWERTY keys in the second region, second circular area comprising a second user input device.
10. The computer of claim 9, wherein the hard disk drive has a multi-gigabyte capacity.
11. The computer of claim 9, wherein the left and right sides have a length, wherein the top face has a length that is greater than the length of the left and right sides, and wherein the housing is less than one inch thick
12. The computer of claim 9, wherein the display screen has a landscape orientation, wherein the top face surrounds the display screen, and wherein the display screen extends for most of the vertical dimension of the housing.
13. The computer of claim 9, further including at least one of the following additional input devices: function keys for volume control, a menu button, a joystick, a microphone, a fingerprint reader, and a stylus having an associated stylus holder formed in the housing.
14. The computer of claim 9, further including at least one of a Bluetooth wireless radio chip, a WiFi PC card, a USB 2.0 port, and a flash memory card slot.
15. The computer of claim 9, further including at least one of stereo speakers and a headphone jack.
16. The computer of claim 9, wherein the display screen comprises a touch screen.
17. The computer of claim 9, wherein the hard disk drive has a multi-gigabyte capacity; wherein the left and right sides have a length, wherein the top face has a length that is greater than the length of the left and right sides, and wherein the housing is less than one inch thick; wherein the display screen has a landscape orientation, and wherein the top face surrounds the display screen; wherein the display screen extends for most of the vertical dimension of the housing; further including the following additional input devices: function keys for volume control, a menu button, a joystick, a microphone, a fingerprint reader, and a stylus having an associated stylus holder formed in the housing; further including a Bluetooth wireless radio chip and a Wifi PC card; further including a USB 2.0 port; further including a flash memory card slot; further including at least one of stereo speakers and a headphone jack; and wherein the display screen comprises a touch screen.
18. A computer, comprising:
a microprocessor;
a hard disk drive;
a housing for enclosing the microprocessor and hard disk drive, the housing having a top face, a left side, and a right side, the top face being of unitary construction;
a display screen formed in the top face and positioned between the left and right sides to define a first region between the left side and the screen and the right side and the screen;
keys for user input in the first region;
keys for user input in the second region; and
movable user controls other than keys in the top face.
19. The computer of claim 18, wherein the keys for user input in the first and second regions comprise keys of a QWERTY keyboard.
20. The computer of claim 18, wherein the display screen extends for most of the vertical dimension of the housing.
21. The computer of claim 18, wherein the keys for user input in the first and second regions comprise keys of a QWERTY keyboard, and wherein the display screen extends for most of the vertical dimension of the housing.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation of and claims priority under 35 U.S.C., §120 U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/977,480, filed Oct. 29, 2004 and entitled PAD COMPUTER, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference, which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/515,753, filed Oct. 30, 2003, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Computers can come in a variety of sizes and configurations, from large desktop units to laptops to smaller sizes. Personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other smaller devices also can have much of the functionality of computers. Computers have various configurations of screens, keys, and other features.

SUMMARY

The computers described here can be smaller than a currently conventional laptop computers, but can have about any size. They can also include many useful features, including a high-resolution color display, built-in keypad, wireless LAN connection, hi-fidelity audio system, and a multi-gigabyte disk drive. The keypad can be a split keypad on opposite sides of a screen formed in a top face of a computer. The computer can also have various other controls and features, including function keys, scroll wheel, game D-pad, stylus, and fingerprint reader. Speakers can also be built into the top face.

The computers as described can be self-contained and could be a user's only computer, usable for processes such as for researching and writing school assignments, drawing, painting, online shopping, reading news, chatting, e-mail, listening to music, and watching movies.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a computer.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the computer of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 3 and 4 are close-up views of portions of the computer shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a computer 10 has a housing 12 with bumpers 14, 16 around the edges to give the housing a rugged look and to provide shock protection. The housing has a top face and an LCD screen 18 formed in the top face. LCD screen 18 can be provided in portrait orientation as shown here and in application Ser. No. 29/192,829, filed Oct. 30, 2003, or in a landscape orientation, as also shown in application Ser. No. 29/209,316, filed Jul. 14, 2004 (both of these design patent applications are incorporated herein by reference). The screen has a cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlight with an inverter. Screen 18 can be laterally centered in the housing and can extend for most of the vertical dimension of the housing. The screen can be a resistive 4-wire touch screen. The housing can be made of smooth bright-colored plastic and/or metal.

The computer can have a fold-over cover (not shown) to protect the LCD screen. The cover can screw onto the housing but is customer-replaceable. The cover can be made with a user's choice of materials: metal, plastic, rubber, spandex, leather, etc. The cover is convenient to use, ensuring it is used regularly to protect the LCD. Users can have a whole collection of covers that they pop on and off to suit their mood or fashion.

As also shown in FIG. 2, the computer is balanced so it rests easily in the user's hands when using a built-in keyboard or and does not readily tip when using a stand. The keypad is in the top face of the housing and preferably has a full QWERTY keyboard plus function keys. As also shown in FIGS. 2-4, the keypad can be split to include a left keypad 20 between a left edge of the screen and a left edge of the housing, and a right keypad 22 between the right edge of the screen and the right edge of the housing, and thus on opposite sides of the screen. General purpose function keys 24, 26 can be provided on one or both sides, and specific function keys 28 and 30 can be provided on each side for music control, screen brightness, volume control, or other controls.

The computer controls can also include a game controller-style direction pad (D-Pad) 36, a thumbwheel 38 that is easily accessible when using the built-in keyboard, and can include a fingerprint reader 40 (including, for example, a thumbprint), or may have some other biological detector for detecting the presence of a particular user to allow use of the computer by that user. Such a detector is not necessary, and other protections, such as password protection, could be used. The computer could also be shared among multiple users, such as in an educational environment, in which case the computer can sense the user biologically and automatically configure itself for the particular sensed user, or configure in one of a number of ways for one of a group of users.

The computer housing can be designed to be water and grit resistant, meaning that an occasional splash of water or soft drink will not seep into the case and ruin the electronics. Using it at the beach or pool is possible, though it may not necessarily survive a full dunking. The LCD and keyboard have basic rubber gaskets and any external openings for jacks are covered with rubber plugs.

While a keypad and touch screen are preferably built-in, an optional full-size keyboard and mouse can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth technology. Internet and LAN connectivity is preferably wireless via built-in WiFi (802.11b). Printers can also be connected wirelessly via either Bluetooth or WiFi. For compatibility with existing wired devices, such as cameras, scanners, and printers, a USB port (e.g., 1.1) is also provided.

The top face of the housing can also include one or more covers for speakers 42, 44. Additional outlets can be provided for a card slot 46 and a headphone jack 48.

A stylus holder 50 for holding a stylus can also be provided in the top face of the computer.

The computer preferably does not have any external antennas or other dangling parts that can break off if treated roughly.

One set of exemplary dimensions is approximately 10″ in length, 9.3″ wide, and less than 1″ thick, e.g., about 0.8″ thick. It is designed to be durable, and able to survive being dropped on the floor, tossed in a backpack, and splashed. Other dimensions are possible, but it is preferably smaller than a typical current laptop, but larger than a PDA.

The computer preferably runs on the Linux operating system and Java, and should be reliable and secure. The Java run-time environment is designed to allow users to download and run dozens of programs.

The environment should also be private—the information on the computer can be encrypted and it is preferably unlocked only when a test is met, such as the owner's thumbprint.

The computer is designed to use low-cost, low-power components. Since long battery life (at least 8 hours) is desired, the system is designed to power on and off components as needed.

The system can include a WiFi/802.11 b PC card with housing-mounted diversity antennas, Bluetooth wireless radio chip with embedded ROM connected via dedicated interface, a shock-mounted PC card disk drive, audio CODEC, audio amp, built-in stereo speakers and microphone, mini stereo headphone, and microphone jacks (some of which are shown above).

Further components that can be added or provided include FM Radio, WiFi wireless LAN chipset, disk drive, digital camera module and connector with custom FPGA controller, built-in or snap-in power adapter/charger, compact Flash Card slot, V.90 modem and RJ-11 jack, analog joystick, and additional function buttons (e.g., more game controller buttons).

A slot-loading CD-RW/DVD that optionally snaps on the back of the computer can be provided. The CD/DVD backpack can be added or removed without powering down the computer, so it should use a plug & play interface, such as USB. The backpack may also require an additional internal battery to ensure at least 2 hours of DVD playing time.

The angle and curve of the housing and the angle of the keypads relative to the edges of the housing are useful for the feel and ergonomics of the computer, in addition to providing an attractive and ornamental appearance. The lateral sides are preferable bowed outwardly (concave) and the top and bottom sides are bowed inwardly (convex). By splitting the keypad and locating it in the upper half of the housing at the proper position in the curve, the computer remains balanced in the user's hands while the user is typing, scrolling, or gaming.

The computer is preferably built from a two-piece injection molded and machined plastic housing. The two front side panels are covered with customer-replaceable and customizable faceplates. The edges of the housing can include soft elastomeric plastic grips that also protect the edges of the housing. The LCD is also protected with an elastomeric bezel.

Many details are provided but numerous modifications can be made. It is expected that improvements will be made with future hardware as it becomes available. In addition, not all the components set out above are needed; for example, the keyboard could have fewer keys, certain interfaces and ports could be omitted, and other changes could be made that could add features, or reduce features and cost.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7804484 *Jul 3, 2006Sep 28, 2010Microsoft CorporationEmbedded text input
US7848093 *Feb 6, 2007Dec 7, 2010Hardson Winston BDigital video and music player belt buckles
US8384671Jan 5, 2009Feb 26, 2013Mark ShkolnikovSplit QWERTY keyboard with reduced number of keys
US8810536 *Nov 2, 2011Aug 19, 2014William James McDermidTablet computer input device
US20120113034 *Nov 2, 2011May 10, 2012Mcdermid William JamesTablet Computer Input Device
US20120127115 *Nov 23, 2010May 24, 2012Aaron James GannonSystem and method for improving touch screen display use under vibration and turbulence
US20130157763 *Jun 12, 2012Jun 20, 2013Wikipad, Inc.Game controller
Classifications
U.S. Classification345/169
International ClassificationG06F3/02, G09G5/00
Cooperative ClassificationG09G3/3406, G06F1/1662, G06F1/1626
European ClassificationG06F1/16P9K, G06F1/16P3