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(12) United States Patent
Homer et al.
(io) Patent No.: (45) Date of Patent:
US 7,755,891 B2 Jul. 13, 2010
(54) NOTEBOOK COMPUTER WITH SUPPORT MEMBER
(75) Inventors: Steve Homer, Tomball, TX (US); Earl Moore, Cypress, TX (US); Ken Reddix, Spring, TX (US); Keith Sauer, Spring, TX (US)
(73) Assignee: Hewlett-Packard Development
Company, L.P., Houston, TX (US)
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 21 days.
(21) Appl.No.: 12/242,425
(22) Filed: Sep. 30, 2008
(65) Prior Publication Data
US 2009/0190305 Al Jul. 30, 2009
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 61/024,751, filed on Jan. 30, 2008.
(51) Int. CI.
(52) U.S. CI 361/679.55
(58) Field of Classification Search 361/679.55
See application file for complete search history.
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS 4,813,542 A 3/1989 Thompson et al.
NOTEBOOK COMPUTER WITH SUPPORT
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED
This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/024,751, filed Jan. 30, 2008, titled "Notebook Computer With Support Member."
Notebook computers are easy and desirable to stack one on top of the other. For examples, schools may have numerous notebooks for the students. When not in use, it may be desk- 15 able to store the notebooks in a stacked arrangement. Unfortunately, the weight of the notebooks may damage the notebooks towards the bottom of the stack.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 20
For a detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 shows a notebook computer with a display casing in 25 an opened position in accordance with various embodiments;
FIG. 2 shows a front plan view of the notebook computer of FIG. 1 with the display casing in a closed position;
FIG. 3 illustrates two support members that are substantially aligned; 30
FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of the notebook computer in accordance with various embodiments;
FIG. 5 shows a top view of the notebook computer illustrating various support members in accordance with various embodiments; 35
FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a support member;
FIG. 7 illustrates multiple notebook computers in a stacked arrangement in accordance with various embodiments;
FIG. 8 illustrates two stacked notebook computers of dif- 40 ferent sizes; and
FIG. 9 illustrates features on the display and base units of the notebook computer to facilitate proper alignment of computers when stacked.
NOTATION AND NOMENCLATURE
Certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular system components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, computer companies 50 may refer to a component by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components that differ in name but not function. In the following discussion and in the claims, the terms "including" and "comprising" are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to 55 mean "including, but not limited to . . . ." Also, the term "couple" or "couples" is intended to mean either an indirect or direct connection. Thus, if a first member couples to a second member, the first member may directly contact the second member or connect to the second member through an inter- 60 mediary structure.
FIG. 1 illustrates a notebook computer 10 (referred to as a 65 "laptop" in other embodiments). The notebook computer 10 comprises a base unit 12 coupled to a display unit 14 by way
of a hinge 15. The base unit 12 is thus hingeably coupled to the display unit 14. The hinge 15 enables the display unit 14 to be opened (as illustrated in FIG. 1) or closed.
The base unit 12 comprises a base casing 13 containing the electronics of the computer. The electronics include, for example, a processor, memory, etc. Such electronics are provided on a circuit board ("system" or "mother" board) contained within the base casing 13. In at least some embodiments, the base casing 13 comprises two portions mated together. As shown in FIG. 1, the base casing 13 comprises a top portion 16 attached to a bottom portion 18 by way of screws or other attachment mechanisms. The base casing 13 may be made from plastic or other suitable type of material. A keyboard 17 and touchpad 19 are also shown provided in the base casing 13.
The display unit 14 also comprises a casing 21 (referred to herein as the "display casing"). The display casing 21 may be made from metal, plastic or other suitable material. In some embodiments, the display casing 21 comprises two portions—a top portion 20 and a bottom portion 22. The top and bottom portions 20, 22 are joined together by way of screws or other attachment mechanisms. The display casing 21 contains a display 24 as shown.
FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the notebook computer 10 with the display unit 14 in a closed position. While in the closed position, a portion of the display casing 21 contacts a portion of the base casing 13. Such portions are generally the outer perimeter of the casings. FIG. 2 also illustrates a circuit board 30 contained in the base casing 13 and the display 24 contained in the display casing 21. In accordance with various embodiments, one or more support members 40, 42, 44, and 46 are provided in the base and display casings 13, 21 to provide structural support to the casings to thereby enable increased weight to be placed on the notebook computer 10 while in the closed position. As such, more notebook computers 10 can be stacked one on top of the other without damaging the computers on the bottom of the stack than would be possible without the support members. As shown in FIG. 2, support members 40 and 44 are provided within the display unit 14 between the top and bottom portions 20 and 22. Each support member 40, 44 extends from, and thus contacts, top and bottom portions 20, 22 of the display unit 14. Similarly, support members 42 and 46 are provided within the base unit 12 between the top and bottom portions 16 and 18. Each support member 42, 46 extends from, and thus contacts, top and bottom portions 16,18 of the base unit 12.
The location of each support member within its respective casing 13, 21 is such that, when the notebook computer is in the closed position, each display casing support member is in substantial alignment with a corresponding support member in the base casing 13. By way of example, support members 40 and 42 are in alignment and so are support members 44 and 46. By locating the support members within the casings so that they align when the computer is closed, a substantial portion of the weight placed on the computer will be transmitted through the casings by way of the support members. In this disclosure, "substantial alignment" of a pair of support members means that such support members are, as illustrated in FIG. 3, within, for example, 0.25 inches of each other as measured in the lateral direction shown.
The support members 40-46 may comprise posts made from metal, plastic, or other suitable material. In various embodiments, each post is substantially circular in crosssection. The support members may be formed as part of the casing themselves are may be separate components inserted into the casings.