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MS patenting smart phone dock with display, input

updated 10:45 am EST, Thu January 29, 2009

MS Smart Dock Patent

Microsoft has submitted a US patent filing this week that could lead to smartphones serving as full computers. The application for a "smart interface system" proposes a dock that would support display output, Ethernet or wireless networking, and a USB hub for peripherals like keyboards or external hard drives. Rather than depend on the phone to support all the features, however, the dock would include a processor and embedded software that abstracts support and would offload some of the processing work from the phone.

The design would not only extend the immediate functionality of smartphones for most users but would be especially useful in the developing world, Microsoft explains. Taking its roots in the company's Fone+ project, the dock would let the poor use smartphones as their computers rather than forcing them to carry both a separate cellphone and a PC; the company has suggested using a TV in place of a typical monitor and of building in WiMAX for long-range broadband in rural areas that can't justify wired connections.

The patent doesn't hint whether the dock is evidence of a production model or a concept to be used later, though the relatively complete design and specific uses allude to long-term plans for the dock to support Windows Mobile hardware.

Few current docks, including those for the iPhone and most existing devices, support more than wired sync and power; Apple's allows audio and video out. [via Unwired View]






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    copy much...

    The image looks VERY similar to a Harmon Kardon Bridge design.

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    In other words...

    ...it's almost exactly like the Duo and Duo Dock, but with a phone instead of a laptop as the object being docked. IIRC you could even have a math coprocessor installed in the Duo Dock.

    Such innovation!

  1. gor3don

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    for the poor?

    "the dock would let the poor use smartphones as their computers rather than forcing them to carry both a separate cellphone and a PC"

    Yes, the people in the developing world as well as the poor around here are "forced" to carry a separate phone and computer.

    But, the idea does sound intriguing. Maybe we should give microsloth a break. Or will they just mess this up as well?

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Further proof...

    Further proof, if proof were needed, of Microsoft's pathetic preoccupation with the activities of OTHER companies rather than focussing on their OWN issues. Patenting a dock, where Microsoft have no product to place in such a dock, is a clear attempt by Redmond to interfere with the business of other companies actually active in this (hardware) product area. Can this be attributed to the spiteful, vindictive, capricious, vengeful, paranoid personality of their Steve (Ballmer)?

  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    No way...

    Yup Duos were there more than a decade ago. Incapable of innovating, MS lately has just been trying to patent the obvious. Fortunately the USPO so far sees through MS like a pane of glass.

    -Allen Wicks

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Hmm...

    Can someone say Foleo?

    This has been done before for Palm devices.

  1. ricardogf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    'Nuff said

    Absolute prior art...as usual, this is just another borndead patent by Microshaft.

    MS IS DEAD.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    READ!

    Haha. You tools can't even read. READ THE DAMN ARTICLE!!!!! Just don't don't look at pictures.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Further proof

    Patenting a dock, where Microsoft have no product to place in such a dock, is a clear attempt by Redmond to interfere with the business of other companies actually active in this (hardware) product area.

    Yes, because Apple never has patented a concept or idea in a market they didn't have an existing product.

    Oh, unless you count the iPod. Or the iPhone. AppleTV.

    Oh, and MS does have a Zune. They could be docking that.

    And I'm sure MS was looking at past Apple patents to find one they could copy.

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