Palm is working on a palmtop with detachable cellphone
This winter/fall Palm has been in some dire straights. With hugely disappointing Palm Pre sales, dwindling cash reserves and knowledge that company won’t be able to survive on it’s own.
Still, Palm R&D department hasn’t been sitting on it’s hands even during the tough times. And they’ve come up with some interesting ideas of how to improve our palm computing/communication experiences.
Here’s one of them – compact removable voice handset, integrated into a palmtop computer. It’s described in a fairly recent Palm patent application, filed at the end of April, this year.
And, looking at the patent app, I wonder why nobody has made such a thing yet.
As the touchscreen displays get bigger and bigger, our smartphones become ever harder to use for their basic – cellphone – function. Just look at Dell Streak. It’s a great portable web browsing, e-mail, online communication device and media player. But I shudder only thinking about using it as a phone, and putting this slab of a device to my ear for a 10-15 minute conversation.
It gets even worse for 7″ or 10″ tablets, that are just around the corner. Even though most of them can have all the necessary 3G circuitry to make phone calls, the form factor makes this activity hugely impractical.
Now Palm has designed an extremely elegant solution – adding a small, removable, voice only handset to the body of a palmtop device. When separated, phone and main body parts are coupled via Bluetooth. All the “smarts and brains” remain in the main body, detachable handset is used only for voice comms. As the call comes in, you pull the cellphone part from the main body and start talking. After the call, you pop the cellphone part back in. All other functions – like contact management, dialing, etc; remain with the main palmtop body.
This mode of operation may even better then on traditional smartphone – if you need to take some notes, enter or look-up contact info, arrange a conference call – you can do that without any interruption, while talking on the phone.
It’s just a patent application for now, and may never become an actual product – most of patented things don’t. But I really like this idea and hope someone implements it soon.