Patent Bolt has uncovered an invention by Lenovo that adds a keyboard to tablets. Yet instead of attaching a single bulky peripheral along the bottom of the screen, the patent instead splits the keyboard in half so that a "grip" or "unit" can be mounted on each side of the tablet, or spaced out along the bottom.
According to the patent, both "grips" will will have two usable sides: an upper housing containing half of the QWERTY keys and a lower housing offering the Space and Ctrl keys. These can be slipped onto the tablet sides either keys-up or spacebar-up, depending on the user's preference.
Alternately, the two keyboard units can be unfolded and spread across a flat surface to be used in desktop mode. Both units connect to the device via Bluetooth (or Infrared) or via a USB cable, and may even feature alternative layouts like a QWERTZ, an AZERTY, a Dvorak, a Russian, a Chinese, Japanese or other layouts.
"The first keyboard unit may include a recess 586 for continuous contact with a first dorsal interosseous portion of the user's hands," Patent Volt reports. "The elongated member 402 may be made of a resilient, soft, and deformable material, such as rubber. The elongated member 402 may function to protect the surface of a slate PC when the first keyboard unit 102 is clamped onto the edge of the slate PC."
The keyboard patent application was originally submitted in Q3 2010 and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Q1 2012. For more information about the patent, including additional diagrams to show how the keyboard units will work, head here.