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Lenovo patents folding handgrip keyboard for tablets

Tablets and smartphone may be forcing many users to get used to touch keyboards, but peripheral manufacturers still offer ways of adding a physical keyboard to such portable devices. Typically they take the form of a wired or wireless keyboard you connect when needed, but there’s also a growing number of keyboards that double as cases for tablets.

The issue with such peripherals is they are bulky and usually only fit a specific model of tablet. Lenovo is trying to solve both those problems by developing a split design, folding handgrip keyboard that could fit any number of devices.

The handgrip keyboard design has been discovered in a patent filing the Chinese company made back in 2010, but wasn’t made public until earlier this year. It consists of two keyboard sections that fold around a tablet to grip it. The keyboard sections communicate with the tablet wirelessly through Bluetooth or infrared, and they can therefore be positioned anywhere on a tablet’s casing to suit the user’s needs.

The key layout follows the QWERTY standard, but several different layouts are thought to have been developed. As the sections fold around the tablet, it’s possible to have keys available on both the front and back. The user could even decide which way around to have the sections so as to put the keys underneath their fingers or thumbs when gripping the tablet.

There’s no word on when or if Lenovo intends to release this concept to market, but it does come with a number of advantages over a typical tablet keyboard peripheral. The folding design means they won’t take up much space in a bag when not in use. The wireless connection means they won’t block a port and can be positioned depending on the tablet how you like to grip your device. It may also be possible to just use one so a combination of touch and key input is possible.

Read more at Patent Bolt

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