IBM LIKES STICKING ITS FINGERS into odd bits of tech - see its disaster drone swarms as evidence - yet plonking a tablet onto a smartwatch might be a step too far.
But Big Blue, according to stuff spied by Lets Go Digital, has a patent for a smartwatch that can fold out into a wrist-mounted tablet, because, er, well we have no idea really; maybe some engineer at IBM watched too much Inspector Gadget and low-budget sci-fi as a kid.
The patent was apparently filed way back in 2016 but was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on 11 June under the title of ‘Variable display size for an electronic display device', and thus was added to the company's extensive catalogue of patents it has its mitts on.
As for the smartwatch itself, it has a screen made up of eight panels, according to the patent, which allows the display to fold from a vertically-orientated rectangular watchface into a something that resembles the size of an iPad mini in one guise and two of the fondle slates side-by-side in another. Those panels supposedly measure 3inx2in, which when folded out form a 12inx8in screen; that's a reasonably big tablet to hold in two hands let alone have strapped to your wrist.
We're all for future tech, but it does look pretty odd. Remember when early adopters of Google Glass, the search giant's somewhat failed in the consumer space smart glasses, got branded as 'Glassholes'. We can imagine early users of this theoretical smartwatch be called names like "smartwatch s**t" and "wearable wan**r".
Nevertheless, we've seen smartwatches with odd displays before, so maybe Big Blue is onto something here.
But the patent gives no clues as to how the device would actually be used, nor why someone would want to go around with a foldable tablet-like display on their wrists. Heck, most companies can't even make a decent smartwatch, let along get away with spectacularly breaking the mould.
Of course, a lot of patents that segue more into the world of the bizarre tend to remain as design renders and sketches on bits of paper rather than fully-fledged products. But if IBM can make a smartwatch with a large foldable display, we won't stand in its way. µ
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