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Microsoft Patents Module-Based Smartphone

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the swiss-army-phone dept.

Microsoft 101

edumacator writes "It seems Microsoft is working on an interesting concept for smartphones, or maybe they are just adding to their patent war chest. From the article: 'A recent Microsoft patent describes a smartphone with a slide-out section that can house one of several modules, including a QWERTY keyboard, a gaming pad, a second display or a battery pack. Even better: The modules work wirelessly when they aren't docked in the smartphone's slider. Another useful way the modular smartphone concept could be used: The keyboard can be used as a controller while the smartphone acts as a TV-connected media hub.'"

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Handspring Visor (4, Informative)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512364)

Didn't Handspring--now defunct--already do this like 12 years ago? There were all sorts of devices for their PDAS, including a GSM module.

Re:Handspring Visor (3, Informative)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512424)

The name for that interface was Springboard
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springboard_Expansion_Slot [wikipedia.org]

in an ironic way, also the name of the homescreen in iOS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpringBoard [wikipedia.org]

Quick, someone tell Handspring to sue Apple :)

Re:Handspring Visor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512458)

Yes they did although it was a card module that plugged in to the back of the device. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springboard_Expansion_Slot [wikipedia.org]

Link to the Patent:
http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220110230178%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20110230178&RS=DN/20110230178 [uspto.gov]

Link to various handspring springboard devices: http://www.88-keys.com/springboard_modules.htm [88-keys.com]

I will point out that it seems to be a patent application not an approved patent. So once again we have a bad title for TFA.
 

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512656)

Hey, well. Utter cluelessness about the patent process is basically standard for /. articles. Of course this is an application. No one patented anything yet. Springboard might be usable to challenge inventive step, I guess, but I doubt it'll even be enough for novelty.

Re:Handspring Visor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513230)

I'm not sure why springboard modules would quality any more than pcmcia devices, or the multitude of other add-on module interfaces for portable devices.

Re:Handspring Visor (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512566)

Didn't Handspring--now defunct--already do this like 12 years ago? There were all sorts of devices for their PDAS, including a GSM module.

When has that stopped anybody before? The lawyers will just try to find one little thing which is different and claim that it's new and patentable.

A decade ago we got a million patents that said something like "that thing everybody knows about, but on the internet." Now we're going to get a million patents that say something like "that thing everybody knows about, but on a mobile device." Because hey, adding that extra element lets you try to claim that nobody has ever done it before. And the patent office is profoundly lax in issuing rejections for obviousness.

This is a case in point: Making a computing device modular? Who could have ever thought of that? (People in the 1950's, that's who.) But you throw in "it's a phone too" and you've got yourself a patent application, apparently.

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513876)

Making a computing device modular? Who could have ever thought of that? (People in the 1950's, that's who.)

Computers were quite modular these days, just not exactly portable (or even moveable).

CC.

Re:Handspring Visor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519946)

Most laptops are quite portable, especially those little netbook thingzies...

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37515934)

Personally I'm all for it, let them do "in a cell phone!" like they did "on the Internet!" and let them go nuts with it. why? Because the quicker the entire system is completely saturated with BS patents the quicker the whole thing will fall down like a house of cards and hopefully we can get some damned reforms, that's why!

The ONLY way we are gonna get any kind of reforms after citizen united is if supermegacorp gets so buried in patent bullshit that they can't even release a single product here for having it tied up in court for a decade. Meanwhile we are already seeing that the Indians and Chinese don't have these problems and can build upon the ideas of others, such as those cool handhelds that are game emulators, PMPs, you name it they play it. I have no doubt they'll just add some modular plug in controls like thumbpads to one of their iPhone ripoffs and tell MSFT to suck it.

The way the tech industry has grown and come up with so many new ideas has always been to "stand on the shoulders of giants" but the supermegacorps are so damned afraid of anyone competing or not having an insane barrier to entry they are just crippling the entire process. Just as the insane copyrights are locking more and more of our history behind paywalls so too is insane patents locking up more and more of our ideas behind intellectual tollbooths. But in a global market all it takes is one that doesn't play your reindeer games for all that IP shit to fall apart, and currently we have at least two markets that are growing that don't play the game and I'm sure there will be more to follow.

Let the country drown in bullshit IP wars I say, the quicker we can toss this madness and work on something a little more sensible.

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516562)

The ONLY way we are gonna get any kind of reforms after citizen united is if supermegacorp gets so buried in patent bullshit that they can't even release a single product here for having it tied up in court for a decade.

There is a major flaw in this strategy, which is that parasites are sticky.

Let's say we keep issuing ever more bullshit patents. Some coven of asshats the likes of Intellectual Ventures will acquire a few thousand of them and then extract several hundred million dollars each in settlements and lawsuits from shaking down the companies that actually make stuff. So then they've got a fat wallet and a proven business model -- what makes you think they aren't going to spend a billion dollars a year lobbying Congress to make sure it stays that way?

On top of that, you think the foreign manufacturers are going to put pressure on fixing the system, but it's completely the opposite. If the foreign companies are ignoring the patent trolls in their home countries, they can't sell the same products to the US market because they'll get sued the same as anybody else. So what happens? Market division. The US companies can't compete in foreign markets anymore because they have to abide the ridiculous US patent system, and the foreign companies stay out of the US because they don't want to have to either. Now ask yourself what incentive that drives for US companies -- if they fix the US patent system then foreign competition that had been avoiding the US in order to avoid litigation-induced bankruptcy will enter the market and compete with them. By contrast, if they can export the damage of software patents through treaties or foreign lobbying then they can use the warchests they originally built to balance one another to destroy their foreign competition.

Parasites are sticky and thrive on inefficiency. If you have fast-paced competition to be first to market, the parasites can't survive. If you let the market converge into a collection of oligopolies who stamp out innovative new competitors through litigation and resign themselves to paying the occasional tithe to a patent troll out of their monopoly rents, there could be nobody left without a vested interest in the status quo.

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37517304)

Excellent points.

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523792)

Did you miss the "supermegacorp buried in bullshit" part of my theory? If Apple can't bring in a single iPhone, if MSFT's customers can't bring in a single windows based anything, all because the trolls have taken over the courts, who do you think has more money, IBM,MSFT,Apple, etc or the trolls?

The ONLY way you are gonna get real reforms now that citizens united means they can just write a check (and we have a member of SCOTUS taking bribes) is by having supermegacorps like Apple, MSFT, Sony, Google, etc, ALL get bit right in the ass. All the damned products are made in China now so all it takes is ONE injunction to throw a big fat monkey wrench into their quarterly earnings and you KNOW how much the day traders that rules Wall Street now hate those that miss the earnings!

You watch, once Apple,MSFT and Google all start getting giant fucking monkey wrenches thrown into their plans thanks to trolls flinging them like monkeys flinging shit THEN AND ONLY THEN will you "suddenly" have both the talking heads and the congress critters talking about how we "need real reform to get America innovating again". hell that will probably be the marketing slogan, "Reform for an innovative America".

Because if you think the people have a shot of getting anything changed I have a nice bridge you might be interested in. After all if they listened to the people we wouldn't be blowing money on THREE wars, or handing billion dollar checks to "our allies", or paying for a military that is so frankly overblown, or cutting aid for the poor and elderly, or having every politician acting like taxing a rich man is like kicking Jesus in the nads. Nope the supermegacorps call the shots, and when the trolls hit them one too many times in the pocketbooks THEN we'll see change. After all with their money they can crush the competition in a myriad of other ways besides patents and copyrights. Collusion and bribery for example.

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37527482)

Did you miss the "supermegacorp buried in bullshit" part of my theory?

I did not. The trouble is that that isn't what will happen. Nobody is really going to get a permanent injunction against the iPhone and then try to enforce it permanently. Especially not bidirectionally -- if you have an injunction against them and they get an injunction against you then you're both better off to sit down at the negotiating table. It's all just leverage in negotiating royalties or cross-licensing agreements. And it's largely a zero-sum game -- for every loser there is a winner who will be there lobbying Congress to keep their advantage, whether it's a megacorp crushing its smaller competitors or a patent troll putting a private tax on digital products and putting the money towards its lobbying efforts.

After all with their money they can crush the competition in a myriad of other ways besides patents and copyrights. Collusion and bribery for example.

Collusion doesn't work in a free market with low barriers to entry, which is what software would be without software patents. Bribery doesn't work without collusion because your competitors just pay bribes the other way and you don't get results. And both collusion and bribery are illegal.

Re:Handspring Visor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513210)

I actually had a cdma module for my handspring visor prism from SprintPCS. Worked rather nicely, and had tons of "apps" for it :p

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514092)

Yes, but my first thought was the BUGbase:

http://store.buglabs.net/ [buglabs.net]

Re:Handspring Visor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37514264)

"modules work wirelessly when they aren't docked in the smartphone's slider". Springboard did that?

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

atisss (1661313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516850)

Did you read the "battery pack"? It will continue to work wirelessly when separated :p

Star Trek: tNG (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514328)

This sounds pretty much identical to the tricorders, especially the ones used by the medics that had a small wireless module that they could use for scanning specific points.

It's often said that Life immitates Art, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't meant to mean Corporations patent sci-fi entertainment creations.

Or does someone have a patent on flying cars and warp engines?

-Rick

Re:Star Trek: tNG (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514964)

Re:Star Trek: tNG (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37515088)

Two things:
First - That thing is BAD ASS!!! I want one

Second - That patent appears pretty specific and applies to one precise implementation of dual-rotor elevation control. The MS patent appears much more vague, effectively allowing them to patent ALL such devices.

If the flying car patent did not have the rotors drawn in, and instead had black boxes labeled "lift providing system here", I would be just as irate with it.

-Rick

Re:Star Trek: tNG (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520082)

ad 1st: and it is not exactly a new idea, I wanted one myself when I was still a child, see here [roadabletimes.com]

ad 2nd: but it is a stolen idea

CC.

Re:Star Trek: tNG (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516444)

awesome how it has hot rod style mufflers sticking out the side.

Just an expansion slot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37517588)

My laptop has a nice spot for add-on modules called a PCMCIA slot. I can also pull out my dvd drive and replace it with a hard drive or a floppy (on the older laptop).

Doing this with a smart phone doesn't sound remotely innovative to me. Still, it doesn't sound like a bad idea, just not a new one.

Re:Handspring Visor (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518036)

That's too freaking generic. You can't patent the modularization of hardware or software. Cars are modularized, computers are already modularized. This is stupidity. So, Microsoft is what "filing first" for every freaking idea while understanding that they can modify later when/if they are rejected?

Utterly moronic.

War Chest (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512366)

It's unlikely to be for anything else. Not that this is particularly innovative, but they want to have a government enforced monopoly on the concept to secure it exclusively for their own mobile OS.

Re:War Chest (1, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512406)

Haven't you noticed? Microsoft is now officially a patent troll, making far more profits trolling Android than their own Windows mobile O/S [bgr.com] .

Re:War Chest (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514786)

I don't know what's worse:
-Microsoft being a patent troll, or;
-Stupid companies buying it.

Wait, wait, wait. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512372)

Did you just suggest that Microsoft is creating wireless batteries for smartphones?

Prior art? (5, Informative)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512378)

http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/5578/modu-modular-mobile-phone.html [designboom.com]

(and this is just the first link of a google search [google.com.br] ...)

Re:Prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512574)

Didn't Google buy them?

Re:Prior art? (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512912)

Yes, they did [cnet.com] !

This is going to be interesting...

Re:Prior art? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516298)

Which is probably why Microsoft is racing off to get a patent. They have figured out how to reword the exact same concept but ambiguous enough to get through. "Our stuff gets added TO the phone". "Their phone gets added TO stuff". The patent office is too stupid to see that they are the same thing. Makers of bluetooth keyboards, and the like, should be worried too.

Re:Prior art? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516476)

And since we just got shafted with "patent reform" and are now a first to file country, prior art and the actual invention and production of products is now irrelevant, making this a valid patent.

Re:Prior art? (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522014)

Not how "first to file" works. The rules about prior art is unchanged. The only thing that changed was what happens if two people file for the same patent, and both of them claimed to have been working on it secretly for a long time! Rules about prior art, obviousness, etc., are completely unaffected. Anything published counts as prior art, just like it always did.

Re:Prior art? (5, Funny)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512628)

(and this is just the first link of a google search...)

That's the problem. They did a search on Bing and didn't find anything.

Re:Prior art? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512940)

JESUS
If only I weren't an AC, and had mod points!

Re:Prior art? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513772)

GOD
If only I weren't fapping in another tab! Oh Jesus!

Re:Prior art? (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514044)

Didn't the recent changes in patent law make it easier to submit prior art on a filed patent? Anyone know the procedure to submit this product as prior art?

Re:Prior art? (1, Informative)

lucidlyTwisted (2371896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512994)

Hasn't the "First to File" rule changed all this in the USA? Whether or not prior art exists is now moot, it is the first to file a patent that is the important thing. So if those designers did not patent their idea, they are out of luck.

Please someone, correct me if I am wrong in this.

Re:Prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513086)

first to file only matter to determine WHO gets the patent, not if the patent is valid or not which is what prior art is used for.

Re:Prior art? (3, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513092)

Prior art still exists, it just has to be published. From the act:

A person shall be entitled to a patent unlessâ"

â(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or

â(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date[3] of the claimed invention.

The thing is that before when two inventors claimed the same patent, you'd go to court and try to find private documents, witnesses, etc. to prove you had invent it first. Now, if you didn't publish the work publicly, it's the file date that counts.
This has you can see saves a bunch of time; whether it's more or less fair is arguable.

Re:Prior art? (1)

lucidlyTwisted (2371896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513298)

That's clearer now, thanks!

Title is wrong (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37525070)

Microsoft didn't patent modular phones, but a specific design that uses a slider to store the modules. At least theoretically, you can't patent an idea, only an implementation of it.

wireless power, I knew it!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512382)

battery pack ... "Even better: The modules work wirelessly when..." *sigh*

Re:wireless power, I knew it!!! (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512426)

I guess it uses Tesla-style stratospheric wireless power transmission :-)

Re:wireless power, I knew it!!! (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512530)

My next cell phone could come with a 100' tesla tower?
Awesome! Allied forced aren't getting anywhere near my ore refinery now.

Re:wireless power, I knew it!!! (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512544)

Well they said cellular, they didn't say mobile :-)

Re:wireless power, I knew it!!! (1)

atisss (1661313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516904)

I guess it will have SMB password hashing weakness which will allow me to hack and drain bypasser's wireless batteries.

Re:wireless power, I knew it!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37514828)

Presumably you would plug in the battery module and use the other ones wirelessly so that you don't have to choose between having an extra battery and having a keyboard.

Awesome (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512390)

I want the wireless battery pack to power my next phone too!

Re:Awesome (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514832)

Sadly, the current state of wireless power is that it isn't 100% efficient (which is kinda obvious). So you probably don't want to shave 25% battery life off of your mobile...

Re:Awesome (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518268)

Have you got a 100% efficient battery? 0o

Re:Awesome (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518460)

No and I definately don't want to reduce the efficiency further...

First to register vs first to invent (1)

Mistakill (965922) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512462)

This is what will happen alot... prior art? pft just apply for the patent, let the lawyers sort it out later

Re:First to register vs first to invent (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512692)

First to file changes absolutely nothing with respect to prior art requirements. Prior art is still prior art, whether patented or not.

The only case where first to file vs first to invent matters is when there are two patents for the same thing, and priority needs to be determined.

Re:First to register vs first to invent (1)

jeffrey.endres (1630883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512918)

Bah! If you have two patents for the same thing created independently, then the idea is obvious. Both denied!

What innovation! (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512472)

Genius! Microsoft finally gets around to patenting the springboard [wikipedia.org] .

They must think we all have alzheimer's. "Don't worry, that was more than a decade ago. Nobody is going to remember."

Re:What innovation! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512496)

All that matters is that someone will have to pay either their lawyers or Microsoft big piles of money if they intend on doing something like this.

Re:What innovation! (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37515778)

???

Profit!

Alternately, they'll spend a lot of money pursuing this in court and prior art will trip them up. At least, if there's any justice left in the world.

A Question (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512538)

With the current rules in obtaining a patent, can anybody grab hold of a patent for everything that you see in Sci-Fi films even though that it still does not exists?

Re:A Question (1)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512844)

Not really, for two reasons.

1) To have a valid patent, you need to make an enabling disclosure. i.e. describe it in enough detail that someone can make it. If it's inner workings are just fiction then you can't really describe how it works.

2) Even if there is enough information in your sci fi film to actually make one, the film itself is prior art.

Re:A Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512934)

you can patent _how_ that thing works, as long as it's not obvious.

microsoft could patent the protocol/methods how these devices communicate, for example, but this modular general idea.. hell no.

Re:A Question (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530364)

I'll patent the launch loop. It will make me a millionaire.

OGO CT-25 "Clips" (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512560)

The OGO had something similar with it "Clips" that slid in and out. There was all kinds of things you could slide out. There was even a bottle opener, a tiny tiny blue tooth hand set so you didn't have to hold the whole phone to your head, a slide out blue tooth camera, one that was just to add some flashing lights for fun, etc.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2159119,00.asp [pcmag.com]

google recently acquired some patents by Modu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512582)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modu

Re:google recently acquired some patents by Modu (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512630)

This is going to SUCK.

Wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512608)

I for one really look forward to the new wireless battery pack!

Swiss Army Phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512640)

More like lawyer army phone

Microsoft invented the drawer... (1)

Foske (144771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512676)

Oh wait, it's not general purpose, so this must be patentable !

wireless battery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512680)

Wireless second battery pack? Brilliant!

Next up, patenting Legos (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512802)

nuff sed

Re:Next up, patenting Legos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512896)

Do you also say "meccanos"?

Ma! (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37512874)

Ma! Where the heck is my remote, pad, camera and goddamnit battery! For Christ sakes! I just cant go to skooll looking like some retarded iPhone user!

Idea stolen from my engadget comment? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513062)

http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/26/how-would-you-change-sony-ericssons-xperia-x1/2#comments [engadget.com]

Do a find in page for the word "bottom" or "slide" or "pop out"

Btw I am sure I made the same comment other places and also with and without the LCD aspect .. however engadget doesnt have an easy way to wade through or search through comments to find the earliest one..

Re:Idea stolen from my engadget comment? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513774)

Unfortunately, I don't think a comment on a forum counts as prior art. In fact, anything on the internet is suspicious, since anything could have had its time stamp tampered with.

Re:Idea stolen from my engadget comment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37515984)

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Did you design it? Did you put any sort of work into it? Did you (and most importantly) patent it? Did you have the resources to actually build the device? Have you done any sort of user testing? I bet MS has done all of the above.

This sounds more like a physical patent to me. There are probably thousands of similar things in there. For example the NES from days of yor. Change out a cart to get a whole different set of functionality. You can bet cash they had patents on that. But it was probably very narrow to their physical form factor.

Take the telephone of Mr. Bell. He beat someone else out by patenting it by a few days. They both came up with the same idea. Also many had the idea before them... But those two actually MADE it.

Re:Idea stolen from my engadget comment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518070)

Legit Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513110)

I don't understand the outrage and cannot agree with the examples of prior art given by previous posts. This Module-System is new and innovative enough to allow for a valid patent. Neither the aforementioned Springboard, nor the OGO count as prior art, because neither is a slideable system. It is a rare occasion that MS is innovative. Let's focus on bashing them where they haven't been and still received legal backup (the double click, the "Windows" brand name, the OOXML ISO and ECMA certification, the patent on .NET apps receiving data in binary format from SQL Server, the FAT patent, the patent on Videoencoding on the GPU, etc.)

Re:Legit Patent (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513442)

Did you read my comment? The one above yours.

Re:Legit Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513866)

Unfortunately i didn't. I should have reloaded prior to posting. I did not include your post in my comment, i was mostly referring to the Handspring product, which pretty clearly isn't prior art.

I think you might even have inspired MS to their patent application, since many of their employees are avid readers of sites like Engadget; Especially the ones in R&D. I think it's unfortunately, especially under current anti-competitive jurisdiction in the US you will have a chance winning a trial. Unless you might have a technical paper in which you propose your design and maybe even have pitched it to a company.

IANAL, but i think the only option you have in that matter is to be able to brag about how Microsoft successfully stole you idea.

I think I have one of those. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37513370)

Mine is called a "computer".

Not patented yet (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513680)

The article is pretty terrible in terms of hiding the link to the document they're referring to, but I can only assume they mean their first link. It's to a patent application, which is not a patent . Maybe someday it will become a patent, but not today.

Re:Not patented yet (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37515062)

Pretty much a pointless patent app, why because mobile smart phone gains it usability from basically being an all in one appliance, the docking station is still considered more of a hindrance than a benefit. Just what is needed more bits to loose and buy again and again and again.

This smells more like a patent that is targeted at all devices, not just phones, a back-door to future prevention of competition high cost bluff lawsuits. Did they nominate size limits, or would it extend to tablets and even larger (desktops that are actually "the tops of desks")

At least look at the patent, Freetards. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37514114)

The springboard is irrelevant, you idiots. This is a specific patent for a phone that has a sliding module port, not the fucking idea of a modular phone in general.
Christ, you people are worse than Apple fanboys with your FOSS Reality Distortion Fields. You don't like Macfags and Winfags spouting lies and bull about the Linux Kernel, GNU, FreeBSD, or FOSS in general, then try to look at the truth of things before bashing it because it's Microsoft.

Re:At least look at the patent, Freetards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37514254)

Maybe it's because it's more patent-happy BS, not because it's Microsoft. /. has been focusing on patent issues lately far more than Microsoft, so I believe your perception of how the article is biased, in and of itself, is biased.

Might want to ask yourself some questions.

Relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37514920)

Most people here are just haters. They haven't done anything in their life that would make their opinion relevant. They desperately want people to hate microsoft and ballmer/gates because they themselves hate them. But the reality is most non-zealots regard them as successful businessmen and admire and respect them.

Fijitsu (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514388)

Immediately thought of the Fujitsu F-04B [youtube.com] . I guess since that wasn't released on this side of the Pacific, they think it doesn't count.

Re:Fijitsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37515640)

I teach in Japan and last year, one of my students showed her fujitsu F-04B phone to me during our break. As a gadget geek, I thought It was pretty cool! Now I read slashdot and see that Microsoft has tried to patent a "new" idea. nudge, nudge, wink, wink. My goodness, the folka in Redmond are soooooo creative . . . . NOT!

MS Office Labs Vision 2019 (1)

InsertCleverUsername (950130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514602)

Here are a couple of videos from MS Office Labs [istartedsomething.com] with their vision of what MS products might look like in 2019. Check out the second vid at about 2:05 to see a modular phone system in action.

Re:MS Office Labs Vision 2019 (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37515400)

That video was pretty, but disappointing. Basically, except for full colour e-ink and edge to edge displays, Microsoft thinks that in eight years things are going to be the same as they are today except that we'll all have bought a lot more Microsoft devices.

Re:MS Office Labs Vision 2019 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37516520)

Microsoft thinks that in eight years things are going to be the same as they are today except that we'll all have bought a lot more Microsoft devices.

Yeah... Why would I want a Microsoft real-time, translating, multi-touch, whiteboard/video wall when there are so many others to choose from?

Offtopic (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37514608)

Sorry for being offtopic, but didn't there used to be a far more uglier Borg-Gates icon? Why the change?

Modu (1)

demiurg (108464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37515302)

This is precisely what (now defunct) Israeli startup Modu tried to develop. They failed, but their patent portfolio was acquired by Google.

Bad reporting (again, sigh) (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516686)

This is an application, not a patent, and the original journalist is either ignorant or being sensationalist (you decide). Here's a link from the article to the published app:

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220110230178%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20110230178&RS=DN/20110230178 [uspto.gov]

A quick check of the USPTO website's "public PAIR" using the application serial number 12/726252 (right off the publication data) shows that the application has not even been looked at yet for patentability. But let's not let facts get in the way of journalism.

Drawer (1)

shayd2 (1689926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37516724)

So, Microsoft is pattenting a drawer?

so we are now adding: .. on a smartphone? (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518612)

So, I guess the old formula:

(old patent) + "on a computer"

is now:

(old patent) + "on a smartphone"

Guess i got to keep up with the times.

Re:so we are now adding: .. on a smartphone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519608)

I'm surprised you missed all of those bullshit patents that Apple has been throwing around recently.

Limited (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37525130)

Although it's a good idea to offer modularity instead of trying to fit everything into a phone this method looks very limited, working only with one electronic module.
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