The clamshell design laptop was first introduced in 1982, and let's face it, it's almost impossible to improve upon. Not that this has stopped some trying. We trawled Google patents to bring you the 22 weirdest laptop designs.
The vast majority of portable computers use the clamshell design that was introduced by Grid Systems in 1982 - because it works well.
However, that hasn't stopped some poor souls believing they can improve upon it, with, among others, folding screens, folding keyboards and even tri-fold clamshells. We trawled Google Patents to bring you the 22 weirdest laptop designs.
Patent filed: October 18th, 1982
Here's the groundbreaking granddaddy of all clamshell-style laptops- Grid's Compass 1101, which also sported other, less lasting innovations such as a plasma display and bubble memory.
The hinge was in the middle rather than the edge, but machines such as the TRS-80 Model 200 soon changed that. I wish my MacBook Pro had a fold-out foot like the one seen here.
Three-layered laptop computer
Patent filed: October 27th, 1987
Okay, I understand that not every portable computer can be a wafer-thin MacBook Air. But this one seemingly combines an Apple II-like computer with a super-chunky display with an Epson FX80-style dot matrix printer-it looks like it would have made for a machine that was around eight inches thick.
I make no guesses about how much the whole contraption would have weighed, but I bet the shoulder strap depicted in this illustration was there out of necessity.
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NEXT PAGE: Notebook mountable computer system
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- Hands-free, user-supported portable computer
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- Ergonomic laptop computer having display positioning supports
- Laptop computer with integrated telephone
- Folding computer
- Multipurpose, folding, portable computer
- Notebook computer with ergonomic stand
- Laptop computer with ergonomically enhanced interface features