From smart to genius: will design define future gadgets?
Building a device and the suite of office applications to go with it required at least five years gestation, an investment the parent company in the end couldn't make. We were very ahead, said the person, who was not authorized to speak about the project and declined to be identified. We were very sad to see innovation being pushed aside.
At issue now is whether the Apple vs. Samsung verdict might upend such conservative calculations.
It may already be happening: The latest addition to Samsung's Galaxy range of devices - at the centre of the court case - is a camera with a display that looks, feels and acts like an Android smartphone, including WiFi and 3G connections. And Samsung itself has a patent on a dual screen device, according to patent blog patentbolt.com, that looks a lot like the SmartPad.
But there are limits to what can be done with hardware.
There was a lot of ingenuity about the mechanical configuration of designing buttons and cameras and exposing these particular features, said Horace Dediu, a former Nokia engineer who now runs a consultancy and influential blog called Asymco. With the rise of the iPhone all that went away when you have a clean glass display with touch interface.
The problem he says, is that the operating systems available to device makers - Android and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft's Windows Phone - are designed for that shape.
So, if there is
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