Several Chromebook models currently come in LTE-enabled variants for accessing the web wherever you happen to be, but a recent Google patent suggests the company may have another idea for how to connect its Chrome OS devices on the go. The patent, which was submitted to the USPTO back in 2012 and approved earlier this year, describes a notebook tablet with a slot to slide in a specially-designed smartphone.
The main purpose of the design would be to transfer your phone’s data connection to your laptop, though the computer would still work on its own without an Internet connection. Both devices function separately, but by sliding them together you could make voice or video calls from your laptop, and even charge your smartphone using the notebook’s battery. The design for this device suggests you’d need to commit to both a new laptop and a new smartphone, however, and the combination probably wouldn’t be very cheap.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this sort of combination. Motorola tried it years ago with the Atrix 4G and its laptop dock, and Asus has been selling its PadFone products that offer similar functionality, though with a tablet and smartphone. for years.
There’s no mention of either Android or Chrome OS anywhere in Google’s patent, but the company’s respective mobile and desktop operating systems would likely come in to play if this device ever hits the market. Google says it has no plans to merge the two systems any time soon, but at the very least Android and Chrome OS would need to be at least a little compatible for this design to actually work. In the years since the search giant drew up these sketches it has found other ways to accomplish many of the same functions, but we’d still be interested to see just what Google’s smartphone-laptop combo might actually work.