IBM patents a smartwatch that unfolds into a tablet

IBM applies for patent on smart watch tablet
Image: IBM

Smartwatches are officially here to stay. Consumers have a vast market to choose from when it comes to what they wear on their wrist. Now, another big player has patented a revolutionary smartwatch that promises to be three gadgets in one.

IBM’s new patent hints at a smartwatch that modularly unfolds into a smartphone and a tablet. The device looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Whether or not it actually makes it to the market, though, is yet to be seen.

Watson Goes Wearable

IBM has been a household name for decades, and the company has been around for over a century. Until now, though, it has never been big in the personal device market. Instead, the corporation has chosen to focus on business-scale computing solutions. However, the company’s newest patent suggests it may have plans to explore other avenues in the future.

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Renderings show a smartwatch that looks like most others on the market, with two notable differences. First, it lacks a bevel on the screen. Though this isn’t the most exciting feature on the watch, it would certainly be a breath of fresh air for such a tiny screen.

Speaking of that screen, the patent design also shows an array of 2 x 3-inch panels that are stacked atop each other when the device is in watch mode. However, the seven screens hiding underneath the main one can be pulled out to change the device’s profile radically. Activating four of them gives users a full-sized smartphone on their wrist. Pulling out all the screens yields an 8 x 6-inch tablet.

Consumers are anxiously waiting to find out how the screen mechanism works. As of now, IBM has not shared any official details. Whether it’s practical to use a watch the size of a tablet also remains to be seen.

Perhaps it could be used as a Captain America shield instead.

Future Speak

Currently, the market for novel new gadgets seems to be limited. Amid a wave of production mishaps and poor reviews, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has crushed consumer interest. Though the technology will inevitably come to the market, consumers will likely be wary when it does.

The same can be said of IBM’s new watch design. While it certainly is intriguing, there’s a good chance it will never come to fruition. The computer giant is currently focusing on artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Therefore, it likely won’t devote the resources necessary to make the watch a success.

However, if anyone is going to do it, IBM will. The company has been at the forefront of technological innovation for decades, and the new watch certainly falls into that category. Consumers hoping to wear a tablet on their wrist should keep an eye out for updates as time goes on.