Microsoft may have cancelled their lovable Courier project, but Sony's patent application for a dual-screened "Electronic Book With Enhanced Features" may pick up where Microsoft left off.
The device is fantastically simple: In its portrait mode, you have a dual screened, two-page book. In its landscape mode, the bottom screen can change to a virtual keyboard, allowing you to use the device like a netbook. Interesting ergonomics, for sure.
But a line that we almost missed? The device would have a "solar charger receptacle on the housing and connectible to a solar charger to charge a battery in the housing". Not only is Sony looking at a new type of dual-screened device; they want to make it solar-powered to boot.
How is it possible, however, that solar could ever drive processor-intensive hardware? We may find a clue in that the diction of the patent is really focused on this dual-screened device as ebook reader rather than a multifunctional Courier... thing. In the scheme of patents vs marketed devices, this diction is a quibble - it doesn't necessarily dictate anything for the would-be actualised product. But it certainly seems silly for Sony to consider solar for any device that does much more than sip on power. [Patent Office via GoRumors via CrunchGear]