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Patent application #20040201595, filed April 11, 2003, describes a screen that rotates based on orientation. Here is its claim 1:

A method for orienting a display image, said method comprising the steps of:

  • sensing at least one characteristic of an object;
  • determining an orientation of said object from at least one of said at least one sensed characteristic;
  • and orienting said display image relative to said determined orientation of said object.

I can not believe there is not prior art for this. I'm interested if anyone has used a device that could put the screen in either layout or portrait based on how the device was held prior to 2003?

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Welcome to SE Ask Patents. I think your question will be more useful if you consider the dependent claims. As it is, the question barely skims the surface of the claimed inventions. Check out the more exotic claims - orientation confirmed based on audio or biometric input; orientation based on optical or image sensor; orientation based on voice command; etc. Your question will be much more readily answered if you focus on specific claims. –  user96 Sep 24 '12 at 16:18
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And a link to the patent US20040201595 on Google is often considered helpful. –  Joshua Drake Sep 24 '12 at 16:55
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5 Answers

This is precisely what the Radius Pivot display did. Here's a review of it published in 1990, and a video demonstration.

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If you check Public PAIR you can see that the claims have changed drastically (see the 23rd page of the Appeal Brief filed 3-09-2011) since the application was published. It is also currently waiting a decision for the internal USPTO Appeal board as the Applicant appealed the examiner's rejection.

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Thanks. I just learned about Public PAIR from your answer. –  Raphael Wimmer Sep 25 '12 at 15:18
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I can't help with your specific question but as background it may be worth noting that low-cost, small and robust 'solid state accelerometers' (based on micromachined/etched silicon) -used to detect which way is 'up'- only emerged onto the market in the early 2000's. Prior to that you'd have to use weighted mechanical switches or variations of mercury tilt switches, which are a bit clunky by comparison.

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I agree with Plepleus and others that the claim is not just "sensing orientation and rotating the screen accordingly".

Just for completeness' sake (and for search engines, etc.), "Sensing techniques for mobile interaction" (Hinckley et al., 2000) presents a mobile device that dynamically changes the orientation of screen content based on accelerometer readings. The paper also contains a whole page of implementation details.

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I think so. Check the iPAQ PDA's. As I recall they used to do that and I think they came out in 2000. You should also check the Handsprings because I think they used to do that too.

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