[Arm-netbook] Warning about tablets/netbooks with detachable keyboards

mike.valk at gmail.com mike.valk at gmail.com
Mon Dec 19 16:24:00 GMT 2016

2016-12-17 16:13 GMT+01:00 <chadvellacott at sasktel.net>
>    The "ThinkPad"-series had (or has) convertibles ("X41 Tablet", "X60
> Tablet, Helix) [1].
>    (By the way, the X60-convertible is listed as supported by "libreboot"
> [2].)
>    This line of computers seems to have been distinctively-sturdy.  And
> the X60-convertible was said to have "signature ~ bulletproof build
> quality" and be "more ~ sturdy than any ultralight convertible we have
> used." [3].
>    So maybe how they JOINed the key-board to the screen, was more sturdy
> than other often-problematic "implementations".  (But I have neither seen
> nor read HOW Lenovo connected the two parts.)
>    As far as I see, there are two separate concerns- (1) the
> data-connection (USB here, I guess Luke wrote) (the concern of the original
> post), and (2) how the screen and the key-board are held (joined) together
> (a 2nd thing discussed in this context, like the arms mentioned above).

The X41 and X60 do not have detachable screens. The screens are on a hinge.
The hinge is propriety hardware produced in 'small' volumes. Tailor made
for these laptops.

The Helix is detachable probably uses a tailor made connector produced in
'small' volumes.

By small I mean a big volume enough for production of the
laptops/convertables/tablets and some stock as replacement parts or batch

The EOMA products are based on "ominous parts". Parts not made for specific
products but used in many. Luke recently found that one selected part did
not meet that criteria and had to change the PCB to fit a more ominously
available part.

This makes it the "EOMA" products sustainable and relatively cheap.

The are a few options as far as I see.

1. Magnetic connectors, like the now dropped apple mag-safe(tm) connector.
    It might work as there are "Chinese" knockoffs for micro-usb. But power
2. "Pogo pins" with, neodymium, magnets to snap them to the right place.
Doable but needs testing and probably a few iterations for reliability if
even possible.
3. Dell, Lenovo or HP docking station connectors. Probably widely available
as long as Dell, Lenovo or HP sticks with their format.
4. A 14/15 inch EOMA-68 tablet with a keyboard/battery "dock" connected via
USB cable to the "tablet"

But the current connectors used by the "big" manufacturers are product
specific and quite expensive for low volume production and not sustainable.

>    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkPad_X_Series
> if you press ctrl f and look for "conver"
>    [2] https://libreboot.org/docs/hcl/index.html#supported_laptops_
> x86intel
>    [3] http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/lenovo-thinkpad-x60-tablet
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