Portable computer with removable bottom component housing

Electricity: electrical systems and devices – Housing or mounting assemblies with diverse electrical... – For electronic systems and devices

Reexamination Certificate

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Reexamination Certificate




1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to electronic apparatus and, in a preferred embodiment thereof, more particularly relates to a portable notebook computer having removably secured to the bottom side of its base housing a specially configured auxiliary component housing.
2. Description of Related Art
Modern portable notebook computers are typically provided with a media storage device such as a floppy disk drive and/or a multimedia device such as a CD-ROM/DVD device. These media devices may be carried within the base housing portion of the notebook computer or be a separate portion of the overall portable computer system which must be externally connected to the base housing. In this case, the basic computer has a considerably smaller spatial envelope, and tends to be substantially lighter and more portable, due to a corresponding reduction in the required size of its base housing.
One conventional method of providing the computer with external media device capability is to simply provide, for example, an external floppy drive device which has a cable that may be releasably plugged into the computer base housing, with the externally floppy drive device sitting off to one side of the base housing on a work surface such as a desktop area. This method of selectively augmenting the functionality of a notebook computer tends to be rather cumbersome, and undesirably requires additional desktop work space.
Another previously proposed and somewhat more desirable technique for providing for the external connection to a notebook computer base housing of auxiliary computer components such as media devices has been to package such components in an additional rectangular housing which releasably attaches to the underside of the base housing and occupies its entire vertical footprint, thereby substantially increasing the height of the overall notebook computer base structure along the entire underside area of the base housing portion of the computer.
While this approach requires less workspace area when the computer (with the auxiliary housing operatively attached to the underside of its base housing) is placed atop, for example, a desktop, it presents various problems, limitations and disadvantages of its own. For example, as mentioned above, the entire height of the notebook computer is increased, thereby undesirably making the previously slim computer appear considerably thicker - a characteristic which may trigger buyer resistance in an era where notebook computers are increasingly being packaged in thinner and thinner packages.
Additionally, when the computer is placed on a horizontal work surface a conventionally configured additional housing attached to the underside of the computer base housing raises the computer keyboard to a potentially uncomfortable typing height while maintaining the elevated keyboard in a parallel relationship with the underlying desktop work surface. If the user prefers an upwardly and rearwardly sloping keyboard orientation, suitable support feet must be added to the overall computer apparatus to accommodate this user preference.
From the foregoing It can be readily seen that a need exists for an improved structure for packaging auxiliary components which may be removably attached to the underside of a portable computer base housing. It is to this need that the present invention is directed.
In carrying out principles of the present invention, in accordance with a preferred embodiment thereof, electronic apparatus is provided which is representatively in the form of a portable notebook computer having a base housing to which a display screen is pivotally secured. The base housing has a plurality of electronic components operatively disposed in its interior, and the apparatus further comprises an auxiliary housing having top and bottom sides and an interior in which at least one auxiliary component is operatively disposed. Illustratively, a media storage device, representatively a floppy disk drive, and a multimedia drive unit, representatively a CD ROM/DVD drive unit, are operatively disposed within the auxiliary housing.
The auxiliary housing is operatively securable to the bottom side of the base housing and is configured and positioned on the bottom base housing side in a manner such that when the base housing is placed atop a horizontal support surface the auxiliary housing causes the base housing (and thus the keyboard thereon) to be rearwardly and upwardly sloped relative to the support surface at a predetermined tilt angle which is representatively within the range of from about 8.5 degrees to about 9.5 degrees, and is preferably about 8.8 degrees.
According to features of the invention, the auxiliary housing has a generally wedge-shaped exterior spatial envelope, and extends along only a rear portion of the bottom side of the base housing when operatively attached thereto.
In the illustrated preferred embodiment of the electronic apparatus, the base and auxiliary housings have cooperatively interengageable electrical connectors thereon which, when interengaged, electrically couple the base and auxiliary housing components. The base and auxiliary housings also have cooperatively engageable latch structures which function, in response to placement of the auxiliary housing against the underside of the base housing, to automatically and releasably latch the auxiliary housing to the base housing. The auxiliary housing is preferably configured to be inset from opposite left and right ends of the base housing to reduce, from a visual aesthetic standpoint, the noticeable thickening of the base portion of the computer caused by the attachment thereto of the auxiliary component housing. To further expand the functionality of the electronic apparatus, a docking station electrical connector is disposed on the underside of the auxiliary housing to permit the computer to be placed atop and electrically coupled to an underlying computer docking station.

patent: 5592362 (1997-01-01), Ohgami et al.
Fujitsu “Lifebook L Series”Brochure Sheet (Fall/Winter 1998).
Fujitsu “Notebook Accessories”Brochure (Fall/Winter 1998).


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