July 11, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
The Nexus 7 has a lot going for it. There’s that great price, solid gaming, and all the other virtues mentioned in my review of the device. But is it possible that ASUS and Google’s new tablet also houses a magnetic sensor that can power a smart cover?
A Nexus 7 owner has posted a video demonstrating what appears to be a magnetic sensor located in the lower left corner of the tablet (when held in portrait mode). When placing a magnet over the corner, the screen of the device shuts off, and when it is removed, it comes back on. We can’t say if this is a design feature or just an electronic device acting wonky when you put a magnet over it, but we could be in for something very interesting if it indeed is a design feature.
It’s possible that the Nexus 7 will have its own Smart Cover similar to the one used on the iPad 2. Latching on to the device, the cover and the tablet detect each other based on magnets, and automatically turn on or off. ASUS recently teased that it is launching a series of covers in a few weeks, but no mention was made of the covers having the ability to trigger screen actions.
Apple holds a patent on smart covers, but it’s not absolute. If ASUS is actually making cases, it would have to have a specific feature in order to infringe. We obviously can’t tell if this violates Apple’s patent yet, but based on past history, I’m sure there are some lawyers at Infinite Loop waiting to press Command+P on a strongly-worded legal notice.