Smartphones may be getting bigger but laptops are getting smaller. Computer manufacturers are constantly trying to shrink their laptops as much as they can, with Apple even altering the keyboard itself to save space and Dell removing bezels. Now Google is stepping in with an even better idea: removing the space bar entirely.
Every computer manufacturer is looking for ways to make its laptops smaller and more portable. Apple recently announced a new MacBook that saves space by moving the keys on the keyboard together, and Dell got rid of the bezel on its newest XPS laptop. But a new patent awarded to Google today could lead the way for the most space-saving laptop yet, literally. In the patent, the company outlined a design for a laptop that replaces the space bar with an extended trackpad. The patent suggests that part of the trackpad—separated by a line or a ridge—would serve as a space bar, and the rest would just be a regular trackpad. A set of sensors that sit under the trackpad would determine whether the user wants a space bar or a mouse: A single tap when the user has been typing will create a space, but a tap while the using the trackpad as a mouse will result in a mouse click.