Not surprisingly, Microsoft hasn't been the only company working on a tablet-laptop hybrid system. A U.S. patent application published late last month reveals that Lenovo has its own solution to the problem that the Microsoft Surface tries to address.
The patent application, which was actually filed way back on Christmas eve in 2010, is in some respects already outdated. For example, it describes a tablet with Android and an ARM processor that can be snapped into a base unit with a keyboard running Windows on Intel processors. A handful of related patent applications describe the way in which the two systems would work together, or as they say it in patent speak:
Systems and Methods for Achieving Continuation of Experience Between Components In a Hybrid Environment
That's just one title from one of the patent applications filed around the same time as the one for the tablet/laptop hybrid itself -- there's others for how the components communicate and switch back and forth, as well as share the display and wireless communications.