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It seems every tablet manufacturer is magnetically drawn to smart covers these days.

Google’s Nexus 7 device apparently has magnetic sensors that are suited to such an add-on, one curious owner recently discovered (see video embedded below). The sensors are aligned on the bottom left-hand portion of the Nexus 7, when in portrait mode.

“Simply take a magnet and put it against the front or back of your Nexus 7 along the bottom left-hand side  while in portrait mode with the display on, and you can see the effect for yourself,” writes the site.

So far, Google has not released any products to take advantage of this undocumented feature. ASUS does market something called a “smart cover,”  but it opens from right to left.

Google is not the only Apple rival becoming wise to the world of smart covers. Microsoft’s Surface tablet also includes a magnetic feature. The company has bigger plans than just a cool way to cover the tablet screen, however. The tablet will use a magnetic connection to attach a cover, which also serves as a stand or keyboard, according to a video.

But with Apple’s penchant for hauling competitors into court over patents, shouldn’t  Google and Microsoft be worried? It appears Apple’s patent on the smart cover encompasses only how the cover attaches and not specifically on how the cover interacts with a device. So, Google and others should be in the clear.

Still, consumers have to wonder how many ‘smart’ covers can be produced before such products produce only yawns. For tablet makers, a smart cover will likely do little on its own to put a dent in Apple’s market lead.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat


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