Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones – the kind where upon the first time you hear it you can't help but wonder why no one thought of something so obviously useful before. That's the vibe we're getting from one of Google's latest patents, which lets you use your smartphone for calls even if it's being held upside-down.
Thanks to all the hardware sensors on board, our phones have no trouble adjusting their displays to accommodate for the orientation in which we're holding them. Even if it's trivial to make your screen display correctly when holding a handset upside-down, the phone's microphone and speaker would be in the wrong places, preventing you from making calls. Enter: Google's idea.
Google suggests that manufacturers place both a microphone as well as a speaker on both ends of smartphones. That way, software can use that same sensor data the display reads in order to turn itself in the right direction to decide which microphone/speaker pair to enable. Sure, volume buttons and the like would be in the wrong places when upside-down, but at least you could quickly pick up and answer an incoming call without taking that split second to make sure you're holding the phone right.
Maybe it wouldn't work so well for phone designs with a pronounced "chin" like the HTC One V, but for plain old slates, this might be an idea worth considering. Maybe Motorola might be interested?