Microsoft patents dual display device with e-paper screen

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As Microsoft prepares for the debut of its next mobile phone – rumored to be the Surface Phone – the Redmond giant recently patented what it calls a “Dual Display Device” which sports a regular display on one side and an e-paper screen on the other.

The new patent comes hot on the heels of another patent application Microsoft filed last week for a multi-layered screen that consists of panels with curved edges which sit below a single upper layer. Many believed it was the design for the rumored Surface Phone. Now, the new patent notes that the normal display would aid in rendering visually dynamic user input controls while the e-paper display would be used to render visually static user input controls.

Microsoft’s patent application notes:

Although many of the examples described herein relate to textual input by the user, the user controls need not relate to textual input. For example, the visually static user controls may comprise controls for a music / video player and the visually dynamic user controls may show thumbnails of album art (e.g. for the particular song or album or related / similar songs) or related videos. The visually dynamic user controls may in addition or alternatively comprise other, dynamic, controls for the music / video player such as a slider for scrolling through the track (where the visually static controls are the controls for stop, play, pause, skip, etc.). Similarly for gaming, the visually static user input controls may provide the standard user input functionality (e.g. left, right, jump) and the dynamic user input controls may provide user input functionality that is only available at certain points in the game or for which the visual representation changes frequently (e.g. where the control displays the number of lives or bullets that a user has left).

The patent also indicates that the e-paper display would be touch sensitive and detachable. It is worth pointing out, though, that Microsoft filed the patent in September 2016. That means it remains unclear when and if the software giant plans to make it a reality. Details of the patent are available on WIPO.

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