Surface Neo could get a super-efficient virtual touchpad

Don Sharpe
by Don Sharpe
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  • Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Duo and Surface Neo are inherently new form factors that many users haven’t experienced before.
  • Surface Neo may get a virtual trackpad with extra functionality and automatic support for multiple input modes.
  • To catch up with the latest features added to the device, check out our Surface Neo section.
  • Also, don't forget to visit the Microsoft page for more updates and news.
Microsoft virtual trackpad patent

Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Duo and Surface Neo are inherently new form factors that many users haven’t experienced before.

They’re foldable, and their dual-screen construction presents Microsoft with multiple ways to enhance the user experience.

In its latest effort toward making the most of the futuristic form factors, the company just filed a virtual touchpad patent for dual-screen devices.

Surface Neo to get a modeless virtual trackpad

The patent that Microsoft published on June 11, 2020 describes tech that expands the functionality of virtual on-screen trackpads. In this context, the term modeless means that the user doesn’t have to switch between input modes to utilize the extra functions that this new feature provides.

The disclosed technologies address the technical problems described above by augmenting the functionality provided by virtual on screen trackpads without requiring users to switch between modes. In this way, users can access extended functionality without interfering with expected traditional trackpad functionality.

According the patent, the modeless virtual on-screen trackpad is for a two-screen hinged device that looks like a traditional laptop. That sounds like a Surface Neo description.

Microsoft says that traditional virtual trackpads are limited in that they don’t support the full functionality of their physical alternatives. In other words, they only let you perform basic functions like moving the cursor, scrolling, and clicking.

In case such a virtual touchpad offers extra functionality, you have to keep changing the input mode to use it.

But the virtual touchpad that Microsoft patented should support additional functions without interfering with your workflow. To put this solution into perspective, think about switching between a stylus and finger input on a virtual trackpad area.

The tech Microsoft is proposing should let you do that without changing the mode of operation. In other words, the virtual trackpad should autonomously distinguish between touch and digital pen input.

Moreover, the technology consumes less computing resources, such as system memory and processor.

What are your thoughts about multi-screen devices like the Surface Neo? Let us know by leaving a message in the comments section below.