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Microsoft shows off Surface Pro keyboard cover with built-in touchscreen

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With a new Surface Pro potentially on the horizon, we’re all ears for new Microsoft keyboard tech.

That’s why we’re pretty excited about the latest concept clacker to emerge from Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group.

It’s a keyboard cover for a Surface tablet, and it has a touch-sensitive e-ink display built into it.

The device is called the ‘DisplayCover’, and features a super-svelte 1,280 x 305 pixel panel that offers up app shortcuts.

It also displays live tiles, so you can quickly access information without putting serious strain on the device battery.

Check it out:

The thinking behind the DisplayCover is that adding a screen to the keyboard improves display real estate on smaller devices – think the Surface 3.

“Recently, touch-enabled portable computers have experienced a growing of interest as miniaturisation and increases in display resolution enabled manufacturers to produce lighter and more powerful devices with precise multi-touch displays,” explains Microsoft. “However, there has been little to no research targeting devices whose limited screen size is a concern (e.g. Surface).”

For example, if you stuck a DisplayCover on the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, you’re looking at an 8% increase in screen real estate.

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We should note that this isn’t the first time Microsoft has included a display on a keyboard.

Back in 2009, the company developed the Microsoft Adaptive Keyboard, which offered up a large, touch-sensitive colour display atop a keyboard.

There’s no telling when, if ever, the DisplayCover will make it to store shelves, but it’s good to know Microsoft’s still trying to innovate with the humble keyboard.

Would you find a keyboard display useful, or is this plain bonkers? Tell us why in the comments below.

Check out our Surface 3 video review below:

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