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Microsoft patents “dual display” device with e-paper display

Microsoft patents seem to be popping up more frequently lately, perhaps because everyone’s paying more attention in the run up to the company’s next mobile device, thought to be the Surface Phone.

In March, a patent emerged for a multi-layered screen made up of panels with curved edges sitting below a single upper layer, which hinted at a possible design for the phone.

But this week, a patent has been spotted (via) for a “dual display device,” which is likely to be a new tablet design rather than anything Surface Phone-related.

Related: Surface Phone

The patent details a device that features a regular screen on one side and a detachable e-paper display on the other.

According to the information in the filing, the regular screen would display visually dynamic user input controls, while the e-paper screen would be used for visually static user input controls.

Microsoft Patent

That basically means, should this product ever actually materialise, the e-paper section would show various different input controls such as a keyboard, depending on what was required.

As the patent explains: “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.”

As the e-paper section is said to be touch sensitive, removable, and a cover, it seems Microsoft could be working on a new e-paper Surface or Surface Pro cover.

Of course, there’s absolutely no guarantee we’ll ever see this product arrive, as a patent is simply a way for companies to protect an idea, rather than an indication of what’s to come.

Let us know what you make of the patent in the comments.

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