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Microsoft Files Patent for Dual Display Smart Devices

A new Microsoft patent appearing online, revealing company’s invention relating to a two sided smart-device display system for smartphones, tablets and beyond.

Microsoft’s invention relates to integrating a second low-power display onto the backside of smartphone or tablet to display certain types of information, while the the front of the device would have a “default” high powered touchscreen.

The use of a low-power display in this manner would free real estate on the device’s main display and provides opportunities to show information that would otherwise not be shown. Thus, low-power displays could be used to display content that changes infrequently–e.g., user-specific “skins” or “tattoos”, or moving images that involve relatively slow animation such as a moving diagram of objects in the night sky.

Microsoft patents Dual-display smartphone

A low-power display could be driven by its own processor. However, the low-power display could also display content generated by the main processor. Thus, a program could use both the high- and low-power displays to display different aspects of the program’s output.

In another prime example, Microsoft states that a low-power display (such as an e-ink display) could be molded to the contours of a device’s surface, thereby allowing the e-ink display to be wrapped around the corners or edges of a device. In this way, portions of a device’s surface, which would otherwise go unused, could be used as a display.

Microsoft also describes a novel idea for the dual display system. When taking a photo of a person, the backside display of the camera could be set to provide a visual countdown so that the person knows when to freeze that smile: 3-2-1 will appear on the back display and then snap. Although it’s a bit gimmicky, it’s still kind of a neat idea.


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