Microsoft has been secretly developing a foldable PC with powerful hardware and multi-touch dual touchscreens codenamed ‘Centaurus’. The laptop will most probably run a full-fledged version of Windows 10 OS, but Microsoft has been having a rather tough time figuring out the process and function layout. A new patent filed with the USPTO may indicate how Microsoft is attempting to address the situation and eventually offer a cohesive and streamlined experience to buyers and users of Microsoft Centaurus running Windows 10.
Microsoft appears to be exploring multiple techniques to design a foldable device or dual-screen laptop that can determine the right hardware configuration based on the apps requirements and the available input/output devices. In other words, the powerful and versatile PC running Windows 10 should be able to intelligently decipher the optimum way to render apps. As portable PCs, laptops, and notebooks rapidly shift towards an all-screen design devoid of traditional keyboards, Microsoft is attempting to infuse the decision making power within the devices itself. The decision would be geared towards allowing users to get the maximum output while interacting with the device.
Microsoft’s Patent Reveals It Is Working On ‘Display Device Selection Module’:
Microsoft had filed a new patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The parent is titled ‘DISPLAY DEVICE SELECTION BASED ON HARDWARE CONFIGURATION’. Incidentally, the patent was published by the USPTO on November 15, 2018. In other words, this is certainly not the latest experiment. However, the patent does reveal Microsoft could be working on ‘display device selection module’ to determine the right hardware configuration for the applications.
The patent essentially describes a smart and autonomous way to render apps on the dual touchscreens. Microsoft clearly wants to ensure that the limited ‘capabilities of each screen’ do not hinder the process of opening and using apps. Needless to say, this may not be a common issue with most modern-day laptops simply because they do not have two equally large and fully-functional touchscreens. But this scenario will change soon, and by then Microsoft should have solved the issue. Otherwise, app developers and users will have a hard time correctly setting the apps’ orientation for optimum usage.
Very early mock-up of my next project. Microsoft Edge + Foldable Devices + Adaptable UI ✌ pic.twitter.com/TAScfxxfKo
— Cage Ata (@cage_ata) August 24, 2019
The Microsoft patent is for a dual-screen device that would be configured to receive an input (system or accessory requirement) from the application. In other words, an application will have the ability to send out requests for specific hardware, accessory or system function request to the dual-screen device. The patent discusses a ‘display device selection module,’ which will perform the decision-making process and decide the right configuration for applications. Needless to add, the device being considered will surely have two displays. However, both the displays will have one unique hardware configuration, and the application would be able to request how it is rendered.
How Would Microsoft Centaurus Handle Applications?
The patent explains the processor powering the device will send the input to the ‘display device selection module’. Based on the first and second hardware configurations, the module will transfer the app from the first display to the second display. There could be a case wherein the module decides the second hardware configuration matches the application program hardware specifications more closely than the first hardware configuration. In such a case, the resolution of the first display and a resolution of the second display could be the deciding factor in rendering the app. “In some embodiments, at least one of the first hardware configuration and the second hardware configuration may include at least one input device selected from the group consisting of touchscreen, track-pad, stylus, pen, mouse, keyboard, game controller, camera, ambient light sensor, microphone, and accelerometer,” Microsoft explained.
— Windows Latest (@WindowsLatest) August 9, 2019
It is important to note that the new method is only in the form of a patent. Microsoft may or may not implement the same. Interestingly, the company appears to have filed the patent primarily owing to unique hardware limitations or capabilities and functionalities within each of the touch-screens. Hence, in the current iteration, the patent offers a solution to help the device decide the right display for opening apps. If the module senses any restriction in any one display, it will simply render the app to another screen. However, if the final version of Microsoft Centaurus foldable PC running Windows 10 OS packs identical touchscreens, then the patent becomes redundant. Moreover, the apps may need specific functionalities like haptic feedback, camera, light sensor, etc. to be placed in a particular manner. Including such a decision-making process would certainly help the apps and users.