Samsung, LG or Huawei are just a few examples of manufacturers who have confirmed their intention to present a folding mobile in the coming months. Last week there was a rumor that Google is preparing a version of Android adapted to folding screens.
It seems clear, therefore, that 2019, in addition to being the year of 5G, will be the year of folding mobiles. While we wait for their arrival, we have other projects also aimed at increasing user productivity and ending the limitations of current mobiles. This is the case of the book cover developed by Microsoft Research, which includes a secondary screen for multitasking.
Two screens to increase productivity
The proposal that comes to us from Microsoft Research (and which inevitably reminds us of Project Andromeda) is far from the patents that we are seeing lately and that have a flexible panel. In this case, it’s a book-type cover that connects two independent screens: on the one hand, the smartphone, and on the other, a secondary electronic ink screen with five touch buttons. The connection between the two would be made through flat cables that pass through the “hinge” of the cover.
The company defines it as “a smartphone screen cover concept, a secondary screen designed to improve productivity and comfort. It also states that it has taken as a reference the experience of users who highlight some of the limitations of smartphones and that “the aim of this concept was to explore a practical solution that allows users to be more productive.
Microsoft has demonstrated the result using a Lumia 640, but that doesn’t mean that the sleeve should be restricted to Windows smartphones (especially considering the interest the Redmond giant is showing in Android).
According to Microsoft, the aim of this concept was to explore a practical solution that would allow users to be more productive.
In addition, while the working prototypes did not include a touch layer on the secondary electronic ink display, Microsoft Research does support scenarios where the cover is touch-compatible and offers greater functionality. As can be seen in the images, some possibilities would be to use the secondary screen as a keyboard or as additional space for applications such as Word.
We will see if in the end it will materialize, but it is clear that, now that we have several manufacturers developing flexible screens to launch their folding mobiles to market next year, this prototype does not seem to be a very practical solution.