A few weeks ago, we detailed a Microsoft patent which seemed to showcase new radial software keyboard styles to circumvent the terrible on-screen keyboards currently available on consoles. The new radial software keyboard would allow you to select characters using joysticks, using auto-prediction methods to help you write. This latest patent goes a bit further.
Dubbed "Dual Input Multilayer Keyboard," the patent details how new layers of keys and symbols would surface, based on directional movements on either a joystick, and now, via a touch gesture. This sort of input method would (if it works) not only help solve the cumbersome input methods on console, but perhaps also on tablets and phones, particularly when holding a mobile device in landscape mode.
I'd say it's clear that Microsoft is intent on improving the typing experience not only on its Xbox consoles, but also for its xCloud streaming platform. When playing games in a landscape configuration, having a software keyboard take up half of the screen is simply awful. If this dual-thumb method works, it could enhance the overall experience immeasurably, and thus, help it attain mainstream proliferation. It could also help improve the typing experience on devices like the Surface Go, Pro, Book, and the mythical Surface Andromeda while attempting to type on-screen in a landscape configuration.
As always, patents don't necessarily mean we'll ever get our hands on these concepts, but they're intriguing nontheless. Let's hope we see them materialize for real in the near future.
Thanks to Steven for the tip!
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!