What you need to know
- A Microsoft patent shows how the keyboard could work for the Surface Neo.
- The patent shows a setup with a keyboard and screen communicating through electrical conductors.
- The same design could also be used for other devices and form factors.
A recently published patent from Microsoft shows off how a mechanical keyboard could work with touch screen devices like the Surface Neo (via WindowsUnited). While the patent does not specifically mention the Neo, the device in the illustrations looks very similar to when Microsoft showed off the Surface Neo last year.
The patent describes a system that has a mechanical keyboard and a device's touch screen work together through electrical conductors. Going strictly off this patent, it appears that the Neo or any device that used this design would do more than just have Bluetooth or connected keyboard rest on top of a screen. While a Bluetooth setup could work, the approach shown off in the patent seems more direct.
The patent's summary explains each part of the system, starting with the mechanical keyboard:
The patent continues with a summary of the touch screen and device portion of the setup:
As with all patents, this design could only be a concept or theory. It does appear similar to what we've seen from the Surface Neo, though. The patent states that this design could be used on a laptop computer or a flip phone in addition to the foldable tablet design shown off in its illustrations.
Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new tab).
Between this and the Duo this is shaping up to be an expensive holiday season.
I really, really like this idea and hope it will translate across to single screen foldables.
Am I correct in thinking that this could mean that the keyboard is not powered at all? If so, that is a great idea for keeping a key accessory from needing to be charged or needing batteries!
I doubt that. One of the modalities you see in the Lenovo version of this is placing the device on a stand and using the keyboard as you would a BT keyboard. The info I saw about the Neo and Duo also mentioned wireless charging IIRC.
How awesome would it be to have a small version of this for the Duo?
A dual screen phone that also has a mechanical keyboard? I'd be in..
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