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Patent shows a potential Surface Book with a detachable inking keyboard

Surface Book 2
Surface Book 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A Microsoft patent shows a design for a laptop featuring an additional drawing space.
  • The patent includes designs with an inking space next to the trackpad and on the back of the detachable keyboard.
  • As with all patents, these designs may never be used in a device.

A new patent by Microsoft shows off a potential Surface Book featuring additional inking spaces (via WindowsUnited). The patent includes designs with a digital inking space next to the trackpad and on the back of the detachable keyboard. The device illustrated in the patent appears similar to a Surface Book.

Patent number WO 2019/231647 A1 was filed on May 13, 2019 but was only published today. Its summary describes how the additional inking spaces could work,

A computing device is described herein for capturing handwritten marks. It includes a main computing unit and a detachable writing input device joined by a connecting mechanism. The main computing unit includes a main display device, while the writing input device hosts a keyboard and a writing surface.

Potential Surface patent inking

Source: Free Patents Online (Image credit: Source: Free Patents Online)

The patent includes two different ways to incorporate an inking space. First, as shown in the image above, a laptop could have a dedicated inking space next to the trackpad. Second, as shown in the image below, the inking space could be housed on the back of a detachable keyboard. This second option would provide more space to use for inking but could affect a laptop's durability.

Potential Surface patent inking

Source: Free Patents Online (Image credit: Source: Free Patents Online)

As with all patents, these designs might never be used in a product. They do illustrate that Microsoft is trying to think of new ways to maximize the utility of devices.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

5 Comments
  • I don't know if it already exists, but a touchpad with ink support would be nice, specially for signatures.
  • Why? There is already signature support right on the screen where you can see what you're doing. I know things like Wacom tablets are (or were) very popular with artists and photographers, but they always seemed awkward to me. It is like the spatial disconnect between mouse movements and what goes on on screen. We have gotten very used to that, and I expect artists get used to drawing over here and having it show up over there. Seems much more natural to just ink on the surface you want the result to show up on.
  • Is 408/410 a storage/charging area for the pen?
  • From the patent, "The writing input device 106 can optionally include a mechanism for securing the pen 404 when it is not in use. For example, the writing input device 106 shown in Fig 4. includes a receptacle 408 in its housing for storing the pen 404, with a resilient protrusion 410 for securing the pen 404 in place." Other securing mechanisms include resilient clasps, VELCRO straps, a top-loading elongate receptacle for insierting the pen 404, and so on."
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