Via Patent Bolt

A newly surfaced patent filing from Microsoft provides a glimpse of where our smartphones might be headed — even if it’s not the most original idea in the world.

The concept, as detailed by, is a smartphone with a low-powered backside display, possibly wrapping around the corners of the device, that could show content such as the time or customizable wallpapers, possibly using e-ink and potentially using a secondary processor.

The idea would be to focus on content that doesn’t change as much, a little bit like the screensavers on Amazon’s Kindle devices.

In spirit, at least, it also reminds me a bit of the Windows SideShow technology for supporting secondary displays in notebook lids.

As noted by Boy Genius Report, the concept is similar in some ways to a “smart skin” technology described by Samsung in one of its patent filings. Microsoft partner Nokia also has played around with the concept, as shown in the video below.

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  • Guest

    And knowing MS they’d market is the “backside” too ;-)

  • Guest

    I certainly hope so! It bothers me how of all the electronics devices I own, at least half of the surface is simply wasted space. Even something as simple as a clock would be great to have on my phone, at all times, visible without even having to push a button.

    • Guest

      Except that an extra display = more battery drain.

      • Guest

        I charge my phone every day. I change my watch battery every 5 years.

        An extra display = more value.

        • Guest

          More value for some. More cost and more battery drain for all.

          • Guest

            Remind me again how long your smartphone lasts on a charge.

            What’s that? Oh, OK. Thanks. I’ve wroted that down.

            Now, think back to your previous phone, with its tiny display and paucity of features. How long did that last on batteries?

            Got it. Really? Wow.

            And how much did it cost?

            Holy! Your newer phone cost hundreds.

            Thanks for your time.

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