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DisplayCover: Microsoft’s protype tablet keyboard with an Embedded Thin-Film Touchscreen Display

Windows tablets pose a serious constraint on typing, using the on-screen keyboard. Repositioning and moving the keyboard from one space to another through the screen, to access the full screen is a big headache. So Microsoft has provided several convertibles and keyboards for its Surface tablets line-up. Microsoft has unveiled the prototype of a new keyboard, to be called Display Cover, for a convenient typing and working experience on Surface Tablets. Microsoft’s Research domain, Microsoft Applied Sciences Group has been working hard to explore various technologies to ameliorate the input devices.


Microsoft Applied Sciences group has revealed on the DisplayCover keyboard, on which it is currently working. According to Microsoft:

DisplayCover is a peripheral cover designed for compact touch-enabled laptops. A tactile keyboard affords users with the comfort and ease of use provided by physical keys. A thinfilm e-ink display with a resolution of 1280 x 305 pixels extends the available screen real estate of the slate device by up to 8% (based on a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with a 10.6”, 1080p, 208ppi screen). We chose this display due to the bistable nature of electrophoretic ink, reducing the secondary screen’s impact on battery life.

DisplayCover provides an additional touch sensitive panel appended in front of the physical keyboard. The stylus which is supplied along with it, will use electrophoretic ink, as it’s technically called, to draw, paint, mark and write on the thinfilm e-ink display. The tough sensitive panel will display a plethora of options and these options will vary with the application you are using. For e.g. if you are writing an email to some one, then the trackpad panel will display options like, Recipient, Subject, Attachments etc. Again if you are using any Location Map service, then the trackpad will fetch you options to swipe, zoom in, zoom out, move etc. So the function of the DisplayCover trackpad is versatile and dynamic.


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