Microsoft's Surface tablets have a number of added accessories and keyboard covers available to boost user productivity. The current keyboard covers allow users to use a tablet as a laptop and perform a variety of tasks. It now seems that Microsoft is working on another new type of keyboard cover which will come with an embedded touch screen display to offer users with shortcuts and other useful features depending on the app in use. They call it, the DislpayCover (via Engadget).
The DisplayCover features a think e-ink display boasting a resolution of 1280 by 305 pixels and extends the functionality of the screen real estate of the device by 8 percent. The cover supports dynamic UI manipulation, stylus annotation, gestures and trackpad interactions on the horizontal plane. For instance, while working with Photoshop, you can add the tool palettes you need to the keyboard so you can have more screen estate to work and get quick access to tools on the go. This could be a very useful accessory, especially for folks who rely on these kind of apps for their daily work.
Microsoft Applied Sciences Group said in a blog post,
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 thin film 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.
Unfortunately, it's just a prototype device so we can't be sure if it will ever hit the market. We'll have to wait and see if it's incorporated into any new devices. In the meantime, you can check out the videos of the DisplayCover in action above.