The market for smartphone cases is huge. So huge, in fact, that there is even room for an iPhone condom holder case. But what if you didn't need to buy a case to show the world that you are a fan of Hello Kitty? What if changing the look of your phone was as easy as picking a new background image? With some new technology just patented by Microsoft, we may soon be changing the outside of our phones as often as we want.
Microsoft has patented what is innocuously called "use of low-power display on device." That sounds boring, but they idea behind it is wonderful. From the patent abstract:
The low-power display may be used to display various types of information. Some examples of information that may be displayed on the low-power display include personal customizations of the device (e.g., skins, tattoos, text or graphics, etc.), a battery meter, a signal strength meter, the date and time, or any other type of information. In one example, the device has a separate processor that drives the low-power display, so that the low-power display can be used while the device is in sleep mode or off. In another example, an application that runs on the device's regular processor uses the high- and low-power displays cooperatively to display output from an application. The low-power display can be wrapped around the edges and/or corners of the device, to make effective use of the device's surface area.
This is a patent for a display that takes up the entire back of a smartphone. As you can see in the picture above from the patent filing, the screen could display quick bits of information such as battery life or signal strength. More than that, it could display a pattern you enjoy, or even widgets. Imagine not having to press any button to check the time, weather, or sports scores. This is nothing life-changing, but having phones decorated with shifting patterns and designs or animations seems pretty futuristic.
The only thing to worry about now is the inevitable deal that wireless service providers will strike with advertisers. Will you take a reduction in your monthly bill for AT&T or Verizon to use your device as a small advertising billboard? Let me know in the comments below.
(via Patent Bolt)