Microsoft appplied for its own patent for a keyboard with secondary screen to ease text entry

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Apple has attracted derision for its new MacBook Pro laptops, not only because it lacks ports, but also because it features a tiny touch sensitive screen which seemed to cram much too much functionality into too small an area.

Now a Microsoft patent application has surfaced, applied for well before the MacBook Pro unveil, on July 25, 2016, for a “KEYBOARD WITH INPUT-SENSITIVE DISPLAY DEVICE”.

The keyboard is designed primarily to ease text entry for Asian phonic languages where Microsoft notes that the routine method of text entry has an error rate of 20% or worse, making the manual correction of entered text (from a potential of 1600 characters) a tedious part of writing which normally involved stopping what you are doing and moving your hands from the keyboard to the mouse, scrolling from a selection of auto-correct suggestions, making a selection and then having to return the cursor to the text and starting the next character.

Microsoft’s invention features an additional screen which may be detachable or form part of the keyboard and which shows suggestions for characters entered and simplifies the process of correction of text entered.

Microsoft notes that besides being used to text entry correction it could also be used for other tasks, such as user interface navigation, and for other functions such as drawing on or acting a notification manager.

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As some-one who produces both an OS and hardware such as the excellent range of Microsoft keyboard and mice Microsoft is well positioned to bring such a device to life, though I suppose the need for such as accessory will depend largely on how annoying it actually is to enter Kanji on a Roman keyboard.

The full patent can be seen at the USPTO here.

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