In early July, Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella sent out an email to all employees to boost moral going into FY2015 titled "Bold Ambition & Our Core." Nadella told employees that "We live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world." He noted that "our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation." Nadella also noted that "In the next few years we will see many more new categories evolve and experiences emerge that span a variety of devices of all screen sizes." Today we present you with a brief overview of a new Microsoft invention relating to invisible controls on mobile devices and beyond which was published by the US Patent Office this past week. The invention relates to delivering a new way of presenting on screen controls to save precious display real estate space while providing a new user experience.
Microsoft's Patent Background
In Microsoft's patent background they present the problem that they wish to solve. In this case, Microsoft begins by describing the fact that mobile devices with small form factors provide limited screen real estate for displaying content.
In the case of touch screen devices, screen real estate is even more limited since the content must share the screen with controls for interacting with the content. For example, in order to facilitate navigation and use of a mobile application, the mobile application typically includes controls, such as buttons and menus that allow the user to navigate and manipulate content displayed in the mobile application. However, these controls occupy space that could otherwise be used for displaying content of the mobile application.
Also due to the small display size of the mobile device, users may find it difficult to perform tasks using the mobile device and/or navigate between multiple mobile applications.
For example, if a user reads a movie review on a web site and wants to rent the movie, the user may need to navigate to a movie rental website or open a movie rental application and type in the name of the movie. Alternatively, if the user is using a movie rental application and desires to perform a search related to a movie, the user may have to open a web browser and input a search query. These scenarios are time-consuming, and may require the user to go back and forth between multiple web browsers and/or applications to look for information about the movie.
Microsoft Invents Invisible Controls for Mobile Devices
Microsoft's invention generally relates to techniques of altering an operating mode of a client device such as smartphone or tablet. In one embodiment, a client device may provide an invisible control disposed around at least a portion of a border of a display of the client device as noted below in our patent figure illustration.
For additional details see our full report on Patently Mobile here.