Microsoft's New Patent: One Side Charges, One Side Displays

Microsoft's Beijing office filed a patent yesterday for an unusual little device with two distinct functions: one side is an inductive charging pad, for, say, a mouse. The other features a tiny built-in display for displaying headlines or sports scores.

Sometimes mash-ups are just right, creating something that's greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes, well, they just plain remain the sum of those parts. This mashed-up peripheral falls somewhere in between.

Though the tiny screen doesn't look like it'll be a great boon to your data intake, it should suffice for signalling new tweets or scrolling the occasional news item. Also nifty is that the device doesn't hog twice the power: a built-in accelerometer detects which side is in use and reduce the juice pumping to the opposite face.

After Microsoft's patent showed up on the internet yesterday, people were quick to connect it with months-old photographs of a prototype device given away at Microsoft Research Asia's 10th Anniversary celebration. It's name: the uPad. Ha!

So the name won't stick, and it's not exactly a multi-function powerhouse, but at least Microsoft's looking to make an inductive charging pad that's a little bit more than just an inductive charging pad. [Engadget]

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