Microsoft patent points to a 2-screen device for 3-way video calls

microsoft patents two screen device for three way video calls patent 2

Although Microsoft’s two-screen pocket-sized Andromeda device appears to be dead in the water for now, the company apparently still has multi-screen devices on its radar. A patent application published earlier this month describes a hinged multi-screen device that supports three-way video calling. Each screen will sport a camera, enabling two people to chat on the device with a third person on the other end of the call.

According to the patent, each screen will render the video feed from their embedded cameras, the video feed from the opposite screen’s camera, or from the video feed sent by the remote caller. Based on that description, the software would simply present the video of the current person speaking: you, the other person on the same device, or the individual on the remote device. But as shown above, all three individuals could be shown together on each screen.

Microsoft’s patent addresses a current problem when multiple users are participating in a call. When you and your friends are attempting a group chat on Friday night using a single-screen device, something is going to break with multiple heads trying to cram into one camera’s view. With two screens and two cameras involved, there is a smaller chance of congestion and bruises.

microsoft patents two screen device for three way video calls patent 1

The patent reveals the device to include a processor, storage, system memory, sensors, an orientation module (accelerometer), “two or more display devices,” and front-facing cameras. In one diagram, Microsoft shows a standing individual holding and talking to the device while a second person sits in a chair, chatting through the held device’s second screen.

Outside holding the device, the patent describes an angular orientation up to 90 degrees, meaning you would simply place it on a surface vertically in an L-shaped manner. The open angular orientation would be between 90 and 270 degrees whereas a back-to-back orientation would be 270 to 360 degrees.

“The computer program executed by the processor includes an orientation module,” the patent describes. “As shown, the orientation module is configured to receive sensor data from the sensor devices. Based on the sensor data, the orientation module is configured to detect a current angular orientation between the pair of display devices indicating that the pair of display devices are facing away from each other.”

If you followed the Andromeda rumors, this device should sound all-too-familiar. Given the recent shift inside Microsoft, the company supposedly put its two-screen device on hold because it really had no supporting ecosystem or target audience. Insiders said it had telephony features, too, although it wasn’t designed to replace smartphones.

Presumably, this patent is related to Andromeda, originally submitted to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in June 2017 when Microsoft was supposedly still in full swing with designing Andromeda. The patent went live on July 3, and even if Andromeda may never surface, Microsoft will still hold rights to the design if approved.

Still, what the patent doesn’t mention is size. With that said, this design could cover a pocket-size device or something larger like a two-screen laptop.

Apple

Rumors say Apple's AirPower wireless charger may finally be in production

At its September event in 2018, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Computing

Fix those internet dead zones by turning an old router into a Wi-Fi repeater

Is there a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home or office? A Wi-Fi repeater can help. Don't buy a new one, though. Here is how to extend Wi-Fi range with another router you have lying around.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering ergonomic mice alternatives. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Gaming

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.
Apple

Want a MacBook that will last all day on a single charge? Check these models out

Battery life is one of the most important factors in buying any laptop, especially MacBooks. Their battery life is typically average, but there are some standouts. Knowing which MacBook has the best battery life can be rather useful.
Computing

Want a Dell laptop with an RTX 2060? Cross the new XPS 15 off your list

The next iteration of Dell's XPS 15 laptop won't come with an option for an RTX 2060, according to Alienware's Frank Azor. You could always opt for a new Alienware m15 or m17 instead.