Don't miss this video showing Microsoft's FlexCase for smartphones, and some of the things it can do


A new flip case is purportedly bring developed by Microsoft in a partnership with the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Besides being a protective soft and flexible flip case, the so-called FlexCase features an e-paper display that accepts additional input from the phone's user. This is built by combining an extremely flexible input sensor with a 4-inch flexible e-paper display bought off the shelf. The result is a smart and flexible secondary display that also doubles as an input board and navigation tool.

There are different configurations possible with the cover. With Book Mode, the secondary screen is on the left with the phone on the right. Laptop mode puts the handset on top in landscape. That is where the screen would lie on a laptop computer. The secondary display is also in landscape, but underneath the phone where it can be used as a virtual QWERTY keyboard. In Backside mode, the secondary display is open and rests against the back of the phone to create a two-screened device,
 
Content can be copied from an app to the e-paper screen, and then attached to an email. Bending an edge of the secondary screen allows the user to fly through pages of a book. Other gestures help navigate through video. The latter is shown on the phone's screen while the gestures are made on the flexible screen. A mapped route displayed on the phone can be transferred to the secondary screen by closing the flip cover and rubbing the screens together. Touching the right spot on the secondary screen will allow the app to navigate a 3D map by zooming, rotating and tilting the map.

Putting all controls for the phone's rear camera on the extra screen allows the viewfinder (the phone's touchscreen) to be less cluttered. Bending the corners of the flexible display will change some of the camera's settings.

The FlexCase will make its debut at the Computer-Human Interaction conference next month, which explains the hideous looking cables still attached to the case in the video. These will not be on the final version of the accessory. We still could be a long time away seeing the FlexCase offered to the public. Meanwhile, mere words cannot justify the capabilities of the FlexCase. If you want to see the future of smartphone cases, you need to view this video now.



source: MediaInteractionLab, Gizmodo

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20 Comments

1. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 412; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

Honestly Microsoft after the last update I feel like we windows 10 mobile users are finally getting so good software and if this is the keyboard going with the surface phone take all my money. Microsoft #true innovation

3. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Well it seems the "future" I have been waiting for in mobile tech is nearing ;*a phone, a phablet, a tablet, a lapblet*.. An all in one device. :-)

4. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 412; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

So I take it you'll be purchasing the surface phone. Join us at the light side of the force.

17. ananthu07 unregistered

the dark theme is so good. No one joins the light side on Windows :P

2. rick_mobile

Posts: 358; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

In my opinion this is what the new Samsung patent should've been. Instead of a fold-able phone Samsung should have designed a bezeless phones with the option to add extra screen and battery with a "case" that doubles the screen and battery. I'm not sure how smooth they could make it transition from one screen to the second screen but I'm sure Samsung could manage something innovative and sleek.

18. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Why do you feel the need to talk about Samsung and it's patents on a topic about cases and Microsoft?

5. Abdbaas

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

I don't know about others but I feel this will never be released. And if it is it will flop. Why? Look at everything Samsung tried in the past with gestures and eyes to launch the camera, change song, keep screen on etc. Who uses it? NO ONE People want a solid screen they can touch and not something they can bend. Innovation is good when it's useful and intuitive, not when you have to think about what your hands should do to do a certain action.

7. gaming64

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

"Innovation is good when it's useful and intuitive, not when you have to think about what your hands should do to do a certain action." Lost trust in you after that.

10. Penny

Posts: 1851; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Why? That's the most important and accurate part of his comment. Guess who these tech companies hire to figure out exactly how devices and interfaces should behave? UX researchers and designers. Guess what (good) UX designers care about? Intuitiveness and workflow (use cases). But, overall, I think criticizing this idea at this juncture is overkill. As @vincelongman mentioned below, take it as a proof of concept rather than a forthcoming product.

15. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yes right, the first airplane, locomotive, car, motorbike, computer, television, and other stuff isnt intuitive at all, but its still innovation that change the world.. and those invention get more intuitive as humans add more function to it.. and being useful or not is matter of preference..

8. vincelongman

Posts: 5694; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

This is just a proof of concept It could be a flexible screen you can touch AND bend Or it could be solid screen you can only touch, by putting a hard liner on the back of the epaper display Not everyone would want one, but I reckon it could get decently popular if Apple/Samsung/Google/Other OEMs release it and if Apple/Google do they software side of things well Lots of people already have flip cases, this is the next step up from those

6. vijay.alapati

Posts: 181; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

So basically this turns from one hand usage to using both hands

9. bossman

Posts: 264; Member since: Jan 27, 2016

I only think technologies like this can be useful and innovative when they have support for third party applications, but that mostly never happens.

12. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

It definitely must have APIs for devs to take advantage of it, otherwise, it'll just be a clumsy shot on the foot making way for a competitor that offers such...

11. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Woh, slowly getting closer and closer to my SmartPhone wish: http://www.dereferer.org/?http%3A%2F%2Fbit%2Ely%2F1Pe8PAu Take your time and get it right Panos Panay. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I really don't care how long it takes them to reach it, if the Surface Phone is capable of replacing my Surface Pro 2 (which is already replacing multiple other devices) without any compromise, I will proudly hop unto the Windows Mobile platform. As of now, Android SmartPhones are the least compromising companions.

13. meanestgenius

Posts: 22067; Member since: May 28, 2014

It's innovations like this that truly have my interest piqued. With the right API's for developers (as mentioned above), this can truly be something great.

14. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

soon... apple will patent this, lol I doubt they'll use this on first-gen surface phone, since this prototype is just Proof of concept still far from custumer level product, maybe in 3 year they can release it (hope its not to late, lol)

16. 2.5GHz

Posts: 270; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

In 3 years, it might be late. Samsung isn't asleep!

19. HR_19

Posts: 103; Member since: Aug 09, 2014

This...is so effing cool...

20. ZeroCide

Posts: 813; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

This is way awesome. Way to go MS. Keep on innovating.

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