Microsoft's Newly Patented uPad Peripheral: One Side Charges, One Side DisplaysS

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.

Microsoft's Newly Patented uPad Peripheral: One Side Charges, One Side DisplaysS

Though the tiny screen doesn't look like it'll be a great boon to your data intake, it should suffice for signaling 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.

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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. Its 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]