The week in gadgets

23 Apr 2012

A look at gadget happenings, as Microsoft files for patents for a device with screens on both sides of it, Skype for Windows Phone officially launches, and smartphone graphics may surpass Xbox 360 graphics by 2013-2014, says NVIDIA.

Microsoft files patent for smart device with two-sided screen

Microsoft has filed for a patent in the US Patent and Trademark Office for a device which offers two screens – one on the front and one on the back.

Patent Bolt reports the invention integrates a low-power display on the back of a smartphone or tablet which displays any kind of information. The display would accompany the normal, high-power display on the front.

It could offer a low-power refresh rate and could display an image indefinitely without draining power, which would let users customise the design of their phones.

Microsoft showed an example in which the display wraps around the device’s corners and edges, moulding it around the device.

Skype v1.0 for Windows Phone launches

Skype’s Windows Phone app has left beta mode and officially launched on the Windows Phone Marketplace as v1.0 yesterday.

WPCentral reports that the app first launched in February in a private beta and has now officially launched. The newest version of the app offers the ability to search for new contacts and to make calls to landlines.

Microsoft acquired Skype for US$8.5bn in order to integrate its videoconferencing capabilities into Microsoft products. Skype will still be made available on Microsoft’s rival platforms.

Smartphone graphics to surpass Xbox 360 graphics by 2013-2014 – NVIDIA

Graphics processor creator NVIDIA believes mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) GPU performance will surpass that of the Xbox 360 somewhere between 2013 and 2014.

The company sent AnandTech a slide which charts how GPU performance on numerous devices will improve in the coming years.

According to the chart, Mobile SoC GPUs will be on the same level as that of the Xbox 360’s by 2013 before surpassing it. However, PC GPUs still remain higher than both and will continue to grow further.

While the Xbox 360 is now more than six years old, it still represents impressive growth for smartphone graphics. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are also working on next-generation consoles and their graphical capabilities have yet to be demonstrated fully.

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