No, this not a belated April Fools’ joke. Oppo has patented a phone with a secondary display that pops up from the top of the device. Because, why the heck not.
Unearthed today by Dutch tech blog and obsessive patent diggers Let’s Go Digital, the patent was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization on January 29, 2019.
I absolutely have no clue why anyone would like to have that on a phone. Allegedly, this top pop-up screen will give users some extra space for controls or information.
I can imagine it being used as a HUD for a game, although this deformed Nintendo DS-like idea immediately falls under the weight that no game developer will create a special feature for a niche, non-standard phone like this.
The other idea would be to use secondary screen for a D-Pad control, but that fails again for the same reasons. It just doesn’t make sense.
The second design contained in the patent is a little bit more rational. Or at least, it’s probably supported in the adaptive interface philosophy that will be the focus of Google’s Android Q, which calls for the OS and apps to morph according to the available space.
In this design, a secondary display with the same dimensions of the top screen slides from the side in order to provide the user with another workspace, an extension to the existing display, or perhaps a software keyboard or gamepad. It works very much like a foldable phone, except it appears from under the main screen.
For sure, the company could pull both designs off. Oppo has experience making things slide: its Oppo Find X smoothly moves up the camera to take photos and selfies using an electrically powered mechanism.
However, the fact that is doable doesn’t mean it makes sense at all. Perhaps the second design may work, but the first design is undoubtedly the weirdest design ever put in a phone patent.