Microsoft is moving into the era of the folding screen device. The company has been a leading developer of the technology and is expected to announce its first folding Surface next month. It also seems Microsoft understands folding displays will mean a new user experience, including on its Microsoft Edge browser.
To facilitate the new form factor, Microsoft Edge engineers have proposed a new web concept. By mixing existing and new APIs, the team envisions how browsing will differ on a folding screen. Of course, the core difference in a folding device is it can be a dual-screened product or a single pane tablet.
Microsoft says internal tests are underway for creating a unique user experience for folding screen tech.
Available as a GitHub project, the Microsoft Edge team explains what issues current folding screen tech (think the Samsung Galaxy Fold) have:
- “Hardware differences: Optimized webpages may run perfectly on a device like Samsung Galaxy Fold, but it could experience technical difficulties on another similar hardware from a different company.
- Folding capabilities and state: Problems when determining the region (fold or unfold) that could be safe to render contents.
- Software issue: Parts of the webpage could be occluded by software keyboard and other software-related areas including notifications.
- Future: Developers expect a stable way to target this class of devices so that they don’t have to update their pages for every new iteration of similar hardware.”
Microsoft believes it can overcome these problems with a new Edge experience specifically designed for folding displays. The company proposes what is calls the “Window Segments Enumeration API”. This would cover regions and dimensions of the browser window into separate segments on adjacent screens.
App developers would be able to leverage the API to create a bespoke web experience on folding screens. Microsoft adds the following existing APIs can also be used to improve the folding screen experience:
- Presentation API
- Screen Enumeration API Explainer that would provide information about the physical screen configuration.
- Window Placement API Explainer