The folks at Engadget have come upon a very interesting patent application indeed. The application, which is freely viewable on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website, was filed by Microsoft and pertains to “systems and methods for providing an improved user interface for mobile devices.” Microsoft says the user interface “can operate on any type of mobile device, including, but not limited to, a PDA, text messenger, cellular phone, pocket personal computer, smartphone, ultra-mobile tablet PC and the like.” Considering the mockup diagrams of the interface, the application could certainly apply to a potential Zune Phone. Microsoft stated last year that a Zune Phone was “definitely part of the future of this [Zune] brand,” and we heard rumors back in February that the device would actually come out in time for the 2007 holiday season.
Rumors and speculation aside, the actual user interface described in Microsoft’s patent application is interesting. The application says data and services on the device are represented as a series of tiles on the display space. Said tiles “provide a snapshot of the current state of content available through the mobile device without requiring any interaction by the user” and “are customizable and can be dynamically updated to display content to a user.” Judging by the diagrams, tiles could let users to keep track of weather, appointments, and even online auctions.