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Microsoft patents Metro UI; secures design

A big win for Microsoft’s Windows Phone division this week as they secured a patent for their Metro interface. More specifically, their standout: “panoramic UI.” This is a very smart move considering the shift that Microsoft is making into a more consistent experience across all of their platforms (Xbox, Windows 8, Windows Phone).

The finalization of the patent means that Microsoft can be more at ease knowing that their creative property is only their own. Considering how much Apple has worked at their current, successful, but arguably cluttered UI the worry isn’t their infringement. Android is frequently drifting between concepts and with more autonomy put on OEMs for UI customization, it’s going to mean Microsoft has a legal forcefield over their streamlined interface.

The limitations of use on the panoramic view extends to “any other suitable programming language” (Section 0064) which means that the patent is not geared strictly for mobile use but even desktop development. Other interesting tidbits included in the legalese are largely pertaining to the keyboard and method of learning. With things like “a handwriting recognition module” included this brings natural stylus input more likely for Windows 8; sparing us from buying expensive handwriting digitizers.

Users of the Windows Phone can attest to the keyboard‘s amazing responsiveness, quality and “process blocks for learning user tendencies and generating auto-corrections or suggestion candidates using the learned user tendencies.” All of that meaning that us WP7 users have a pretty sweet setup.

Some photos below show some of the detailed diagrams included in the patent’s details:

Source: WMPoweruser

With the setting of clearer boundaries, hopefully this advancement is a sign of the beginning of the end of the patent war of which most of us are growing tired, especially the companies in the thick of it.