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(Pocket-lint) - A patent has been published that shows that Microsoft is working on clip-on Xbox controllers for phones and tablets - likely to work with its Project xCloud cloud gaming platform.

It matches a previously leaked document, which showed several rendered designs of controller types the company was said to be testing.

However, the patent titled "charging device for removable input models" was only recently published: on 9 July 2019. And, while it was originally filed in 2017, this could be an indication that the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con-style controllers could be in an advanced state.

WindowsLatest first noticed the patent, which details a new type of input controls for an external, touchscreen device. It will effectively enable users to put a phone or tablet between the controllers, allowing them to control the game or the device itself. The controllers may even provide charging.

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The patent doesn't mention Xbox or xCloud, but Microsoft has shown phones using existing Xbox One controllers in its xCloud demos. As we mentioned above, we first spotted this idea - via Windows Central - back in October 2018, and even shared imagery that loosely resembles graphics in the new patent.

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The similarity with the Switch's Joy-Cons is no coincidence: "The success of the Switch is testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls," the Microsoft Research paper explained.

Writing by Maggie Tillman and Rik Henderson. Originally published on 10 July 2019.