In a patent application disclosed today; Microsoft may have just shifted its hand and dispensed us; what we can expect from the long-anticipated and rumored Microsoft Surface Phone — or some next-generation Surface devices. The new Microsoft patent application details a “live hinge;” which enables a device with two screens to be seamlessly presented flat into a tablet mode; or have one screen folded all the way around the rear. It’s simpler just to show you.
Eye? The gray part in the center is the live hinge. It connects both displays and enables the phone to have an uncommon degree of adjustability. Folded flat; the flap guarantees that both screens connected to each other without too much of a hideous seam. It would allow you to wrap the phone closed like a pocketbook, excluding the need for a clunky protective case.
Microsoft Patent Reveals the Design Of Rumored Microsoft Surface Phone
This hinge also could allow, in specific configurations, a full 360 degrees of rotation. That means the screens could create folder further until the displays are “back-to-back,” showing the touch surfaces on both sides of the device. Such a phone would have three modes; closed with no display shown, 180 degrees open with both displays combined into one larger screen, or 360 degrees wide open with one screen on each side of the phone
In the new Microsoft patent document itself, Microsoft outlines the potential use as a “multi-part device,” but the information also comprises a particular reference to the size constraints of current single-screen smartphones. It’s a strong proposal that this is indeed what we might notice out of the rumored Microsoft Surface Phone.
“Mobile phone displays have increased in size to the point where they can now consume almost an entire front surface of a phone. In some cases, further increases in display size would detract from other capabilities of the devices, such as its pocket-sized form factor,” the patent reads.
As we mentioned, it’s not the first time this kind of hinge technology has been hinted at through patent filings. As The Verge reported in December 2017, Microsoft has been toying with these kinds of “live hinges” for a while now. The example in the earlier patent suggests more of a tablet-form-factor device, while this most recent filing looks more like an overlarge mobile phone — kind of like the ones used in HBO’s Westworld.
These patent filings coupled with the files which mention a forthcoming “modular device” category in the latest Windows 10 build seriously suggest that the rumored Microsoft Surface Phone, or at least some kind of next-generation Surface tablet, is on the horizon.
Here, we get a better look at how it could be used. The thing to really note here is how consistent these drawings are. Between this patent and the earlier one revealed at the end of 2017; it’s pretty clear that Microsoft has some very specific use-cases in mind for this technology.