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Foldable Microsoft Surface Evidence Found in New Patent

(Image credit: David Breyer)

We may see a lot more than the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 at Microsoft's Oct. 2 event.

Microsoft has been working on foldable technology for a long time, all the way back to 2009, when the legendary Microsoft Courier was first revealed. Back in November 2018, reports appeared on a new Surface foldable phone/tablet codenamed Andromeda. Then, in December 2018, the first rumors on the Courier heir — a foldable Surface codenamed Centaurus — came out.

More recently, in June 2019, there were new rumors about a mystery Surface foldable device. According to tech industry market research firm analyst IHS Markit, that new Surface device would use two 9-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio screens, reaching the market in 2020. The rumors say that this new device will run Microsoft Windows Core OS and an Android app compatibility layer.

And just yesterday new Surface device codenames allegedly leaked out, along with speculation of what they may be. Something codenamed “Campus” is allegedly a 13-inch Surface Laptop 3 while “Patagonia” is the 15-inch version of the same device. Surface Pro 7 will have thinner bezels, LTE and USB-C ports, there will be a new pen codenamed “Katana” and a mystery accessory — “maybe just a type cover, but maybe different ” — called Amore. 

There was no news on Centaurus or Andromeda, however.

(Image credit: David Breyer)

Today, a new patent has been published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office — and it seems to be directly related to Centaurus or Andromeda. Found by the blog Windows Latest, the patent describes a method to manage temperature on a dual screen device, using two separate sensors for each side of the device.

A diagram of an Andromeda/Centaurus-like device in Microsoft new patent.

A diagram of an Andromeda/Centaurus-like device in Microsoft new patent. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Perhaps this may be indicative of an imminent announcement or maybe it’s just one more crumb in the long trail of evidence about Microsoft’s dual-screen gadget. 

Whatever it is, it’s exciting. Microsoft has became the only interesting hardware designer in the market, which still feels counterintuitive given its software genesis. But the fact is that its Surface team has been producing excellent designs, with devices like the Surface Book or the Surface Studio. Next week we will see if they are still willing to take risks and push the hardware envelope.

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.