Microsoft has revolutionized laptop designs with the Surface and Surface Book, so why not smartphones? A new report adds more weight to the rumor that the Windows maker is looking into bendable, portable handheld displays that could power the long-anticipated Surface Phone.
A 2015 patent (published Mar. 23) doesn't explicitly name the device as a smartphone, instead showing a technology that could take the form of a "hinged display device" (think futuristic flip-phone). In one illustration, it appears in the size of an opened book; in the second, it's folded at an angle, almost like a laptop.
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The device would use a "support structure" to contain the displays, and the patent often mentions it as a hinge. In one instance, it notes that the "hinge may allow for the display panels to be moved (e.g., rotated, angled, folded and/or otherwise displaced) relative to one another," meaning the phone could work similarly to Microsoft's Surface tablet/laptop hybrids.
If the panels are folded flat against each other "with an angle of approximately 0 degrees between" them, it could provide a double-sided display.
This is the second published Microsoft patent for a mobile device with a flexible hinge, as the company applied for another patent in October 2014.
Of course, we must note that patents are not always a sign that a product is in development. They can often be applied for as a measure of defense, when a company is looking to lock competitors out from an idea.
Additionally, this isn't the first sign of a foldable smartphone we've seen. Lenovo showed off its own concept model in the summer of 2016, and Samsung is rumored to release one this year.
And talk about the size!!! But don't talk about it not having a Hay Day app.