Foldable Surface Phone Could Be Ultimate 2-in-1

It could be the phone that puts Windows 10 Mobile on the map. According to a new patent by Microsoft, the company is working on a phone with multiple flexible hinges, allowing it to double as a phone and a tablet.

As reported on by MSPoweruser and The Verge, the versatile device would be as compact as a traditional handset in phone mode, but it could unfold into a tablet for when you desired a larger screen. We could be looking at the Surface Phone here.

Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: USPTO)

Similar to larger convertibles like Lenovo's Yoga 910, you would be able to use the device in multiple modes, such as tent mode for watching content.

MORE: Surface Phone Could Be Superior Galaxy Note Replacement

Here's Microsoft's rationale for creating this hybrid, which it sees as an alternative to today's phablets:

"Form factors have been developed that represent a compromise between these form factors, such as a "phablet" that may have decreased mobility due to an increase in size of a display device. As such, conventional mobile computing device form factors often forced a user to make a choice regarding a form factor that may involve a compromise between these form factors (e.g., a "phablet"), purchase of multiple devices, and so on"

According to the patent, the keys to this device are the continuous viewing area created when you're able to unfold it and lay it flat and how the housings get stacked behind each other when folded up, which would enable a phone configuration that would be easy to use with one hand.

Back in 2011, Kyocera attempted a similar concept to this in the Echo for Sprint. While innovative, the foldable phone was bulky and didn't offer enough battery life in dual-screen mode.

However, today's OLED displays are much more flexible, and Samsung is expected to debut a foldable phone of its own in 2017, which could be called the Galaxy X.