A new patent has been unearthed that suggests that Microsoft is working on the rumoured Surface phone with a foldable display. Twitter user WalkingCat tweeted a link to a patent from the tech giant for a clam-shell hinge device.The particular patent was filed in 2015 and has recently become available.
Microsoft has previously filed patents for devices with hinges, but this very patent details both mobile devices and large, tiled devices. Basically, Microsoft suggests a multi-layered screen made up of panels with curved edges which sit below a single upper layer. The company wants to create an illusion with the curves to make the whole display seem like there is no hinge.
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) March 23, 2017
As the patent states: “In order to reduce and/or obscure the visibility of a support structure for a display panel, the present disclosure provides example display devices including curved or otherwise bent regions for directing light to a user’s eye when the user’s gaze is directed to a support structure at an edge of the display panel.
“In this way, when a user is viewing a region occupied by the support panel, the user may instead see light from the display panel showing the displayed objects”.
This is what most likely Microsoft is trying to achieve with the Surface Phone. A device that could be used both as the phone and tablet. But this is not the first time Microsoft has filed for a patent that reveals the company is working on a device with the flexible design. A patent revealed in January this year offered us a glimpse into how Microsoft actually think about the future mobile devices. The filing, which was uncovered by MSPowerUser, shows a tablet-sized device that would be able to fold onto itself using a hinge.
Of course, these patents hardly indicate that the Surface Phone is coming anytime soon. So, patients should be considered with a pinch of salt though, as companies file thousands each year. Is Microsoft working on the Surface phone? Only time will tell.