Microsoft wants to build a mobile device with a foldable display that could convert your phone into a tablet. In a new patent filing by the company, first spotted by MSPowerUser, reveals a concept design for future device sporting flexible screens.
The patent filing documents show a number of mockups detailing a handheld device that can unfold transforming it into a larger device, similar to a tablet form factor, or even into tent mode similar to what we see today in many 2-in-1 devices.
According to the mockups, Microsoft appears to be experimenting to have the device unfold into two or three screens for even more real screen estate.
Here’s the patent description:
“Techniques involving a mobile computing device having a flexible hinge structure are described. In one or more implementations, a mobile computing device includes a plurality of housings, a display device that is flexible, and a flexible hinge structure. The flexible hinge structure secures the plurality of housings to each other, permits the plurality of housings to rotate about an axis in relation to each other, and supports a continuous viewing area of the display device that extends across the plurality of housings and the flexible hinge structure.”
Similar to many other companies, Microsoft files tons of patents each year, many of which never make it to the market. However, one important piece of information about this particular patent is that it lists Kabir Siddiqui as the inventor, who has previously patented the Surface camera with an angle view and the Surface kickstand.
There has been a number of rumors about Microsoft planning to launch a Surface Phone some time in 2017, and since the company has been skipping on traditional designs. There is a chance that the patent is giving us a glance on how Microsoft wants to return of the mobile market with a device that expands Continuum in a new form factor.
Previously, a Microsoft patent emerged detailing information about the Surface Studio ahead of its release that revealed the exact design of the desktop. While it’s unlikely, the new patent doesn’t show the final design for the Surface Phone, it’s possible that the design provides some evidence of the company’s next attempt to build a phone.