microsoft foldable device patent pdfpiw uspto gov

Microsoft’s patent “US9541962 (B2)” describess dual and triple-hinged devices that support multiple configurations such as “tablet”, “mini tablet”, and “phone”.

The company thoroughly explains the different forms this mobile device could transform into and offers an interesting glimpse of what could be the imminent future of mobile computing devices.

The patent speaks about the possibility of double and triple-screened phones, but says that the technology can be used for “both a phone and a mini-tablet”. The devices could be folded into something small and phone-like, placed in a “tent” mode, and even folded out to create a larger tablet.

Microsoft’s flexible hinge structure is configured to support rotational movement and may include “a biasing mechanism that may be used to bias the first and second housings to remain in a desired configuration”. We know about Microsoft´s passion about hinge-technology already from the Surface Pro series and the Surface Book.

Microsoft foldable device Figure 1

Device size matters

Device-sizes are well known as a primary factor for consumer purchase decisions. Microsoft explains that “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.

Microsoft foldable device Figure 5

With Samsung and LG getting ready to release their fold-able phones in late 2017, the mobile devices market is subject to a massive change and Microsoft won’t stand idle. Rumors suggest the company wants to release the Surface Phone late 2017.

Could this be the Surface Phone?

Microsoft’s new patent for a fold-able mobile device could point to the company’s awaited Surface Phone. Recently the company applied for a new patent which gives more credible ideas about possible Surface Phone features.

The patent filing describes an “input recognition system” which can initiate pairing of mobile devices, “enabling a cross-screen display of an interface on the respective device touchscreens, such as with different parts of the interface displayed on different ones of the device touchscreens.

A combination of the “input recognition system” patent, the “foldable mobile computing device having a flexible hinge structure” and the patent Microsoft was awarded earlier this month titled “electrical hinge interconnection guide”, could be the “formula” for the creation of the Microsoft Surface Phone.

Microsoft foldable device Figure 16