New patent suggests the Surface Phone could sport two displays

By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read
Surface Phone

There have been plenty of rumors about an upcoming Surface Phone. Yet, Microsoft has revealed nothing about a potential Surface Phone. However, there have been numerous patents that highlight the software giant is at least developing some kind of foldable mobile device, which may, or may not, be a Surface Phone. Microsoft has now published two May 2018 patents that include a foldable mobile device.

One of the Microsoft patents highlights how a device with two displays could detect which display has the user focus. The patent includes a foldable mobile device that incorporates a variety of sensors that detect the display positions. The patent’s abstract states:

A mobile computing device is provided that includes a processor, an accelerometer, two or more display devices, and a housing including the processor, the accelerometer, and the two or more display devices, determine a current user focus indicating that a first display device of the pair of display devices is being viewed by the user, and that a second display device of the pair of display devices is not being viewed by the user.

Microsoft also published another May patent (originally filed in 2016) that shows off a hinged mobile device with three displays! The patent shows how a third display could be incorporated into the device’s hinge. That third display could bridge the two primary displays together or act as a visual divider. The abstract for that patent states:

Techniques are described herein that are capable of making a state-based determination of information to be displayed on a screen region of a hinge that is coupled to other screen regions. For instance, a state of a hinge that is coupled between a first screen region and a second screen region may be determined. Information that is to be displayed on a third screen region that is provided on the hinge may be determine based at least in part on the state of the hinge.

What could the foldable device in the patents feasibly be? Who knows, it might be a Surface Phone! It could be one of a new breed of folding phones rumoured to be in the works. So that device might be a 2-in-1 phone and tablet.

The device could also be a new kind of dual display tablet. A tablet with two (or three) displays would certainly be something special. Then you could open apps in each of the two displays to utilize two apps at once. Both a Microsoft tablet and foldable phone would probably include the modular Windows Core OS.

These new patents do not necessarily mean that Microsoft is developing the foldable device shown within them. However, they will generate more rumors that the company is still cooking up a Surface Phone or alternative foldable mobile device. At the very least, the patents highlight that Microsoft is at least considering releasing a mobile device in the foreseeable future.

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