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Microsoft Foldable Phone Patent Shows Two Screens

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Surface Phone clue as patent shows dual-display and 360-degree rotation support, but will anyone care?

A patent has been discovered online that provides further hints to the unique design of the long rumoured Surface phone from Microsoft.

Existing patents for the device, supposedly arriving next year (but not confirmed in any official capacity), have already revealed the device could have a foldable body and display.

But now a new patent hints at the possible Surface Phone hinge that can rotate through 360 degrees.

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The patent has the title of “Hinge with Free-Stop function” shows a mobile-type device with a hinge that supports rotation of 360-degrees.

The thinking here is that it could help meet the demands of those users looking for mobile devices with larger displays as they can offer a better user experience.

And it seems this new hinge may not just be a redesign for its Surface hybrid tablets, as the Microsoft patent describes how users want their mobile phone to fit comfortably in their hand or in a shirt or pants pocket.

Microsoft also admits in the patent that the hinges on dual-display devices are problematic, but it feels that the only way to obtain bigger smartphone screens is by adding a second screen.

Any Care?

Yet assuming that any of the above actually sees the light of day, the question remains will anyone care about a Microsoft Surface phone?

Microsoft has a poor track record over its commitment to hardware (despite its well received Surface Pro tablets). This poor track record is evidenced by the brutal termination of its entire Nokia division, the axing of the Lumia range, as well as its retreat from the entire smartphone area in general.

But there are other areas where Microsoft has also abandoned its hardware ambitions, as it continues to focus on its Azure platform.

For example, earlier this year Redmond stopped making its innovative Kinect device for the Xbox platform.

Microsoft has also abandoned its Surface RT devices, as well as the wearable Microsoft Band.

Quiz: The history, products and people of Microsoft