Microsoft Folding Surface Phone-Tablet Hybrid Uncovered In Patent Filing

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Microsoft may have closed the door on its Lumia family of smartphones, but that doesn’t mean that the company has given up on phones altogether. Mobile represents a huge opportunity for a company like Microsoft — an opportunity that up until this point it has largely squandered.

However, a new patent filing reveals that Microsoft could still have a few more tricks up its sleeve; in this case, a folding smartphone. If such a design were to make it to production, it would likely adopt Surface branding, joining the likes of the aerobatic Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Studio. Entitled “Mobile Computing Device Having A Flexible Hinge Structure”, the patent shows a smartphone with a side-mounted hinge that opens up to reveal an uninterrupted, large display surface perfect for tablet duty.

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This 2-in-1 device would give customers the best of both worlds. You would be able to enjoy the portability of smaller smartphone form-factor, while also being able to enjoy the larger screen real estate (for web browsing, content creation, movie viewing) that is afforded by having a tablet.

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We can’t help but think of Microsoft’s abandoned Courier project from many moons ago when looking at these patent drawings. And just like patent filings leaked the Surface Studio months before its official unveil, this could be a precursor to a future Microsoft product. Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to patent filings, as Microsoft has patented hundreds (if not thousands) of innovative designs without acting on them with a shipping product.

If Microsoft does choose to go forward with production, it would be in direct competition with Samsung, which will reportedly launch a production foldable phone in Q3. That phone is said to have a “fold-out” display which would turn it into a tablet.