As we know Samsung and LG are expected to launch their foldable devices soon -- in Q3 and Q4 this year respectively -- and Nokia is on the verge of getting their flexible device soon. So how can Microsoft be so silent? As a matter of fact, it isn't.
The company's upcoming smartphone Microsoft Surface is now speculated to come with a foldable display innovation as a patent granted to Microsoft reveals that it's envisioning a smartphone that opens up to form a tablet-like larger display. The patent was first spotted by MSPowerUser.
The patent was applied back in October 2016 and has now been granted by US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The plan in the patent describes the device as a "mobile computing device having a flexible hinge structure", which means it's essentially a foldable phone-to-tablet mobile device. The device can be folded into the size of a smartphone screen enabling the users to make calls, text or browse and then the user can open the device to use it as a tablet for reading or editing purpose. The device can also be kept in tent mode for watching movies.
The patent explains: "In this way, the housings of the mobile computing device may support a variety of different usage scenarios through arrangement of the housings in relation to each other, e.g., by folding. For example, a "tablet" configuration may be supported in which each of the housings is "laid flat" such that an entirety of the display device is viewable by a user. In a "phone" configuration, one of the housings may be stacked behind another one of the housings such that the mobile computing device may be easily grasped using a single hand yet still provide a portion of the display device that is viewable by a user. In a "closed" configuration, the display device may be positioned internally in the stacked configuration and thus may be used to protect the display device when not in use. A variety of other configurations are also described, such as a "mini-tablet" configuration, as well as biasing mechanisms that may be employed to bias the mobile computing device to remain in a desired configuration, further discussion of which may be found in relation to the following sections".
The Surface series is known for its 2-in-1 category products, and the company would look to trickle down that strategy into its smartphones as well. A Microsoft executive last year said that the Surface Phone saying that it will be a high-end version catering to the enterprise market and will be 'category innovating'. It is likely to come in three variants based on processor, storage, and other features.