Microsoft is considering a return to the phone market. And the device they may return with is a dual screen device that can be used as a tablet. Looking at patents the dual screen will provide a continuous screen when in tablet mode. Microsoft detailed a number of sizes for the mobile device in both phone and tablet configurations. They even experimented it seems on a three screen foldable device; but the final version looks to be a dual screen.
This year Microsoft received patents for a series of technologies that together may provide a glimpse at a future device. The patents cover the screen, a hinge mechanism, and two cover the device itself. All patents point to a mobile device that is a combination of a smartphone and a tablet. While patents tend to obscure specific information the accompanying images provide an idea on what Microsoft is considering.
On the surface, this device looks a lot like the ill fated Microsoft Courier. Both are dual screen, touch devices but the Courier screen was separated by a large hinge and was more of a digital notebook.
This new device is a mix of tablet and phone; also the device minimizes the hinge between the screens to create a seamless screen when used as a tablet.
Between the first filled patent in 2011 and the most recent filling, Microsoft has seemingly changed the design of the hinge mechanism. In earlier designs the hinge allowed for a device that opened flat 180 degrees or close. The latest design seems to use a combination of magnates and a flexible hinge to improve usability. In the patent they discuss the various positions which now allow the device to flip the screen 360 degrees.
While this is exciting news it should be remembered that these are patents and companies file them all the time and don’t mean a device is incoming. But based on this and other information we may see this soon.