Microsoft unveiled a patent device with a flexible hinge and display that would turn a phone into a tablet. Patent Filings foldable phone discovered by MSPoweruser reveal that Microsoft is experimenting with this type of concept for a future smartphone device.
The patent, first filed in October 2014 and recently made public, details a 2-in-1 foldable device. According to notes and diagrams details the device can be configured into various shapes, the large smartphone that can fold over and transform into a tablet from a factor or even the tent mode like Lenovo Yoga tablet. They are appearing to be two or three modes to extend the screen flat out to make the device bigger and more of a tablet like Microsoft’s original Courier concept.
“We will continue to be in the phone market, not as defined by today’s market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do with what is the most ultimate mobile device,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, during an interview last year.
The inventor of the device in the patent is listed as Kabir Siddiqui, the man behind Microsoft’s successful patent for the Surface kickstand and Surface camera angle, which bodes well for this latest design in the long run.
Rumors have suggested that Microsoft is planning to bring a Surface Phone to the market this year, but the software maker has consistently avoided traditional form factors for its Surface device.
Last week, Samsung was reported to be working on a similar smartphone design, which was said to come with panels that fold out to form a 7 inch tablet, codenamed “Foldable Valley.” The Samsung foldable smartphone is expected to launch in August, the report claims.
LG will also unveil as similar product, and believes it can sell 100,000 foldable device in the fourth quarter.