Microsoft and smartphones might be standing poles apart at the moment though that’s likely set for a change soon, or as soon as just next year itself. And bridging the gap could be a hinge that the Redmond giant has been found to apply a patent for.
Referred to as ‘Hinge with Free-Stop Function’, the new folding mechanism is expected to be such that it remains invisible externally. However, the mechanism would still hold two separate screens in a manner that when laid out flat, it would give the feel of a single seamless display. The same when folded would act as a mini laptop of sorts, with one of the displays even acting as a key pad as well thereby justifying its rumoured Surface Phone naming.
In fact, there are numerous software optimizations that can be introduced with such a hardware setup. For instance, one of the displays might be playing a video while the other will allow you to attend to an important email. Or you might catch with your friends on the social media on one display while watching your favorite shows on the other.
Reading books could also be more realistic on a foldable device, with each of the display acting as a page similar to what you have on a real book. That is not all as gaming can also assume a whole new proportion what with an extra display which might add a whole new perspective to game playing on mobile devices.
Microsoft however is yet to comment on this though it did mention in the patent filing that adding an extra screen provides the best option to enhance the functionality of existing phones. With full-screen displays already becoming a reality such as on the iPhone X or the Galaxy S8, there isn’t anyway manufacturers can add more screen real estate without actually enhancing the phone’s dimension itself.
That again can make the phone awkward to hold, operate and store though with a foldable design, the display gets doubled without the device getting enlarged proportionately. It will be interesting to note though if the Surface Phone, if at all it is real and makes it to the market will run Android or the Windows 10 version in the making and codenamed Andromeda.
Microsoft has been conspicuously absent in the booming smartphone segment though there has always been rumors of it staging a comeback. Doing so with a device that can take the entire smartphone segment by storm will no doubt make the most sense. Worth mentioning, Samsung too is rumored to be developing a foldable smartphone sometime next year.