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Microsoft patent shows device with three displays

The numbers 106, 116, and 126 point to where the hinge screen would be located. (Source: Free Patents Online)
The numbers 106, 116, and 126 point to where the hinge screen would be located. (Source: Free Patents Online)
A recently published patent assigned to Microsoft appears to show a device with three screens. The illustrated foldable tablet has two seemingly regular-sized screens, and there is a third screen located on the hinge that separates the two main display regions. The patent for this interesting innovation was filed in November 2016.

A patent for a device with three screens filed by Microsoft has recently been published. The title of the patent application is “Device having a screen region on a hinge coupled between other screen regions.” It appears the idea is to create a foldable tablet that has a working screen located on the central hinges. The hinge screen could be used for displaying notifications, or it could even be used for audio interactions. The abstract for the patent also mentions the hinge screen’s potential capability for recognizing the device’s position:  

Information that is to be displayed on a third screen region that is provided on the hinge may be determine [sic] based at least in part on the state of the hinge.

Naturally, being a patent application does not mean Microsoft is actually developing or producing such a device. However, the concept of placing a third screen over the hinge of a tablet (or foldable smartphone) is interesting and could even be incorporated into the rumored Andromeda device Microsoft is apparently working on. Another recently published Microsoft patent showed a foldable device with a “smart hinge” – sensors on the hinge would relay information about how the product was being held and would orientate the screen accordingly.

Having a third display on the hinge is a step up from just placing sensors there. Many of the major technology companies are believed to be developing foldable devices, and solving the issue of what to do with the central hinge or fold seems to be one of the current major sticking points.


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Daniel R Deakin, 2018-05-11 (Update: 2018-05-11)