Microsoft's Surface Phone to turn into mini laptop via "determinative hinge" patent
Microsoft surprised everyone when it announced last year that Windows 10 will not be further be updated for handheld ARM-based devices, but rumors about a Surface Phone with a totally new Windows 10 version specifically designed for handhelds started to surface long before the surprising announcement. Up until now, the Surface Phone (aka Project Andromeda) appeared to be a hybrid crossing between smartphone and tablet, with a little bit of foldable action thrown in the mix. However, a recently revealed patent involving a “determinative hinge” system presents the possibility of transforming the Surface Phone into a mini laptop complete with keyboard and trackpad.
The patent was filed back in 2016 and, as always, it may very well not make it to the actual Surface Phone. The special hinge system features a notch on one of its surfaces, which snaps into position to create a stable point at 135 degrees, allowing the device to behave like a traditional clamshell laptop. When pushed beyond the threshold, the screen half can be fully open to 180 degrees. The other half of the display will automatically show a virtual keyboard and trackpad when the hinge snaps into mini laptop mode.
Microsoft is expected to release the Surface Phone in late 2018 with the new C-shell Windows 10 that is specially adapted for smartphone and tablet use. The new OS is rumored to support Win32 apps from the Windows Store at some point after its launch.