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What Microsoft's foldable device patent could mean for the Surface Phone

The new patent builds on an idea for a foldable device Microsoft attempted in 2009. (Source: USPTO)
The new patent builds on an idea for a foldable device Microsoft attempted in 2009. (Source: USPTO)
A recently-approved patent suggests that the company may be looking into foldable screens for their next device, which many expect to be the Surface Phone. If so, the Surface Phone may not be a smartphone in the usual sense.

Foldable phone rumors coming out of LG, Samsung, and Nokia abound, but they aren’t the only ones that are capitalizing on this potential feature. Microsoft’s patent for a foldable device was approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office last week.

Microsoft once revealed a concept for a similar foldable phone-tablet hybrid in 2009 called Courier, but the project never made it off the ground. This new device appears to build on that idea of a phone with a continuous screen that extends across a foldable region.

This patent is not exactly new, however. Microsoft filed it in 2014, back when Microsoft thought they could get Windows Phone off the ground to be a genuine competitor to iOS and Android. Today, the barriers to entry for a new smartphone maker are even higher.

Microsoft executive vice president of Windows and Devices Terry Myerson said in an interview with ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley that Microsoft would “continue to invest in ARM and cellular,” but he was careful to avoid using the word “phone.”

Speculators believe this to be a sign that Microsoft’s Surface Phone may be a tablet with cellular capabilities. The foldable phone patent seems to support the idea that if the Surface Phone ever materializes, we should expect something more revolutionary than a typical smartphone.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 01 > What Microsoft's foldable device patent could mean for the Surface Phone
Isaac Brown, 2017-01-17 (Update: 2017-01-18)
Isaac Brown
Isaac Brown - News Editor
I joined Notebookcheck at the end of 2016 after being a dedicated reader of the website for the past six years, occasionally tuning out various lecturers to read reviews of the latest gaming and business laptops. As a writer and tech enthusiast, I focus mostly on smartphones, the latest trending gadgets like VR headsets, and the businesses that create it all. When I’m not admiring the latest graphics cards, I write short fiction and arrange for a cappella.