Microsoft’s Foldable Phone Shows Up Again in New Patents

Posted on December 7, 2017 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, Microsoft Surface, Mobile with 28 Comments

Microsoft’s working on a foldable mobile device, and that’s no secret. Earlier in the year, a patent showed off how a Microsoft’s foldable device could look like, and we recently revealed more details about the device, codenamed Andromeda, as well as the software powering the device.

Two more patents of Microsoft’s foldable mobile device have been published today, and they were first spotted by WalkingCat. While the first patent of the foldable device mainly focused on the hinge design, both of the new patents focus on the imaging capabilities of the devices.

The proposed design compromises of one primary image sensor with a wide field of view while the second optical arrangement on the secondary part of the foldable device can be used to narrow down the field of view. It is not clear exactly how Microsoft plans on using the different FOVs, but it’s possible the sensors have something to do with offering a zoom feature on the camera without compromising the image quality.

Both of the patents published today show off a similar hinge design, but one of the patents show off more of a portable phone design while the second one looks similar to a phablet/tablet.

The more interesting part of these new patents is the fact that the inventors listed on the documents are mostly from the Nokia imaging team. This includes Eeruo Tuulos, Eero Salmelin, Urho Konttori, Mikko Juhola, and Marko Eromäki all worked at Nokia to build imaging features (PureView, etc.) for the company’s Lumia products. Some of these engineers are no longer believed to be working at Microsoft, which makes sense as the patent was originally filled back in June 2016.

Microsoft’s foldable phone project is getting more and more interesting every month. The company is expected to introduce the device sometime next year or 2019, so there’s still a lot of time before we get to see the real deal.

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Microsoft’s Foldable Phone Shows Up Again in New Patents”

  1. chrisrut

    Hmm. Could also relate to simulating the eye's visual discrimination strategies; the thing looked at - the center of attention - is seen in great detail, while objects and spaces on the periphery impose far less processing on the system.

  2. sandeepm

    I have a question for Satya and company: okay, so we are being punished for being age old enthusiasts of windows mobile and for hoping that it will see prime some day. Enthusiasts all the way from the time when your own employees hated it and were cursing it for not being as good as the blackberry with its dial. That is fair, we deserve to be punished for being faithful to the pre-Nadella era. But my question is: what wrong did my wife and my children and my 80 yr old mother do, to have to now learn to use Andy Rubin's pirated 'invention'  while people like Mehedi Hassan continue their wishful thinking, believing that underneath all the denials from those who call the shots, we should continue waiting for a miracle to happen? Let me know if you need help. I think that you need some help.

  3. Gregory Newman

    i might sound like a nut but i want Microsoft to make an 2- 8 inch screen 16 by 9 Intel Atom version of a 2 screen Mini tablet.

    with a built in basic 4G Cell phone. Why because it will natively run some Win 32 -x86 Microsoft PC programs without emulation. it will run MS Office just fine which is Good for student and Business people. As for Apps are concerned the Windows Microsoft store has all the apps i want so that is no problem with me and more are coming. since this device would run some desktop PC programs well it will be able to run a staggering amount of them available for this device to run. with "Continuum soft ware and C-shell software this device could connect up to a large screen Desktop PC monitor

  4. Marek Sliwa

    No reason Windows can't run Android apps and access the Android store. This way we keep the sanity and security of Windows while having access to the wild west that is Android.

  5. mariusmuntensky

    DOA without MOBILE APPS.

  6. Billzeal

    Yes we don't know and can't see what the final product will be but I have a strong feeling I will be making a day 1 purchase ?

  7. straker135

    I am not a fan of the folding phablet concept. Some of the patent drawings suggest that there will be two glass surfaces in contact with each other when closed. To me that is a high risk scenario for grit and other items to be caught between and damage the screens. In that configuration a gap of some kind, however small, must be left if the screens are to allow for screen protectors which will increase the thickness of the individual components of the phablet.

    The alternative obviously is for the two glass surfaces to face outwards when the device is 'closed'. That makes the most sense if the device is to be used as a phone with a display always visible without opening it. Having some other arrangement of the screens, one in one out, is mechanically more tricky at an engineering level. Having said that Microsoft Surface engineers have done a pretty good job with hinges on the Surface Pro, Book and Studio so who knows?

  8. SkiddMarxx99

    One problem with foldable phones occurred to me - how do you put a case on a foldable device and still be able to open and close the device? Unless the phones are built to survive the normal drops such a device would experience, I foresee a lot of dented corners, cracked screens, and upset owners.

  9. sharpsone

    I'm intrigued by this offering, will it be full windows on arm? I'd run the crap outta that. I have no loyalty to the dominant mobile OS out there. I'm not a big app user but if I could have one device for work and play it would be Windows because like most Americans I spend more time at work than play.

  10. darkgrayknight

    Courier reborn: Surface Courier

  11. John Noonan

    If they release a phone again I would expect for it to run Android. They have plenty of great Android apps that work with their cloud services. They actually could release a great Android based phone if they chose to try.

    • Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

      In reply to John_Noonan:

      Android as an OS is probably once of worst ever created; a corrupted distro of Linux.

      In my opinion, Android is worse than both SCO Open Desktop and JavaOS, a comparison that shames the manner in which Google abuses Linux.

      • John Noonan

        In reply to Locust Infested Orchard Inc.:

        I respect your opinion, and in a lot of ways I even think you are correct (although Android is not a "Distribution of Linux" it is actually a Java based platform that rides on top of Linux). But Windows failed on mobile and the situation for that is not better today than it was a few years ago; in fact, it is worse. Microsoft could make Android better. If they wanted to gamble they could even fork it away from Google much as Amazon did and they could improve the platform while not having issues with the App Gap they would face on their own.

  12. gregsedwards

    Reserving judgment until I see a final prototype, but I'm not sure how people would feel about a dual screen device for viewing media, if there's a thin line running through the middle of everything.

  13. Jorge Garcia

    Except that there is no credible MS Mobile OS to go with any of this. Thankfully, while the big boys are stumbling around figuring out what to make for the masses, Samsung is busily preparing the DeXPad for a release with the S9. While the fact that the device is coming from Samsung and therefore will be tied to Samsung devices will put a lid on its overall success, I am sure that the DeXPad showing up in stores will force the big three to reconsider their currently flawed OS strategies. Normal people love, love, love, their smartphones, but all I hear from 100% of the non-techie people I know is..."why can't I just run THESE apps on a bigger screen with a keyboard (and sometimes mouse)???". Samsung will be answering their prayers shortly, and it's a shame because Google especially had the chance to nail the solution a half-decade before Samsung but chose to make that wonky also-ran ChromeOS that normal people aren't interested in re-training themselves how to use. Everyone already knows how to use Android/iOS/Both...all they want is a larger screen and a keyboard, maybe some multi-tasking support and a very basic desktop. The iPad Pro kiiiind of gets there...but it is limited to a very select (and affluent) audience.

  14. Mike Cramer

    Interesting. This is consistent with Microsoft mantra of releasing new form factors that redefine the PC market.

    BTW, Mehedi, I appreciate the clarity of your writing. Paul/Brad et al were wise to hire you.

  15. rmlounsbury

    Still not sure what I think of a dual-screened phone.

  16. dstrauss

    "Microsoft’s foldable phone project is getting more and more interesting every month. The company is expected to introduce the device sometime next year or 2019, so there’s still a lot of time before we get to see the real deal."

    Well, if that is true, nothing like being a day late and a dollar long ago was the Surface Mini scuttled...

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