Microsoft’s Andromeda May Be a Modular Mobile Device

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, Microsoft Surface with 25 Comments

We have been covering Microsoft’s foldable phone project extensively ever since we first revealed details on the device back in October of last year. The project, codenamed Andromeda, is more than just about the hardware — it includes a new Windows design made entirely for the new category of foldable Windows 10 devices.

Unlike past Surface devices, Microsoft has been publishing a lot of patents of the new foldable device, mostly to do with the hinge design, giving us an idea of what the device will be all about. This week, two more patents of the device have been published and it makes things a lot more interesting.

The first patent (via STP), outlining a modular hinge, takes the idea of the Andromeda foldable device to a whole new level. The patent details a modular hinge design that allows two portions of a foldable device to be attached together through the modular hinge, allowing users to use it either as a foldable device or potentially use both the different parts separately. The attachment of both the different parts will likely work similar to how Surface Type Covers attach to the tablet, as the patent mentions a hinge pin that allows users to attach both the portions together.

Microsoft also published a new patent describing (via WalkingCat) a “magnetic block locking” mechanism for a foldable device that allows for a magnetic lock of both portions of a foldable device. The idea behind it is pretty straightforward, but reading the patent will give you an idea of how complex the mechanism actually is. In other words, magnets aren’t easy to work with, especially when a device includes 360-degree rotation capabilities.

Microsoft’s modular hinge patent seems quite promising, though we aren’t too sure if the design is meant for the company’s Andromeda hardware. Microsoft has published multiple different hinge designs for a foldable device recently, so we aren’t entirely sure what the final version of the device will end up looking like. Either way, we are still months away from the launch of Andromeda and more details of the project could emerge before that. The company is expected to launch the device sometime later this year or early next year, though I believe Redmond still has a lot of work to get done with the software.

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