Microsoft Patent Innovative Foldable Phone with 360-degree Hinge

In 2019, Microsoft unveiled its very first Android smartphone, and it was a foldable one. The Surface Duo created quite a buzz, marking Microsoft’s comeback into the smartphone market. However, it faced challenges and didn’t quite hit the mark. The Surface Duo 2 followed, but it too struggled. Now, fresh reports suggest that Microsoft is gearing up for another attempt with the Surface Duo, but this time, there’s a unique twist. The company aims to create what they call a “truly foldable smartphone.”

Could This Be Microsoft’s Upcoming Surface Duo Phone?

According to a recently filed patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization, Microsoft has ambitious plans in the works. They are developing a device equipped with a 360-degree hinge, allowing a flexible OLED display to fold both inwards and outwards. Microsoft is referring to this innovative technology as the “display frame translation mechanism.”

There are a couple of significant aspects to this development. Firstly, the majority of foldable smartphones currently on the market feature inward folding flexible displays, such as the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Google Pixel Fold. There’s also the recently revealed Honor V Purse, which has an outward folding display. However, up until now, there hasn’t been a single device that can do both inward and outward folding.

Source: WIPO

Moreover, unlike the previous Surface Duo iterations, where each half featured individual AMOLED panels, Microsoft is opting for a continuous flexible OLED display in this model. To achieve this, they’re employing a complex 360-degree cam-based hinge mechanism designed to significantly reduce the “tensile stress” experienced by the display. To put it in context, this stress is the force that typically prevents you from bending a regular foldable smartphone outwards without damaging it. With this innovative approach, the device can seamlessly switch between tablet and non-tablet modes, all with a single expansive, flexible screen.

Realizing this “truly foldable” concept could indeed revolutionize the foldable smartphone landscape. It has the potential to be a game-changer for the Surface Duo smartphone series. Given that current foldable displays are primarily constructed using plastic with a thin layer of glass on top, it’s a curious challenge to enable bi-directional bending without causing damage. It’s reminiscent of the concepts seen in rollable display phones. However, we’ll have to wait to see how Microsoft tackles this engineering feat and whether it will result in a groundbreaking product. Time will reveal the extent of this innovation.

It’s important to note that this is a patent, and there’s no guarantee it will materialize into an actual product. Nevertheless, considering Microsoft’s dedication to the smartphone market, the prospects appear encouraging. What are your thoughts on this recent patent by Microsoft? Would you be interested in purchasing a foldable smartphone with a 360-degree hinge? Feel free to express your opinions in the comments area down below.

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