More evidence has emerged pointing to Microsoft releasing a Surface Phone next year. The latest hint comes in the form of another patent application detailing a bit of additional information pertaining a foldable Andromeda device. In the patent, Microsoft talks about the increased demand that exists for larger displays, and that a foldable device would satisfy that demand while still allowing for bigger phones to be shoved in a pocket.
"Mobile phone displays have increased in size to the point where they can now consume almost the entire viewing surface of a phone. To increase the size of displays any further would require an increase in the size of the phones themselves. This is not desirable, as users want their mobile phone to fit comfortably in their hand or in a shirt or pants pocket," Microsoft states in its patent application.
"As a result, dual-display devices are becoming more popular. With a dual-display device, the mobile phone or tablet can include an open, expanded position where both displays are flush so that the user feels like there is a single integrated display. In a closed, condensed position, both displays are face-to-face so as to protect the displays. In a fully-open position, the dual displays can sit back-to-back so the user needs to flip the device to view the opposing display," Microsoft continues.
There are over two dozen drawings included with the patent application, some of which show the foldable display while several others focus on the 360-degree hinge design. In short, Microsoft feels this type of design is the key to delivering a tablet-like experience on a smartphone, presumably even more so than existing phablets like Samsung's Galaxy Note line and other really big phones.
It is worth noting that not all patent applications evolve into shipping products. That said, rumors of a Surface Phone pop up every so often. What's also interesting is that around a year ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about remaining committed to making phones, but was more interested in bringing something different to the table.
"We don't want to be driven by just envy of what others have, the question is, what can we bring? That's where I look at any device form factor or any technology, even AI. We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today's market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device," Nadella said at the time.
Was than an admission of a Surface Phone being in the works, or at least being toyed around with behind the scenes? Only Microsoft knows the answer.
Tying into all this is Microsoft's partnership with Qualcomm in the laptop sector. As 2018 gets under way, we are going to see Windows 10 laptops running Snapdragon 835 (and later Snapdragon 845) hardware inside. These machines will be capable of running x86 applications, with the promise of multiple day battery life. If these things prove popular, then a Surface Phone release might not be far behind, offering the same capabilities with the added benefit of being able to tuck it away in a pants pocket or purse. We will just have to wait and see.
Top Image Source: Wikimedia Commons via Coolcaesar