Microsoft has been awarded a patent for a mobile device with a flexible hinge structure, effectively allowing the handset to fold in half.
Based on the drawings in the patent, it appears Microsoft is working on a dual-purpose device with the flexible hinge enabling the device to switch between a tablet and a Smartphone.
“The size of a display device has been found to be a major consideration by consumers regarding a choice of which mobile computing device to buy, whether to purchase multiple mobile computing devices, and so on,” the patent, which was awarded last April, but published for the first time this month, reads.
“For example, a user may be forced to balance portability of a mobile computing device having a relatively small display device (e.g., a mobile phone) with increased viewability afforded by larger display devices included on relatively large mobile computing devices, e.g., tablets.”
If Microsoft manages to make its technology work well enough to bring to market, it would effectively solve consumers’ dilemma of which device to buy because, seemingly, the “plurality of housings” would give users both a phone and a tablet.
As Microsoft describes it, the device will include a “display device that is flexible, and a flexible hinge structure. The flexible hinge structure secures the plurality of housings to each other, permits the plurality of housings to rotate about an axis in relation to each other, and supports a continuous viewing area of the display device.”
Whether Microsoft’s patent comes to anything will be anyone’s guess. Many tech firms file patents for new devices and many don’t make it to retail.