This past year, Microsoft has filed several patents that evolve around foldable devices, and today, yet another patent has appeared online giving us possibly our best look yet at what a potential foldable handset from Microsoft could look like.
The patent is for a "Portable device with adjustable optical arrangement" and looks to be a way to solve having two optical arrangements on a single device that can then line up when closed, possibly acting as a way to compensate for thin displays resulting in small cameras. By stacking the two displays back to back the optical arrangement can in effect double in size.
The complexity and adjustability of the optical arrangement may be limited by the space available in the device. In particular, the thickness of the device is often limited, allowing a strictly limited thickness or length of the optical arrangement only. This may be the case, for example, in foldable devices where the maximum thickness of each portion of the device is restricted by the maximum allowable overall thickness of the device in its folded position.
We already know that Microsoft is internally prototyping a foldable device with a focus on pen and digital inking. It is widely believed that this device is codenamed Andromeda, and will be similar to that of the Microsoft Courier but in a smaller, pocket-able form factor.
Sources suggest this device will be the first to ship with a version of Windows 10 that features CShell and built with Windows Core OS, and may utilize a dual-screen system. The patent revealed today appears to show a dual-screen device that folds into a smartphone-like form factor.
Of course, patents aren't always representative of what the final shipping product may look like, and Microsoft may decide to cancel its plans to release a foldable device at any time. If such device doesn't get canceled however, we hear it may make an appearance as soon as next year.
You can see the full patent here (warning: PDF).
What are your thoughts on Microsoft's foldable device plans? Let us know in the comments!