A Microsoft Surface phone could have THREE screens, according to patent
Microsoft might add a third screen to its mobile Surface design, according to a patent.
What you need to know
- A patent shows a potential phone from Microsoft that has three screens.
- The design has a thinner third display set between two larger displays.
- As is the case with all patents, this design might never be released or used in a product.
Microsoft's Surface Duo is set to come out later this year. That device has two displays attached together by a hinge. A recently published patent from Microsoft shows off designs for a device that looks similar to the Surface Duo, but that has three screens (via Windows Latest). The designs in the patent have a thin third display set between the two larger displays. As is the case with all patents, the designs shown off might never be used in a device.
The patent illustrates and describes a design of a device that has a third display that responds to the configuration of the device. For example, if the device was folded closed, the third display could show controls or content similar to the Samsung Edge display. If the device is folded open, the middle display could bridge the gap between the two larger displays. One portion of the patent reads:
The patent also states:
It's important to note that while these designs could refer to a phone or cellular device similar to the Surface Duo, they could also be used in a mobile computer like the Surface Neo. Any mobile device could also not be a Surface device, but considering the Surface Duo and Surface Neo are under the Surface brand, it seems likely that the potential device could be a Surface. The patent reads:
The first claim of the patent gives a good summary of the overall concept:
A device with three screens could provide unique functionality for a mobile device, such as seeing notifications or controls when the phone was closed, but it would also likely have some issues. Presumably, a third screen between two other screens would have gaps on each side, making viewing content across all three screens awkward. Patent drawings are basic and aim to illustrate concepts, not final designs, so it's unclear how large any potential gaps would be.
The patent was filed on August 7, 2019, and was published on March 31, 2020.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.