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A new patent shows Microsoft's experiments with folding tablets, keyboard docks

Microsoft seems to love the idea of folding displays, and Redmond is showing no signs of letting up on its research into the possibilities therein. Beyond the obvious explorations into Microsoft's rumored folding "Andromeda" tablet, it seems that the company is also looking into bendable tablets, complete with Surface Book and Pro-like keyboard docks.

This latest patent was unearthed by h0x0d on Twitter, and seems to show off flexible displays that can be bent, and also folded out flat and connected directly into a keyboard dock, not unlike the Surface Book's. The patent also describes how the device's different components would be split among each foldable half, which can be undocked completely and used separately as a tablet.

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As usual, take note of the fact that patents do not mean products, and Microsoft has been known to cancel things at the last minute. At the very least, these images show experiments and schematics the Surface team might be looking into for future devices, as the division examines what sort of new form factors it can build for Windows. It's not likely that anything we're seeing here will materialize in the expected folding Surface "Andromeda" tablet, but the patent does describe an OS that can conform to the different folded positions taken by the tablet, which is something we expect to see more of as part of Andromeda's Windows Core OS and CShell. Take a look at the full patent right over here.

Everything we know about Microsoft's Surface "Andromeda"

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

142 Comments
  • Oow that looks great, that looks briliant!
  • Yes, actually better idea than docking the 'device' in the dock.
  • What looks great is the stupid look on a few specific trolls here who said there was nothing coming.... 😆😆😆😆
  • But... this isn't going to stop them 🙄
  • Of course not.
  • *Patents do not mean products.
  • yes, we know. I know Microsoft is work on 3  devices to Showcase Windows Cors os.
  • Source?
  • It's called a lucky guess
  • I can't find plenty apple link.   https://www.windowscentral.com/design-patent-likely-not-surface-phone this what surface phone will look like.    here's some information about the smartwatch http://www.patentlymobile.com/2017/10/microsoft-wins-patent-for-a-securi... www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2017/09/a-microsoft-patent-shows-th... this why I think that they are 3 surface devices.   
  • *And patents do mean products, just as well.
    .................
    Some of you guys act like a patent means a product isn't coming. That's stupid. No. The fact is that It can go either way... As a matter of fact, I bet found patents mean a product is coming more times than not. If some products do indeed come to the market after patents are found, why gravitate towards the negative? Are you saying that a patent is most definitely a sign that a product is not coming, or are you just being negative, wishing for the worst? What exactly are you saying, and why? What's your point? Please explain..
  • Something is definitely planned. What, if anything, eventually comes out is still unclear.
  • And what would be suggesting that is coming?
  • Golden 😂
  • Yeah baby bring it onnn
  • They weren't wrong.  THERE IS NO PHONE.  ha ha!
  • No, YOU were wrong... You're the main troll who preached nothing was coming, and you were just stupid enough to expose yourself.... Who does that? Answer that. Who's that dumb? Seriously, answer that.
    ..........
    It's sad you even have the ignorance to "show your face" around here anymore. What's wrong with you, man?
  • Sorry WRONG.   I said NO PHONE.   and Again idiot,  I am not a troll.  Since I use microsoft products ALOT.  Ha ha....you are insane.  plese...stop riding that POS hardly it's scrambling your brain.   MORON.
  • I asked you two questions. Just answer the questions or keep your mouth shut. The more you run your mouth, the more everyone hates you. ****, you only have one friend left here, and that's Bleached the biggest, most hated, troll in history. That alone says a lot about you.
    ........
    Man, this is pathetic talking to you. Bye.
  • waaaahhhhh crybaby rodeny back in full effect.   Yes please...do US ALL A FAVOR and shut the **** up...please.  BYE!  Bleached is not my friend asshat.   
  • Asshat............ Where are you from?
    ......
    Anyways, yes Bleached is your friend. I'm sure you two share a shower. Pathetic
  • These patents are all innovative and hope to see these devices in the market soon as soon as the software is polished. Why do i get the feeling there is going to be not just one new product with these different patents??
  • You get that feeling because that's the point.
  • oh really rodneyej. You speak as though u have been in the future
  • Rodney is out in space Peter.  Ignore him. 
  • If you haven't learned that other manufactures devices have Surface from MS's concepts,,, it's either your first day here, or you might just be incapable of recognizing the simplest of patterns.
    .........
    Here's something new for you.
    "That is the entire point of the Surface line"
  • Making a phone is so hard for this company, shame!
  • Hi, we're talking about PCs here, not phones. You must have accidentally time-traveled from 2014. Please enjoy your stay.
  • Hi. That's funny.
    Microsoft is like a drunk teen who's got a date with destiny the very next morning but too irresponsible and scared of the future. They would rather get wasted and sidetracked with one night stands.
  • So, explain to us why you're here?
  • This is an almost undecipherable analogy.
  • Lol... Almost, but it did make sense.
  • He could have been drunk
  • Simple.
    They're trying to avoid the issue. (making phones).
    They keep coming up with reasons to convince themselves they're genius and can do better by putting nitrogen in the wheels of a horse pulled cart.
    Removing the horse is the invention.
    Not trying to improve the passenger experience
  • Phones are generic and have been for a long time, someone has to bring up something.
  • @raytiger Laptops are generic and have been for a long time, someone has to bring up something and stop using laptops too. We need regular 'glas slab' windows 10 core os smartphones too.
  • They would rather get wasted and sidetracked with one night stands. For a one night stand Microsoft takes quite some time, I want to know how they do that, it seems lovely to me. About the main- and sidetrack, wasn't that exactly the thing that farmers did say when they saw the first selfpropelled cars passing by? Remarks defining the maintrack tend to be aging sensitive. The category we now know as smartphones is well beyond its maturity point already. The price rationalisation phase is already started. With the ongoing miniaturisation of electronics even more hardware can be stuffed into a small envelope. So why stop at smartphones if a step further can be taken.  Has Microsoft the golden eggs? Only time can tell. The only thing we can conclude is that innovation is absent with the competition.   
  • I am super excited about Andromeda to replace my laptop on the go. What if there is also a smartphone from Microsoft along with Andromeda?
  • Andromeda isn't a glass slab?
  • Surface Phone with Andromeda please. Want something to replace my Android or bring android emulation to this to woo other android users.
  • No bleached.  it's 2 glass slabs.  truly mind blowing!
  • How in the world will MSFT get some marketshare if it ever allowed Android to mess this premium device?
  • Microsoft it works no 3 Device Andromeda Tablet smartphone and smartwatch.  So the can Show what Windows core os small  Device.
  • actually they made some of the best phones.  its just that no one wants to jump on board so it lost due to apps and marketing.  android A-L has been a pos OS if it didnt have all the apps backing it.
  • Really? I recall them only making a handfull of phones. They were good, but nothing special. They did make a great mobile OS that only one phone OEM relly embraced.
  • You must have missed the 1020 then.
  • Agreed 100 percent bebo,  1020 was THE BEST phone.   Hamperd by **** software. 
  • They had the best cameras by far, and could easily survive without cases or covers. They also sported QI charging, optical OIS and good sunlight visibility before anyone else. I'd say they were in a league of their own...!
  • You think Android A-G had apps?
  • I like the fact that Microsoft is creating new device categories but they should also launch a device that is similar to today's phones along with Andromeda so that developers support the platform and future products from Microsoft.
  • yeah the world needs another glass slab
  • The amount of time, money, and resources to make a compelling phone would take about 18 months and millions of dollars to land in a market that is 80% controlled by Android and 19 percent controlled by Apple - for what gains? It would be easier for them to make current phones work better with Windows 10 while focusing on the future of mobile computing, where they may have a chance to make an impact.
  • Yea millions is so much... Not. Imo when they had around 10% in many countries they had to invest 25 billion in mobile, instead of Minecraft and linkedin. Plenty of cash there. Use it or become irrelevant.
  • Here's your issue: you're talking about them making a phone in 2018/2019, but bringing up data/issues from 2014. Had 10% in many countries. Had 25 billion (oh, Minecraft is huge for them and a success, so bad comparison; even LinkedIn is profitable, more than phone ever was). We're talking about the present/future, but you want to keep bring up 3-5 years ago. My point about time, money and investment for in a phone for 2018 still stands.
  • You're mixing up two separate person's points of view... The latter is simply pointing out that they should have gone all in when they were at 10 % user base and had momentum, and he's 100 % right. That fact is still relevant today, regarding any forthcoming mobile device; hopefully they've learned their lesson! LinkedIn and Minecraft may be paying off, but they're short term gains; certainly Minecraft won't be a factor for long, whereas a mobile (smartphone) presence would have been an investment in the future...
  • How many iterations of the OS did Microsft go through?  At one point they had 40% of the market.  Let me see, windows phone 6.5, 7.0, 8.0, 8.1, W10M.  I am sure I missed a few.  I know because I have used every one.  I used the first MSFT smartphone and have and still use them.   Every time they issued a new OS, they dumped all their developers.  And with each change, they lost more and more market share.   So what is MSFT doing?  Extending their services (Office, bing etc.) to iOS and Android.  Even if they spent billions bringing a phone to market, they could use the same amount of money doing what they know how to do, write software to extend the MSFT ecosystem into Android and iOS, which they would do anyway because those OS phones comprise the market.
  • What's wrong with a fresh take, a quality device made by the Surface team.......a niche product like many others, nothing wrong with that.
  • Using this logic we would not have Office: Word and Excel were launched in a World dominated by Wordperfect, Lotus, Wordstar and QuattroPro. Creating products that we're better than the competition MS conquered the market. And a quick check to the company financial reports shows the monetary gains; a broader analysis shows the strategic gains.
  • yes, are Coming out with Smartphone.    
  • candy bar smartphone innovation is dead. There's no point. Better to focus on a new category. 
  • Correct.  Sales on smartphones have been declining since the end of 2016...
  • Sales of Windows PCs have been declining since 2011.   What's your point? 
  • Yes, something that defines explanation and urges ppl to have one on their hands.
  • If the new mobile version of Windows 10 is released it could be used on andromeda type devices or regular slab-like ones. Hopefully 😂
  • If there were to be a new "traditional" smartphone made to run Windows Core OS, that'd be left up to third-party OEMs.  Microsoft has made it clear they're not interested.  That doesn't mean it won't happen, of course: it was third-party OEMs that produced small form-factor tablets when Microsoft cancelled the Surface Mini, and tablets that ran Windows 10 Mobile instead of Windows 10 for PCs -- ideas that Microsoft was never interested in commercialising.
  • It's Win10 OS running on ARM.
    ARM is famous for smaller devices and OEMs' been making them.
    Maybe not dual screen, but a single screen small sized win10 device isn't difficult to make imo. I bet OEMs will try it at some point.
  • Hope MSFT allows Windows 10 Core OS to be used by Android OEMs. Samsung S10 Windows 10 Edition would be cool to see in future.
  • Just buy an Android phone instead
  • Android devices does not do
    1. XPA gaming
    2. OneDrive on Demand
    3. surface pen
    4. Visual Studio (0 chance )
  • You can't have both, it's that simple. You have to choose.
  • I don't think mobile devices at all can use visual studio, don't you think? Maybe VS code, but not the full blown version. On my laptop, with about 1/3 the packages installed, it takes 53 GB of space, and requires a lot of RAM.
  • If you can't see the writing on the wall that I have been screaming on about in videos and articles about PWA and how it may kill a lot of app development, you would see that Android app emulation looks to be a very poor substitute by comparison. Also, for the record, emulating apps has never saved a platform, nor has it ever been popular. Ask BlackBerry. I have never met another human that uses BlueStacks seriously or regularly.
  • Hopefully PWAs is all that's needed to close the app gap. There are thousands of android and ios games too. Microsoft should find a way to bring developers from the smartphone gaming community too
  • Also Microsoft must make sure that game developers who develop for ios and android are able to publish in Microsoft Store too with Xbox integration easily.
  • Why should Microsoft develop Microsoft Launcher and other Android apps for Android by Google when they can themselves make Windows 10 core OS with limited android support from Microsoft and give it to smartphone OEMs.
  • Have ppl forgot MSFT is a software company first? No premium company that wants to save its ecosystem would want to build and distribute forked version from others' OS.
  • Forked version? who said it. Stop making things up If Microsoft was serious about saving its ecosystem why make its apps for other ecosystems so they are able to stay in other ecosystems without missing microsoft's one.
  • Having Android Subsystem with limited app storage like 500mb or 1gb might actually save Windows 10 in the smartphone segment if it means Android OEMs releasing Windows 10 Versions of smartphones instead.
  • What a terrible idea.  Amazon tried forking Android for their FirePhone devices and it was a miserable failure.  You'd think if anyone could make it work, Amazon should be able to.  A version of Android with Microsoft's name and logo all over it isn't going to fix anything.
  • Seriously?  What is the difference between writing Bing, Office, OneDrive etc.  apps for Android and iOS?  MSFT wants to extend its ecosystem to these markets.  Azure is not an OS but it is clearly an extension of the MSFT ecosystem.  Why did they build Azure?  To extend MSFT ecosystem to the cloud which is not an OS solution.
  • PWAs will close the app gap in time? I disagree. It will close the app gap almost instantly. If Google is pushing the progression of PWAs, then MS only need to continue the path they are on, by allowing Edge to work with them and making PWAs easily discoverable in the MS Store. I think the mistake here is, PWA isn't just a MS thing. It's the next direction in app development and supported by Google, Microsoft and Apple. I put them in the order of interest, since Apple seemingly has the least interest in PWA. Google has the larger share in public usage, when compared to Apple and PWA is going to have most of the apps people will want to use, regardless of the device or OS.
  • @Reo Jefton, those of clamour about android apps and that Microsoft should make a forked android o/s. Tell us something, where would that forked android o/s fall in with the Windows ecosystem and secondly, it will have even worse issues than Windows Mobile had. Do honestly you expect Microsoft to start making phones this time running forked Android when they layed off almost the entire mobile division, including CDMA engineers back 2014. Lastly, if Microsoft was going to start going to fork android then why the heck would they bother continuing almost 3 decades of work to unify the o/s and core? They have done it and have beaten their competitors to the punch in terms of unification. So tell us, why in concrete factual terms how forked android would be beneficial? Don't forget they will need to also create their own android APIs or they will have to wait on Google. Similiarly with bug fixes and security flaws. You see, there is no upside for Microsoft to fork android at all. Heck pushing people onto android faster than the Road Runner being chased by Wiley E. Coyote has really hurt developer engagement with the new features in Windows 10. Sure, there is some but not as much as in the past. But, yes do explain how forked android would be beneficial?
  • Microsoft stopped unification. Now Windows is going to be a bunch of different Windows versions.
  • It won't.  It couldn't.  It would be DOA.
  • @TechFreak1 is the above comment even necessary. Everyone knows forking Android is such a bad idea. Android app emulation too only kills UWP support and it too is not good for the Windows ecosystem. Hope it will be put to rest with PWAs.
  • @TechFreak1 whos talking of forking android? People are talking of emulation. Stop thinking of something and explaining about that something
  • Dude... 🤦🏽
  • Windows 10 does not have 0% market share, so false analogy. Market share of what even? You're just making up things here.
    "Android users just use 5 or 6 apps most of the time and no hardcore android user would use any windows 10 Andromeda device if it does not have those apps when launched."
    So? Who said you have to give up Android? Have you not read/watched anything we have done on this topic? It's evident you haven't. You're doing that thing again...thinking Andromeda is Surface Phone instead of a PC tablet. Stop.
  • For all those people here okay with Windows 10 having no regular smartphone presence and market share they should feel bad. Window core OS hopefully comes in smartphone form factor devices too and hopefully the app gaps will be eliminated by PWAs.
  • There's no need for an Android inside a Windows Core OS enabled Andromeda device, it's so stupid. No way that's happening...
  • I sometimes wonder if people that advocate this nonsense idea of "Android inside Windows" are confused by the fact that Windows has had, and does have, subsystems for alternate platforms.  Perhaps the presently most well-known of these is the Linux subsystem on Windows 10 that was developed from what was originally known as Project Astoria.  Bit of a difference though between something aimed at system administrators and developers vs. a consumer-facing feature anyone could use...
  • yes, I know but there 3 Device. That why People are confused.  
  • If we are talking Win 10 Mobile, 0% is better. It costs nothing. Maintaining 1-2% was costing them money.
  • We are talking Windows 10 core OS on smartphones. Nobody wants windows 10 mobile back even in their dreams.
  • Yes that's what we're talking about folks. There'll be no stopping the Windows 10 juggernaut!
  • I was happy with 7.0 and then 8.0 and then 8.1.  MSFT just could not figure out how to put windows into a phone.  I would think to stuff an OS developed from DOS and all the backward compatibility was asking MSFT to fail.  each iteration of a windows phone just showed how a new OS structured for the hardware limitations of Smartphones (Android and iOS) was a superior business model.  Has iOS or Android displaced the PC?  To some extent, but the smartphone did not kill the PC.  If everyone is accessing PWA through the cloud, what does this do to the smartphone market?
  • This is no WinPhone with 0 users to begin, this is just a Windows pc. Programmers code with the same API.
    Email, news, messenger, etc are not mobile OSes specific application. Games... I can continue playing some my Xbox games on Win10 but not on any mobile OSes.
  • You honestly think Android emulation will necessarily make MS mobile devices more attractive to people who have no interest in them? They'll just buy an Android phone. This is not for them.
  • Oh you haven't met me😂
  • Daniel slow down. PWA wont address the app gap all of a sudden. What about the android and ios games?
  • I use MEMU to read magazine on texture.   Windows texture app is STILL BROKEN...Likely never to be fixed.   It was the reason I ditched my surface.  Apps either non existant or broken.   Ipad has everything I want to do on a tablet.   Sad though,  the surface is much better hardware,  but lack of "tablety" apps killed the functionality for me.  
  • Also emulating Android apps in Windows 10 Core OS would make Microsoft get more market share in smartphones and more OEMs supporting it.
  • Horizontal Start returns!
  • After launching Surface versions of Andromeda devices Microsoft should also permit the other OEMs to make cheaper alternatives too for the poorer markets.
  • @Reo Jefton. Read my comment to you above. There are far more disadvantages than advantages and the latter is minuscule compared to the former.
  • what??
  • Oh yes it will happen, WCOS will attract devs, alright. But no Android pls.
  • Why is everybody missing the point of this patent? This patent is about the idea of a triple screen device and just additionally showing some use cases.
  • My bad; should be triple-section-device 😅
  • Like a three tier cake but not edible 😂.
  • The idea is good, but the execution isn't. The single central contact will take all of the weight of the device and will fail/crack in the short term. This design flaw plagues all of the similar central/single pivot keyboards for iPads. It would be better to split the load on two outboard attachments.
  • I'm sure they would do some kind of cradle system for the dock like some of those other types of docks out there. This just illustrates the connection point.
  • That will not be the case if it has been properly reinforced. You can see that there is hinge mechanism, something similar to surface book.
  • It's always nice to get that sense of innovation.  Some will get stuck on "not everything succeeds" but I'm happy to see the new ideas keep on coming.
  • I'll take patent news any day on Microsoft products even if doesn't amount to anything rather reading or seeing stories about Android or iPhone.  :)
  • Right
  • I don't see much smarm / snark, and where is the Apple or Android praise?  It's like this is Windows based coverage here!!  
  • All of you so called Windows fans but secret-android-lovers prepare to be blown away by Microsoft this year. There'll be no stopping the Windows 10 juggernaut!
  • No one in their right mind would love a droid over Windows.
  • Fanboi. In smartphone world now its not the case. Just because u r here does not mean u can say anything. By the way I am a windows 10 fan too.
  • Can't wait for it but have to. Therefore I'm going to buy a new battery for my Lumia 950 now so I'm covered for a while (dec2019) and not need to get an Android or OIS phone.
  • I plan to do the same for my XL.
  • Nice.  Really cool, continuum at its finest I am sure...
  • nah they will kill it anaway
  • Not sure. Are you sure?
  • It would be nice if this device could dock on Microsoft foldable keyboard...
  • But what is MS going to do with it.  They have some great innovation, but poor follow throught and marketing. They have LinkedIN, Skype and Nokia (any patents here) - so much potenntial....but what is MS planning? Big, big warning "As usual, take note of the fact that patents do not mean products, and Microsoft has been known to cancel things at the last minute. "
  • What catches my attention the most here is the allusion of a middle seam that still works as a display. In a two-screen foldable device, the middle seam must be... Well, seamless. It simply won't do to have an area along the middle of the joined display that's even slightly distorted, or even worse, unresponsive to manipulation. If the joined screen isn't 100 % interactionable, this device will be dead in the water! Luckily, these leaks indicate they've got it covered, but I'm dying to see how they'll manage it!
  • I doubt that. People run duel displays regularly. If the seam is paper thin, I think most people would be able to tolerate it. The hinge has to be on point. The only way a seamless screen would work would be to have a flexible screen. The problem with a flex screen is, you will not be able to fold it like a piece of paper and one side will have that Surface Book hinge look
  • This will give endless possibilities for OEMs. Windows Core OS would be a true mobile OS, not for phones.
  • While other companies are busy releasing actual mobile products, Microsoft seems happy to release mobile patents. "As usual, take note of the fact that patents do not mean products".   Actually, they mean less than that.  They mean nothing.  Leonardo da Vinci essentially released "patents" for lots of stuff - from Anemometers to Helicopters to Scuba Diving gear - in the 15th century.   Nothing came of them until hundreds of years later.  
  • So its a mobile PC that can be used as a phone? My only question would be: why add the telephony when you are expected to be using your smartphone alongside the PC. Seems a bit redundant. You can just use your phone for calls, PC for work. The same way we've been using laptops for years.
  • It just like continuum.
  • If the device have two or more that you want just a phone, just use like a phone. If the device have two or more that just you want like a PC, just use like a PC.
  • .
  • Can all that fit in your pocket? I find less people making phone calls. They use messaging apps more. Sim cards are just for being connected.
  • Do you know, some Android have dock too to connect like a desktop. Example: Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 plus, and other.
  • It can use to communicate better. Android can't install programs (I'm not sure) but to you can install program or I'm not sure about project.
  • I'm sorry I'm wrong.
  • It all about communicate that can easily to use and great experience just like to use for sending documents better and editing/gaming but it depends on ram to use it and upgrade, it's up to you. I'm hoping this project gonna be great.
  • Hi.
  • What glass can bend? What level of the scratch resistant of this?