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Surface Phone, is that you? Another foldable mobile device patent emerges from Microsoft

Microsoft watcher h0x0d unearthed the patent this morning, which shows a center-folding configuration, not unlike the ill-fated Microsoft Courier device of yesteryear.

As usual, be aware that patents don't always equal products. Companies frequently file prototypes and even ideas that will never emerge from the drafting table as a protectionary measure. However, given the raft of previous patents Microsoft has filed on this particular configuration, I'd say it's safe to say that the company is at least exploring a foldable cellular PC design for an upcoming handset or tablet.

The patent was originally filed in 2015 and was made public just yesterday. Unlike the previous folding phone patents which largely focus on hinges, this one provides a solution for reducing the visual impact from a screen that is comprised of several separate displays.

The patent discusses not just folding mobile devices, but also larger, tiled displays, made up of multiple screens.

Essentially, Microsoft is proposing a multi-layered screen where the segmented panels feature a curvature towards the edges, beneath a single upper layer. The lower curve is designed to create an optical trick that will draw light away from the gaps between the tiled display, making the screen appear as a continuous image on the outer display.

In display devices such as tiled displays or hinged displays, where multiple display panels may be included and separated by one another via the support structure, the visibility of the support structure may hinder a user's perception of displayed objects.In order to reduce and/or obscure the visibility of a support structure for a display panel, the present disclosure provides example display devices including curved or otherwise bent regions for directing light to a user's eye when the user's gaze is directed to a support structure at an edge of the display panel. In this way, when a user is viewing a region occupied by the support panel, the user may instead see light from the display panel showing the displayed objects.

This methodology, presumably, would create folding phone displays that feature multiple active screens, but appear as a single, continuous image. The concept harkens back to various bendy devices seen in Microsoft's future visions video.

If Microsoft can pull this off, it would give any future mobile PC a truly unique, almost sci-fi form factor a device like the Surface Phone would need to shrug off comparisons to the iPhones and Samsung Galaxies out there.

Whether this patent idea leads to a physical, real-world product or not remains unknown, but it offers a tantalizing glimpse at the futuristic things Microsoft's innovative hardware design labs are doing behind the scenes. Hopefully, we won't have to wait long to find out if this is a real thing.

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!

  • ....but...but....I don't want a foldable Surface phone. I want a solid form factor like my L950 😞
  • HP will probably continue bringing those sorts of phones. :0
  • ....but I want one from official Microsoft Jez
  • glue it together. there, fixed :)
  • or just break it into two and give the other half to your better half
  • samsung has already been showing off a working foldable phone protype to people. lets hope microsoft is further ahead than "patents".
  • Where is Microsoft going to get that technology? They have to get in line with everyone else. Samsung will almost certainly be first to market with foldable displays and it will take years before they are any good.
  • Exactly. Samsung or MS, such devices will always be failures. Massive headaches for the customer as well as the after sales guys !
  • Microsoft, Apple and Google have all signed with LG to use their foldable screen.  Surface Phone definitely needs foldable screen to be successful.  It would provide enough screen real estate (8" tablet when unfolded?) needed for running full W10 UWP, Win32 and web apps.  The needs for WP apps will thus be greatly reduced.  The foldable screen becomes a PC display you carry in your pocket at all time.  Continuum is great, but you need to have a separate display or a Lapddock to make it useful.
  • Legacy Windows apps cannot replace mobile apps. They are from a different time and do not meet the same needs. A kludge isn't going to make people want to switch.
  • No but legacy windows apps don't need to be on mobile so that's irrelevant.  What a foldable screen could do is allow people to bring their Windows 10 PC with them in their pocket, and then suddenly developers have a reason to develop mobile apps for it.
  • They would need to sell so many for that scenario. Windows is nearing irrelevance for consumers. It will be a tough sell.
  • Windows is nearing irrelevance?  I guess you forgot to tell the hundreds of millions of people using.  According to this page Windows still has 77% of the OS market worldwide. Ya, real close to irrelevance.  Riiiiiiight.  
  • That is a for a single website for learning programming. Of course it is going to be mostly desktop users. Overall, mobile surpassed desktop last fall. Windows sales have been dropping for the last 5 years straight. It is becoming irrelevant for consumers.
  • Valid point about the programmers site but even non programming sites confirm that Windows is still the most widely used operating system.  More widely used than Android or iOS or anything else.  So if Windows is "irrelevant" then what does that make the others?
  • That PCMag link shows that mobile use surpassed desktop last fall. Android and iOS outsell Windows 4:1 so Windows stats can only drop more. As mobile devices get more powerful and the software on them gets better, it is only a matter of time before Windows is relegated to only professionals who need powerful systems for work. If the Galaxy S8 is a hit, it might make a big dent in Windows.
  • So you're combining iOS and Android to prove that Windows is irrelevant?  Talk about making stats work in your favour.
  • Sorry. iPhone itself outsells all Windows devices combined and Android outsells Windows 3:1. Is that better?
  • Yes, that's better.  Now one more thing.  Admit that you can't predict the future based on current trends.
  • Only if Microsoft makes changes and brings something new. More of the same will not change the trend.
  • You're exactly right.  Thankfully for Microsoft, in the tech world, things never stay the same.
  • Why would you want a full blown windows pc on 8 inches? Makes no sense. A lot of people keep rambling about this but technology is nowhere near good enough to make that work. Especially not in a mobile device - unless you want to haul around a backpack full of batteries as well.
  • Whether the technology can make it work or not is their problem.  The question is, if they do make it work, will people want it?
  • Samsung showed off a device with a foldable screen. This device would be a dual screen ala Nintendo DS, Acer Iconic, MS Courier.
  • Well, one things for sure. As far as new devices go, based on the recent lack of transparency from Warton Brooks, the team must not have been too please with the way fans handled that last attempt at updating the community on their endeavor.
  • @Kenzibit don't ruin it for the rest of us! :P :O.
  • 😂😂
  • Well, something is definitely coming, in one way, or another.... I just can't wait to find out what it is, and when.. But, I did ask for a glimpse/hint of something, ANYTHING, the other day, and I got it. This will have to hold us over for a bit.
  • The strenght of  Windows Mobile is Continuum and will be even more with cshell bringing exactly the  same experience across desktop and mobile. The problem of Continuum is that it needs external bigger display. This solution allow to bring always with you that big display you need. A solid form factor with windows mobile is been rejected by the market.
  • It's still not that big lol. It's more a switch between a phone and a mini tablet.
  • Previous patent says 6 inches phone -> 10 inches tablet like surface 3 .
  • its big and looks bulky and how much will it cost?? It wont be cheap.. and then again, who will buy it? And what if you drop it? The whole open/close/slide mechanism will fall apart... looks like a very expensive toy for tech geeks
  • They will not do just another phone, so what do you suggest?
    (​I will buy it)
  • Microsoft will not be first with a foldable device. They don't have the manufacturing capabilities to pull it off. They will need to buy it from LG, which will put them in competition with Apple for the initial run. Samsung will beat them all.
  • Did you read the news? Is about foldable devices without using foldable displays. Also if they will not be the first, they have something unique (UWP, Cshell) that others cannot have. I would be not surprise if samsung would choose windows for its foldable device, since it would be also a tablet and on tablets Samsung showed a growing preference on windows over android.
  • Android has had universal apps and and a composable shell for years. Microsoft is well behind in this. This will be a phone first, no way Samsung will go with Windows when they already have Touchwiz.
  • Not like they came up with the Surface, Surface Studio, etc. all on their own and manufactured it without someone releasing it first.
  • So? Those devices didn't grow the platform. It is still shrinking.
  • If its the surface team is argue Samsung are nowhere near as good at hardware as them.
  • They are about the same if you ask me. High end Samsung devices are just as nice as Surface.
  • I would buy it also, it is exactly what I want from the fabled Surface phone. Windows mobile, fold it out and now you got full Windows 10 tablet. My vision of the Surface phone is it replaces my phone and my pro 4.
  • Then what's the point of Surface tablet if they went this route??
  • I imagine the Surface tablet line will always be a "tablet for people that need a full computer" in terms of power, while this supposed Surface Phone would be more like "The phone for people that would also like a tablet."
  • The difference in size is the point: small phone+tablet (for work/enterprise and consumers) vs. larger tablet+laptop (for work/enterprise). Every time I use my 5.5" smartphone (iPhone 7 Plus) I am happy that I don't have to have a tablet just for the sake of being slightly bigger (iPad mini 4 - which I sold). Nevertheless, I do wish sometimes that the sreen would be bigger when needed. But managing 2 devices instead of just one does not justify the cost of a tablet and the added burden of managing 2 devices, therefore I ditched the small tablet and use only my smartphone. Though I have to admin that it is a compromise, sizewise. However, if my smartphone would have a foldable screen, meaning that it can be small enough to use it [almost] one-handed [and fit in my pocket], but at the same time could transform into a mini tablet then no compromises would have to be made = Surface Should I wish to do CPU/GPU heavy tasks that would require more horsepower THEN I would switch to a "laptop" that in turn could be become a "tablet" as well if needed = Surface Pro Now, it is becoming clear to me why MS never made a Surface 4 (I owned the Surface 3 but sold it because it was too slow for my liking) and why the Lumia [smartphone-only] line had to die.
    This new Surface (or Surface Phone/Mobile/Go/Mate, or whatever you want to call it) will replace it. If this new Surface would be able to replace (in CPU/GPU power) the Surface Pro then it would cannibalize the otherwise profitable Surface Pro line. And of course, MS does not want that to happen. Who would want to hurt their own sales and profits? Therefore, MS keeps the self-created categories distinctively separate from one another (since the device-per-usecase strategy is owned by Apple and is successful - so far): phone+mini tablet (Surface Mobile); tablet+laptop (Surface Pro); wacom+desktop (Surface Studio) The pattern is clear: mold 2 device types/categories into 1 device/category. If MS brings out such a device and it is a fast, reliable and reasonably priced device, then I would trade my iPhone 7 Plus for that device in a heartbeat. The HP Elite x3 comes close, but not close enough (5.5" vs. 5.96" are not that big of a difference) and the HP Workspace is out-of-reach for me (since I am a consumer). Every time I use my Windows 10 laptop, I wish I could use a Windows 10 based phone/tablet (again)... (FYI: My Lumia 950XL died due to a severe drop just a couple of months after purchase and 1 day before the Anniversary Update was released. And it had a terrible battery life and unfortunately was very unreliable for my liking.)
  • Nice little summary of what they're doing over there.
  • Better Cpu/Gpu when doing/useing tasks/applications that require more power.
  • infact they dropped Surface non pro, because I think they were too much similar to this new types of devices. The pro instead is far more powerful, and would have bigger display: different target.
  • LOL. Sees patent drawings. Leaps to conclusions: too big, too bulky, costs too much, no one wants it, easily broken if dropped, easily broken if used, just a toy. Ya gotta love blog comment threads.
  • Ha ha.  You sound like Balmer laughing at the iPhone because it's so expensive nobody will buy it.
  • I doubt Continuum really matters to anyone other the dozen of people using WP at the moment.   Foldable patients from multiple companies have been obtained in the last year.   The problem with WP is not its form factor, its that the general public is interest in Android and iOS and unless they messup big... consumers aren't going to buy a WP.   Mobile for MS was lost over a decade ago when Ballmer failed to see the shift in the market, kind of like how Apple lost sight of the PC market in the late 80s.    - Watch Type Devices (Band).... dead - Mobile Phone (Windows Phone).... dead - Small 8-inch  tablets (running Windows).... pretty much dead... remaining big 3rd parties have withdrawn from that market - Larger 10-inch tablets (running Windows)... pretty much dead... a few big 3rd parties still sell 10-inch - What is not completely dead... PCs and laptop form factors running Windows... and some people/companies are switch some of those to 2n1s. I own a WP, 8-inch Dell Venue Pro W10, and a SP3.... I do know a few people that own a SP... I don't know anyone that owns a WP or a Windows tablet.... literally the general public doesn't even know they exist.   Mobile customers in mass are not going to dump their iOS/Android devices for Continuum.... most of them don't even know what it is... and frankly they don't care.    As far as MS Surface line... I think they have done a good job... but these are I think its fine they are selling a few... although the numbers will never be huge.... it fills a void where 3rd parties haven't explored.   As far as WP... all you need to know is even MS employees don't use them, virtually no carriers sell them at least in the US, limited user base which is shrinking close to zero.... its dead and there is no Dr. Frankenstein.      
  • The reason for doing a device like this is just for trying to push a shift, because on the current smartphone market they lost. So they are just trying to create a new category where they will be the only one to have a device. Like surfaces they will not sell a lot, but we know they are all in on the next big thing.
  • That might or might be the intent but that isn't even close to being enough to convince users to dump their current product.   The surface devices as of now really was never meant to shift a market, to fill voids, yes... and I think they have been pretty successful in doing that.   As far as the masses buying 10s of millions of any of the windows devices at a premium isn't going to happen.  imo   Of course, its also ignores there many other patients by other mobile devices makers for foldable devices over the years.   So, its not like this is hard to replicate... MS has close to a zero percent mobile market share and I don't see that changing.... those people just aren't coming back.  First question to MS, which carrier offers this imaginary product?  Oh, none.
  • Infact I wrote: "They will not sell a lot". Is obvious that microsoft cannot get users change from Android and iOs. Just having a niche market, with product nobody else has. You are right other makers has patent for foldable devices, but nobody else has UWP that can adapt to the screen size, nobody else has the same OS on desktop and mobile and with foldable devices it make a lot of sense to have it.
    ​They are coming back in the sense they will do new devices running w10 mobile, they will outsell ios and android? of course not. Infact they shifted mobile stuff to RS3 for prioritize MR, they know it.
  • Android has had apps that adapt to screen size for years and Android itself also does that. You sound like Apple, claiming Microsoft invented things that have been around for years!
  • Can you make me an example of app adapting? I see a difference between everything become bigger and a UI that totally change becoming PC-like.
  • This was in Android 3.0 which came out like 5 years ago. It would automatically make your app adapt to larger screens but developers could also completely change the UI depending on screen size.
  • "...I doubt Continuum really matters to anyone ..." disagree,  I do believe that Continuum is a game changer and "category defining" solutions (3 in 1!)... - Samsung is launching it with the S8 and DeX docking station... - Apple is considering putting an iPhone in a "lapdock" alike (according to recent patent)... Microsoft is aiming at the "cellular PC" which connect on a big screen, etc This is a big feature and Microsoft is way ahead of the game, having launched Continuum over 2 years ago! With Win10 on ARM + cshell = even better, you will get a full OS in a mobile format, which will give you a seamless experience whatever the screen size!, hence the folding screen! Continuum will then cease to exist and be replace by a full experience. I use it daily by wirelessly projecting my 950XL (2 years old nearly!) to one of the 2 screens connected to my work SP4. This way, I can still keep an eye on my personal emails, apps, etc on a big screen and use the touchpad and keyboard on my SP4. Pretty convenient!   Many people around me (non-geek), don't even know it exist (MS Marketing as always!) and believe that Samsung invented it with the S8 "continuum"... then I show them my old 950Xl on my big screen and generally get a "whoaaaa that's cool". I can't wait for Microsoft next device in 2018 (hopefully) with cshell...
  • Good luck, even MS employees don't care.   The general public doesn't even know that a Windows Phone exists or there is a thing called a Windows tablet.   You are a special case scenario, just because you like these things.... doesn't mean the public cares or would want one or would willing switch platforms.   "Microsoft is aiming at the "cellular PC" which connect on a big screen, etc is a big feature and Microsoft is way ahead of the game, having launched Continuum over 2 years ago!" So, the focus for MS making a product the masses don't want nor need, good luck.  Just because you want it... doesn't make it a game changer... you do realize most people have no idea what a Windows Phone is nor what it even looks like?   It's over, but you can keep living your dream I guess.    
  • indeed, MS Marketing is pretty bad... People started wanted to buy the MS Band 2 when the press and online blogs made a lot of noise saying the MS was cancelling it ... MS Marketing lose a lot of opporrtunities, but keep in mind that their core business is not to sale hardware like samsung, apple etc... A lot of people I show the Windows 10 platform really like it, but they are all tied in by their ecosystems, ie, iPhone user are all Apple, iTune and ICloud and the effor of changing all their ecosystem is too big, hence they stay with Apple ! Many iPhone user think that the Win10 start screen with tiles etc is better, but the bad press + changing ecosystems keep them with Apple...
  • They are just being nice. What do you expect them to say?! If they did switch, it wouldn't take long before they switch back. People don't seem to care for Windows phones, just look where all the Lumia 520 buyers went. They certainly didn't buy thr new Lumia X30 devices.
  • "People don't seem to care for Windows phones..." I disagree.  The WP interface with live tiles is more compelling to many than the iOS "wall of icons".  I'll beat this horse to death, but it's the app gap that has simply killed Microsoft.  I've heard countless people say that they reluctantly moved to Android or an iPhone for this very reason.  And I'm one of them.  I love my Lumia Icon but got fed up and now use a ZTE Axon 7 running Android 7.1.  Still prefer Win10Mo, however.  Innovative hardware is great, but without the apps, that becomes almost irrelevant.  I'm of the opinion that MS should go all in on Project Islandwood, enhancing it to the point that iOS apps, whether written in Swift or Objective C, can be painlessly ported to Windows 10.  I say this because the Android bridge is dead, and Xamarin is a dev environment.  You're not going to get iOS app developers to jump en masse the Xamarin.  What would be the motivation of having to move from Swift to C#?  Not gonna happen.  But if my Swift code could be painlessly ported to run on all Win10 platforms, that would get my attention given the massive installed base as people move from older versions of Windows to Win10.  JMO.
  • If people liked the UI they would have bought them and the platform would have grown. If people liked the UI, Windows 8 wouldn't have been universally hated. The UI is a dud. No device with that UI has ever been successful. The app gap is just a symptom of low sales.
  • "If people liked the UI they would have bought them..."  You mean even if the apps weren't there?  I don't think so.  And if you read comments by former WinMo customers who got fed up, they more often than not say they liked the live tile interface but could no longer put up with seeing the "App Store" and "Google Play" logos but no Windows flag.  "The app gap is just a symptom of low sales."  You've got that backwards.  Low sales are the result of the app gap.  I've read your comments on these articles.  You don't like Windows with its modern UI.  Fair enough.  But opinions do vary on that.  As I said earlier, I'm an Android phone user now but still prefer the Windows UI.
  • Did iPhone have apps when it was released? Did Android? Nope. The difference was, people bought those platforms then the apps came. Microsoft wasn't that late. If they had a compelling platform, it would have sold and grew until developers couldn't ignore. Apps are a symptom, not the cause. These days it is too late unless Microsoft released something groundbreaking. It isn't Windows 10.
  • "Did iPhone have apps when it was released? Did Android? Nope." Ancient history.  The dynamic today is completely different.  iOS and Android did not have an "app gap" problem versus their competition at that point in time.  Today, MS does.  You seem to be asserting that if MS were to provide a "compelling platform" today, the apps would come.  That would be true only if this new platform was disruptive enough to render the iOS/Android status quo outdated/antiquated.  That's not going to happen.  Folding screen or not, Continuum or not, Win32 or not, developers will not come to a consumer platform that has such a paltry market share.  There's no money in it for them.  So IMHO, the ONLY way for MS to address the app gap right now is to get the apps that are already in existence onto their platform.  You eliminate the app gap and the platforms are left to compete on a relatively equal basis.  Your posts make it sound like you're a Samsung/Android guy.  I'd maintain that Win10Mo as a platform is just as capable as Android, if not more so.  You'll disagree, and that's fine. End of rant. 
  • Of course it is too late today without an absolutely revolutionary device. Back in 2010, Microsoft did not have a compelling product. This is when they had a chance, that is when they failed and failed miserably. The product is still not compelling today either. Windows 10 Mobile is no where near as capable as iOS let alone Android. Hardware is limited on W10M and software is also limited. Samsung couldn't create a Windows phone with their hardware and UI because it isn't as capable. You have no argument there, there is nothing W10M can do that Android cannot. Even Continuum is better on Android.
  • Not that I'm disagreeing or agreeing, but to be fair, I think it's important we acknowledge the difference between not knowing and knowing and rejecting
  • Worthless outside of enterprise.
    It wasn't enough and won't be enough.
  • Ballmer didin't fail see the shift in fact even if he did it really doesn't matter. Microsoft was not committed to mobile that is and was the issue but then needed to rewrite the OS. I had the wp7 from HTC under I think it was the CE OS and love it. Microsoft's more recent give up is not continuing including updating the 1020,1520 and continuance with the 950/xl. The Nokia team was growing the market even though it was low but Microsoft just was not committed to mobile though it kept it going with the recent builds which is smart in my opinion.
  • Nokia was leaving for Android. They failed with Windows. Microsoft was forced to buy them or be totally screwed.
  • "I doubt Continuum really matters to anyone other the dozen of people using WP at the moment​"... It matter to Samsung and to Apple, both which are trying to come up with a similar solution!
  • I completely agree with you windows phone part. I have sp4 and i do believe, Macbook are seeing it's end of days. To add to this i thibk the windows phone UI is the problem. I know windows phone lovers wont agree tonit but let's ignore this nealy 0% windows liver(invluding me) and this about broder perspective. I think ios has beautiful UI(no vlutter at all). Microsoft should adapt it and add biggger tile as an optional. Just imagine ios with option of bigger tile, everyone happy :p  
  • You really think ios has a beautiful UI?    It hasn't changed in ten years.  It's time for something new, dontcha think?
  • I am with you, it's about a time now but still if people didn't like the UI I dont think just because of apps they are buying iphone. Moreover i am not saying just use the same ui, what i am saying is something similar with live tiles, it will look very less clutter. I am no designer else i would have put my concept here. 
  • We can't paint all iPhone buyers with the same brush of course, but I think a huge portion of their customer base keeps buying it for familiarity and because they still believe "it's the best" though they have no clue what the competition offers.
  • I read somewhere that there are 3 million Windows Phone users in the US. It's not dead it a large city uses it. Windows on arm would make it possible for people to just buy a phone and when they get home have a computer. Maybe you don't need this buy more people are now using the internet on phones than on computers. I think everyone needs a phone but you can live without a computer and if you don't have money for both the phone wins out. Now if you could have a phone that runs full Windows 10 and it cost just a little more but you can use as a full blown computer and you don't have money for both. The phone that gives you a computer too wins out.
  • For the price of a Continuum enabled Windows phone, you could buy a PC and a better Android phone. Why gimp your phone and PC experience?
  • You have no vision.  
  • I can see what MS going to do.
    1. Windows 10
    laptop, 2 in 1 ,power PC
  • Your phone or dialer will be on your wrist.
  • I think what makes it hard to see these concepts in real life is that no where in today's Windows 10 Mobile or Touch form factor do i see interfaces or the ability to interact with the device in a manner as they show. In fact the Interface seems very blocky and tap ready but not slide/fluid ready. Pivot views were a step towards that but MS has since then backed down on the use of such seemless implementations and has followed the conventions adopted by Apple and Google since they are more familiar and less of a learning curve to adapt.
  • Me too. No flip phone or folding phone please.
  • Hoping for the best!
  • Way to the future
  • Wow! Late night post!...Sneak one in and watch the comments explode😃
  • ikr? haha, it's 7am in the UK ;) was excited about this one, h0x0d ftw.
  • Dude.... I read this yesterday afternoon on Engadget. Where you been?
  • In a car accident :P
  • :(
  • I'm guessing they are making two of them. Surface Phone Surface Phone Pro
  • Yes, literally they are making only two for the entire planet. Lol...
  • And we all know that the CEO won't be using one.
  • Pretty sure he had been using the Surface Mini that never released.
  • You're thinking of panos
  • I am, ty for the correction :)
  • No problem
  • I would have most definitely purchased a Surface Mini. Especially if it is any where near the quality of a Surface Pro
  • I'd hate a foldable device as a personal product but then I think it would be great for work as we currently use a Lumia as our work phone (with mobile data connection barred to save money?) and an iPad Mini to do our PDF paperwork and get signatures from customers etc. A foldable Surface Phone would be an ideal replacement for those 2 devices.
  • How can you hate being able to go from phone factor to tablet? You can stay in phone factor most of the time.
  • Simply because whilst folded like a phone it will be too thick and chunky. You can't have a device with a fold out screen that's as thin as todays current smart phones
  • Not necessarily
  • That's true, but also Microsoft is out from current smarphones production is true.
  • I would certianly take a "chunky" phone that could work how i needed it to over a "thin" one that i had to adapt to.
  • Based on...?
  • Common sense? Physics?
  • Today's common sense an today's knowledge on science, but for tomorrow's is possible. If you can imagine it. Some smart people can make it real someday.
  • I'm sending this message with a magic box that Hittler himself will kill me for it
  • Battery life. Phones have gotten so thin they need thinner batteries which leads to less battery life. I would rather have a thinker phone with more battery than a thin one with less.
  • I haven't studied the reason for market preferences on these devices (looks, ergonomics, impact on weight, storage (purse, pocket, pack), etc.), but speaking for myself -- I like the bigger screen of a larger device; I don't like a device so big it doesn't easily fit in my front pocket, including when I'm wearing jeans. That forces me to about a 5" screen and a thin device, and even that's pushing it. So for me, mobile device thickness is only an issue if the device is also large, because the extra thickness just makes it that much less comfortable in my pocket. If it could fold down to half the length, but twice the thickness (especially with rounded edges like the Palm Pre had), but also open up to give me a large screen, that would be a total win. The challenge, I would think, would be how seamless is it when it opens? If it feels like 2 separate screens, I'd have little to no interest, but if it really pulls off that single-screen feeling, that would be amazing. That's what makes this patent interesting: it seems MS is very focused on preserving a single larger screen UX.