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
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at 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.
  • Hmmm when
  • Hmmm never.
  • Exactly. Never
  • "Soon."
  • Or a miniature camshell laptop?
  • Microsoft has already made many of the products from Productivity Future Vision video. And all turned out as a great device and has created a very positive vibe in the tech industry. Wishing all the best for this time also. 
  • Fingers crossed
  • At 1:45 the first appearance of the surface dial? And at 3:45 the surface studio?
  • Surface Hub is like that big chalk digital board. Once they can make those bigger screens cheaper.
  • YASS. What if the writers of Westworld got a teaser glimpse of Surface and got their inspiration from there? Chills.....
  • There I was thinking it was just me who had that notion...
  • What if that was a product placement made with actual surface phones prototypes? What if you  were a host?
  • No, no. I can't be...
  • it looks like nothing to me.
  • Oh man, that was one of the most soul-shivering scenes. I had my suspicions when the episode opened with him waking up, instead of one of the known hosts, but that line still blew me away.
  • That is case for HP
  • I think first they should make a very good phone in perspective of specs, the phone's look, prove and still improve first the soap plus the speed of the system. Than when the company will get some games back they can make an ultimate portable device.
  • You are completely wrong.
  • I can't wait for the stuff from Microsoft's awesome Future Vision videos to become real and I truly hope this will come! Really wondering what Panos Panay has up his sleeve with this!
  • And the Surface Hub, and the Band that becomes a handled device.
  • Foldable won't have my money 😒😏😈
  • So you should go for an Android or iOs phone, until all of them will be foldable of course.
  • And once they get foldable as well you will wonder, do I want something that just folds into a bigger screen for my os, or do I want something that folds into a full desktop os...
  • Haha
  • And of course a lot of people will choose their own os over the full destkop os.
  • I still dream of a courier device. If they could make it a phone device that has two screens on the inside and closes to show a 3rd normal phone screen on the outside that would be amazing
  • First person to mention Courier. I can't believe more aren't seeing this.
  • Bring that Westworld style phone to real lifr MS!!
  • This is awesomely inspiring. Just look at how MS strives for usable, productive devices unlike other companies that just care about looks. Great!
  • It's going to be thick as F&^(....
  • as an Apple user?
  • what does that have to do with the price of tea in china?  I said the phone si going to be super thick in your pocket.   not a good device for "mobile".
  • Yes probably it will be, especially for the first devices. But then they will manage to reduce thickness, look at first iphone and look at iphone 7.
  • As most anything microsoft and mobile it's not going to sell.  only to a few hundred fanboys. 
  • But you would have to stack 2 iphone 7s togehter,  and thats not thick...and knowing microsoft,  they are not going to ahve the device peices as thin as the iphone 7....
  • Microsoft shown us that they are paying attention to this details with surfaces. The surface studio has a very thin screen for example and the surface pro 4 is very thin. Also they can spread components  of one phone in 2 (or 3) pieces, so I think they could manage to make each piece as thin as the thinnest phone on the market (5mm I think) in this way the phone would be 10/15 mm(2/3 screens) that is thicker than all current smartphones, but I would accept this compromise in order to have a 10" device in my pocket and (almost) triple battery life if I only use it in phone mode. Wouldn't you?
  • If it does not have app support...then NO.  I would not have that device.  This weekend,  we were out to visit my son who is in university,  he unlocks his dorm room and house with his phone and ios app,  likewise,  we were ordering things and unlocking our hotel room with our phones.  again,  none of which is even thought of on windows 10 moible.  App support is the downfall of windows mobile.  simple.  Not hardware. 
  • Bring on the surface brand to phones. It's a system seller. The name and the team creating surface are geniuses. They need a raise.
  • How do you know? Do you know how much they earn?
  • Whatever it is, they need a raise, they already made one device I have wanted from when I was a kid haha, let's see if they can do another.
  • Which device?
  • onysi, the surface line up to this point is a premium product line and actually they don't do large number of sales.   MS created the line to fill voids where 3rd parties were not exploring... are they generally considered good products... yes... big sellers.... no.  
  • Moot point. Don't need big sales if it's a billion dollar business. Plus irrelevant to his comment.
    And your comment isnt entirely true. Surface 3 was not designed to be a premium product.
    Please stop copying and pasting this
  • I wasn't too excited about the idea of a foldable device, but then again, I have a Mozo cover on my Lumia 650 so I need to "open" it first to use the phone so what's the difference?
  • I think they will let the display outside, i know is not the best thing for scratches and stuff like that, but if you have to always open for use it, it would be a foldable tablet unusable as phone. ​EDIT: if they do a triple foldable screen device they can manage to have only a screen outside, like a normal phone.
  • They already have a patent for a triple screen device. You can fold it with one screen on the outside, or all inside.
  • Yes I knew, that was the reason I said that.
  • Great, a courier device 2.0! Have noticed a couple of interesting things about the video. 1. A lot of visually appealing design cues.
    2. The video succeeds in showing the ease of retrieving and editing results, but does not clearly show the ease of collecting data (perhaps the exception of throwing a basket of rovs)
    3. Are we going to polute ours oceans with even more trash, adding baskets of drones to the list?
  • Ummmmm, it wasn't real, ever heard of fiction?
  • It wont work.
  • k
  • Vaporware
  • Is it me, or is this more of a mini laptop with two screens? I do not believe that flexible displays are currently able to bending daily. If in the middle is a hinge, it should be capable of 360, otherwise I don't see how it would turn it into a phone. Even so, to have the display on both sides, it would be a very strong display.
  • In another patent they shown 3 displays  phone. In that way you can have two of them "inside" and only one outside, like current smartphones in phone mode.
  • Look at Surface Pro 4 compared to Origianl Surface Pro....Whatever device Surface Phone turns out to be, Microsoft will be iterating it till its near perfect.  Hope they do a better job in quality control to iron out bugs before release.
  • Couldn't this tech also be use to make truly bezel free Monitors?
    Even going into the corners could be a problem but I like to imagine not having the sides for sorround work :°
  • Think wallet. Not everyone has one, until.
  • what is wallet?
  • Money! price of phone.
  • I thought he was talking about Surface Wallet
  • just revive the courier. it will be a killer device for students. let it have continuum when docked. give it a 24 hours battery life, having all that space, i bet 2 pieces of 4000mah can be fitted. in the same time keep the windows 10 phone version alive, because when i buy a phone, i want a phone, not a huge slab that will never fit my pocket
  • A device like this would work great with ink support.
  • Reminds me of the cancelled Microsoft Courier.
  • And what will be the name of the device, Surface Origami? Lol
  • Surface Courier
  • I hope is foldable phablet
  • Either that is a large tablet in the patent photo, or those are tiny hands. (cue the Trump jokes)
  • It's gonna be expensive as hell.
    ​All good but we also need MOBILE devices - small smartphones not only bulky 5-6 inch devices :/
  • Surface Line is for high end hero devices that push the limits of innovation. If you want a cheap standard device HP will be making some i believe, and you can always get a Lumia 950/950XL
  • That's right but lack of devices for wider range of users is all this time painfull. I don't understand also why most of people thinks that smaller device must be a budget one? I'm just affraid that MS won't show antyhing mobile really. Lumia 950/XL is awful example because quality, materials and design was crap and a big shock after previous Lumia devices :/
  • Ahh, yes another foldable display patent. As much as I love the fact that Microsoft is putting some thoughts into the idea, there are really two companies that matter when it comes to this business and that's Samsung and LG. These two companies have semi-monopoly status when it comes to researching, developing and manufacturing foldable OLED and LCD. If companies want to make devices with foldable displays, it's only after one of these two companies announces, "We've cracked it," and my bet is that that announcement isn't going to be Surface Phone (it's similar to how curved screens became a thing after Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge). So unless we see a pretty convincing evidence that Microsoft is contacting with these two companies for the technology, such a patent is more or less a concept on paper.
  • Did you read the news? It talks about a foldable device using two screen instead of a foldable display. ​Anyway there were months ago reports Microsoft(and Apple) were talking with LG for foldable displays.
  • Fascinating concept. I really like the video. If an when MSFT finally releases a surface phone based on this concept, I will buy it in a heartbeat!!!!
  • I read this twice and I guess I missed it. How does this say Surface phone?
  • Just guessing
  • We are at least 10 years away from foldable phones. They can barely make curved phones now. Making a foldable phone that will preserve high resolution and pack some serious hardware is near impossible now, especially for Microsoft. Yes, we've seen prototypes and concepts, but it's far from consumer-ready product.
  • 10 years is a loooong time.
  • I don't see a foldable screen, to me it seems like that is 2 screens that when you fold it out they line up. But just my opinion.
  • This is not the Surface Fone...It is the Surface Fold... It is a two-hand device!   not my idea of a cell phone. The screen is huge for a phone. If you campare the size of two hands holding it and the dual screen, it's at least 8"-9" diagnal for each screen! Hope it materializes with success....But for a phone I pass.
  • It can be use in phone mode "folded" with one hand.
  • Previous patents from MS have showed another single screen on the outside of the device. Perhaps for use for minimal tasks like Texting, Facebook posts and Phone calls. The inside display which folds out would be a full Windows 10 desktop. 5" front screen, 10" foldable screen. But its all specualtion at this point.
  • When is Microsoft band come out
  • Like a book where, when open, the pages curve in to the spine creating a shadow line. So you can't see where the pages touch or in the case of a device you can see where the two displays touch. No bezel, just a shadow line.
  • Awesome.
    The only thing I am concerned about is the implementation; microsoft needs to get it together for the user interface on tablet mode for future devices. Also they need to get it right in the first try, as they wont get a second chance with android and ios on its tail.
    Another thing is app situation, microsoft has to push really hard to get as many developers as possible by giving them greater benefits or something of that sort to attract them.
    I am pretty sure they already have a plan, I just hope it works. Dont want to see them struggle any more
  • You think Android won't be first with this? How is Microsoft going to beat Samsung to market?
  • Maybe because Samsung is focusing on phones and Microsoft is focusing on a PC?.... Entirely different use cases and they are not directly competing. And I have yet to even see Samsung promote a foldable screen, where is their future vision video?
  • Samsung doesn't need those videos. They do not have to try and seem relevant. We will see if Microsoft is able to release such a device and if it will flop like all the others.
  • Eh, who needs you bleached. You should really go to your Samsung pals and talk up how great everything is over there.
  • Microsoft is a bummer, right?
  • Oh bleached, you are so much fun to mess with :)
  • I appreciate your opinion but Just saying, we need a community that accepts criticism a bit more open heartedly. So people like bleached are required. I know his opinion might not be same as you. But we Windows fans need to acknowledge criticism where its due.
    also I dont know any of your previous experiences.
    It's something that Mr.Mobile ( Michael fisher) mentioned once that the main problem with windows mobile is its fans, some of us are agressive to defend the shortcomings and I agree on that. Peace
  • when people like bleached called over 2 billions pc user niche then there is no point in accepting his opinion..
  • I agree, but microsoft cant just depend on pc, as people dont buy pc every year or even every 2 yrs. The cycle for buying a laptop or a pc is getting greater and greater and I am sure microsoft knows that. They have to get somethingin the market that at least makes up for that.
  • If there are 2 billion Windows PCs, how can Windows 10 be 30% and 400 million devices? That math doesn't add up.
  • See it doesn't matter with samsung; they are just an OEM. if microsoft is able to make a great product, samsung will release a product with wimdows 10 mobile(pocket pc) like they did with samsung galaxy tab which is inspired from surface pro 4. But for that to happen, microsoft needs a efficient OS. I am not even considering the app gap. No one knows what the future holds with AI and web apps with notifications. So I believe just like 8.1 microsoft should make an efficient OS that is on par with ios and android when it comes with app opening speed and feature. That is what got 8.1 to be successful.
  • Without successful UWP platform(apps) WP phone or whatever you want to call it WILL NOT take flight.  MS can make a device like the Tony Stark one and people still won't buy into it without apps.  If you drive a EV which is going to take flight, there is no way you switch to W10 for example.
  • At what cost?
  • I love the idea of Windows 8 one OS and it's up to the device to have enough horse power for the app.  Crapple had success with OS and iOS but, it's NOT the ideal platform for users & developers alike.
  • This is a much better solution than foldable screens - cleaner, easier to pull off, lots of value as tablet ot mini-laptop with glass keyboard. Maybe this is destined to be the first WOA device?
  • Microsoft u dont have to worry about future....1st increase number of products...increase our family....i.e. Windows phone, surface, laptops etc. Devices...
  • Wow! great video. Will be awesome if Microsoft can pull it off. Considering how quiet things in the MS world are marketing wise; who knows, this might be the next step in the evolution. I'm in. Would love to replace my band 2 with what the girls in video had.
  • This again? Or is this a different design?
  • Nokia N9500i was a nice phone though. 
  • App gap.  Hardware advances are great, but without the apps, innovative hardware won't matter, IMO. That is all.
  • Yes and no, like the chicken before the egg, maybe having great hardware like this - Windows 10 mobile that folds to a Windows 10 full Windows tablet will bring more people, and I hope that would bring more developers to UWP. Right now devs make an app they have a 4 million device audience so this + the end of Windows 7 & 8 support will slowly bring more and more over to Windows 10.
  • Agree, Jason, that it's definitely a chicken-and-egg thing.  As I've said in other posts though, it seems to me that the easiest way to entice developers to the platform is to go all in on Islandwood and make it simple for iOS developers to bring their existing and future apps to Windows 10.  I think that's more realistic than trying to have iOS and even Android developers learn C# and duplicate their development efforts no matter how good the new hardware may be.  These apps plus this great new hardware like the "cellular PC" may be just the ticket to building the necessary critical mass for the platform. 
  • When it's real, then I will want it....till then, I want a Unicorn.
  • That doesn't look very appealing... It will be too bulky...
  • All specualtion at this point. I would like to see a Pocket Surface. With a front 5" screen for phone calls, texting, Facebook posts, WhatsApp etc for use with fingers. Then a foldable 10" screen on the inside with a DS sized pen that slides away in the base. With full Windows 10 desktop on it. Qualcomm are committed to bringing full Windows 10 ARM. So I don't see why MS wouldn't utilize this strength of which current Mobile OS cannot compete.
  • A 10" screen is huge folded in half. It would be thick and heavy in phone mode. The phone screen would need to be way bigger than 5" to fill it too. It will be 5-10 years before such a device would be feasible. Windows will be completely irrelevant by then. Not just in decline like today.
  • Have you seen how thin 6" phones are today? Also Windows is NOT in decline. Over 2.4 billion unique users used Windows in 2016. Compare that to around 500 million unique users of Android. Windows 10 also sold more tablets than either IOS or Android. So much so Samsung have shifter their attention to Windows 10 tablets. The current mobile market is stagnant. And is desperately awaiting the next era.
  • You made all that up. You cannot cite a single thing you said. Over 1 billion Android Phones were sold in 2016. How do you explain there are only 500 unique users? Google claimed 1.4 billion in 2015. You think that number dropped after selling 1 billion devices per year? Windows is not 2.4 billion users unless they are off the grid, which might then be true. Microsoft says Windows 10 is 30% and 400 million users (and dropping/not growing). Easy math tells us Windows is about 1.3 billion, but the issue is only 400 million have access to UWP and that number isn't growing. It might actually be dropping. If that isn't Windows declining, I don't know what is.
  • windows has still over 2 billions user worldwide..admit it. in india alone there is over 500 millions pc.
  • Can you cite that number? The closest I see is 1.25 billion, but that was in 2011. Makes sense though when you see Microsoft claim Windows 10 is 30% of Windows devices and there are 400 million. 2 billion doesn't make sense.
  • Folks not many people are buying Windows smart phones these days I have one and am looking for well made Microsoft one. Microsoft's mobile device strength is in PC tablets not smart phones. So it would be a good thing for them to make a Mini Surface Tablet that can  be a Smart phones & also run Desktop PC Programs, best run in it's continuum mode. Microsoft has developed the x86 emulation software that allows ARMS CPU'S to run full Desktop Win 32 Programs so it can make the Smartphone Tablet Hybrid device. This device wont be for everyone but it will be more powerful and useful than any smart phone because it's a smart phone and if you want a PC too. Since not many people are buying Windows smart phones this product is a better one for them to take to the market place because it's more than a regular smart phones. It's a PC when you want it to be. Hopefully developers will make programs to use the full potential of this type of device. the question is can Miceosoft get devlopers to make apps and full win32 PC programs to use on this powerful device
  • Surface this, Surface that. It is good Microsoft is imparting us information about the device which isn't a bad thing. 2018 is not going to be tomorrow. Microsoft must update the current phones 950 and XL, 650 and 550 while we are holding on for the Surface phone please. I imagine a 2017 lumia 650 having snapdragon 650, 5. 5"1080p screen, 18mp tri- Led flash with pureview technology and more, USB type C, finger print scanner +iris. That is what Microsoft should be taking about not that Surface phone news isn't major league.
  • How would they "update the current phones"?  It's pretty clear that the Lumia line is dead.  If you're speaking instead of the OS, they'll continue on improving it I'm sure. 
  • hmm looking at the size of the hands in ralationship to this dual screen device design. This seems to me to be a dual sceen tablet design as opposed to a smart phone but it is not impossiable to put a smart phone and tablet together in one device. Windows 10 mobile can be put on a 9 inch tablet if a Microsoft OEM partner or Microsoft wants to do so. Come to think of it there was a "Q7" -7 inch Windows smart phone prototype at one of the CES events but this device was to be sold in the Chinese Market place not in America. a dual screen 7 inch Microsoft Windows tablet is not impossible. enough People would buy them to make it worth having manufactured and sold in the market place  
  • For all the UWP fans, forget it! The desktop paradigm doesn't work with touch and touch doesn't work (well) with the desktop paradigm. It's little more than a gimmick on laptops, as Apple has so aptly demonstrated by staying far, far away from touch. Lots of non-Mac laptops now have touch screens, and, Microsoft has done nothing with that preponderance of touch. It's simply not a form factor that's made for touch. Although, in all fairness, Microsoft does understand the limitations of touch. They have pretty much ignored the desktop in their touch experiments. UWP is working on the touch screen category. However, it's too late. Apple was the first out of the gate and did it in spectacular fashion. They were also the first out of the gate within the tablet form factor. Android was a close second, and, because of Apple's success as a premium brand, Android was relegated to second tier. Windows mobile/whatever it's called, well, too little, too late. It's a bit player and for Microsoft to win back market share will be an expensive endeavour. There also was the BlackBerry PlayBook, a marvel of engineering with a decent interface. Long gone :(. Microsoft gets that touch on the desktop is a pointless endeavour. I'm not sure they really get mobile devices. They're still a bit player in the world of touch. Apple and the Android ecosystem have the world of touch locked up. Teenagers largely have Apple iPhones. Usually, it's the ones who can't afford an iPhone that get themselves an Android phone. And, none of them have Windows phones. This is big. Microsoft can do what it wants with the UWP/WIndows mobile, but, without the younger demographic, it's a lost cause. For people to switch platforms is big. Microsoft would need to have a revolutionary device to bring people back to their ecosystem. But, Apple and Google are not going to sit by idly and allow Microsoft to come up with all the good ideas. For us end users it's great because there's a new race to see who can get the edge in the world of touch devices and vision. For Microsoft, not so much, but, since I'm not a Microsoft stock holder I'm not concerned :).
  • Couple things, first, I'm guessing you never saw Windows XP tablets? (Apple wasn't first on tablets lol, it was like Sony, And a bunch of other of other companies long before Apples tablet was a thought). Second, I use my Surface Pro 4 100% of the time as a touch screen device, as you probably know its full Windows, it works great so not sure what your talking about the touch not working (well). Even my Apple loving wife likes to use my Surface so much that when the Surface Pro 5 comes out we are getting her one.
  • Just read your comment zooming on Edge with my fingers on a Dell AIO 24" ;)
  • I disagree somehow. UWP is not made for touch, it's made for all categories. Sure, there are features missing, like native menubars or better responsive design. But it's already pretty good for desktop apps. Sure it cannot replace WPF right now, since a lot of features are missing. But nobody ever said, you must use touch with UWP. For desktop applications I never heard that touch is the recommended interface - but it might give some benefits on certain setups (like Surface PC). On my laptop I would like this even more in certain situations since it's easier to reach. On XBox where also UWP may be used, touch is not even an option, since most TVs don't support touch ;) I think what you do mean is, most app developers (even Microsoft in some apps) do touch first development. This is the bad thing, but not a problem made by UWP. And I think the future is one app for all types of devices than special apps for every device.
  • This would be a good device for laptop ban onboard commercial flights...Hurry up Microsoft!
  • I just read the whole patent document and nowhere is mentionned the Surface Phone or even the word : Phone. So could you please explain me how did you put the link between this patent and the so called Surface Phone ?
  • it's all speculation at this point....
  • Great observation. You will not see the word Phone because MS has never mentioned Surface Phone. Ever. It's just mentioned on this site only as a done deal. Surface Phone is just speculation by some.
  • I guess it comes down to this.  If you can get a fold out phone with Android, iOS or Windows.  Why would people choose Windows?  I know Windows fans would use it obviously and there would be some good work cases but I mean the general public.  Those who don't need it for work and are currently using Android or iOS.  Would those people switch?
  • I don't see the point of a fold out phone with an OS like Android or IOS. I don't even see the point of a fold out phone with Windows Mobile 10. The only reason a fold out phone makes sense is a full desktop OS like Windows 10 or OSX. IMO there is absolutely nothing gained in the pocket mobile space by just having Android on a fold out screen. Which adds absolutely ZERO to the current market of Stagnant Mobile devices. It just becomes the next gimmick. As opposed to a full Windows 10 fold out which actually adds a whole heap of NEW functionality and moves the Mobile Pocket space along massively.
  • I think you're right.  So with Samsung and LG planning folding screens, do you suppose they're planning those devices for Windows 10?
  • If that's a phone, that's a very big phone.  Aside from that, why do people want a foldable phone? I don't see the attraction or the use. Something with a hard solid surface would be more useful - but we already have that with phones today.
  • If MSFT pulss this off, I can see the hate steaming off the Android and iOS fanboys, who's world basically caves in at the possibility of such a device.....i've got my popcorn ready !