Recent Microsoft patent describes a hinged device that could be launched as Surface Journal
Another patent for a foldable device has been published in December.
Microsoft applied for this hinged device patent in June this year, but it was approved and published yesterday, on December 14. Called a ‘Hinged Device’, it represents a design that could be utilized with any type of device including smartphones. This patent is another indication that Microsoft is still interested in launching a foldable mini-Surface with a modular version of Windows – Andromeda OS. Such a device may be coming to the market under the Surface brand, possibly called the Surface Journal or Surface Mini.
The concept describes a portable computing device with a hinge assembly that secures first and second device portions. As you can see from the drawings below, the concept represents a dual-screen foldable device, rather than a device with a flexible screen. According to the patent description:
“The closed orientation can be very compact and easy for the user to transport. For instance, the device may fit in the user’s pocket. Further, the first surfaces can be protected in this closed orientation by the second surfaces. The device can be biased to maintain this orientation until acted upon by the user.”
There are a number of different orientations of the device, like an orientation in which the device could be used as a notebook with a virtual keyboard and a trackpad presented on one of the displays.
We also read that
“The processor can generate GUIs 204 for presentation on the displays 126. In some implementations, the processor may generate different GUIs for the displays when the first and second portions 102 and 104 are in some orientations and a single GUI for a combined presentation in other orientations. For instance, when the first and second portions are oriented at 90 degrees relative to one another, the processor may generate a first GUI for presentation on the first portion and a second GUI for presentation on the second portion. When the first and second portions are oriented to 180 degrees, the processor can generate a single GUI that is collectively presented across both displays to create a larger display area. In other orientations, such as the alarm clock orientation, the same GUI may be presented on both the first and second portions. For instance, the time could be presented on both portions so that it is visible from more positions around the device.”
This concept could materialize in mid-2018 at the earliest, of course, unless Microsoft abandoned it like many other internal designs and patents.