Microsoft patent shows a 360-degree folding screen device

Alfonso Maruccia

Posts: 757   +259
The big picture: Microsoft is still trying to do weird things with flexible screens and foldable form factors. A recently unveiled patent describes a novel approach that goes beyond the notorious Surface Duo phone, with truly back-to-back folding capabilities.

The dual-screen approach of the Surface Duo didn't work out, but Microsoft is seemingly still interested in developing a completely flexible device. A patent published on the World Intellectual Property Organization's website (WIPO) describes a "computing device display frame translation mechanism," which according to Microsoft would provide a better experience compared to flexible display-based devices already on the market.

Other flexible devices cannot fold the display in the opposite direction "into an open or back-to-back orientation," Microsoft notes in its patent application, as these devices utilize hinge designs that would "stretch and exert tensile stresses" on the flexible display and ultimately damage it while folding outward.

Microsoft's approach employs a complex folding mechanism that should "substantially" eliminate any potentially damaging tensile stress to the display. A cam-based system is designed to adjust the position of the device's two halves relative to the spine, when the device is in a back-to-back position compared to when it's closed normally.

Microsoft isn't the only company trying to do new things with flexible display technology, despite the fact that consumers aren't exactly rushing to replace their traditional, single-display smartphones with foldable devices. Samsung, the leading company in the space, already showed a solution similar to the one described in Microsoft's patent earlier this year. LG also demonstrated a 360-degree foldable OLED screen more than a year ago.

Microsoft isn't doing anything new or revolutionary, and the foldable devices previously made by the company haven't exactly be met with enthusiasm or users' interest. At this point, a 360-degree foldable screen could turn out to be a bad idea for a company focusing mostly on cloud, AI, and unprecedented acquisitions in the gaming industry.

The patent has been published and is available for public review, but it hasn't been granted by WIPO yet. Microsoft could also decide not to use the technology in any actual product, a frequent outcome of granted patents.

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Nowadays patent systems become so broken absurd, that any corporation will patent any idea just to have monopoly on it, or a leverage against competitors.
I own a Surface Duo..

It is by far one of the best phones out there (at the time). Just while using, so many people ask me about it my Duo after just seemingly seeing me use it at diners, or at lunch. Hundreds of times ovr the last 3 years now... Others have asked to hold it, etc..

#1 prob with the Surface Duo is it's edges are fragile. (The phone is all glass... bad choice of materials)

It's completely foldable dual-penal design is not for everyone.
I keep mine in a otterbox sleeve and use earbuds to answer calls, etc.
IMO, the Surface Duo's design is frigg'n outstanding, it's current flaw is that it's just too fragile bcz of all-glass body, magnesium would've been better, etc. (But... the quality and mechanics of the phone are outstanding in opening/closing/folding & holding are all rewarding and a great experience and one I do not want to give up...)

I'll hold on to this phone until the end of time, until I find another dual screen to replace it. The two individual "Dual-Screens" are so great with endless abilities that increases the phones functionality two-fold (pun intended) & such a better mobile experience when can have two different websites up side by side, or watching vod on one screen and reading news on the other, etc.

Personally, I did NOT mind the split dual-panel design of the Surface Duo. Again, the split-displays works well for everything except using both to watch a movie (I watched movies in TeePee mode folded).

So if Microsoft comes out with a Surface that has a screen that is foldable (like the Duo's), is the same perfect size as the duo... and has nearly the same (indescribably perfect) closing/folding mechanics of the Duo...?

Then I am all in... don't care about the price.
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