Microsoft has always been at the forefront of technology. The
company has created many categories of devices in the past but
the Surface brand of devices are by far the most innovative and
better-looking devices. The original Surface hybrid tablet was
launched in July 2012. From then onwards we saw many devices
with the Surface branding like the Surface Pro, Surface Hub,
Surface Book, Surface Studio and the Surface Laptop. These
devices were either creating a whole new category or
reinventing an old category for other manufacturers to get
inspired and come with similar products.
We can say that the smartphone category is one which hasn’t
been touched by the Surface brand. We have been hearing a lot
of rumours about a foldable Surface Andromeda device. But
Microsoft isn’t the only company that has thought about or is
working on a foldable device. Rumours of companies working on
foldable smartphones have been circulating since December 2016.
Companies like Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft has filed
patents for several designs of foldable smartphones. Of these,
Samsung has the largest number of patents. We have also been
hearing rumours of a foldable Samsung Galaxy X device.
Microsoft has already confirmed the death of its smartphone
operating system, though it may be difficult for
die-hard fans to accept and they still believe that
Microsoft will come up with a Surface-branded smartphone. The
fans themselves cannot be blamed because Microsoft has Surface
devices in every category except that of a smartphone.
Back in May of 2017, the U.S. Patent Office has published a
Microsoft patent application for a foldable smartphone. From
the patent, it is clear that Microsoft has done a lot of work
on the foldable smartphone concept.
Microsoft recently won a patent application for a Dual Display
or foldable smartphone. One interesting design choice in this
new patent is the camera setup. To make a foldable smartphone,
Microsoft would have to make the individual left and right
sides as thin as possible. This would make it difficult to
place the Camera module as the module itself is not thin
enough. Microsoft has said in the patent that the camera module
would indeed protrude from the body of the device.
“In the embodiment of FIG. 1A illustrated above, the retaining
member #18 includes a hinge as noted in purple. Hinged
transitioning between folded and unfolded states of the
handheld device is further illustrated in the perspective
drawings of FIGS. 1B, 1C, and 1D. FIG. 1B shows the handheld
device in the unfolded state. FIG. 1D below shows the handheld
device in the folded state, where the housings #14a and #14b
may lay flat against one another as regions of the camera #12
that extend outside of housing #14a (e.g., past the inner
surface of the housing) press retractable cap 16 inward into
the recess. FIG. 1C shows the handheld device in a partially
So, the camera is placed on the face side of the device.
Inorder to prevent any protrusions from interfering with the
device in the folded form Microsoft is using a Male-Female
arrangement where the camera protrusion on the left display
would fit easily in the cavity on the right display.
Microsoft also explains that there would be a fingerprint
sensor located on the backside of the camera. In addition to
this Microsoft says that this dual display smartphone will
support a keyboard, mouse and even a game controller. The
camera will have head tracking, gesture recognition, a
depth camera for machine vision, motion detection and also
This makes sense as to why Microsoft decided to place the
camera on the face side. The device is more or less like a
Surface Journal where the two displays on the left and right
look like the left and right pages of a book. This is in
accordance with a recent code from a new Whiteboard app that
Microsoft may be working on for this device.
Microsoft’s Surface devices have never been market leaders but
these devices do not go after the trend. They are made to
create new trends. Microsoft can be credited for not copying
other manufacturers and coming up with entirely new devices.
This device is expected to be like a mini pocket PC which also
has the ability to play Xbox games.
If this Surface Andromeda device turns out to be beautiful and
smart enough as expected then, it would definitely give iPhones
and Androids a run for their money.