Microsoft awarded patent for multiple folding phone

Imagine a tablet that could fit in your pocket

Microsoft awarded patent for multiple folding phone
United States Patent and Trademark Office
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There have been several efforts on the part of handset makers to create a folding device, so the large chocolate bar design of the phone will fit more easily in the pocket. Well, Microsoft has one-upped them with a patent for a mobile device that can be unfolded not once, but twice—turning it into a tablet-style device.

The company initially filed the patent application Oct. 16, 2014, and was awarded the patent (US 9,541,962 B2) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Jan. 10, 2017. The news was first spotted by MSPoweruser

The patent comes one week after Microsoft secured another patent (US 9,535,465 B2) that also covers mobile devices with a foldable form factor. The description of the patent, "Hinge Electrical Interconnection Guide," sounds rather self-explanatory. 

The patent is for a "Mobile Computing Device having a Flexible Hinge Structure." According to the summary: 

Techniques involving a mobile computing device having a flexible hinge structure are described. In one or more implementations, a mobile computing device includes a plurality of housings, a display device that is flexible, and a flexible hinge structure. The flexible hinge structure secures the plurality of housings to each other, permits the plurality of housings to rotate about an axis in relation to each other, and supports a continuous viewing area of the display device that extends across the plurality of housings and the flexible hinge structure. 

The numerous illustrations in the patent cover a range of device designs that look like a folded up device but unfold to become a smartphone with two displays, or a larger, tablet-like device with one big display. 

Just because Microsoft has secured this patent doesn't mean we will see double-folding tablets that fit in our pockets any time soon. It's a long way from patent to product, and many patents never see the light of day.

But it is interesting to see Microsoft has upped the ante on foldable devices, blowing past Apple, Samsung, LG and the others.

microsoft phone tablet United States Patent and Trademark Office
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