Another Microsoft patent for "hinged displays" has been made available to the public. This patent is slightly different from the one uncovered in January this year and is reminiscent of the company's mobile ambitions from a few years ago.
While not every patent converts to a physical product that consumers could potentially buy, the frequency of such foldable patents for the Redmond giant indicates that the company is, at the very least, toying with the idea of the rumored Surface Phone. Interestingly, the patent doesn't just mention mobile phones but, also larger-tiled displays which might be modeled around modular ones. The patent further suggests that the company may be attempting to make the hinge disappear, or at least, make it seem like it's not there.
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 feature could possibly be seen in action in the upcoming refresh of the Surface Book, as the first version was criticized by some for its hinge gap which wasn't as aesthetically pleasing to everyone. This is speculation, of course, as patents simply indicate one of the several courses a company may be taking for a product. That said, while this patent may not necessarily mean that Microsoft is releasing a Surface Phone soon, it does indicate that the company is exploring its options.