Microsoft patents yet another foldable device, this time with a single flexible screen

Microsoft's Andromeda device is one of its most rumored products in recent years, with a never-ending cycle of leaks, rumors, patents, and delays which have kept fans guessing for the past few years. To fuel the fire, a new patent has emerged today showcasing yet another foldable device from Microsoft, though this appearance seems to be slightly different from the more recent patents of the same kind.

Unlike what we've seen before, this concept envisions a device with a single flexible display, rather than the three displays showcased in another patent back in June. Rather than folding in a nearly 360-degree radius, it would only offer the option to be open or closed in the same direction.

The problem some might see with using a flexible display is how it will feel when in use since the elastic materials necessary to allow the display to bend aren't as solid as the glass we're accustomed to. Microsoft knows this and the patent mentions a couple of ways it could see the product working. For starters, the hinge would allow a "minimum bend radius" when being opened or closed, so as to protect the material.

Additionally, the hinge portion of the device would have "bridge structures" to help sustain the display when it's fully extended, so that interacting with the folding portion of the screen feels more similar to the rest of the display. The patent also mentions a "deformable member" which is placed in the hinge mechanism to help prevent the display from feeling "mushy" in the area where the screen folds.

Of course, this is just another drop in the sea of patents from Microsoft in regards to foldable devices, so there's no telling what product, if any, the company is bringing to the market. Either way, Panos Panay did mention last week that a pocketable Surface device is something he wants to do, and this could certainly be another step towards that.

Source: USPTO via Steven Lack (Twitter), Windows Central

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