The rumor mill has long suggested that Microsoft is working on a dual-screen Surface device codenamed Centaurus. The company even held an all-hands meeting for its Devices team back in June, where employees got a glimpse at the prototype hardware. Centaurus is a dual-screen laptop-sized device. In contrast, Microsoft's 'pocketable' dual-screen device, known as Andromeda, was rumored to be killed off last Summer.
Patentscope has published a couple of new patents filed by the Redmond giant, which reveal that the foldable PC might have a 360-degree hinge and a magnetic closure. In the first patent, Microsoft describes how the hinge works:
The displays can rotate with respect to each other through 360 degrees. The displays can be face-to-face in a closed position, in a single plane in an open-book or tablet position, and back-to-back in a fully-open position. The hinge mechanism has at least one flexible connection member that follows a generally S-shaped path when the displays are in a tablet position.
Each device can include a hinge lug that has top and bottom channels for receiving the flexible connection members. Both the first and second flexible connection members can be coupled together through a termination block. A screw can be threaded through the hinge lug and push on the termination block so as to create tension in the first and second flexible connection members.
In the second patent, the company describes the device’s magnetic closure feature:
The described technology provides multi-sided magnetic access to an electromagnetic coil of a multi-configuration computing device in the presence of one or more metal structures, such as a conductive (e.g., metal, graphite) computer device chassis or midframe. An example implementation provides a computing device including a first computing device portion having one or more electrical components, a first side, a second side, an electromagnetic coil, and a first metal frame having a first through-slot. The computing device also a second computing device portion having one or more other electrical components, a third side, a fourth side and a second metal frame having a second through-slot.
A mechanical joint connects the first computing device portion and the second computing device portion such that the first side is positioned to face the third side and the electromagnetic coil overlaps the first through-slot and the second through-slot along an axis running orthogonal to the first computing device portion and the second computing device portion.
Centaurus will run a new, modern operating system that is built on Windows Core OS and is currently known as Lite. Microsoft described its vision for the OS at Computex earlier this year. Various sources also suggest that the device will be able to run Android apps. Bear in mind, though, that these are just rumors for now. There's been no official confirmation regarding the existence of such a device as of yet. Hopefully, we will learn more in the company’s upcoming Surface event on October 2.