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Microsoft's new foldable device patent shows interesting camera tech

For years, we've been hearing rumors about a 'Surface Phone' from Microsoft. Those rumors have evolved over time, to what's currently known as Andromeda. Various patents have surfaced (pun intended) for a sort of foldable tablet, so the form factor won't be like anything we have on the market today.

Today though, a new patent has been published for a foldable device, this time focusing on the camera. The way it works is that there will be a different field of view when the device is folded together.

Smartphone camera technology is always limited by the fact that it has to fit into a narrow body. That's why we're seeing an increasing amount of devices with a camera bump, or a second lens entirely. It's impossible to do things like optical zoom when there isn't enough room to move the lenses further apart from each other.

The patent describes one side of the device as having a sensor, which might have a 120-degree field of view, for example. The other side has an "optical arrangement", which when placed above the sensor, can have a field of view of 60 or 90 degrees. This would give the effect of zoom but without compromising image quality.

The document also says that this camera setup can be for any type of device, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and more.

Microsoft's Lumia Windows phones and their PureView technology have been renowned for their imaging quality, ever since the company bought Nokia's Devices and Services division in 2014. Surely, whatever Microsoft decides to do with a foldable "Surface Phone", users will be expecting a best-in-class camera.

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