The Surface Phone could be like nothing we've ever seen before
The Microsoft Surface Phone could be set for an amazing comeback.
Rumours have been circulating about a Microsoft-branded smartphone for some time, as the company looks to establish itself as a leader in the hardware world.
Given the success of its Surface Pro and Surface Book devices, a Surface Phone would make logical sense, however Microsoft has been cagey on its mobile ambitions since the demise of its relationship with Nokia.
But now it appears the Microsoft may be planning a return for its next smartphone release – and it might be quite eye-catching too.
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That’s according to a new patent filing recently released to the public.
In it, Microsoft applies for a new kind of multi-layered phone display, built of tiled panels with a curve at the edge.
The curve is intended to draw light away from the gaps, making it appears that the display shows one continuous image.
This would help address one of the main problems with hinged displays, where multiple panels often end up breaking the user’s perception of the objects displayed on screen.
Microsoft’s new design means that it could create a folding design with multiple active displays appearing to show off a single, continuous image.
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The Surface Phone could feature this innovative new screen design
This is not the first time that reports have suggested a flexible design for the Surface Phone.
Back in January, a separate patent filing showed off designs for a foldable device that would blend together the best of both the phone and tablet worlds.
The filing shows a tablet-sized device that would be able to fold onto itself using a hinge, creating a display about the size of a typical smartphone.
That opens the device up for quickly switching between a number of different uses, for example, you could be watching a film on the main tablet screen, then quickly pause and fold the device into a phone to make a call or reply to a text message.
Past rumours have suggested a hinged design for the Surface Phone
The Surface Phone looks set to be a major release for Microsoft, if and when it eventually appears.
The device could be set for some delays, however, after a recent report claimed that although a product was in development, it won’t be released until late 2018 or even not until 2019.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently raised hopes among Microsoft fans that the device may be in development when he hinted last month that a Surface Phone could be "the ultimate mobile device”.
However the company has downgraded work on its Windows 10 Mobile platform recently in favour of focusing on building other new hardware instead.
Some sources had expected the Surface Phone to launch later this year, possibly as part of the ‘Redstone 3’ Windows 10 update.
Among the most popular rumours concerning the Surface Phone is that the device will use Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip and will run a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Mobile.
Continuum – Windows 10's ability to run a desktop PC-like environment on a large screen from a smartphone – could bring a new level of productivity for the phone.
Including the ability to connect Surface Phone to an external keyboard, mouse and display to run full desktop applications like Office 2016 or Adobe Photoshop would be of interest to business customers.
If you want to find out more about the Microsoft Surface Phone, you can check out everything we think we know about this new device here.