The patent, first filed on June 7th, 2017 and published on December 21st, 2017 is titled "Hinge with Free-Stop function", and it describes a hinge mechanism that enables 360-degree rotation on dual-screen devices.
The patent describes a hypothetical dual-display phone or tablet device where such a hinge may be useful:
With a dual-display device, the mobile phone or tablet can include an open, expanded position where both displays are flush so that the user feels like there is a single integrated display. In a closed, condensed position, both displays are face-to-face so as to protect the displays. In a fully-open position, the dual displays can sit back-to-back so the user needs to flip the device to view the opposing display.
Microsoft also states that compared to traditional torque or friction hinges, this design will be less bulky, and allow for thinner devices.
It is not yet known if this device is the long-rumoured Microsoft Surface Phone – or if it will ever come out at all. However, considering the effort Microsoft has been putting into getting fully-featured desktop version of Windows 10 running on ARM processors, complete with Win32 application support, along with its work on the CShell project, which would allow the same version of Windows to run on phones, eliminating the need for the now-cancelled Windows 10 Mobile, it is certain that if the "Andromeda" phone were to come out, it would be running a full version of Windows 10.
This device has already appeared in previous Microsoft patent filings and was referenced in newer Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. The phone would feature a dual-display and support the Surface Pen, which, similar to the cancelled Microsoft Courier tablet, would allow the device to be used as a digital notepad.
What do you think? Do you believe that the almost mythical Surface Phone is finally coming? Let us know in the comments below!