Back in October 2019, Microsoft announced the Surface Neo and Surface Duo. Both the devices were Microsoft’s first attempt at the dual-screen phones. While Microsoft promised to make the phones available in 2020, it looks like the company is working on more concept foldable phones.
As per a new patent discovered by us, Microsoft might be planning to launch a new Samsung Galaxy Fold style foldable phone. The patent titled “FOLDABLE DISPLAY DEVICE WITH INTERACTABLE USER INTERFACE SURFACE ON THE EXTERNAL SHELL” was filed with the European Patent Office in 2018 and was published in December of 2019. The patent talks about putting a third screen on the back of a foldable smartphone so the user can interact with the phone without unfolding it into a tablet. The same concept was used by Samsung on the Galaxy Fold where a small screen on the back can be used when the phone is folded.
Aspects of the present disclosure provide a foldable display device that includes a user interface surface located on an exterior cover section of the foldable display device that allows a user to interact with the user interface surface while the foldable display device is in a closed state. Interaction on the user interface surface during the closed state of the foldable display device may allow the user to select content to be shown on at least one display screen of the foldable display device on the interior section during a subsequent open state of the foldable display device. Additionally, the user interface surface may be configured to allow an object produced (e.g., drawn or written) on the user interface surface to be stored for display on at least one of the first display screen, the second display screen, or the user interface surface.
Microsoft also plans to allow users to transfer content to the bigger screen if they unfold the display. This could, in theory, allow seamless switching between displays and could improve the overall user experience. While interesting, we do have to note that not all patents translate into products but we do hope Microsoft pursues this patent and add another display to a future Surface foldable device.