Microsoft Watch: New Patents uncover a Next-Gen Surface Book Concept & Foldable Tablet + a Surface Duo 2 rumor points to a triple camera
In this Microsoft Watch report we uncover two new patents. The first covers a new Surface device offering a built-in stand that offers a notebook mode, an artist's 'Studio Mode' and a closed case mode while in transit. The second patent covers a possible alternative to the original Surface Neo 2-display foldable tablet concept with a 17" foldable display. Our report also covers one of the latest Surface Duo rumors that claims that Duo 2 will offer a backside triple camera.
Apple's latest Surface device patent covers a completely new built-in stand design. Microsoft states in their patent that it is beneficial to have a computing device that can transition between different operating postures to facilitate use in various situations. For example, a disclosed computing device may operate in a laptop posture, a studio posture, or an intermediate (airplane) posture (in transit), and seamlessly transitions between those postures. Such a computing device may employ a plurality of hinges to provide the desired operability and transitions.
In some embodiments, a computing device includes a first hinge rotatably connecting a stand to a base. The first hinge has a first coefficient of friction sufficient to maintain a first angular position between the stand and the base. A second hinge rotatably connects the stand to a display. The second hinge has a second coefficient of friction sufficient to maintain a second angular position between the display and the stand.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a computing device in a studio configuration or mode; FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a computing device in a laptop configuration; FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a computing device in a closed configuration.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 7-1 below is a representation of the computing device (#700) in a laptop configuration. In this configuration the display (#706) may be parallel or approximately parallel to the stand (#704). The stand may be rotated with a stand angle (#768) relative to the base (#702). In some embodiments, the stand angle may be in a range having an upper value and a lower value, or upper and lower values including any of 0°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75°, 90°, 105°, 120°, 135°, or any value therebetween. For example, the stand angle may be 0° (e.g., the computing device when closed). In other examples, the stand angle may be less than 135°. In yet other examples, the stand angle may be greater than 135°.
In patent FIG. 7-2 above, the display (#706) has rotated about a display hinge (#712) relative to the view shown in FIG. 7-1. The display may be connected to the stand at a stand hinge (#716).
In at least one embodiment, the stand hinge is located at the center of the display. In some embodiments, the stand hinge is located at a stand hinge position a percentage of a display distance between a display first end (#770) and a display second end (#772).
In some embodiments, the stand hinge position is in a range having an upper value and a lower value, or upper and lower values including any of 10%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 33%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 66%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 90%, or any value therebetween of the display distance.
For the nitty-gritty details, see Microsoft's European Patent filing WO2021145886.
Apple set the tone for this angled display idea with their 2020 Magic Keyboard accessory for iPad Pro and iPad Air. Now PC OEM's are now testing new notebook models that overs an angled display feature like the Acer Concept device presented below. It makes you wonder if Apple has something like this in mind for the future.
Foldable Display for Foldable Tablet
On July 13, the US Patent and Trademark Office published Microsoft's granted patent 11,061,436 titled "Flexible display hinged device." The patent covers Microsoft's possible future foldable tablet using Samsung's 17" foldable display specifically for this purpose. It's an alternative to Surface Neo that uses two separated displays that fold together. Samsung is part of the Horseshoe Bend Project revealed last year.
Microsoft's patent FIGS. 1A-1C, are perspective views of an example hinged device that can avoid imparting stress forces on a flexible display.
Microsoft's patent FIGS. 7 and 9 below illustrate the hinge assembly in the 90-degree orientation; FIG. 10 shows intermeshing teeth (#608) timing rotation around the axis pins (#606) so that simultaneous and equal rotation occurs around individual axis pins.
For more details, see granted patent 11,061,436. Patently Apple covered Microsoft's first patent on this project in April 2021.
Lastly, a Microsoft rumor report is claiming that Microsoft's next-gen Surface Duo 2 smartphone will come equipped with a new external triple camera that will help the device better compete with other Android phones on the market. For more on this rumor, read the full Windows Central report.