The latest patent by Microsoft has revealed the details of their alleged Surface/Andromeda phone with a 360-degree hinge. The patent details a 360-degree design along with the justification behind the development of a dual screen device. Microsoft explained:
Along with these enhanced capabilities has come a demand for larger displays to provide a richer user experience. Mobile phone displays have increased in size to the point where they can now consume almost the entire viewing surface of a phone. To increase the size of displays any further would require an increase in the size of the phones themselves. This is not desirable, as users want their mobile phone to fit comfortably in their hand or in a shirt or pants pocket.
As a result, dual-display devices are becoming more popular. 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.
The patent further explains the mechanism of the 360-degree hinge and free-stop feature of the Andromeda.
The hinges provide numerous advantages. Foremost, the flexible connection members stay within the channels of the hinge lugs and do not extend (or extend minimally) beyond the surface of the dual-display device as it is being rotated through 360 degrees. Moreover, the flexible connection members can be easily tightened, such as by turning a screw that is exposed externally with the dual-display device in a closed position. Moreover, the friction hinge can allow the device to free stop in any position through the 360-degree rotation. The hinge mechanisms and the friction hinges can be positioned adjacent to one another to provide both features simultaneously.
The Surface Phone/ Andromeda seems like a promising idea. A few months ago, ZTE released Axon M, a foldable phone that allows for a tablet and a mobile mode which received good response from critics. Do you feel foldable phones are the future of smartphones? Let us know in the comments below.