The Surface Phone, while unconfirmed by Microsoft, has already captured the interest of smartphone fans and analysts alike. After the failure of the Microsoft-branded Lumia devices, all hope for the tech giant’s smartphone business appears to lie in the rumored Surface Phone, which is speculated to carry innovations that would push Microsoft into the top of the mobile market. If a recently-published patent is anything to go by, it appears that the tech giant is indeed exploring some bold innovations for its upcoming smartphone, including what seems to be a foldable display.
Microsoft has previously attempted to explore the idea of a smartphone that can transform into a tablet depending on how it is folded back in 2009. The concept, dubbed the Courier, caught the attention of numerous tech aficionados, with many expressing apprehension regarding the proposed device’s touch-based operating system and Windows 7, Microsoft’s flagship OS then. Even after the advent of Windows 8, which was more mobile-friendly, the Courier was never made, and the concept was largely forgotten.
As it turned out, Microsoft did a follow-up on the concept in 2014, filing a proposal with the U.S. Patent Office. The patent, which was approved recently, is particularly interesting, especially due to its inventor. A report by The Verge pointed out that the inventor listed in the recently-approved patent is none other than Kabir Siddiqui, who is the same person who patented the Microsoft Surface Kickstand and Surface Camera angle. Thus, with the inventor being actively involved in Microsoft’s Surface line, numerous tech aficionados have begun speculating that the foldable design in the patent might be featured in the Surface Phone.
— Tech247 (@Tech247ir) January 7, 2017
The Surface Phone has been in the rumor mill for the very long time, with numerous speculations consistently emerging about the device. True to form, however, Microsoft has been extremely tight-lipped about the smartphone’s development, practically even refusing to acknowledge the device’s existence to this day. Though the tech giant has released statements that appeared to tease how the device would change the mobile market, the Microsoft Surface Phone pretty much continues to exist only in rumors.
While very little is known about the Surface Phone, speculations are high that Microsoft is designing the device as a definitive game-changer in the smartphone market. The Surface line, which is arguably Microsoft’s most successful brand, has always been lauded for its bold innovations and bleeding-edge technology. The Surface Pro 4, which was released October 2015, for one, garnered glowing reviews from users and critics alike, with many lauding the device for its sleek profile and powerful specs.
Considering the reputation of Surface devices, speculations are high that the Surface Phone would most likely be a powerhouse productivity device as well. Rumors about the Surface Phone are abounding, with some stating that the device would carry an Intel processor, around 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB or storage. Apart from its formidable raw specs, the Surface Phone is also speculated to carry numerous features, such as a built-in keyboard and support for the Surface Pen.
Interestingly, these rumored features fit very well with the recently-published patent, with the lower screen of the folded device possibly taking the role of a touchscreen keyboard, much like the one featured in the Lenovo Yoga Book. Together with a built-in touch keyboard, a folding smartphone/tablet device with powerhouse specs and Surface Pencil support would be more than enough to make a significant splash in the mobile computing market.
If the recently-published patent proves accurate and the feature does make it to the Surface Phone, there is a very good chance that the device would be well-received by the mobile market. What would be interesting, however, would be how the foldable Surface Phone would compete against Samsung’s Galaxy X, which is also rumored to be set for a 2017 release date.
Just like Microsoft’s smartphone, Samsung’s Galaxy X has been rumored for a very long time, with speculations stating that the device would be the South Korean tech giant’s first foldable smartphone/tablet hybrid. Thus, if the Galaxy X and the Surface Phone do see the light of day in 2017, the year might play host to a notable battle between two groundbreaking hybrid devices.
What would be even interesting, however, would be the launch date of the two rumored mobile devices. Speculations are high that the Galaxy X would be released together with the Galaxy Note 8, which is most likely set for an August or September 2017 release. As for the Surface Phone, rumors are abounding that the highly-anticipated device would most likely see a Q2 release date, which would place it in the market way before the Galaxy X makes its debut. Overall, the dawn of foldable hybrid devices seem to be within reach, and it might very well be heralded by none other than the Microsoft Surface Phone.
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