The Microsoft Surface Phone might very well be the surprise hit of 2018. Long rumored, yet never confirmed, the Surface Phone has practically become a myth in the smartphone industry. Despite never confirming the device, Microsoft has been dropping hints that it would unveil its comeback to the mobile sphere pretty soon.
Not too long ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that if Microsoft were to enter the mobile industry once more, it would be through a device that is far different than anything currently on the market. Just recently, Microsoft was granted a patent for a device that pretty much ticks off all the boxes of the CEO’s bold prediction.
The recent patents that emerged of the Surface Phone were indeed unlike anything that is currently in the industry. Just like other Surface-branded devices, the patents suggest that the Redmond-based tech giant would be utilizing a special hinge that would allow the mobile device to fold in and out, creating a portable powerhouse that is unique to the smartphone market so far.
As noted in a ComputerWorld report, the design featured in Microsoft’s recent patents mirrors that of the XO 2.0 of the One Laptop Per Child initiative. The XO 2.0 was a variable touchscreen notebook concept that could be used in several ways, such as a tablet, a book, a laptop, and a two-person mirror mode. Unfortunately for the XO 2.0, its design never became a reality, mainly due to the technological limitations of the time.
Microsoft also released a foldable concept that was ultimately abandoned. Dubbed the Microsoft Courier, the device would have been a game changer. Microsoft might have been smart to forego the release of the device then, mainly since the Courier might have been bogged down by inadequate internals and a substandard mobile operating system.
With these in mind, there is practically no better time for Microsoft to release its foldable Surface Phone than this coming year. The technology to bring ambitious concepts such as the Courier and the XO 2.0, after all, is already here.
Microsoft’s vision for a variable mobile device was recently brought to life by designer David Breyer, who created a series of concept art featuring the tech giant’s recent patents, as noted in a report from The Verge. Needless to say, Breyer’s concepts were incredibly futuristic.
If the Surface Phone’s recent concept art is any indication, it seems like Microsoft was not kidding when it announced that its next-generation mobile device would be a game-changer. Considering that the smartphone would have several uses, there is a pretty good chance that the Surface Phone would end up cannibalizing the sales of one particularly popular segment in the tech industry: tablets.
Over the past years, tablets have decreased in popularity. Nevertheless, the segment has managed to stay relevant, thanks to powerhouse devices such as the iPad Pro and the Google Pixel C. If the Surface Phone can indeed do what these tablets are designed to do, there is a pretty good chance that Microsoft’s next-generation mobile device might very well be yet another nail in the tablet industry’s proverbial coffin.