Surface Phone: Microsoft’s ‘Andromeda’ Might Be The First Modular Smartphone That Actually Works

New patent filings from Microsoft reveal a smartphone design that features some nifty modular capabilities.

Microsoft might be exploring a modular design concept for the Surface Phone.
Andrew Burton / Getty Images

New patent filings from Microsoft reveal a smartphone design that features some nifty modular capabilities.

More signs have emerged seemingly suggesting that the ever-elusive Surface Phone would feature several novel capabilities that the leaders in the mainstream smartphone market have not mastered as of date. Considering the recent patents about the device, it appears that Microsoft is pulling out all the stops in ensuring that its next foray into the mobile sphere is something distinct and unique.

According to a report from Thurrott, patents have emerged suggesting that Microsoft is looking to equip its next mobile device, codenamed “Andromeda,” with a modular hinge. This particular feature would enable users of the device to attach and detach components and accessories from the actual handset.

Unlike the usual modular smartphone designs that are currently employed in the market by handsets such as the Essential Phone, however, Microsoft’s concept of a modular device seems to be taken from a different, more ambitious book. According to the new patents, the modular hinge would allow components of the handset to be used together or separately. While rumors of a foldable Surface Phone have already been around for some time, the idea of using the device as two separate units when unfolded is something new.

Apart from the modular hinge, a new patent has also been uncovered by Twitter tech group Walking Cat, which recently described a design featuring a “magnetic block locking” mechanism, which would allow both portions of the Surface Phone to lock and unlock depending on the user’s preferences. As could be seen in the recent patent, however, the magnetic mechanism of Andromeda is something that is incredibly complex.

While Microsoft has not released any official information about the Surface Phone, the recent patents about the ever-elusive device seem to suggest that the Redmond-based tech giant definitely appears to be exploring a hybrid, foldable form factor for its next mobile venture. Considering that foldable smartphones seem to be the next big trend in the smartphone industry (as heralded by rumored devices such as the Galaxy X), and considering that Microsoft has achieved a mastery of hybrid machines such as the Surface Pro series, the chances of the Surface Phone breaking into the mainstream market are pretty high.

The release date of the Surface Phone remains unknown, though speculations are high that an official update about the device’s progress would be announced sometime later this year. The specs of the handset remain unknown as well, though rumors point to the Surface Phone being equipped with formidable, near-notebook internals.