Tag Archives: foldable devices

Surface Phone/Andromeda Device Features Snapdragon 845, Close to Being Ready, But What About the Software?

By Radu Iorga

The Microsoft Surface Phone, or the Andromeda (if they’re one and the same and that’s a pretty big “IF”) is close to being ready it seems. Sources are mentioning that there’s a Qualcomm CPU inside and a potential H2 2018 release is in talks. Even H1 is on the table…

Final prototypes are out for testing, but the software remains unsure. Microsoft did finalize the design of Surface Andromeda and its hardware, but the software isn’t ready, especially on account of the unusual form factor. As you’ve probably heard, we’re dealing with a foldable machine, or better said a dual display one with a foldable hinge down the middle. a Snapdragon 845 is said to be here and I imagine that 6 or 8 GB of RAM are in the cards.

Surface Phone is going to introduce an advanced multitasking feature, that will rely on the two hinged displays of identical size. It’ll all be focused on seamless transition from Tablet Mode to a mobile mode and viceversa. The start screen and the other UI elements are said to adapt to the Tablet/ Mobile modes as well. Andromeda OS is theoretically on track to be ready, but Microsoft isn’t going to release anything half baked this time.

Optimization, seamless functioning, both mode switching, everything has to be ready in H1 2018. While at first the device shouldn’t be able to run Win32 apps, future updates and workarounds may fix that. If you ask me, the only thing sure about the Surface Phone is that we know nothing 100% sure about it. Would love to hear more about Andromeda though.

At this point Andromeda may just be Windows 10 Mobile with a touch of Fluent Design.

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Oppo Also Working on Foldable Smartphone, Patents Device That Turns Into Tablet

By James A.

I’d say Oppo has just patented a foldable smartphone that becomes a tablet, if I didn’t already know they already had such a prototype. They showcased such a machine two years ago, but it was rather primitive. The new model that appears in patents reveals a format similar to what we’ve seen from Microsoft and Samsung.

Oppo tried to make this newcomer a seamless model, that doesn’t have a clearly visible hinge down the middle. One single piece of flexible screen is integrated, which can flex down the middle. The handset can turn into a 7 inch tablet when needed, with a single motion. There’s a dual back camera here, as well as a front cutout for the selfie and earpiece.

A special reinforced “hinge” at the back protects the foldable part. This is a much slimmer affair than the other leaked foldable phone/tablets and obviously we have no specs for it. Samsung Galaxy X has been postponed till 2019, there’s no news about the Surface Phone, so basically ZTE is alone on the market with its Axon M. Lenovo is coming strong from behind with a similar project, since they already made a prototype 2 years ago.

I wonder who supplies the flexible panel for this Oppo machine and if they’re also working with other companies. LG Display maybe?

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LG Patents New Type of Folding Phone, That Becomes a Tablet

By Radu Iorga

After so many leaks of foldable Samsung or Microsoft phones that may or may not become tablets, today we find something similar from LG. This new type of folding phone is detailed in the patents below and we actually have two versions of it.

One of the LG patents was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization and it shows a folding hybrid, that’s both tablet and phone. It describes the unit as a “Mobile phone with a flexible display, which can be folded in half”. It was filed back in July 2017 and published on January 12th 2018. The first version of the machine is a foldable phone, that features the camera on the back panel.

Once it’s folded, the device can display info like the time, date and weather on the front screen. The second version is pretty similar, except for the fact that when the device is folded, the rear cover is pushed to one side and reveals a transparent section on the front right hand side.

 

The sidebar bit can be used to show the time and notifications. The rear of the device also integrates a camera module. The solid lines in the illustration are supposed to show “claimed features” and the broken ones show what the rest of the device is supposed to look like.

The dotted lines in the design patent aren’t covered by said patent. It seems like a pretty elegant design this one, but still I find it bulky… The transparent piece is an innovation compared to the Microsoft and Samsung foldables.

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Microsoft Promotes Folding Phones With Fresh Statement, Patents

By Radu Iorga

We’ve been seeing a ton of leaks related to folding phones lately, especially patents showing that new fangled hinge from Microsoft. Now it’s time to see what Microsoft itself has to say about the whole folding phone craze. A fresh patent application details that exact thing.

After a 2017 with a timid approach, through products like the ZTE Axon M and rumors about a Galaxy X and Surface Phone that will take that approach, it’s time to get real. A fresh Microsoft patent application mentions demand for larger displays and also a bigger screen estate. Interestingly, the “mobile phone or tablet” idea sure sounds familiar, as it hints at a versatile format that would swap between the two.

Users want a handset that fits comfortably in the hand, shirt or pants pocket, but it also opens up and shows more screen. To make things clearer, we have included the full Microsoft patent statement below:

“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.”

Basically screens have pushed past their max limits and now we have to use dual displays to expand their functionality. The only way to get a bigger screen on a smartphone is by folding it under a second screen. Microsoft’s patents have clearly shown us where this is going and it all makes sense. Of course the first attempts will see fat and bulky and prototypes, but in the future they’ll get less clunky. More quotes from Microsoft and patent designs are shown here.

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Surface Phone Components and Detailed Renders Show a New Face of the Hinge, USB Port

By James A.

The past few days have brought new hope for the few Windows Mobile and Surface Phone fans, with numerous renders and patents popping up. They all show the same thing: a dual display smartphone, that gets turned into a tablet, with a minimal hinge action. Today we have even more detailed patent aspects, through the renders shown below.

These are actually an extended leak from the previous patent image cache, but this time in more minute details. We see a special USB Type-C port variety, a low profile one, that would fit on a slimmer device. The level of detail is quite impressive here and it’s meant to keep the device as slim as possible when folded. Then there’s a Surflink connector, also with a low profile and it’s supposed to connect the ribbon cables of each device half.

A closer look reveals mentions of OLED panels, flat glass edge rotations and translations, plus cable routing through hinges. We can even see a section of the mechanism and small cogs that make the whole thing fold. While the two screens have flat edges, that really join together with zero seam, there are intricate mechanisms below that let you “part the seas” and use the two screens separately after splitting them.

 

It seems that Microsoft really went out of its way to make this device foldable, but without using flexible panels or materials, just cogs. I have a feeling this device won’t be ready for CES 2018, or MWC 2018, but rather for BUILD 2018 in Spring. I’m sure that we’ll also see hands on leaks by then. Still, are people still enthusiastic about this product?

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