Tag Archives: Surface Phone

Microsoft Patents Magnetic Lock for Potential Surface Phone

By Radu Iorga

And today we see another Microsoft patent popping up, this time one that has to do with a special Magnetic Lock for the Surface Phone. I should rather say “presumed Surface Phone”, since we’re not 100% sure of what MS is prepping. Let’s check it out.

Be it Andromeda or some other device, Microsoft is brewing something for sure. This time the patent has to do with the “magnetic block locking of an electronic device”, which describes an unique magnet lock with some useful properties. The magnetic lock sounds like something you’d see on laptops, in order to keep the two halves of a device closed. The problem is that when you turn that into a pocketable device, some issues may arise.

For example, the strong magnetic field may demagnetize or overwrite magnetic swipe cards. Microsoft invented a strong magnet on a pivot with torsion spring, which is able to rotate on the pivot when the two halves are brought closer together. A stronger lock in the closed position is thus provided, with minimal magnetic field in the open position. A rotating magnet has other appeals, like being able to rotate in both directions, so you can keep the device closed in both the zero degree position and when opened at 360 degrees.

 

Microsoft also wants to use a similar type of magnetic lock in the hinge area of the device, where it may lock the device in an 180 degree open position securely. Of course, a patent doesn’t mean that this will be used in real life, but it’s surely a hint about it.

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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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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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Foldable Surface Phone Renders Pop Up, Inspired by Latest Patent Leaks

By Radu Iorga

We’ve just come across a fresh set of renders of the foldable Surface Phone, that turns into a tablet. It’s the same model with the one from the latest patent leaks, but this time turned into a really convincing 3D render or better said renders. These creations belong to designer David Breyer, who based them on patent filings of course.

This is supposed to be the upcoming Microsoft Andromeda device and Andromeda is a mystery platform, that has popped up every once in a while over the past years. Rendered in Burgundy and Cobalt Blue, this device feels quite a bit like a Nintendo DS, with two displays united by a hinge, that’s very discrete and almost invisible. I can’t say I’m a big fan of the format, that feels a bit outdated nowadays.

Aside from the two displays, which united form a sort of tablet we also see a fat Surface Pen, an USB Type-C port and a special notifications window, that may work like the curved edge of a Galaxy S Edge device. The device may open like a book and double the screen estate. Once again these are just renders from a designer, basically a concept phone, so they must be taken as such.

 

The result feels dated, feels like the Nintendo DS and also a bit thick. The hinge and other associated mechanisms feel fragile and the whole VAIO mini laptop thing died a long time ago. Microsoft had a few failures over the years, but they’ve been cautious lately. If they’ve got any sense they won’t come up with something like this.

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Self Regulating Hinge Patent Sheds New Light on Potential Surface Phone

By Radu Iorga

In case you’ve forgotten about the Surface Phone, the device has kind of morphed lately, into something else, more of a dual display foldable affair. Some say it’s even a tablet of sorts, or a phone that turns into a tablet. A fresh patent sheds some light on that, involving a self regulating hinge, that may just prove useful to make the device flex.

The new patent comes USPTO and it details a “self regulating hinge”. It shows a pair of such hinge assemblies, a “pair of self-regulating hinge assemblies rotatably securing hinge ends of the first and second portions around a first hinge axis associated with the first portion and a second hinge axis associated with the second hinge axis so that an extent of rotation around the first hinge axis corresponds to an extent of rotation around the second hinge axis.”

In case that’s all techno babble to you, it’s all about being able to rotate a display or portion of the device around an axis, much like you would a revolving door. A mechanical engineer may understand this a bit better, to be honest. The schematics do make it a bit easier though. Basically, we have a dual screen device here, with a hinge mechanism that supports a variety of positions, which remind us of the Lenovo Yoga machines.

 

The key is that the hinge isn’t thick or bulky, but rather very discrete. When the device lays flat, there’s actually no trace of a hinge even being used. The patent seems to show an almost seamless display, when in fully open position and the device is used as a full screen tablet in that situation. A simulated keyboard and trackpad are also shown, turning this into a real notebook.

There’s even an Alarm Mode situation and a Tent Mode use. The patent actually comes from October 2016, so the system may have evolved a lot or the project has died.

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