Over the past half-decade, Microsoft has relentless attempted to grab a solid foothold in the global smartphone market. While it has failed at many fronts, the company has not stopped trying to innovate. Back in 2009, the company unveiled a concept for a tablet that featured two displays that folded together like a notebook. And back in 2013, speculations that the company was working on a foldable smartphone called the Surface Phone began to come up. Today, it looks like the Surface Phone may possibly still arrive as the company has been granted a patent for a 2-in-1 foldable device.
According to the patent, the 2-in-1 foldable device can become either a smartphone or a tablet, just by folding the display. Looking at the diagrams, the device is supported by a flexible hinge that connects two separate housings and lets the assembly fold either inward or outward. A design that looks very similar to many currently available 2-in-1 devices albeit this one features only a single folding display instead of a single display and a keyboard/trackpad combo on the other half of the device.
Whether or not the company is actually planning to develop the design into an actual product for manufacturing and sale is unknown as many companies apply for patents simply for the sole purpose of keeping their ideas and designs safe from replication. If the company is planning to launch a Surface Phone, then it is definitely under pressure as Samsung is already expected to unveil their own folding smartphone/tablet device later this year.