Microsoft has never talked about a potential Surface Phone, but somehow the device keeps making the headlines, mostly thanks to patents that are living proof the company at least considered building such a device.
The latest such patent describes the haptic motor that would be used on a new mobile device developed by Microsoft and featuring two foldable screens connected with a new type of hinge.
This particular hinge would be the key part of the device, as it keeps the two displays connected to each other and provides several form factors depending on their position. For example, the device could be used as a laptop or as a tablet when the displays are flat, with the hinge seamlessly connecting the two screens into a single one for a bigger touch area.
But given the complex nature of the technology, installing two different vibrating motors takes too much space, so Microsoft had to find a way to use just one such part, but transfer the vibrations to both sides of the device.
The almighty hinge
This is possible with a hinge that is in charge of this transfer, and this patent explains how the whole thing could work.
“At least some of the embodiments may allow, for example, a simple arrangement of a traditional haptic element that can cause a haptic feedback both in the housing portion of the electronic device wherein the haptic element is physically located but also in another near to housing portion connected by a connecting element to said housing portion,” Microsoft says in the patent (via MSPU).
“Since the haptic element is arranged in a direct contact with the connecting element that connects the housing portions, the haptic effect is transmitted via the connecting element to said another near to housing portion. At least some of the embodiments may allow that the haptic effect, such as vibration, is amplified by the mass of said housing portion whereto the haptic effect is transmitted via the connecting element, and a strong haptic feedback can be generated therein without having to arrange further haptic element in that another housing portion.”
As with every other patent, this is by no means a confirmation that the Surface Phone or any other mobile device from Microsoft is on its way, but it is living proof the company at least considered such a project.