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Patent application shows Microsoft might be working on a tri-folding phone

If for any reason, you need more than the two screens offered by the Surface Duo, Microsoft might be working on a triple-screen smartphone just for you! The possibility is staring at us in the face with a new patent filed by the Redmond-based company.

The Surface Duo continues to win both fans and detractors based on its unique approach to the foldable phone. Instead of designing a screen that bends, Microsoft decided to join two different screens together and call it a day. However, based on some patent applications discovered, Microsoft might be trying to outdo itself by adding a third screen to the mix.

Of course, the patent is long and technical, and few people could bear to read it in its entirety. However, one of the illustrations clearly demonstrates what the company is attempting to achieve.

With the third screen, it appears the Surface Trio (because, why not?) will now have a screen on the outside when folded. This has been one of the criticisms of the Duo, as you have to open it up to do anything on the phone. Even the inclusion of a notification slot when the device is closed (known as the Glance Bar) is not enough to satisfy many users. On other foldable phones, the manufacturers place a smaller screen on the outside.

Referring to the image in the patent application, which is thankfully self-explanatory, the screen labeled 1408 will always be available and can serve as a regular phone on its own. This means you do not have to unfurl the smartphone to read notifications or make a phone call.

When you unfold the Surface Trio, you will have a big display. However, there is no reason you can’t leave only one screen folded and do all your phone stuff on two screens only.

The smartphone in the patent application is divided into three sections, but you can see that section 1402 looks thicker than the rest. This could mean most of the phone’s components are housed there. The parts would include the battery and camera(s).

Moreover, the phone will have more balance when folded with the thinner sections because the combined weight of sections 1404 and 1408 should match that of 1402.

Also, the screen appears to be a single unit, unlike the Duo with two different blades with space between them. This means the screen will fold in only one direction, unlike the Duo that goes both ways.

Similarly, Microsoft can freely increase the height of the camera bump on the 1402 section since it will be out of the way of folding the phone permanently. This will remove a point of concern some potential buyers have about opening the Duo completely with the camera bump.

Here is part of the proposed design’s description:

“The first and third display panels 1402, 1408 may pivot in any suitable pivot range relative to the second display panel 1404, via the first and second hinges 1406, 1410. As one example, the first and third display panels 1402, 1408 may pivot such that the multi-panel display device 1400 lies flat with the first and third display panels positioned adjacent the second display panel 1404. As another example, the first and third display panels 1402, 1408 may pivot, such that the three display panels are stacked on top of each other in order to reduce an overall form factor of the multi-panel display device 1400.”

Tri-folding screens are not a new concept, though. Samsung might also be working on a version of its own. Also, fans of the HBO show, Westworld, would have seen one in action, although that device remains a fantasy.

Just how the third slab of a phone can improve the usage is not clear yet, but we are sure Microsoft would be working on different use cases to justify the product.

It is also worth pointing out that the patent application does not mean Microsoft will turn it into an actual product one day.

Written by HackerVibes

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