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Microsoft is reportedly working on a successor to the current Surface Duo, and a recent patent may give us an idea of a new feature for the device.
WindowsUnited has uncovered a patent that was applied for on November 19, 2020 and published on May 27, 2021, for a “BOOK STYLE FOLDABLE TABLET WITH STAND.”
The stand would form part of the hinge and allow the device to be positioned at different angles, much like the Surface Pro.
In some embodiments, a book-style electronic device has a first portion and a second portion that are hinged therebetween to open and close similar to a conventional book. The first portion and second portion have displays thereon, that, when the electronic device is in an open position, display visual information to a user. When in the open position, a user may desire to view or interact with the electronic device while the electronic device is positioned on a table, desk, or other surface without the user needing to support the electronic device themselves. A deployable support is integrated into a spine or hinge of the electronic device such that, when deployed, the support holds the electronic device in one or more positions for comfortable viewing. The deployable support has a stowed position that minimizes interference of the support during handheld usage of the electronic device.
In some embodiments, an electronic device includes a first portion, a second portion, a spine, and a support. The second portion is movably connected to the first portion by a hinge. The hinge has a hinge axis, and the spine is connected to the hinge and oriented parallel to the hinge axis. The support is connected to the spine and has a deployed position and a stowed position. The stowed position is abutting the spine and the deployed position is spaced apart from the spine to support the electronic device on a surface.
It is not 100% clear if the device Microsoft is exploring is a Surface Duo or a Surface Neo-style device, as Microsoft makes many references to laptops rather than smartphones. It is however good to see Microsoft continue working on the form factor, which will hopefully mean the next folding Surface will have fixed most of the issues of the current one.
The full patent can be seen here.