1. It seems like the next big innovation in smartphones and tablets will be the foldable display, as Microsoft has now joined the party already attended by Samsung and Apple. It’s certainly an interesting idea, but the way each company utilizes the technology will dictate whether the foldable display will be anything more than a gimmick.

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Microsoft patents foldable tablet

MSPowerUser spotted a patent awarded to Microsoft this month. While most of the patents that have been awarded seem to be angled toward smartphones, this one is more for a tablet. This one sounds interesting because the company seems to be angling toward a hybrid device that combines the size and functions of a phone with those of a tablet.

The patent describes a tablet that folds on a flexible hinge that allows the two displays to turn around an access while also supporting “a continuous viewing area of the display device that extends across the plurality of housings and the flexible hinge structure.”

The patent is titled “Mobile computing device having a flexible hinge structure,” and it was published in April 2016, although the patent is dated this year.

This could be Microsoft’s best idea in a while

Microsoft finally managed to release a successful hybrid laptop / tablet device in the form of the Surface Pro, so the next logical step would be to develop a hybrid phone/ tablet device. After all, gadgets are starting to take over our homes, with many people owning a laptop, tablet and smartphone.

There could be a bigger market for a hybrid phone / tablet because the average home user may use these two devices more than they would a laptop these days, especially if the tablet is of good enough quality that the device could be a good enough laptop that it would eliminate the need for a laptop at all. Many home users can do things on a tablet that they once did on a laptop.

Of course it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will actually develop a consumer product from this patent, but it would certainly be a neat device if it’s anything like what the patent describes. Perhaps this will be the Surface Phone of the future? CEO Satya Nadella promised it would be “the ultimate mobile device,” and this would certainly fit the bill.

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