We have so far developed a good understanding of Surface Phone/Surface Andromeda device design on the basis of patents that reveal too much. But the latest Microsoft patent adds a new dimension to this understanding. We are talking about detachable modular hinge patent that hints at Microsoft’s plan to use a detachable hinge in the foldable Surface Andromeda device.
When the modular hinge portions are joined the leaves of the device are rotatable with respect to one another. In some examples there is as much as 360 degrees of rotation possible between the leaves of the computing device, as illustrated in FIG. 1, although this is not essential as any degree of rotation may be used. The modular hinge enables versatility of configuration of the computing device through its modular nature, that is, the ability of portions of the hinge to be connected or disconnected.
So, one can disconnect the two portions and use them as separate devices? The patent also hints at the computing device with each of the leaves with individual displays connected via a detachable hinge that allows power and data transfer when connected.
At least one of the computing device leaves 102, 104 comprises a housing holding electronic components of the computing device and at least one of the computing device leaves 102, 104 has a display screen supported on or integral with the housing. In some examples, each of the leaves has a display screen. In some of the examples each of the leaves has electronic components and is operable substantially independently of the other leave as a computing device.
In some examples, the modular hinge facilitates transfer of power and/or data between the leaves of the computing device. This improves versatility in situations where one computing device leaf does not have its own power supply, or where one computing device leaf has a power supply such as a battery which is running low. The ability to transfer data between the leaves of the computing device enhances versatility as well since the leaves of the computing device are able to synchronize and or share computing tasks. By using the modular hinge to transfer power and/or data between the leaves of the computing device the burden on the user of needing to connect separate power cables, or signaling cables is reduced. In this way the modular hinge provides several types of functionality (such as attachment and rotation, as well as optional data transfer and optional power transfer) in a single modular hinge mechanism. This gives simplicity of operation from the point of view of the end user.
Now, this gets quite interesting. We had earlier exclusively reported that Microsoft Phone/Andromeda device will come with two modes: Tablet and Mobile modes. With a detachable hinge, we will have one more mode it seems.
But if both the parts of the foldable Surface Andromeda can be separated and be used as two separate devices it also means two processors and other necessary components. So, maybe such kind of a mobile device will be the equivalent of “Surface Book”, pricey yet highly capable.
With Andromeda appearing as one of the SKUs of Windows Core OS in latest Windows 10 Preview builds. it seems Microsoft may be finally on track to a 2018 launch for both Andromeda OS and device.
Surface Phone/Andromeda device Features, Specs, UI & other details:
You can read our exclusive coverage of Surface Phone/Mobile top features/specs/UI design, photos & other details here. We posted some evidence that shows that Microsoft is already working to curate Apps collections for the Surface Phone/Mobile.
We had exclusively reported that 2018 may see Surface Mobile (Surface Phone) & Windows mobile devices from top vendors too. In a recent poll, our readers selected Surface Phone as the most appealing name for the ultimate mobile device from Microsoft. Surface Mobile and Note names came at 2nd and 3rd rank.
We earlier posted a tip from some of our retail sources about Microsoft talking to channel partners about a new Surface category of devices. The tip had claimed that Microsoft may be on fast-track to at least talk about Surface Phone/Andromeda device hardware in H1 2018 and a possible release in H2 2018.