Microsoft files patent for a phone that folds both ways

When we are talking book-type foldable phones, the market has gone two separate ways. There’s the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 way, where the big display folds in and stays inside the phone’s shell, with a secondary screen on the outside, which you can use for quick operations, a-la “regular smartphone”. Then, there’s the Huawei Mate Xs 2 way, where the display folds on the outward side of the device — so, when folded, you are still using that big screen as your main source for viewing and use.

Both concepts have their pros and cons, and many find themselves wondering “Do I want an inwards-folding or outwards-folding phone?”. Well, Microsoft would like to ask “Why not both?”.
A patent was recently filed by the team at Redmond, which outlines a foldable phone with a flap that can go 360 degrees around its hinge — so, it can both fold in and fold out. Yes, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 can absolutely do this, however, the Duo phones are very obviously 2-screen devices that are bolted together by a hinge in the middle. The patent that was discovered here shows a phone with a seamless screen, from one side to the other.

That sounds pretty tough — a screen that can fold in and out straight through its middle, and still withstand all that physical strain. Is it even possible?

LG Display was at SID 2022 (Society for Information Display expo) and showed its vision for the future of OLED. A few concept devices were on the show floor — both smartphone- and laptop-shaped ones — with flaps that were able to fold all the way in and out to a 360-degree angle (1:12 in the video below).

The screens are made with ultra-thin glass technology and have special oleophobic coating that should be at least a bit better at keeping fingerprints away from the glossy screen. So, in theory, this could be the exact tech Microsoft might be planning to use for its outwards-folding phone.

Will this be the Surface Duo 3? That’s possible. The rumor mill is quite mum on another Surface Duo right now, and it seems Microsoft may be skipping this year in order to refine its foldable concept. So, it’s very possible that we are going to see a high tech Surface Duo 3… a year or two from now.

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