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Is Microsoft Building A Foldable 'Surface' Phone? (hothardware.com) 100

"This past week, Microsoft received a new patent for a foldable handset, and once again there are rumors that it is related to the long awaited, mythical Surface Phone," writes HardOCP, noting Samsung and LG are also rumored to be working on foldable phones. An anonymous reader quotes Hot Hardware: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that he doesn't want to kick out just another run-of-the-mill smartphone that looks and functions like every other device out there, but one that is unique in some aspect... This is not the first time Microsoft has filed a patent for what could be a folding Surface Phone. Just two months ago it was discovered that Microsoft filed a patent for a "Mobile Computing Device Having a Flexible Hinge Structure"...
Microsoft's patents include curved edges "intended to draw light away from the gaps, which would create an optical illusion of one continuous image," according to the article. "In this way, Microsoft could create a folding phone with multiple active displays appearing as a single, continuous image."
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Is Microsoft Building A Foldable 'Surface' Phone?

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  • And... (Score:4, Funny)

    by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Sunday March 26, 2017 @04:39PM (#54114659)
    It damn well better make the "communicator sound" when you open it!
    • Where have I see this before? [youtube.com]

    • And it has to open with a flip of the wrist of course. None of this two-handed BS.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )

      It damn well better make the "communicator sound" when you open it!

      Didn't hold the Moto MicroTAC back.

      Summary:"like every other device out there, but one that is unique in some aspect."

      They already have Windows phones which are unique - no one wants them. Form over function is not a way toward getting significant market share. Unique in the current smartphone OS market would be respecting people's privacy, providing timely security updates which don't depend on carrier support, and a firm legal commitment

    • Q: Is Microsoft Building A Foldable 'Surface' Phone?
      A: Probably yes. But they will not build a second unit, due to their current market share of 1 device.

  • I know, Microsoft could call their amazing new foldable phone the 1996 Motorola StarTAC.

    • There's not going to be an amazing new Microsoft foldable phone.

      There's going to be an amazing Microsoft patent, so that anyone who actually makes a foldable phone has to pay Microsoft.

      • There's not going to be an amazing new Microsoft foldable phone.

        There's going to be an amazing Microsoft patent, so that anyone who actually makes a foldable phone has to pay Microsoft.

        ...which will be the Jitterbug phone for old folks, and ..who?

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Sunday March 26, 2017 @04:56PM (#54114743) Homepage
    They've fought for years to get market share, but even with a competitive product it's still only gone down. Microsoft just isn't cool enough for people.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2017 @05:31PM (#54114903)

      No, the more variety available, the better it is for us consumers. That's what I don't get people here, this is just like blackberry - everyone praying for them to die so we have fewer choices and now only 2 companies have us by the balls. Do you guys even think about this stuff? Everyone's walking off the cliff.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        We don't really want them to give up, but if they're not really trying, they might as well give up. Microsoft is too scared of making something that doesn't immediately tie in with their current cash cows. That's why they had to put a mobile UI on Windows. It just wasn't possible for them to offer a mobile phone that wasn't also a part of the Windows world.

        • While Metro on Windows 8 was a disaster, the same interface was actually a pretty good one on the Windows Phone. Most of the suffering of this merger has been on the desktop end. In Windows Phone 7, it was the other way around - where the phones suffered.

          Ideally, Microsoft should have had Windows 7 (maybe w/ the Windows 8 kernel) on laptops and desktops, and Windows 8 w/ Metro on phones & tablets. But Windows 10 has been good from an UI point for both laptops & phones (not discussing the telem

      • It's more a symptom of Microsoft trying its hardest to be a more paranoid (read: locked down against competitor's applications) version of Apple. Really, they are trying to do exactly that. And the reason people want Microsoft to fail here is because these people don't want yet more locked down shit flooding the marketplace if Microsoft were to gain a sizable market share.

        I think people would root for Sailfish or even WebOS, just not the crappier, more API limited version of iOS, aka Windows Phone.

      • A serious question - what kind of phone do you have?

        I have known one person who had a Windows phone. One. I don't know anyone anymore who has a blackberry. Well, my son does. It's my old one from work that I had 5 years ago, he uses it as a pretend phone. Everyone talks about physical keyboards, but I could do no better on that than I can on my Android phone.

        I would actually love for there to be alternatives. And I think that is what we have with Android. Not alternative OS, but alternative providers

    • It really depends, they don't need to be cool. They just need to be X86 compatible! Their phones have been decent but poorly supported app wise, give me compatibility with X86 and I would get one tomorrow instead of my planned Galaxy S8 purchase.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        give me compatibility with X86 and I would get one tomorrow instead of my planned Galaxy S8 purchase.

        oh yes, those keyboard-and-mouse apps that run in landscape mode on a big screen, it's no problem to run them on a device with no mouse, no keyboard and a tiny little portrait mode screen

        x86 compatibility don't mean shit if the user interface is not compatible

        do you also lament the lack of hay and feed stops along the turnpike to freshen your horses?

        • You aren't using many MS products, are you? Their past few desktop OSs were all catering to the touch-toys and, Win8 specifically, originally a PITA to work on with mouse + keyboard.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        It really depends, they don't need to be cool. They just need to be X86 compatible! Their phones have been decent but poorly supported app wise, give me compatibility with X86 and I would get one tomorrow instead of my planned Galaxy S8 purchase.

        And we know Intel cancelled the last iteration of that project, probably because Microsoft wouldn't commit to buying enough processors to make it worth it. So unless there's some supersecret project that's not on any roadmap it's not going to happen.

      • It is on it's way from Qualcom http://www.tomshardware.com/ne... [tomshardware.com]
      • It really depends, they don't need to be cool. They just need to be X86 compatible! Their phones have been decent but poorly supported app wise, give me compatibility with X86 and I would get one tomorrow instead of my planned Galaxy S8 purchase.

        But x86 compatibility wouldn't really help, unless you're planning to replace your laptop. As an exercise, go to your Windows 10 laptop app store, and see if some of the popular mobile apps, such as Yelp!, Fandango, are supported. They're actually supported on Windows 10 Mobile, but not on the desktop. But one is lucky on those 2: for Windows 10 - be it phone or desktop, a vast majority of apps support neither - apps like Meetup, 8x8, Vonage, Lyft, RetailMeNot, et al.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Not everybody cares about "cool". Some people use gadgets to get work done. Microsoft has a really good product. They're not going to scuttle it just because it's not the flavor of the month.
    • They've fought for years to get market share, but even with a competitive product it's still only gone down. Microsoft just isn't cool enough for people.

      The Surface line is pretty well regarded, and seems to have sold pretty well. Plus, there might be a market for a phone that's more secure than Android but, well, not Apple. Sure, I wouldn't bet on it--but I probably wouldn't bet it against it either.

    • They've fought for years to get market share, but even with a competitive product it's still only gone down. Microsoft just isn't cool enough for people.

      Stop trying to give Microsoft good advice! Don't you want them to fail? Come on, I can't be the only one sending MS letters of encouragement telling them to make a new Windows smartphone. ;)

    • It's a tarnished brand. It doesn't really matter how good their product is: People have grown up using and loathing Microsoft software. The vast majority of people will run away from a Microsoft product if they aren't forced to use it. They could sell their phones for $0 and throw in some hookers and blow to seal the deal and people still wouldn't buy them.

      If they just stopped chasing the mobile platform that they'll never get, they could actually entrench themselves into their core business again: Mak

    • Kids, there was a time when MS had the coolest mobile OS around named Windows CE then Windows Mobile. The devices that ran it were called Pocket PCs and made blackberries look like children's toys. They were cutting edge, widely supported and adopted.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just stop already.
    Give me what I really want.
    Intel, ati graphics, g2 to g5 lte, 5 days battery life, 2-3 usb ports, and a dock so I can plug it in and use it as a desktop with full featured Os.

    • ATI?
      They sold their mobile stake to Qualcomm. Adreno is an anagram of Radeon.

    • Just stop already. Give me what I really want. Intel, ati graphics, g2 to g5 lte, 5 days battery life, 2-3 usb ports, and a dock so I can plug it in and use it as a desktop with full featured Os.

      Curious, you plan on prioritizing security when converting your desktop into one of the most hacked platforms on the planet, or will a good security model continue to be a mere annoyance for the masses?

  • 1) A foldable design where, when it's closed, the display is on the outside. When it's open, the display size doubles on the inside.
    2) A way to run Android Apps, virtualized, as well as whatever MS has in their store. Without that, the phone is DOA in my opinion. I want to be able to run any App I want regardless of OS.
    3) 5 day battery. If it was a double size flip phone you could have a separate battery in each half, essentially doubling the battery size and life. Yes it's going to be heavier but a 5 day c

  • Is Microsoft Building A Foldable 'Surface' Phone?

    Does anyone still care?

    • Well, it brings up a good point.

      On the one hand, "No." I have my iPhone. You have your Android phone, I assume. The lines have pretty much been drawn and there's going to be a lot of cognitive dissonance to get over before someone says, "Hey, I like this more than what I have now! It's time to switch."

      On the other hand, "Yes." This actually sounds pretty cool. Some people seem to like the Surface devices and if Microsoft can come up with something that's eye-catchingly interesting, it's publicity. Wi

    • While I'd never get rid of my iPhone, which I use exclusively for personal use, a Windows 10 Mobile phone is pretty good for work use. Be it usage of the mobile Office, OneNote, OneDrive storage... From a POV of synchronizing w/ my laptop, this phone is actually the best, since it allows me to pick up where I left off.

      However, it does fall short in some key apps that would be useful - VOIP/video conferencing apps, such as 8x8 or Vonage, Lyft (if I'm travelling and want to use a ride share), Meetup or an

  • by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Sunday March 26, 2017 @06:18PM (#54115099)

    Dang, at this point I dunno if Microsoft releasing a holographic phone would do much considering how late to the game Windows Mobile, 10 or whatever they are putting there is.
    Don't get me wrong, I had a Windows Mobile phone (Lumia 1020)... but what's the point of it if it's only going to have outdated, abandoned or replacement apps that are always going to be behind the curve when it comes to functionality?

    Possible route for success, at least on the enterprise side, is keep it up with Continuum and make a phone that carries full Windows 10 that works well as a phone, but can also be used as a light desktop. They have to go a similar route Blackberry did in the past, and at this point with intrusive ads, telemetry and other crap they are shoving into Windows 10 I'm not sure Microsoft is even capable of going that route.

  • I've got a surface for work – and I really do not like it.

    It doesn't have enough CPU power to be a real laptop, the built-in keyboard is just awful, and the battery life is stunningly short.

    There's some basic functionality for the laptop/tablet arena that they just don't have down yet. Half the time I try to suspend, it stays awake. Once it finally does sleep or hibernate, I have trouble waking it up about 10% of the time. There's been a few times I would pound of the keyboard and

  • Even bell bottom jeans [google.com] keep coming back into fashion.
  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Sunday March 26, 2017 @07:29PM (#54115367)
    As a nerd who is insistent on trying out the myriad of this-and-that technologies, I had a Windows phone a couple years ago. It was a fairly high end HTC device. While the interface is unique, the more I began to use it, the more it became obfuscated. It reached a point where it went from fairly cool and useable to finding myself lost on my own phone. Here I speak of the tiles and such. One thing I have noticed over the years, is that the elderly, who expect and do much less with and from their phones than myself, seem to have become the dominate user base. And yes, I do peek over shoulders just to see what platform different demographics are using. For me, Windows phone lasted a good couple months before going back to Android. I do not regret the experiment. But whatever they are planning with this surface phone, it had better be.... different in a good way.

    I will say this: I have a Windows 10 tablet. It is running a quad-core Cherry Trail with 4 gigs of ram. Quite simply, it is the best tablet experience I have ever had. It has a "tablet mode", but just using regular old Windows 10 on a tablet is pretty nice.

    Disclaimer: I own several tablets and they all have their uses (security cameras, persistent weather info, etc...) but my next favorite tablet is my Amazon Fire. It is simply the best for content consumption. It plays in my shop all day. I do not expect this post to be popular.
    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      As a nerd who is insistent on trying out the myriad of this-and-that technologies, I had a Windows phone a couple years ago. It was a fairly high end HTC device. While the interface is unique, the more I began to use it, the more it became obfuscated. It reached a point where it went from fairly cool and useable to finding myself lost on my own phone. Here I speak of the tiles and such. One thing I have noticed over the years, is that the elderly, who expect and do much less with and from their phones than myself, seem to have become the dominate user base. And yes, I do peek over shoulders just to see what platform different demographics are using. For me, Windows phone lasted a good couple months before going back to Android. I do not regret the experiment. But whatever they are planning with this surface phone, it had better be.... different in a good way. I will say this: I have a Windows 10 tablet. It is running a quad-core Cherry Trail with 4 gigs of ram. Quite simply, it is the best tablet experience I have ever had. It has a "tablet mode", but just using regular old Windows 10 on a tablet is pretty nice. Disclaimer: I own several tablets and they all have their uses (security cameras, persistent weather info, etc...) but my next favorite tablet is my Amazon Fire. It is simply the best for content consumption. It plays in my shop all day. I do not expect this post to be popular.

      I completely agree, I have a Windows 8 tablet with a 10" screen, a low-power atom processor and 2gb of ram. I run it in Classic shell mode 99% of the time. It was less than $400 new, and is lacking performance, but is still the best tablet experience I have ever had. It's too bad that Microsoft hasn't figured out how to make a decent platform for a screen. Backwards compatibility with the x86 ecosystem is the best Microsoft feature and their phone OS doesn't have it. If they had a classic shell mode wi

  • Is Don't care building A Don't care 'Don't care' Don't care?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's an old saying that whenever a headline on the internet is a question, the answer is "no".

    But it's not true.

    In this case, the answer is "who cares?"

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday March 26, 2017 @10:26PM (#54116087)

    "Is Microsoft Building A Foldable 'Surface' Phone?"

    Who gives a shit what Microsoft is dabbling in this month?

    If they ever manage to launch it and it fails to penetrate the market like their last 50 attempts at a phone, they'll discontinue it, fire the teams, and move on to the next clusterfuck.

    Besides, Samsung is already demoing some foldable phones [google.com] that look quite interesting. If I was going to bet on Microsoft or Samsung in the phone market, I'd bet on Samsung every time. People actually use their phones.

    • Who gives a shit what Microsoft is dabbling in this month?

      Everyone, because every little fart that Microsoft releases on the market seems to have long repercussions in the industry.

      • Everyone, because every little fart that Microsoft releases on the market seems to have long repercussions in the industry.

        Not really. After a long string of failures they've lost the power to rock the industry like they once did.

        The Zune didn't and neither did the Windows phone.
        Microsoft Kin sank without a trace.
        Microsoft Bob never went beyond the "look-at-this-stupid-shit" stage.
        Windows Mobile - scooped up 0.7% of the market. AWESOME.
        Windows RT- It died so quietly no one knew it was ever alive.
        The Nokia acquisition: it did nothing but waste billions and cost thousands of jobs.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday March 26, 2017 @10:35PM (#54116125)

    ... every Microsoft entry into the phone market has folded.

  • The Windows phone users want this bad.
    Both of them.

  • Microsoft is getting all the niggles out of a universal OS across tablets, PC's, Consoles and phones right now. Sure the phones are taking the hit at the moment and the rest of the business is taking up the slack. But, they are gambling on getting everything integrated, usable and ubiquitous before everyone else as a result. Will it work... Dunno. But it's not a stupid strategy so long as most employers still use windows machines by the time they get it right.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I think you're right, but the missing element here is getting the entire ecosystem binary compatible between desktop and mobile. If you can do that and support docking the phone to KVM, you could potentially use desktop market dominance to subvert the mobile market.

      I've been a long-time iPhone user and see no reason to switch platforms, but I have been less compelled to upgrade from 6+ to newer hardware because of less than compelling hardware improvements, the headphone jack, etc.

      However, I have a Windows

      • I use the Lumia 950 and while it's not a laptop replacement by any means, or even a great phone *cough* battery life *cough* I reckon it's about 1 generation away from being a viable dock-and-work device for your usual business man type job. What it isn't any good for is all the optional extras you get from a laptop or tablet. I think the biggest problem with windows mobile devices at the moment is how frustratingly near to being usable they are in so many respects. But the evolution of the surface line gi
        • by swb ( 14022 )

          It's a bigger uphill climb for Microsoft because there will be an expectation of x86 usability when docked, and x86 developers can't be bothered to target Windows mobile due to low adoption -- plus many corporate applications are pretty full stack x86 environment and if my experience with in-house application development is any sign, most places lack the bandwidth, horsepower and ability to crank out mobile versions of these apps.

          Docking mobile phones seems more obtainable to Android and Apple due to their

          • Agreed, but my point is that their long game is to push towards convergence of windows mobile and windows. Their mobiles are just keeping the seat warm at the moment and Surface is serving as a test-bed until the hardware catches up with the aspiration. Microsoft's ultimate goal is for you to have one or more slabs to wander around with and a couple of slabs or boxes at home, all running the same OS with the same cloud account attached software. I don't know that it will work, timing and tech will be every
  • Microsoft, of all the companies out there, has a long, long history of vaporware, promising time and again a product they either never really planned to deliver or they delivered so late that you'd have been better off buying the competing model. Which is essentially what they want to keep you from doing: Don't buy Brand X now, because MS has the same product out Really Soon Now (tm).

    If they ever delivered, then usually by buying out Brand X as soon as they were on the verge of bankruptcy because people wai

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