Microsoft's rumored foldable Surface device may have just appeared in a new patent

Back in October we reported that Microsoft might be ready to revive its "Courier" digital journal that was cancelled in 2010, and this week a new patent surfaced that may show us what the device looks like.

The patent, which was filed by members of the Microsoft Surface team (and spotted by MSPoweruser), refers to a "hinged computing device" with two different screens. 

But the device doesn't look too big, and in fact, one of the illustrations depicts it as being barely larger than a person's hands, which means this could be the fabled "Surface Phone." Or maybe it's just a really small notebook.

Image credit: WIPO (Image credit: WIPO)

Much as in the Courier concept before it, the new device folds over like a book, with the two screens sandwiched between the covers. According to the accompanying images, one of the screens can transform into a virtual trackpad and keyboard if needed, or you could expand the main display to take up both of the available screens. 

Elsewhere, the patent shows how you could completely fold back the hinges to make the device serve as an alarm clock display. In fact, the "self-regulating" hinge is the actual focus of the patent, and 11 out of the 16 available image focus on it.

New spin, old idea

Overall, the device offers a similar design to what we've already seen with the Lenovo Yoga Book, with the main difference being that Lenovo's device second "screen" doubles as a Wacom drawing pad. And yes, the hinge appears to be more efficient on Microsoft's possible device.

At any rate, the patent is notable for making no references to a stylus, but then again, the focus of the patent is on the hinge. It may simply not have been considered relevant.