Surface Phone could easily become a tiny laptop, patent photo teases

Surface Phone

The flurry of Microsoft Surface Phone patent images just will not stop, with the latest showing off a particularly fascinating functionality: a full-size touchscreen keyboard via a new ‘determinative hinge.’

Picked up by notable Microsoft leaker WalkingCat, these patent shots depict the same purported Surface Phone we’ve seen before being used as such a device, but with one new wrinkle. This is the first time we’ve seen Microsoft’s new ‘determinative hinge,’ and it could be the key to the would-be Surface Phone working as a miniature laptop in a pinch.

This ‘determinative hinge,’ as Microsoft calls it within its patent descriptions, is notched at one point on its surface (teehee), specifically the 135-degree mark. This allows the phone’s screens to remain steady in a clamshell laptop orientation when standing up to touch interactions either on the digital keyboard or the proper display.

Surface Phone

The would-be Surface Phone's 'determinative hinge' depicted.

From there, the device can – supposedly – easily enter a fully splayed-out tablet orientation with a bit more pressure than you would use to simply tap icons. (This, at the very least, would further differentiate it from the Lenovo Yoga Book design.)

If the words ‘determinative hinge’ are sounding awfully familiar to you, then you’re probably thinking about Microsoft’s fulcrum hinge that it developed for its Surface Book line of 2-in-1 laptops. That hinge serves much of the same function as the one depicted in these patent images.

With such an apparent focus on this hinge and more laptop-like functionality, it’s clear that – if these patents become a product – the possible Surface Phone will be designed with professionals and power users in mind. 

We’ll say, being able to type out an email with our fingers rather than our thumbs would be a godsend on the commute home. Here’s to hoping a real product comes out of these tantalizing images.

Via MSPowerUser

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.