Microsoft, the Redmond, Washington based multi-national company is hard at work expanding their territory in the smartphone arena. The tech giant, which is known for its foldable mobile devices via their “Surface” line, has boosted up its patent portfolio of foldable concepts and designs by being granted patents, which they filed for in 2016, detailing a foldable mobile smartphone with an emphasis on its camera. Based on the designs, the patent seems to be designed to help the device line up cameras or even improve any facial recognition software once the foldable hardware is closed or collapsed onto itself. The way it may work is that there will be a different field of view for the user when the device is folded together.
Smartphone camera technology has always been limited by the fact that it has to fit into the narrow body of the device itself. That is most likely why there is a steady increase of the amount of devices with a camera bump or an entirely separate, additional lens. It would be impossible to use functions like an optical zoom when there isn’t enough room to move the lenses further apart from each other. Microsoft’s patent details one side of the device as having a sensor, and the other side having an “optical arrangement”, which when placed above the sensor, can have a field of view of 60 or 90 degrees. The document also shows that this camera setup can be for any type of device, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more.
There have been talks and rumors regarding Microsoft’s “Surface Phone” since around 2015. With the registration of this new patent, Microsoft is making a statement in saying that these aren’t just rumors, but a sneak peek at what is yet to come.
As trivial and insignificant as these patents may seem to some, they stand as early indicators that confirm that Microsoft is exploring the future of foldable and expansive devices, which means that there is a very real possibility that consumers may be introduced to those types of devices in the relative near future. Microsoft’s display of individuality and uniqueness in their smart devices has proven their propensity for forward-thinking that may have them producing another industry-defining product at some point in the future.