This might be Microsoft's secret Surface notepad

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This unit folds from a tablet with one large display into one with two smaller and separate OLED screens.

A new patent filed by the company's engineers suggests that this could indeed be the direction the forthcoming Surface might be heading in.

The patent, first reported by The Verge, shows what the Surface team's engineers call a "hinged device" - hinges have been watermark hardware features of all past Surfaces, so it would be fitting for a new product to sport one (the Surface Pro, Studio, and Book would essentially be impossible to create without their hinge mechanisms). Surface chief Panos Panay described the canceled device as "awesome" and "like a Moleskine", and leaked Surface Mini images gave us a closer look at what Microsoft was experimenting with.

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The patent is for a "self-regulating hinge", a hinge that could grant additional flexibility to a dual-screened device, similar to Lenovo Yoga, but with screens on both parts. But the simple thing you need to understand is that the self-regulating hinge effectively connects the two portions ("surface") of the device, and you will be able to use the device in a couple of different modes thanks to the hinge.

This new patent is in line with the previous reports, which claimed a Courier-like foldable device with two displays, and a stylus.

Elsewhere, the patent shows how you could completely fold back the hinges to make the device serve as an alarm clock display. While the patent doesn't reveal too many details at first, it does seem to align with Microsoft's innovative Surface devices pretty nicely. However, Windows Central notes that the foldable devices would run on a version of Windows 10 - code-named Andromeda OS. And regardless of the mode that the tablet is in, Windows 10 will make the proper adjustment using CShell, Microsoft's new Windows Shell.

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This patent was published on Friday, but was filed in October. Could this be the foldable Surface that has been rumored throughout the year?

Microsoft is still believed to be working on its foldable mobile device, and the final product won't likely show up before the end of next year or early 2019. The form factor of the current smartphones comes with a limitation - i.e., the display can't be extended without increasing the size of the phone.

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