Microsoft Surface Courier emerges in patent filing... maybe

A patent published on 23 March 2017 documents a Microsoft design for a folding touchscreen device, ideally suited for implementation as the Surface Courier.

On the same day, esteemed GitHub member WalkingCat, via the h0x0d Twitter stream, appears to have been the first to publicise that Microsoft had been granted the patent.

On March 24, Windows Central analyst, Jez Corden, cited the possibility that this may be the hotly-anticipated Surface Phone. The article went on to analyse the patent and its possible use cases, and pondering whether the technology in the patent could be used for the Surface Phone or the Microsoft Courier.

United States Patent Application 20170086308 shows detail on a folding touchscreen device, its physical structure, design, and possible implementation methodology. The patent describes the physical location of a number elements that, together, seek to obscure any bezel or hinge area from the user's view, when the device is unfolded. This clever piece of engineering, if implemented, would minimise or completely obscure the hinge, meaning that the unfolded device would seem to have a continuous screen, without being interrupted by a central bezel along the fold-line.

The diagrams indicate that this folding touch screen is larger than phone when it is closed, so it is more likely to be a tablet rather than a phone-size device. Even folded in half, the device would be larger than a 6 inch phone.

Back in December 2016 and again in February 2017, XYZtech Analyst, Xavier Zymantas, forecast the return of the Microsoft Courier concept, to be known as the Surface Courier. He predicted that the Courier would be a 10.3" touchscreen tablet, compatible with the Surface Pen, Dial, Windows Ink, and would benefit from the Windows 10 Creator's Update feature-set. He also forecast that the Surface Courier would be the first collaboration between Microsoft and Qualcomm, debuting Windows on ARM and the integrated cellular features of Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset family in a portable premium device, slightly smaller than the current Surface Pro 4.

The Courier was originally designed by Microsoft to be a folding device, and the "hinge" in the middle of the screen was to act as a pit-stop area, where notes, images, and other media could be "clipped" or "dropped" temporarily, while opening another app, or turning a page, similar to sliding a note under an elastic strap on a notepad. This video from 2009 demonstrates the functionality of the concept device.

For an in-depth look at our predictions on the Surface Courier, read:

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas

XYZ Media Group

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