A newly published patent has revealed interesting details about Microsoft’s foldable smartphone. The arrival of this new patent comes at a time when the hype for and rumors about the long-awaited device have already begun dying down. 

The last time Microsoft (MSFT) released a smartphone was way back in February 2016, and the company’s smartphone division has been dormant since. It’s also been years since rumors about an alleged Surface Phone started circulating online, with newer reports claiming the device could be running Andromeda OS

Just when all hope seems lost for the rumored foldable phone, a patent application with details on what Microsoft appears to have been working on for the past year surfaced online. The Walking Cat (@h0x0d) was the first one to spot the patent and shared the discovery on Twitter. 

The patent application, originally filed on June 8, 2017, was published on Thursday, Dec. 13. The document described a computing device with two surfaces or parts connected by a hinge with ends rotatably secured relative to a hinge shaft. 

The file also mentioned user controllable locks that secure the two surfaces together when the device is in folded mode. A dedicated lock button is found on the second surface or the part that acts as the front display of the phone when the device is folded. 

Activating the dedicated lock button is as easy as pressing it with a thumb. All locks on the sides of the phone are then opened, allowing the hinge assembly to unfold the device. 

Another interesting aspect of the hinge assembly is it allows the device to be fixed on certain positions. For instance, one portion could act as a kickstand, so that the other portion could be used as a display. The hinge assembly also allows a 90-degree angle position, such that the upper portion acts as the display while the lower portion serves as a keyboard, as pointed out by PhoneArena

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft really wants its foldable device to be portable. As what the company indicated in the patent, the smartphone should be able to fit in the pocket. 

Since this is just another patent application, there’s still no guarantee that Microsoft is going to release its foldable smartphone anytime soon. Tech companies patent their inventions and upcoming products regularly, but not all of them see the light of the day. 

As what MSPowerUser reported last month, Microsoft leaders shelved the idea of the foldable smartphone earlier this year because they felt the concept was not fully developed. Nevertheless, the new patent and the other previously leaked ones do suggest that Microsoft still has the drive to release a foldable smartphone possibly in the future. 

Microsoft A new patent reveals new details about Microsoft’s foldable smartphone. Photo: Getty Images/Andrew Burton