Newly discovered patents with the United States Patent and Trade Office seem to confirm one of the rumors swirling about the next generation of Surface tablets that Microsoft makes: it’s likely the devices will have an adjustable kickstand.
In the filing from October 19 of last year, Microsoft is seeking the rights to protect an idea that it’s developed for allowing tablets with built-in kickstands to be user adjustable. As described in the patents abstract description, users would be able to adjust the angle of their device at will, ridding users of the need for users to carry around bulky cases or external kickstands.
While the document itself doesn’t explicitly allude to Microsoft’s Surface family of tablets, the technique described in the patent does correspond with reports that the next versions of the Surface RT and Surface Pro will allow users to adjust each device’s kickstand.
If the feature does make it into the Surface devices that will, allegedly, arrive with the launch of Windows 8.1, it could be a huge usage upgrade for Surface users. The Surface RT and Surface Pro already have built-in kickstands, however they aren’t adjustable. Instead, users have to hope that the working surface they are trying to place the tablets on has enough room that they can place the device farther away in the hopes of being able to see its screen at the right angle.
While rumors of next generation Surface devices have picked up in recent weeks, exact details on the device’s body styling remain an unknown. The same can’t be said for the device’s internals. Nearly ubiquitous reports have pegged the upgraded Surface Pro device as having the same 10-inch screen with an upgraded Intel Haswell processor and 8GB of RAM. If the device does include a Haswell processor, users can look forward to as much as a 40% increase in battery life.
As for the Surface RT, executives from NVIDIA announced that it would be working with Microsoft to provide internal components for the next generation Surface RT device earlier this summer, possibly confirming that the device will have a Tegra 4 processor. While the Surface Pro 2’s internals would be focused on delivering better battery life, a Surface RT 2 with a Tegra processor could mean improved performance for that device.
While an exact launch date on either device remains elusive, Microsoft recently slashed the prices of both the Surface Pro and Surface RT. It also lowered the price on the device’s Touch and Type Covers.