The patent, named "HYBRID IMAGING SENSOR FOR STRUCTURED LIGHT OBJECT CAPTURE" was applied for in August 2016, and it is possible that the technology will be deployed if Microsoft"s rumored foldable Surface Phone becomes a real thing. The depth sensor would allow the user to take pictures with the blurred bokeh background effect that has become all the rage.
Microsoft already does a brisk business licensing its intellectual property portfolio to Android handset manufacturers. If this application is approved, it could license the patent to Apple or to those companies like Huawei that will have an iPhone X-esque notch on some of its models. We"ve already pointed out that this technology can do more than just save space, although consumers would be happy enough just to see a smaller notch get in the way of the display.
Illustration from the patent application