Microsoft May Have a Modular PC, USB Type-C Webcam in the Pipeline

Microsoft May Have a Modular PC, USB Type-C Webcam in the Pipeline

A recent patent filing showed some references of a modular PC that Panos Panay suggested in an interview

  • Microsoft's Surface chief has suggested plans towards a modular PC
  • A recent patent filing has shown some references of the development
  • Panos Panay has also hinted at a USB Type-C webcam

Microsoft at its Surface event earlier this week brought the Surface Headphones as a distinguished offering in the entire Surface family. Unlike the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and updated Surface Studio 2 that all come as the advanced computing devices by the Windows maker, the Surface Headphones are the first such device under the Surface brand, and feature noise-cancellation support and Cortana integration. But it appears that this was just a beginning as the Redmond giant has hinted at a modular PC and a USB Type-C webcam.

In a conversation with The Verge, Surface chief Panos Panay suggested the development of a modular PC, similar to the modular design of the Surface Hub 2. "Probably, you look at it and you see what's the evolution and how do we make it better for our customers," says Panay when asked if the modular design of the Surface Hub 2 is coming to Surface Studio. The Surface Hub 2 comes with rolling cases and mounts that enable users to display multiple pieces of content side-by-side. It also lets users upgrade the hardware by replacing the original processor cartridge. These are the features that could come to a future modular Surface PC as well.

A recent patent filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) showed some references of a modular Surface PC cooking behind the scenes. The filing divulged that there could be modules for the computing unit, display unit, and accessories. Companies such as LG and Motorola have tried bringing modular designs to the smartphone market. But a modular PC could help users upgrade the experience without spending a large amount of money on buying a new machine.

microsoft modular pc uspto Microsoft modular PC

Photo Credit: USPTO


In addition to the modular PC, Panay has hinted at USB Type-C webcam from Microsoft. "Look at the camera on Surface Hub 2, note it’s a USB-C-based camera, and the idea that we can bring a high fidelity camera to an experience, you can probably guess that’s going to happen," the executive said in the interview.

Taking on Apple, Microsoft is building its own ecosystem of devices in which a modular PC and a USB Type-C webcam fit quite well. The company already brought various keyboards and mice to match the design language of its Surface notebooks. Similar is the case with the Surface Headphones that have a dedicated dial to adjust noise cancellation - reminding us of the Surface Dial that is designed to work as an input device with the Surface Studio display.


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Jagmeet Singh
Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a principal correspondent for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at Please send in your leads and tips. More
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