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Managing heat inside a laptop is a trade off between keeping the device thin and quiet while keeping performance throttling to a minimum. A recently revealed Microsoft patent suggests another way to keep mobile hardware cool, though.

As Windows Central reports, a patent was published at the United States Patent and Trademark Office on May 12 entitled, “Thermal Dock for a Mobile Computing Device.” Microsoft originally filed the patent back on July 17, 2019. It details a dock consisting of a heat sink and fans designed to draw heat away from whatever device is sitting on top of it.

The dock relies on a device having magnets embedded in its base to keep it in contact with the dock and held in the right location. The heat sink is spring-loaded, which would ensure it is pushed against the casing of the device being cooled and contact isn’t broken, or at least is much harder to break.

As the dock requires magnets be present in a device, this suggests Microsoft could prioritize making Surface devices compatible with it and therefore launch it as a Surface-branded accessory. Would anyone want it, though? If Microsoft could guarantee a performance boost for the attached device, then it could certainly prove popular, especially if the price was kept reasonably low.

For now, the cooling dock is just a patent and may never see the light of day as a product. However, it does show that Microsoft is thinking of ways to differentiate itself from the competition.

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