Microsoft scraps plans for dual-screen Surface Duo 3, pivots to new foldable screen design

Microsoft scraps plans for dual-screen Surface Duo 3, pivots to new foldable screen design

What you need to know Microsoft’s upcoming foldable Surface Phone won’t be a dual-screen device. The company is moving towards a true folding design with a 180-degree hinge. The move comes after the Surface Duo 2 received mixed reviews.

Microsoft’s upcoming foldable Surface phone won’t be a dual-screen device, according to my sources familiar with the company’s plans. After a year of hardware prototyping and experimentation, the company has decided to focus on a more traditional foldable design, with a 180-degree hinge, foldable inner screen and outer cover display, similar to devices like the Vivo X Fold and Honor Magic. Vs. (opens in new tab)

I’m told that this new foldable device came after the company had already finalized a dual-screen design for the Surface Duo 3. That original dual-screen design was supposed to ship in late 2023 as the next Surface Duo, narrower displays and taller edge-to-edge displays, wireless charging and other improvements.

That dual-screen design has now been done away with, and the Surface team is now focused on delivering this new “true” foldable design. Microsoft began exploring foldable single-screen designs as a possible successor to the Surface Duo 2 in late 2021 after it launched to mixed reviews.

It’s still too early to know the exact specs this new foldable device will have in terms of hardware, or whether or not Microsoft plans to simulate a dual-screen experience through a software feature or mod. My sources say there’s no concrete shipping window for the device yet, meaning it’s unlikely to be ready in time for this fall.

(Image credit: Vivo)

Microsoft recently filed several design patents for foldable devices with a 360-degree hinge, leading some reports to speculate that this could be what the upcoming Surface Duo will focus on. My sources say this is incorrect and that the foldable device will instead have a 180-degree hinge, just like most other foldable phones.

Of course, with the change in form factor may come a change in name. It’s still too early to tell, but since this device isn’t a traditional Duo form factor, perhaps the company will take this opportunity to rebrand the line, similar to what it did with the Surface Book and Surface Laptop Studio. Regardless, sources tell me that this device is still considered a third-generation Duo domestically.

My sources also tell me that there’s a larger software effort going on internally that’s designed to better differentiate upcoming Android hardware offerings from the rest of the competition. This effort is called “Perfect Together” and aims to provide an ecosystem experience between Microsoft’s Android hardware and Windows PCs similar to that between an iPhone and a Mac.

I’ve also heard that Microsoft is eager to expand its line of Android smartphone offerings and has been exploring different form factors to ship in addition to a foldable device. While nothing is set in stone, I’m told the company has already prototyped some traditional slate smartphone designs that could be shipped as a “flagship” Surface Phone offering, allowing the foldable device to exist as a enthusiastic product.

Overall, these changes and plans for Microsoft’s Android efforts are significant, and my sources tell me that Microsoft is remaining “all-in” on its Android hardware and software offerings, at least for now. Let’s hope the next Surface phone is ready sooner rather than later.

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