Microsoft’s next Surface Duo might have a truly foldable screen

Microsoft has reportedly scrapped plans for a dual-screen Surface Duo 3 and is moving to a truly foldable design instead. Windows Central reports that the next Surface Duo will be more like devices like the Vivo X Fold or Honor’s Magic Vs, after Microsoft reportedly spent a year prototyping and experimenting with its current dual-screen design.

A Surface Duo 3 was reportedly planned for the end of 2023 with the typical dual-screen design and narrower and taller displays, wireless charging, and other design changes. Microsoft has reportedly scrapped that design to fully focus on bringing a foldable display to the Surface Duo.

Microsoft originally resisted a truly foldable display for the Surface Duo, preferring glass instead. “It wasn’t difficult for us to realize that taking a screen and folding it wasn’t the right option for this product,” explained Steven Bathiche, who oversees hardware innovation for Surface and other Microsoft hardware, in an interview with The Verge in 2020. “We wanted glass. We wanted glass that wouldn’t scratch because we also wanted to give you a pen.”

Bathiche and the Surface team also wanted a 360-degree hinge for the Surface Duo, but Windows Central says the truly foldable Surface Duo will include a 180-degree hinge like most foldable devices.

Inside the original Surface Duo.

Inside the original Surface Duo.
Image: Microsoft

All of this means we’re unlikely to see a new Surface Duo this year, which could mean more than two years will pass until Microsoft updates its Android-powered handset. The Surface Duo 2 launched in October 2021 to mixed reviews. The price, frustrating bugs, and awkward form factor were highlighted in my colleague Dan Seifert’s review, but after Microsoft fixed a bunch of software issues, it became Dan’s favorite device of the year.

If Microsoft doesn’t ship a new Surface Duo this year, it could launch a different type of Android phone instead. Windows Central Reports that Microsoft has been experimenting with more traditional slab smartphone designs that could ship as more of a Surface phone product.

Microsoft regularly experiments with many hardware projects that never see the light of day, so it’s not clear whether we’ll even see a true Surface phone emerge. But if you’re interested in a new Surface Duo, it looks like you’ll be waiting a while for the next one to arrive.

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