Another mobile change for Redmond? Next dual-screen phone from Microsoft will reportedly boast a foldable screen design
Microsoft is once again abandoning a mobile design, after it was reported that its next Surface Duo phone will not be a dual-screen device.
Instead, Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Duo 3 will pivot to new foldable screen design that will boast a 180-degree hinge, it has been reported.
It comes after Microsoft faced questions as to whether (given its track record with mobiles), it could convince consumers and business users to back the design concept it had introduced with the Surface Duo 1 and 2.
When the Microsoft Surface Duo 1 went on sale in the United States in Q3 2020, prices started at an eye-watering $1,399 for the 128GB version, rising to $1,499 for the 256GB version.
The Surface Duo was launched in Europe in February 2021, but was again saddled with a ‘premium’ purchase price in the UK starting at £1,349.
In Germany the device was priced at 1,549 euros.
But less than seven months after it was launched in the US, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the Surface Duo, when it became available online for more than 50 percent off its recommended retail price.
Microsoft in 2020 had also previewed a dual-screen tablet called the Surface Neo, but chose not to bring that tablet device to market.
Both of those devices featured a hinge in the middle for a mechanical fold, rather than utilising a foldable screen like the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Matters were not helped when the Surface Duo 2 received mixed reviews, as people were underwhelmed by the Duo specs.
The Surface Duo was a two-screen folding phone, that featured two 5.6in screens (resolution of 1800×1350 each) joined together with a hinge that folded a full 360 degrees.
Essentially, the phone opened up like a book, but could then fold all the way round.
It supported the Surface Pen and the device itself was 4.8mm thin – running Android 10.
Whilst it could make calls and send SMS messages, Microsoft did not describe it as a phone per se.
Surface Duo 3
Now Windows Central has reported (citing unnamed sources) that Microsoft’s next foldable Surface phone won’t be a dual-screen device.
Windows Central reported that instead Microsoft has decided to pivot over to a more traditional foldable design, with a 180-degree hinge, internal foldable screen and external cover display, similar to devices like the Vivo X Fold and Honor Magic Vs.
Microsoft had reportedly already finalised a dual-screen design for Surface Duo 3 that was slated to ship at the end of 2023. This new model was supposed to feature narrower and taller edge-to-edge displays, wireless charging, and other improvements.
But that dual-screen design has now been scrapped, Windows Central reported.
Instead Microsoft’s Surface team is now focused on delivering this new “true” foldable design.
There is no word on the exact specs of this new foldable device, or whether or not Microsoft plans to simulate a dual-screen experience.
Tellingly, Windows Central sources said there was no concrete shipping window for the device in place at the time of writing.
Windows Central however did report that Microsoft recently filed several design patents for single-screen foldables with a 360-degree hinge, leading some speculation that this might be what the next design that Surface Duo pivots to.
Suffice it to say, Microsoft faces a stiff challenge in trying to convince a sceptical consumer market, already burnt by Redmond’s Windows Phone debacle, and its other abandoned hardware initiatives over the years.