Next month’s Microsoft event is widely expected to launch a number of new Surface devices, including an update to the flagship range with the Surface Pro 9 and the next version of the stylish deskbound Surface with the Surface Studio 3.
What’s not expected is a third iteration of the Android-powered Microsoft Surface Duo. Nevertheless, we have news on Microsoft’s potential plans for its next folding smartphone.
The details come from a recently published patent titled “Foldable Display Device.” In it, a new hinge is described that allows for a curved portion of the screen to cover the hinge, allowing a continuous screen to span both sides of the device. Windows Latest reports:
“The picture in the patent application shows the foldable phone can switch between a seamless tablet and a one-handed smartphone…. This is interesting as phones from companies like Samsung only support inward folding where the second display is on the top. Microsoft’s idea allows the Surface Duo 3 to bend both inwards as well as outwards, which hasn’t been attempted by an Android manufacturer so far.”
Given Samsung’s dominance in the foldables space its only natural that the Galaxy Z Fold series will be the obvious point of comparison. Yet Microsoft has defined its own path with the Surface Duo project, relying on two screens and a more robust hinge that doesn’t require any technologically difficult folds or bends in the display.
Instead, it has focused on a twin screen approach that emphasises multi-tasking over a single large window – unsurprisingly, this is the same approach used by Windows 11 for multi-window activities. This approach will be bolstered by Android 12L’s support for “dual screen and hinged” devices alongside the more “origami tablet” approach taken by the Fold and similarly orientated devices.
It’s also worth noting that the patent was filed in 2021. Devices need a long time to be fully tested and for production lines to be brought up to speed. There’s no guarantee that this approach will be seen in any future consumer device, but it’s clear that Microsoft is continuing to work on several answers to the problem of a folding smartphone.
This bodes well for a Surface Duo 3 in the future… but maybe a bit further into the future than next month.