Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a “true foldable” smartphone and ditch the next-gen Surface Duo 3 — the successor of the existing Surface Duo 2. The rumoured Microsoft folding smartphone will likely run on Android and feature a 180-degree hinge, which brands like Samsung use on the Galaxy Z Fold series. The launch timeline remains unknown, though Microsoft has been holding a major launch event in September/ October for the last few years. The Surface Duo 2 with a 360-degree rotating hinge launched in 2021, while the company skipped a new-gen foldable last year. If the rumour is accurate, Microsoft may showcase their new folding device in September or October this year.
According to Windows Central, through industry sources, reports that the new foldable may look similar to Vivo X Fold and Honor Magic Vs. This could mean the phone will feature a main inner display and a cover screen on the outside. As mentioned, the hinge will only support 180-degree rotation instead of 360-degree.
The report highlights:
“It’s still too early to know the exact specs that this new foldable device is going to feature hardware wise or whether or not Microsoft plans to simulate a dual-screen experience via a software feature or mode. My sources say there’s no concrete shipping window for the device in place yet either, meaning it’s unlikely to be ready in time for this fall.”
Last year, a couple of Microsoft patents surfaced online, which hinted at the development of a folding phone, but with a 360-degree hinge. However, the report notes that the design has been scrapped. With a change in the design of its foldable, Microsoft may also consider changing the moniker. Interestingly, the company is internally referring to the device as a third-gen Duo.
But the road for Microsoft won’t be easy when it launches its new device. Users can expect a decent software experience, as the tech giant has been working with Google to better optimise Office apps for a folding form factor. However, many brands, including Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi have folding smartphones. Google is also tipped to launch a Pixel Fold this year.
Otherwise, the overall market for foldables looks good. Counterpoint Research’s Global Foldable Smartphone Market Forecast predicts that global foldable smartphone shipments are expected to grow 52 per cent YOY in FY2023. The trend may likely continue in the financial year as well, with more brands entering the market.