Microsoft's Surface Duo smartphone has been available for a few months, at least in the United States. The consensus on the Android device is it's a sumptuous piece of hardware design but very much a first-generation product in terms of software, component choices, and functionality.
While all eyes are on Microsoft to improve the usability experience for the Surface Duo 2, the company is also looking at some design changes. A Microsoft Patent filing shows the company is experimenting with a folding screen unit with a removeable display.
Of course, the Surface Duo is not a folding phone like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. There is no single screen that folds on itself. Instead, the Duo uses two displays within a folding body. It is unlikely the Surface Duo 2 will stray too far away from the first device and move to a folding phone.
So, straight away this patent seems to be for future Duo devices beyond the second generation. In fact, I would wager Microsoft take Apple's incremental design update model and barely touches the Surface Duo hardware for the sequel device.
Either way, the patent shows Microsoft is still on board with folding screen tech, something the company has been toying with for years.
Redmond's “moveable display” idea builds on regular folding screens by allowing them to fold entirely. It is worth noting Microsoft first filed this patent back in 2017, making the idea four years old. However, it was published by USPTO this month, suggesting the company is still interested in this concept.
Microsoft is expected to soon announce Surface Duo availability in more regions, expanding beyond the current exclusivity in the U.S. Hinting at this rollout, the company issued an ad before the New year focusing on the consumer aspects of the smartphone.
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