Surface Duo 3? Microsoft patents a new foldable phone with durable display

Surface Duo 3 foldable phone

Microsoft is no stranger to innovation, having delivered
excellent products under its Surface branding, such as Surface
Duo and Surface Book. Microsoft is now working on the next
generation dual-screen phone called ‘Surface Duo 3’ and its
next experiment could be more durable, according to recently
published patent detail.

A new
patent titled “FOLDABLE DISPLAY DEVICE” shows a dual-screen
foldable device that uses a single folding display. Microsoft
calls it a “single-piece rear cover” that apparently uses a
stretchable material in an expandable area and it’s located
adjacent to the hinge, which means it’s similar to the Galaxy
Fold.

The primary advantage is that this new design shouldn’t take up
too much space within the body of the foldable phone, meaning
that Microsoft’s next-generation foldable Android phones could
be slimmer than a dual-screen device, and this “rear cover”
design is more durable than Galaxy Fold and similar foldable
phones, so it’s less likely to break.

In the patent application, Microsoft talks about a foldable
device that folds through 360 degrees at a folding portion. It
uses a rear cover and a cover glass layer covering the entire
display and a light-emitting layer is added between the rear
cover and the cover glass layer to ensure a natural experience.

There’s also a backplate between the rear cover and the
light-emitting layer.

Surface Duo 3 patent

While this sounds exciting, we know that devices using a single
screen or ultra-thin glass layer with a plastic film have
visible mechanical creases. One perfect example is the Samsung
Fold, which has wrinkles and other visual artefacts at the
folding portion of the display, and it’s also vulnerable to
cracking and other physical damage.

This patented Surface Duo 3 uses a foldable glass with a
backplate which uses “backplate slots” that enables folding
while avoiding mechanical creases.

“The present examples also provide a consistent transparency
and light transmission across the display including the folding
portion, along with mechanically robust components. In this
manner, display devices of the present disclosure can freely
rotate through various angles and orientations while also
exhibiting substantially uniform and smooth surfaces in various
folded and flat orientations to provide a pleasing and high
quality appearance and feel to a user,” Microsoft noted in the
patent application.

The patented Surface Duo 3 could be a durable device with most
of the advantages of a foldable phone. At the same time, it
will also have fewer problems. Of course, it’s just a patent
and there’s no guarantee it will ever join the Microsoft
Surface lineup, but let’s not forget the original Surface Duo
initially existed on paper only.

Given the recent organization reshuffle and
Microsoft’s increased focus on the Android platform,
there’s certainly a chance this device could happen.

We’re not convinced that Surface Duo 3 with the existing design
or this ambitious idea would land anytime. That’s because
Microsoft is currently focusing on the software of Surface
Duo-like devices and the next-gen dual-screen or foldable phone
has been delayed.

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