A future of foldable smartphones has always been faintly visible on the horizon, with companies teasing us with inspiring possibilities—but they never quite got it just right enough to enter the mainstream market.
Surface Duo 2's Revolutionary Hinge Will Be Even Better
Last Thursday, a curious patent, covered
was published for Microsoft (although the application is from back in August), detailing an "impact-resistant hinge" with a protective bumper, which the patent specifically targets for a foldable phone. Since Microsoft has only one of those, it makes sense to expect the technology to be used on a new and improved Surface Duo
2.0, which we are expecting sometime this fall.
A computing device includes a first part (102) and a second part (104) which are rotatable relative to one another about a hinge. A bumper (112) is located between the hinge and the first section. The bumper contains an impact-resistant material. The impact resistant material absorbs part or all of the force of an impact between a hinge body and the first section.
It sounds like we've got a sturdier-than-ever hinge coming to the Surface Duo 2, and maybe it won't experience the catching hinge issues many owners of the first model reported. The patent suggests that "the computing device may include more or less hinges than two," and goes on to list "up to ten or more" hinges—interesting, but certainly unrealistic for a foldable phone. The current Surface Duo has just two hinges and already has a bit of a reputation for at least one of the two malfunctioning after a bit of use.
The revolutionary 360-degree mechanical hinge of the Surface Duo is what made Microsoft's foldable phone so popular in the first place, although it needed work on its durability; and it seems like Microsoft will deliver with the second one. If both the hardware and software problems which kept customer confidence low are taken care of (and the obscene $1400 price decreased, mayhaps), a new-and-improved Surface Duo 2 could certainly take off.
The Surface Duo 1 Did Alright
The device was released in the U.S. last September, a revolutionary little gadget which persevered through some tough times, including breaking ports
, highly problematic software and faulty hinges
—the very thing that made it revolutionary. However, it's been working on itself (at least software-wise) and lives on, with plenty of people finding themselves liking its quirky design.
Although the Surface Duo is still a relatively new product, and only recently became available in Canada and select European countries, the Microsoft team is rumored to have been keeping their hands busy improving their foldable phone technology. We have reason to believe they're working on a successor, a Surface Duo 2 perhaps
, which may come out as soon as this fall.
recently claimed that Surface Duo 2 development began even before the first one was released last year, with the company mainly focusing on vastly improved software.
The first Surface Duo runs on customized Android with certain key apps receiving special optimization for dual-screen functionality (Microsoft apps, Spotify, and a few others). However, it suffered from serious bugs, lagginess, and general instability. Microsoft wants to fix all that with the Surface Duo 2.
Apart from better software, the new foldable phone is also said to have a faster processor, improved camera, and 5G capability.
Surface Duo 2 Is (Probably) Coming in 2021
Currently running by the codename "Zeta," the Surface Duo 2 could well be surfacing as soon as this fall. Although it will likely be only available in the U.S. for the first few months, like the first one (sorry, Europe and Canada).
Since Microsoft plans have proved volatile in the past—with the first Surface Duo being announced way back in 2019 but taking its sweet time—we have to take these rumors with a grain of salt. But who knows: we've got a sizeable mix of foldable phones coming this year, and Microsoft may just want to stay in the competition.
Foldable phones to look forward to in 2021:Oppo X rollable phone