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Microsoft reportedly axes dual-screen Surface Duo 3 in favor of a 'true' foldable

You may also see more conventional Surface smartphones.

David Imel for Engadget

Microsoft's dual-screen Android phones have been less than successful, to put it mildly, and there are now hints the company is shaking up its mobile strategy. Windows Central sources claim Microsoft has cancelled a twin-screen Surface Duo 3, which was reportedly slated for release late this year, and will instead focus on a "true" foldable phone. The new device's specs and name aren't known, but it would have a 180-degree hinge with an outside cover display akin to the Vivo X Fold.

The cancelled Surface Duo 3 was "finalized," according to the sources. It would have supposedly addressed some of its predecessor's shortcomings with narrower edge-to-edge screens and wireless charging. Microsoft isn't said to have settled on a release window for the foldable, suggesting that the product is unlikely to arrive in 2023.

The purported insiders also say Microsoft is planning to expand its Android phone offerings. It's apparently "exploring" other form factors, including prototypes of more conventional smartphones. A software initiative, "Perfect Together," would also provide tighter integration between Surface phones and Windows, much like the iPhone's close ties to the Mac.

We've asked Microsoft for comment and will let you know if we hear back. The Surface Duo series has struggled in the market between its high prices (up to $1,500), unreliable software and performance that frequently trails the latest Android flagships. While the dual-screen design has offered some clever multitasking features, it's been a tough sell when rivals like Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold line have generally been more powerful and trustworthy.

A foldable Surface phone would put Microsoft into more direct competition with brands like Samsung and Vivo. There's no guarantee it will stand out in a growing field. If the rumored pivot is real, however, it also indicates that Microsoft is still committed to Android devices — it's not giving up just because its first forays failed to gain traction.