Is Microsoft Abandoning Surface Duo and Dreams of Surface Duo 3?

· 4 min read
Is Microsoft Abandoning Surface Duo? / Microsoft

In recent news, Microsoft has made a significant announcement that has left tech enthusiasts and smartphone users pondering the future of its innovative Surface Duo lineup. What next? Will there be a next generation of Surface Duo? Is Surface Duo 3 really possible?

It all started three years ago on September 10, 2020, when Microsoft unveiled the Surface Duo ( The First Gen), a dual-screen smartphone running on Android 10.

Microsoft Surface Duo (First Gen)

From the very beginning, Microsoft set the clock ticking, stating that the Surface Duo would receive three years of OS updates. Fast forward to today, and they are sticking to their word. Microsoft has officially ceased offering OS updates and security patches for the original Surface Duo.

During its lifetime, the Surface Duo received two major OS updates, which fall short of the three updates most high-end flagship Android devices typically enjoy. Despite this, Surface Duo users can still use their devices as usual, with app updates continuing for now.

Microsoft hasn't been actively working on new features or bug fixes for the Surface Duo for months. This lack of attention has left users questioning the longevity of their devices.

Enthusiasts need not despair entirely. The Surface Duo's support for third-party ROMs provides a glimmer of hope. Those daring enough can explore installing a custom version of Android 13/14 on their devices, thanks to the efforts of a former Microsoft team member.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2
The second-generation Surface Duo still has a year of official support left / Microsoft

The Surface Duo's incredibly thin chassis, sturdy hinges, impeccable build quality, and impressive dual OLED displays left a lasting impression.

Inside the slim 5mm-thick case, the Surface Duo housed a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, and options for 128GB or 256GB of storage. However, it fell short in the camera department with a single front-facing 11MP camera, earning it the title of one of the worst cameras in its price range. Additionally, the absence of 5G and NFC support contributed to a lukewarm reception.

Despite its flaws, the Surface Duo became a playground for tech enthusiasts. The WOA Project allowed users to replace Android with Windows 11, breathing new life into the device. Furthermore, an unofficial port of "clean" Android 13 catered to those who preferred a mobile OS experience.

In 2021, the second-generation Surface Duo attempted to rectify some of its predecessor's shortcomings. It boasted faster OLED displays, a refined chassis, improved cameras, and snappier hardware. However, software issues continued to cast a shadow over its potential.

While the original Surface Duo reaches the end of its journey, the second-generation Surface Duo still has a year of official support left, with the deadline set for October 21, 2024. However, it's worth noting that Android 12L marks the final official OS update for this device.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 /Microsoft

The big question on everyone's mind is what lies ahead for Microsoft's smartphone endeavors. With the original Surface Duo no longer in the picture, will there be a Surface Duo 3? Reports suggest that Microsoft might be shifting its focus.

Earlier this year, rumors surfaced that Microsoft had abandoned plans for a Surface Duo 3 in favor of exploring a true foldable phone. While details are scarce, it's intriguing to consider what Microsoft's next move might be in the ever-evolving smartphone landscape.

Rumors abound about the Surface Duo 3, but something is still being determined. With Microsoft's shifting focus and the era of the dual-screen Surface Duo possibly coming to a close, all eyes are on what the tech giant will unveil next.

The Price Tag and Competitors

For those considering their next smartphone purchase, price plays a significant role. The Surface Duo was initially priced at $1,399, while the Surface Duo 2 pushed it slightly higher at $1,500. If a Surface Duo 3 were to emerge, it would likely fall within the $1400-$1500 range.

Breaking into the Foldable Phone Market - How OnePlus Plans to Compete
Discover the Best Foldable Phones of 2023 and Take Your Tech Game to the Next Level. Check Out Our Comprehensive Review Now!

Competitors such as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Pixel Fold present formidable alternatives. With starting prices at $1,799, Microsoft would need to strategize its pricing to compete effectively in the foldable smartphone arena.

Exploring Alternatives

For those seeking alternatives to the Surface Duo series, options abound. Consider the Surface Duo 2 if you're loyal to the lineup. Bargain hunters can find it for as little as $650 on platforms like Swappa. However, new units are becoming increasingly scarce.

If dual-screen features aren't your priority, delve into the world of foldable phones with offerings like the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4, Fold 3, or even the Google Pixel Fold. Each has its unique charm and functionality, catering to a wide range of preferences.