Microsoft and Partners are preparing to introduce Foldable Hybrid Devices to Market in the not-too-distant future
In October 2019, Microsoft surprised tech fans with their foldable smartphone branded the Surface Duo and a next-gen dual display tablet branded the Surface Neo. Surface Neo was to debut in Q4 2020. Then an industry shift occurred in 2020. Microsoft, Intel and Samsung announced their new "Horseshoe Bend Project" aimed at supporting Samsung's next-gen foldable 17" display that could double as a hybrid notebook.
It was clear at that point that the dual display Surface Neo was going to put on hold until the large foldable display from Samsung was available. This was definitely the way to go instead of a dual display and with a hinged middle section.
Our cover graphic illustrates a foldable hybrid device that was presented by Samsung at their booth at CES 2023. Clearly this concept is ready to bring to market later this year by Wintel OEMs and Microsoft if component supplies don't raise an issue.
In addition, a new report by Windows Central claims that Microsoft has cancelled their standard dual display smartphone, the Surface Duo, and is preparing to replace or update its design to that of a true foldable display design like Samsung's Z Fold that's better all around for app developers.
Once Microsoft, Samsung and Intel began to focus on delivering foldable devices from smartphones to tablet-hybrid devices, the traditional dual display based Surface Duo and Neo were dead in the water.
Although most of the rumor from Windows Central is highly speculative, you may still want to check it out here for more.
While Apple's foldable device plans are unknown, as expected, their series of foldable device patents on record show that they continue to research and experiment with various materials and methodologies of bringing such devices to market.
In November 2022, Samsung shared its expectations of Apple entering the foldable market in 2024. Was it pure hype on Samsung's part so as to get their suppliers excited at the possibility of the foldable device market exploding once Apple was onboard, or insider information revealed?
For now, we know that Apple has the patents to move a foldable device to market very quickly when market demand justifies such a move. As for Microsoft, they're definitely pushing to get ahead of Apple and it wouldn't be surprising to see a tablet hybrid surface in Q4 of 2023 or sometime in 2024.