From www.windowscentral.com

Surface Neon patent

The folding phone would have supported magnetic accessories. (Image credit: ppubs.uspto.gov)

What you need to know

  • A new patent has revealed the design of Microsoft’s now canceled next foldable phone.
  • The device would have featured a folding screen, external cover display, and magnetic accessories.
  • Codenamed Neon, this device was scrapped in spring 2023 after Microsoft cutback on experimental Surface hardware.

Back in January 2023, I reported that Microsoft had scrapped plans to ship a dual-screen Surface Duo 3 and had instead pivoted to a more traditional foldable phone design with an internal folding display and external cover screen. The device would have featured a 180-degree hinge, triple camera array on the back, and a taller aspect ratio.

The device was codenamed Neon but was also unfortunately scrapped once Microsoft cutback on experimental Surface form factors in spring 2023. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Surface Neon ship now, but thanks to a newly discovered patent (via Patently Apple,) we can finally show you what the device would have looked like.

Surface Neon patent

The back of Surface Neon with a magnetic kickstand accessory attached. (Image credit: ppubs.uspto.gov)

My sources say the device detailed in this patent is exactly what the next Surface folding phone would have looked like. We can see the back of the device featured a triple camera array positioned similarly to the iPhone’s camera module. These lenses were placed to the left of a camera bump area that spanned the very top portion of the back of the phone.

The cover screen and inside foldable screen were edge-to-edge and featured in-display camera sensors for selfies and video calls. At the time, sources said the device would feature magnetic accessories that would attach to the back of the phone, and this patent details that exact aspect of the design.

Specifically, the patent outlines a kickstand accessory that would magnetically attach to the phone in different orientations depending on if you had the phone open or closed. It’s a cool idea, and very similar to the Magsafe ecosystem that Apple has developed on the iPhone.

Surface Neon patent

The magnetic kickstand could attach in different ways. (Image credit: ppubs.uspto.gov)

Sources also tell me the device would have featured a power button that could pop open the phone without having to pry the two halves apart with your fingers. This is a concept I first heard about when Andromeda was in development, and it would have been awesome to see it finally ship. 

Unfortunately, this patent is likely just an echo of a project that will never see the light of day. Microsoft has abandoned its Android smartphone efforts, with no plans to deliver any more major Android updates to its Surface Duo 2 smartphone that’s still in an active support window.

All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.

Plus, even if Microsoft did have secret plans to launch a new phone, how would anyone be able to trust them after how it has handled the Surface Duo post launch?

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads

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The post This is Microsoft’s canceled Surface Duo 3 foldable smartphone first appeared on www.windowscentral.com

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