- Surface Duo 2 is “out of stock” for consumers or businesses on Microsoft.com
- Local Best Buy stores have also begun removing Surface Duo 2 kiosks, with limited availability remaining
- But a Surface Duo 3 is not expected for this year
- Microsoft could be waiting until Android 12L is out to ship re-flashed devices
Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 — on the verge of receiving its Android 12L update — is nearly impossible to find in some markets, especially the United States.
Reports of limited stock at Best Buy began weeks ago, and local stores removed the unique Surface Duo 2 kiosk, which advertised the device and let people play with the hardware in person.
Microsoft.com, both for consumers and businesses, has also run out of Surface Duo 2s to sell. When potential customers hit “configure,” the button is inoperative for consumers. Surface Duo 2 is also listed as “out of stock” and cannot be purchased on the Surface for Business website.
Usually, this is where speculation about a new Surface Duo model begins. Microsoft typically has “Surface events” in New York City in the fall, where it announces refreshments to its lineup, often with significant improvements, and sometimes entirely new Surface devices.
That timing matches with a new “Surface Duo 3.”
However, reporting by our Senior Windows Reporter Zac Bowden says there is no Surface Duo 3 due this fall. Instead, Microsoft is focusing on current software support and improvements for Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2, including delivering Android 12L.
There are also reports that Microsoft is weighing shifting Surface Duo from a two-screen device to a single-screen foldable like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 or, more likely, the new Xiaomi Mix Fold 2.
The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 is just 5.4mm thin, which is 0.1mm thinner than Surface Duo 2. That device also folds without a gap and a minimal crease and packs a sizeable 4,500mAh battery, making it a worthy form factor that meets Surface standards .
But such a device from Microsoft is not expected until October 2023 at the earliest, leaving Surface Duo 2 as its primary phone, especially since the Surface Duo 2 “Light” was canceled.
Surface Duo 2: What’s really happening?
If I had to guess, what is likely occurring is that Microsoft is letting current stock run out until Android 12L is finalized.
The Android 12L update for both Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 is expected in the coming months, possibly tied to October, when Microsoft makes big announcements.
It’s rare for a company to sell a hardware product that, out of the box and during setup, must pull a significant OS update that completely changes the device. It’s also why OEMs time product releases to software ones, eg, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 ships with Android 12L.
Current retail boxes of Surface Duo 2 are flashed with Android 11, and logistically, it doesn’t make sense to recall all those shipments from vendors and storage, ship them back, open them, re-flash Android 12L, re-package, and reship for sale.
Once stock with Android 11 runs out, Microsoft can do another small run of Surface Duo 2, but with Android 12L installed out-of-the-box. There could be a new commercial push for Surface Duo 2 with Android 12L as the device is in a much better spot than its initial launch.
Microsoft would also have the opportunity to make minor hardware changes or improvements. However, we have not heard of that happening. (We’d hope to see more devices, if only for warranty exchanges and replacements that will likely occur over the next year or two.)
Of course, maybe this really is the end run of Surface Duo 2, and we won’t see on sale anymore.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft to find out if the company will be restocking its store and affiliate partners. We’ll update this article accordingly.