Last week saw a huge surprise with Microsoft announcing its return to the smartphone market at its big October event. The company’s new handset is called the Surface Duo which is a dual-screened Android device, and it was announced alongside a number of other new devices in Microsoft’s Surface line of premium laptops and 2-in-1 devices.
In 2017, Microsoft had to close its Windows Phone business due to low phone sales, and recently the company confirmed support for Windows Phone devices will end in December 2019. Since then, this is Microsoft’s first phone in over two years and while the company may be returning to smartphones, it also confirmed to CNET that it won’t be reviving Windows Phone anytime soon.
Some of us may have thought that Microsoft announcing its intentions to re-enter the phone space may rejuvenate the Windows Phone platform, but it seems that the company is entirely focused on Android.
However, the Surface Duo won’t be made available until the holiday season in 2020, but it’s a bold move from Microsoft that could shake up the smartphone industry.
Details about the device are pretty scarce for now, but what we know is that each side uses a 5.6-inch display that comes together thanks to a 360-degree hinge. When it’s time to take a phone call, you can simply fold one of the screens behind the other to make the Duo easier to hold. And it can fold 360°, which offers the best of both worlds – you can close it to keep the screens safe, open it to use both screens or flip it 360° to use just a single screen one-handed.
Wired also points out that just like most of the flagships we’ve seen this year, the Surface Duo uses one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipsets. It is certainly not a bad choice, but a bit worrying because, by the time the phone goes on sale during the 2020 holiday season, it’ll be a full generation behind the curve.
There are no more details about the Duo, other than it will run Android instead of some form of Windows.
Microsoft talked about how its new Surface Duo, sporting two 5.6-inch screens and coming next year, will make us more productive. The company said that the device will more effortlessly blend the computer and phone worlds.
“We think of these not just as products, but the beginning of a new category, dual-screen computing,” Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s modern life, search and devices group, said in an interview. “We’re in the beginning of a new wave of innovation.”
It may be easy to look at the Surface Duo as just a very interesting phone, but Microsoft corporate vice president of devices Panos Panay stresses that it’s a proper Surface first and foremost.
“We absolutely know scientifically that you will be more productive on two screens,” Panay said. “This product brings together the absolute best of Microsoft, and we’re partnering with Google to bring the absolute best of Android in one product … This is industry-pushing technology.” Panos Panay said of the Surface Duo during the event.