Microsoft has long been rumoured to be working on its own smartphone – the so-called Surface Phone – since at least 2016. Well, we finally got a glimpse at what the company has been working on all these years. It’s called Microsoft Surface Duo, and it’s a foldable Android smartphone.
Surface Duo: Is it a phone?
Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay revealed the Surface Duo during the October 2019 Surface event, where he demonstrated how the device can do everything you’d expect from a modern smartphone. For instance, you can use it to play with apps and make calls, and it can even fit in your pocket. However, Panay said the company doesn’t view the new Surface Duo as a smartphone.
Our best guess is that Microsoft wants this to be an entirely new type of device, capable of acting like the company’s existing 2-in-1 Surface devices, only it’s pocket-sized and can double as a phone. Microsoft is likely apprehensive to release a phone due to its struggles in that market. While Surface laptops and tablets are successful, Microsoft’s forays into mobile devices have been disastrous.
It’s failed to develop its own adequate mobile operating system, and its purchase of Nokia essentially flopped. It finally stopped its Windows Phones effort altogether in 2017. None of this changes that the Surface Duo is a smartphone, however, even if it makes Microsoft nervous.
Surface Duo: Release date
At its October 2019 Surface event, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Duo, but said it wouldn’t be ready for release until the holidays in 2020.
Surface Duo: Features and specs
Details are slim at the moment, but this much we know for certain: Microsoft Surface Duo is a foldable, Surface-branded smartphone that runs Android, albeit a heavily skinned version of Google’s mobile operating system that actually reminds us of the new Windows 10 XS that Microsoft also just announced. It appears to offer access to Android apps and will even let you place or accept calls.
The Surface Duo looks a lot Microsoft’s just-announced dual-screen Surface Neo, but it’s more pocketable. It features two 5.6-inch screens and can rotate on a 360-degree hinge so that it works as an 8.3-inch tablet. The device can fold together to protect the screens, or open up so that both screens can be simultaneously used. You can even have the device closed with one screen facing out, like a phone.
Each display can run two different apps at the same time. You can even use one of the displays as a keyboard or game controller.
According to Wired, the Surface Duo features a Snapdragon 855 processor, but that might not be in the final production unit. Keep in mind the Surface Duo is in early preview. It won’t even be available to buy for a while, so many features and specs have yet to be confirmed.
Surface Duo: Price
Microsoft has been tight-lipped about what the pocket-sized Surface Duo will cost. We expect it to a high-end premium smartphone, however.