It’s been years in the making, but Microsoft has finally introduced a Surface Phone. But it’s much more than just a smartphone with the Surface name.

The Microsoft Surface Duo is a dual-screen device with two 5.6 inch displays that create an 8.3 inch surface when unfolded, a 360-degree hinge, and Surface Pen support.

Basically it’s what you would get if you took the upcoming Microsoft Surface Neo and shrunk it… and loaded it with Android rather than Windows.

Like the Neo, the Microsoft Surface Duo is scheduled to ship in time for the 2020 holidays.

While Microsoft didn’t provide detailed specs during its Surface event today, Wired Magazine reports that the current version is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor — although I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes by the time the Surface Neo is ready to ship.

The Duo is an intriguing device for a number of reasons.

It’s the first new phone from Microsoft since the company abandoned Windows 10 Mobile a few years ago. And while the company has been making big plays for the mobile software space in recent years by focusing on Office, Cortana, and other apps and experiences for mobile devices, this will be first-party hardware with a third-party operating system (albeit one that’s heavily customized to look and work like Windows 10 X, apparently).

It also comes at a time when other companies are trying to use pricier (and more fragile) flexible OLED displays in order to blur the lines between smartphones and tablets. While the dual-screen approach means that there will be a line between the Surface Duo’s two screens (plus some pretty chunky top and bottom bezels), I suspect it could also mean the Surface Duo will be more affordable than the (easily breakable) $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold, for example.

We’ll likely learn more about the Surface Duo in the coming year as Microsoft gears up to release the product to the public.

 

 



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16 Comments

  1. I am intrigued. I think this will be one of those devices that don’t know you need until you have it and then you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. I would use it as a connected tablet, not a phone.

  2. Android OS with a bunch of Microsoft apps. I wonder which company will stop supporting it first. :-/

  3. I’m not sure who this is meant for. It’s identity crisis, the device. It’s a Microsoft phone, running a google OS, made to sorta look like a Microsoft OS. It’s a designed to be shaped exactly like a dual screen laptablet even down to the 3:2 aspect ratio, but it’s too small to be used like one. It’s a phone folded one way (in this state it takes all current smartphone aesthetic trends and throws them out the window), a tablet unfolded, but you can only really use it like a vertically held tablet if you want to use the big “screen” (unless you’ve got two apps open), and videos and images can only be played and taken, on one screen at a time. Most apps aren’t designed to work with this setup, but some will be.
    Interesting to be sure but I’ll leave it to someone else to help it find it’s place in this world.

    1. I think microsoft is trying to follow Samsung. Samsung is using Android, but they heavily customize it so you barely see the google services and Android UI.

    1. I would have been super excited if this ran desktop Windows instead. Too bad we’re too small of a market for MS to do that.

    2. I’m not sure which would sell more: this running Android as a phone or it running desktop Windows as a UMPC.

      Foldable/dual screen Android phones aren’t new and I don’t think MS making it will make much difference.

  4. This would be far more impressive if it were releasing in time for the 2019 holidays. In a year? No chance. It’s going to look like a hack job compared to the fancy folding phones coming from everyone else.

  5. Ok, so here is a question. Do you have to open it to make a phone call? Seems cumbersome to use it as a phone when open like a book.

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