The Microsoft Surface Duo is now available for pre-order for $1400 and up, and while that’s a steep price to pay for a phone with mediocre specs, there are number of things that make the Surface Duo an interesting phone.
It’s Microsoft’s first phone since the company gave up on Windows Mobile. The Android-powered phone is a dual-screen device. And it’s designed to feature tight integration with Microsoft apps and services.
The Surface Duo might also be hacker-friendly. Xda-developers reports it will have an unlockable bootloader, which means it could be a good candidate for custom ROMs. I’d also be extraordinarily surprised if someone didn’t try to sideload Windows 10 onto the phone.
By unlocking the bootloader of an Android phone, you sacrifice a bit of security but gain additional control over the device. Among other things, you may be able to root a phone or install an alternate operating system.
Typically that means a different version of Android. But now that Microsoft has made a version of Windows 10 that runs on laptops with ARM-based processors, independent developers have been finding ways to shoehorn Microsoft’s desktop & notebook operating system onto smartphones for the past few years.
Would Windows run well on a device like the Surface Duo with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, twin 5.6 inch, 1800 x 1350 pixel displays, 6GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of storage, and a 3577 mAh battery? Probably not. But it’d be interesting to find out.
If you’re just interested in using the Surface Duo as an Android device, but reluctant to drop $1400 on a first-generation device, it’s worth noting that Microsoft also tells xda-developers that it plans to offer 3 years of Android feature updates for the phone, which means that the device should be supported for about as long as a typical Google Pixel smartphone (but not as long as the typical Apple iPhone).