The forthcoming foldable phone from Microsoft, in everything but name..
Microsoft is avoiding naming a tablet to the Microsoft Surface Duo, going so far as to call it a “communication device” when the tool was released in late 2019. It’s shaping up to look like the first new Microsoft-branded phone in years, though – and that’s an exciting one.
It definitely sounds like a phone, given its purpose, features and form factor, judging from what we’ve seen of the device since its unveiling at the October 2019 Surface event and in the emulator reportedly sent to developers preparing Duo applications. Two phablet-sized screens which are connected to LTE by a hinge? Looks to us like a telephone.
And a tablet coming soon: Microsoft has now announced a September 10 release date for the Surface Duo, along with a price of Rs:1,04,850 (about £1,070, AU$1,960). Although that’s definitely more costly than flagship smartphones, it’s considerably cheaper than foldable phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold formats that are fairly identical.
How’s that a phone? The Microsoft Surface Duo will make calls and fold up to a size that fits easily in your pants pocket and in one hand. What’s more, it runs on Ios, per Wired. Microsoft partnered with Google to develop a version that would run smoothly on a dual-screen computer. And, it seems the company is getting really behind it, with Hiroshi Lockheimer, Android’s senior vice president, Chrome, Chrome OS, Photos and Communication Products, tweeting an picture of it.
However, it’s likely that there are a few surprises left for Microsoft to announce about the app that could disqualify it from being considered a proper phone. The Surface Duo now has more than basic phone functionality: it features dual 5.6-inch displays, but can be used as a tablet-like 8.3-inch device when unfolded. For a front-to-back viewing angle, it can also be bent further than flat-the complete 360 degrees.
In reality, the Surface Duo closely resembles another new gadget that was launched during the October 2019 event – the Microsoft Surface Neo, a larger dual-screen tablet that runs a Windows 10 version optimized for the two-display configuration.
The Microsoft Duo also sounds like an ambitious tool from the rumours and sneak peeks we’ve seen. In reality, after he saw Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella using an early version recently, Brian Sozzi, Yahoo Finance’s editor-at-large, called it a “darn slick tool.” Here’s what we know so far about the smaller smartphone which we’re going to be improving as knowledge comes in over the next 12 months.
Important facts: Microsoft Surface Duo
- What is it, then? Microsoft’s latest foldable Smartphone
- How are they out? Sept 10, 2020
- What does it cost? Rs:1,04,850 (around £1,070, and AU$1,960).
Price and release date for the Microsoft Surface Duo
The release date for the Microsoft Surface Duo is Thursday September 10. Microsoft also announced a price, and it’s pretty expensive, as we expected for a dual-screen device: Rs:1,04,850 (about £1,070, AU$1,960)
Yet we don’t know if it will be sold on contract by carriers. It will depend on whether the device is considered to be a phone at all and fit into that category of product – in other words, it is unknown whether or not the Surface Duo will replace the existing telephones of consumers as a primary contact and software tool.
Layout, display and Features of Microsoft Surface Duo
The Microsoft Surface Duo looks just like a shrunken version of the Microsoft Surface Neo, a dual-screen laptop that was also unveiled at October 2019 event at Microsoft. Yet the Surface Duo is essentially a foldable tablet, with a smaller mobile device that allows users to make calls.
The Surface Pair has two 5.6-inch panels, but its displays are made of Gorilla Glass unlike most foldables – only separated by a very noticeable hinge that the design doesn’t try to cover. Although that means it’s not not as smooth an experience as the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Huawei Mate Xs, the tried and tested sturdy glass of the Surface Duo could save the smartphone from suffering problems seen in early foldables, including the display of the Galaxy Fold always breaking even after it’s been delayed for six months for refinements.
Unfolded, with its 7.9-inch panel, the Pair extends to 8.3 inches – much bigger than the iPad Mini 5. This can be bent to a complete 360 degrees from a flat 180 degree, the limit for most foldable phones, which enables a glass experience from front to back. The reverse is also true, as the Duo can be folded without an external panel, making it the first portable device in a long time that does not need a cover to shield its displays.
The Duo is supposed to launch with Android 10, provided that Android 11 won’t be out by its release date of September 10. On stage, Microsoft said the Duo will be compatible with all Android devices, and it is currently working closely with Google to make Android devices more appropriate for dual screen configuration.
An emulator has already appeared with developers to replicate The Duo’s dual screen features. Thanks to Neowin’s hands-on preview, we’ve already got a sneak peek at what the UI could preview like, along with an idea of how some of the Microsoft and Google apps would function and multitasking. Hopefully this means that there will be plenty of dual-screen devices ready to crowd The Pair once it comes out.
Running Android separates the Duo from the larger Surface Neo that runs Windows 10X-a forked version designed for dual-screen operation. Whether crossover applications would be available is uncertain but we wouldn’t put it past Microsoft.
We also now know that the Surface Duo will come with an 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, and 6 GB of memory, to be frank, which is a little disappointing for a 2020 flagship computer. Foldables already on the market, like the Samsung Galaxy Fold with its 12 GB of RAM, have higher specifications.
The Duo won’t be a 5G handset, as future-proof as it seems. Microsoft has announced that it will be a 4G-only system – and 5 G speeds are out of the question right now, which would confuse those looking for the new and quickest mobile access.
Surface Duo is expected to be cutting-edge, and at the same time we are worried that it has been evolving for too long, while smartphone hardware has gone beyond the specifications of Microsoft. It has the versatility of something entirely modern – but do you want to buy it beyond oohs and ahhs for its foldable innovation?