It has been rumoured for years that Microsoft might be making a phone, and now it seems it’s finally here. The Surface Duo very much looks like a miniature version of the Surface Neo, however unlike that device, this runs Android rather than some form of Windows. Here’s everything we know so far.
The Surface Duo device packs two 5.6-inch displays which fold onto each other like a book, in a way not too dissimilar to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, unlike the Fold, the Surface Duo has two distinct displays rather than a single one. This rids it of an annoying crease and should ensure it doesn’t run into the same issues as the Fold. With the screens folded out, the display stretches 8.3-inches.
Having the device fold in also gives it certain level of protection. The outside design is very similar to other Surface products, with a silver look and large Microsoft logo.
While the Surface Neo runs Windows 10X, the Duo is a purely Android-based device. This is hardly surprising, as it instantly gives Microsoft access to apps and developers without having to start from scratch.
During the event, Microsoft said it has worked with Google on the product and is already working with developers to ensure apps work and can take advantage of the unusual screen arrangement.
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Those devs will have plenty of time to work on the apps as Microsoft announced we won’t be able to buy this tempting, if completely untested, device until “Holiday 2020”.
While Microsoft didn’t give too much away about the device, we did get some nuggets of information. Those two 5.6-inch screens will rotate 360-degrees, turning the phone into a pseudo tablet. You’ll also be able to use two apps concurrently on each screen and turn the whole thing landscape.
Microsoft has worked to make its launcher mimic that of Windows, with a similar wallpaper and more squared-off icons. Microsoft currently has a Launcher available on the Google Play Store, so this will likely form the basis. It looks like Microsoft will install its own apps on the Duo, including Edge browser and the Office suite.
According to a Wired report, the Duo will run a Snapdragon 855 chipset – that’s Qualcomm’s current silicone and powers phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 9. This seems slightly odd, as we’d expect at least one successor to this nearly 12-month-old chipset to be announced before the holiday 2020 season.
Another interesting piece of information in the above Wired report is that the phone doesn’t currently have a camera on the outside. You’d have to open the Duo up to take a picture. We assume this might change as we get closer to release.
There’s no word yet on whether this phone will support the 5G networks which should be much more widespread by the time this phone comes out.
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Microsoft Surface Duo – Release Date
Microsoft has announced this device early, we assume, in a bid to get devs on board and give them plenty of time to get their apps ready, or build entirely new ones.
The Surface Duo will ship in the holiday period of 2020 which means you’ll be waiting over a year to get one of these into your pocket. Considering this is an early version of the device we wouldn’t be surprised to see design and internal changes occur in the months leading up to release.
Microsoft Surface Duo – Price
As the device is so far out that Microsoft didn’t mention any pricing on stage. It’ll be interesting to see how much this phone comes in at, and we’d suspect it’ll be at least on par with the high-end £1049 iPhone 11 Pro. Samsung currently sells the Galaxy Fold for £1800 and Huawei Mate X – another more traditional foldable phone – looks set to break the 2000 euro barrier whenever it comes out.