The biggest surprise of Microsoft’s latest Surface event in New York was the inclusion of a smartphone.
The Surface Duo is a dual-screen Android smartphone that will be available to own next year.
While there were early leaks of their Surface tablets and laptops, nobody saw this coming after Microsoft abandoned the Windows Phone several years ago.
Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Panay is quick to point out that this isn’t just a normal mobile phone:
Make no mistake, this product is a Surface, because of how productive you can be on it. We know, scientifically, that you will be more productive on two screens.
Check out Microsoft’s product video below:
What makes this different to the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X the fact it’s two separate screens rather than just one.
The device has a 360-degree hinge between the two 5.6-inch displays. Meaning that when you’re not using the device or just want to use a single screen, it folds up easily.
Because there’s no single screen across the entire inside, there should be no damage to the device, unlike the Samsung foldable phone.
The design of the phone is incredibly similar to the Surface Neo tablet/laptop which the company has also announced at their event.
In fact, it’s just a smaller pocketable version that can answer calls and send text messages.
Just like the Surface Neo, the Duo can run two different apps at the same time on different screens. There’s also the option to use one of the second displays as a keyboard or game controller if you turn the phone into landscape mode.
One of the biggest shocks is Windows working with Android, rather than trying to recreate a Windows operating system. The version of Android on offer looks similar to the Windows 10X operating system in use on the Surface Neo.
The device is currently an early preview, with the device being launched in fall 2020. The early announcement was used to help create hype and also encourage developers to start making their apps compatible.
There is no indication as to how much the device will cost or battery life. I’m sure that as Microsoft gets closer to launching their device, more information will be provided.
For the time being, it’s nice to reflect on Microsoft using their latest event to announce more game-changing products. Out of all the tech companies that released products this autumn, Microsoft have definitely been the most surprising.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.