We all thought Microsoft was out of the phone game and no matter how many rumours we saw of a Surface phone we never saw one materialise, until last night. At their Surface event Microsoft no only did the usual announcements of a new laptop and Window OS for multiple display PCs but also announced the Surface phone.
The new Surface Duo will arrive with two 5.6-inch screens — LG V50-style but this one has a 360 degree hinge allowing you to use the phone with the second display folded all the way back or tent style to prop it up while watching a movie. Once unfolded all the way it acts as an 8.3-inch tablet and could make a very useful tablet by all appearances.
As far as phone design in 2019 goes it’s not a great-looking phone once opened — it is wide and has the biggest bezels of 2019. The phone though, with its double displays is very thin according to the videos and photos surfacing overnight.
The phone, once opened, allows the user to run two different apps on each display with the ability to drag links etc from one display to the other. Did we mention it has pen support? Apparently, not officially just yet, the phone runs on a Snapdragon 855 processor but by the time it is released to market we expect that to be updated.
The Surface Duo can also be used for a gaming device with one display housing the controllers and the other the game activity. At this stage Microsoft are only projecting ways in which the device could be used and are hoping developers come up with some other killer uses in the next 12 months.
Of course, the device runs Android, albeit a heavily skinned version of Android but it does have all the usual Google apps installed making the support for it already large with full access to the Play Store. It will be interesting to see if their heavy skin slows down Android like so many other vendor skins — I’d say it is likely and they have a lot of work to do if they want it to run as fast as most other Android phones.
So when can you get it? In over 12 months time — “holiday season 2020”. This explains the lack of overall detail shared and known about the device. In 12 months we expect it to come with an updated processor and a rear camera, which was not present today.
The device, being so large is aimed at being a mobile productivity device and with the backing of a company as big as Microsoft it could actually be a winner — especially if they build in a lot of Windows 10 support and features.
Anyone here interested in this? I think I am more interested in this than any other foldable phone and think it could make a great addition to the Surface family. Keep an eye out for more details emerging over the next 12 months.