It is not very often that manufacturers are able to release products earlier than expected. Usually timeframes are too difficult to keep but when Microsoft announced the Surface Duo in October last year they set themselves a time frame of over 12 months to bring the product to market.
The folks at Windows Central have been told by “multiple contacts” that Microsoft are so far ahead of schedule they are hoping to release it in the northern hemisphere Spring. They apparently have both the hardware and software very close to completed and are just working on polishing off the “high-end OS customisations and in-box experiences” that will set the Surface Duo apart from other foldables.
Microsoft expect to have the software completed by early April will start shipping before the start of winter. Windows Central expect the first release to head out to developers first with consumers getting a look in a few months later.
As with nearly all foldables, most likely due to the development time required for them at this early stage, the hardware is mostly last year’s tech with the Surface Duo expected to release sporting a Snapdragon 855 with 6GB of RAM and just 64GB of storage — you would hope there is a storage card slot for a productivity device with so little storage. There is expected though to be more expensive variants with more RAM and storage.
The device will not have a 5G modem onboard and although it is possible it is not expected to be included but with 5G coverage still fairly sparse even in metropolitan areas in Australia that is unlikely to become an issue any time soon.
The launch date you would expect have been affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak in China and their now aggressive timeline may well be pushed back — especially the high volume consumer production.
We expect the Microsoft Surface Duo to have all the polish that you expect from Microsoft products but suffer from possible software enhancements that most manufacturers learn from working with Android for a long period of time. Will it lag? Will their skin be so intrusive it slows the OS down? Will the camera be up to scratch?
I for one am looking forward to seeing what Microsoft bring to the table with the Surface Duo — a productivity device done by a productivity company. You can certainly expect the Office integration to be as deep as possible.