Microsoft launches Surface Duo: a compact foldable tablet-phone combo

Microsoft makes an ambitious move into the foldable device market with the Android-powered Surface Duo.

By Bloomberg News , August 13 2020
Microsoft launches Surface Duo: a compact foldable tablet-phone combo

Microsoft begins taking orders for its dual-screen Surface device in the U.S. on Wednesday, an attempt to re-enter the mobile handset market with a product that blends the features of a tablet with those of a phone.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

The Android-powered Surface Duo starts at US$1,399 and will be available September 10, said Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. At the time of writing, Australian release date or pricing has yet to be announced.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

The company's thinnest Surface device ever, it has with screens that unfold completely to serve as a phone or act like a book to provide more space for different apps.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

Microsoft’s hinge-and-two-screen approach is less futuristic than devices from the likes of Samsung, with a single screen that folds in the middle.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

 To make it work, the Duo has 56 cables connecting the two screens with the batteries and mainboard split between the two halves.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

The device has a 360-degree hinge and can be used in vertical or horizontal orientation. Different apps can run on each screen or an app can be spread across both screens for things like gaming or a larger view.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

The gadget represents Microsoft's return to the handset market following an ignominious retreat in 2016 after the company’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit crashed and burned in a costly writedown.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

It’s also the company’s first Surface device running Google’s Android 10 operating system, which Windows Phone once sought to vanquish.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

Why Android? Panay told reporters it came down to the need for apps – Microsoft's previous efforts were largely doomed because of the lack of mobile developer support.

"The product was built as the Microsoft you love and the Android you know," Panay said.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

The gadget’s OLED displays measure 5.6 inches individually or 8.1 inches taken as a whole, with Microsoft promising “all-day battery life.”

It’ll have either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, 6GB of memory, a Snapdragon 855 processor and will work on 4G LTE networks with both nanoSIM and eSIM capabilities.

Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.
Microsoft's new Surface Duo foldable phone-tablet device.

Users can create app groups – a blend of two apps that open with one click. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has used this to combine the Kindle app and Microsoft’s OneNote so he can take notes while reading. To watch video, you can open the hinge partially and turn one side of the Duo into a stand.

“I’m not trying to reinvent the phone,” Panay said. “But I do believe this is a better way to get things done, a better way to create, and a better way to connect on a mobile device."

Additional reporting by David Flynn

Syndicated

This article was published under license from Bloomberg Media and the original article can be viewed here

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 134

I think this will be amazing, but we may not see this here before the end of the year. Further, its going to cost north of $2500 in Australia i think.... so its EXTREEMLY expensive. I think MS have done a really good job of producing something innovative and different...'good different' too!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 229

It's a shame it doesn't support 5G and it is pricey.
But, I guess you have to begin somewhere...

I hope it does succeed because the market does need some competition to the Samsung - Apple duopoly that seems to be forming.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 761

Needs 8GB of RAM. Early adopters will iron out the bugs for the rest of us :)

This looks pretty good to me, it could be a big hit for Microsoft if the company gets this right. The price is a shocker through, maybe they are expecting that enough people will see it as 'phone plus more' and justify the price.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 164

They need to eliminate the centre bezel to create a 'virtually seamless' experience across the two screens without the complexity of the folding screen.

Wonder how this is going to stack up against Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S7 plus Android tablet 

I'd LOVE to get one of these, pair it with good earbuds and an Android watch, but that price! USD1400 converts to AUD1950 and that's a straight conversion, you have to allow GST so that's now AUD2145 and that doesn't allow for any other local markup so I'd suggest we are looking at something like AUD2199 or more . No thanks!

14 Aug 2020

Total posts 1

I want a Duo I'm sure going forward Microsoft will fix the omissions like no NFC etc hopefully we get a confirmation that Australia will get the Duo.....the waiting is killing me 🤣

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 106

A friend who works in Microsoft AU says there are currently no plans for the Surface Duo to come to Australia, but let's hope that changes, I'd love to see one of these under the Christmas Tree even if I have to gift it to myself LOL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 79

Couldn't care about gimmicky phones. I just want my planes back in the air. BUAAA.!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 316

No 5G and only 6gb of ram? No NFC? Please Microsoft.. at least try and pretend you are serious!! Particularly at that price point!! 


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Microsoft launches Surface Duo: a compact foldable tablet-phone combo