Oct 2nd, 2019

Microsoft has announced that it will be getting back into the smartphone space in 2020 with a dual-screen foldable smartphone running Android. The Microsoft Surface Duo is only a prototype at this point, buy the hardware is a cross between the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the LG G8x which features a second display.

The unique design of the Surface Duo smartphone’s hinge allows the phone to fold up like a laptop but also folds all the way back, allowing for a smaller form factor when taking calls. The two 5.6-inch displays can be used individually or as a single 8.3-inch display. Various use cases that Microsoft showed off include running four applications at once (two on each display) or flipping the Surface Duo so that once display is used as a large keyboard. The Surface Duo is currently running a Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm, but that will likely be upgraded before the device is released. 

While the Surface Duo is clearly an Android smartphone, Microsoft’s Panos Panay made it clear that the new device would be a Surface first, meaning that it would be completely integrated with Windows as well.  He also added that “we absolutely know scientifically that you will be more productive on two screens.” Since it has a little over a year before the Surface Duo’s projected release date during the 2020 holiday season, Microsoft will have plenty of time to convince app developers to create unique experiences that can take advantage of the phone’s two displays. 

The announcement of the Surface Duo caught everyone off guard. It’s been rumored for years that Microsoft was looking to get back into the smartphone space, but no one was expecting a dual-screen foldable device running Android. It’ll be interesting to see how the final Surface Duo turns out and if it’ll be able to compete with Samsung, Huawei and the other big Android players.

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