Microsoft Surface Duo 2 to address at least two major shortcomings of the original
Microsoft got the tech world excited when it teased the Surface Duo for the first time in October of 2019. It brought to life dreams of what had until then been the mythical ‘Surface Phone’ that was long-rumored to be in development – the Redmond giant may have dropped the mobile ball with Windows Phone, but this new device would herald its comeback. The Surface Duo looked like it had a lot of potential as a multi-tasking monster and featured the slick design language of Microsoft’s much admired Surface computer product line.
However, when it eventually launched in September last year it was criticized by reviewers for software that felt unfinished as well as particularly underwhelming specs for a device with a US$1,400 price tag. This included a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (which didn’t compare favorably with competing flagship devices running a Snapdragon 865), a lack of 5G support and very average cameras. The latter oversight was a notable Achilles heel in a segment of the market where camera performance is a significant factor influencing buyer choice.
While we can expect the Surface Duo 2 (code-named Zeta) to have an upgrade processor, we also know the company is looking to hire engineers with experience implementing 4G and 5G cellular support to “create new experiences with Surface Duo”. In a separate job posting, Microsoft is looking for software engineers who know how to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to substantially boost camera performance. The latter development could be the most significant in helping Microsoft capture a larger audience who might have been keen on trying the device, but put off by its camera performance at the price.