The mythical Surface phone just got real: Microsoft shows off the dual-screen Surface Duo smartphone running a custom Android build
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It's finally here. Ever since Microsoft subsumed the erstwhile Nokia Devices and Services division and ultimately pulled the plug on its ill-fated Windows Phone efforts, there have been rumors almost every other day about a possible Surface Phone. Panos Panay and the Surface team have been brushing away the rumors for a long time but today, Panay took the plunge and showed off the first look of the Surface Duo — a dual-screen smartphone running Android that is distinctly a Surface product.
Now, we do not know a lot about this device yet — it is still in development and will be available only in Holiday 2020. However, we do know that it is really a smaller Surface Neo and sports two 5.6-inch screens that are joined together by a 360-degree hinge. It is not a foldable OLED display like the Samsung Galaxy Fold but does offer the convenience of a dual-screen display.
Each display can run its own apps and apps can expand to show more information across both the screens. While the Surface Neo will be running on an Intel 10nm Lakefield chip that features the stacked 'Foveros' architecture, the Surface Duo could be based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon ARM platform as reported by Wired.
Another highlight of the Surface Duo is that it also marks a new era of partnership between Google and Microsoft. During the keynote, Panay showed the Duo running a custom version of Android that has been optimized from the ground-up to make use of the dual screens. Why Android and not Windows 10 X like the Surface Neo? Wired quotes Panay who says,
At the end of the day, where the applications sit today, the opportunity that people have already leaned into, that developers have already taken advantage of—it’s right there. And there’s a reality to that. To ignore that would be silly"
The idea behind revealing the Surface Duo this early in the development cycle was to let developers start working towards optimizing apps for dual-screen experiences. As such, the design of the Surface Duo is not complete. The device that was shown off today lacks a proper rear camera and requires flipping the phone back to use the front camera for taking pictures. This is likely to change as the device nears availability next year.
Are you excited for a Surface Duo? Let us know in the comments below.
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