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Microsoft is back in the smartphone business with a new dual-screen phone


On Wednesday, Microsoft held its Surface Event where we saw the company unveiling several new devices. Mostly, we anticipated Microsoft to announce successors to its 2018 Surface and Surface Pro Laptop lineup – which it did.

Microsoft had much more under the sleeve, however. The tech behemoth also announced several new gadgets including some true wireless “smart” earbuds plus two dual-screen devices – one is, well, a dual-screen PC and a phone dubbed Surface Duo.

The Surface Duo does not have a similar folding mechanism like the Galaxy Fold, at least for the hinges, which look beefy binding the two screens together. With the Surface Duo, Microsoft marks an entry back into the smartphone business, but this time embracing the rival’s ecosystem – Android.

The device has two 5.6-inch displays that extend into an 8.3-inch device when opened. The hinge supports 360-degree rotation – so it is pretty much like the foldable laptops but on a miniature scale.

In performance, two apps can be run on each display independently, and you can also make use of one screen as an input device for the other. Word has it the phone runs on Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 855.

“This product brings together the absolute best of Microsoft, and we’re partnering with Google to bring the absolute best of Android in one product,” Microsoft Product Chief Panos Panay said.

“You’re going to talk about it as a phone, and I get that… Make no mistake. This product is a Surface,” he said.

The company did not tire itself going into the nitty-gritty details about the device, however. Surface Duo is slated to be commercially available later in 2020.

Apart from the Surface Duo dual-screen Android phone, Microsoft also announced a new Surface Neo laptop. It is also a dual-screen device but runs on Microsoft’s newly announced Windows 10X – Windows 10 version for dual-screen laptops. It boasts Gorilla Glass on top of the display, and Microsoft’s boss touted it as the “thinnest LCD ever created.”

Surface Neo is powered by a custom Intel Lake processor that features an “11th Gen” GPU engine to man both displays. The dual-screen laptop is also coming later in 2020.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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