The newly announced Microsoft Surface Duo is shaping up to be everything we've wanted from the long-rumored Surface Phone – even if it isn't officially being called a smartphone.
Surface Duo certainly sounds like a phone: it can make calls, according to Microsoft, and it’s dual 5.6-inch screens fit comfortably in one hand when the device is folded up. Plus, it runs on Android, per Wired.
But Microsoft referred to it as a “communication device” on stage, so we’ll see if there are any surprises that disqualify it from being considered a proper phone.
The Surface Duo strongly resembles another new device introduced during the October 2019 event - the Microsoft Surface Neo, a larger dual-screen tablet that runs a version of Windows 10 optimized for the two-display setup.
Here’s all we know about the smaller smartphone thus far, which we’ll be refining as information comes in over the next 12 months.
Microsoft Surface Duo price and release date
The Microsoft Surface Duo will go on sale in time for the 'holiday 2020' season, so likely before December 2020. We don’t know how much it will cost, or which regions it will be released in first. Hint: with two screens, it'll be expensive.
We also don’t know whether it will be sold by carriers on contract. This might be contingent on whether the device is considered a phone at all, and fit in that product category.
Microsoft Surface Duo design, display and features
The Microsoft Surface Duo looks exactly like a shrunken version of the Microsoft Surface Neo, a dual-screen tablet also introduced at Microsoft’s October 2019 event. But as a smaller handheld device, and one that can make calls, the Surface Duo is arguably a foldable phone.
The Surface Duo has two 5.6-inch screens, but unlike other foldables, its displays are made of Gorilla Glass - just split by a very visible hinge. While that means it isn't quite as seamless an experience as the Huawei Mate X or the just-launched Samsung Galaxy Fold, using tried-and-tested durable glass might keep the Surface Duo from experiencing issues seen by early foldables - for instance, the Galaxy Fold's plastic display is still breaking, even after its refinements.
Unfolded, the Duo stretches to 8.3 inches - which is just larger than the iPad Mini 5 with its 7.9-inch display. It can be bent farther than flat - the full 360 degrees, actually, allowing for front-to-back glass. The opposite is true, too, as the Duo can be folded shut, with no exterior screen...the first handheld device in a long time that won't need a cover to protect its screens.
The Duo will run Android - presumably whatever comes after Android 10, which introduced support for foldable screens. Microsoft said on stage that the Duo would be compatible with all Android apps.
That sets it apart from the larger Surface Neo, which will run Windows 10X - a forked version optimized for dual-screen activity.
More Microsoft Surface Duo news to come
Prior to its reveal on stage, the Surface Duo hadn't even been rumored - Microsoft successfully kept the phone under wraps, which is an incredible feat these days.
Still, the company hasn't revealed too much about its new handheld, so we're anticipating more news and rumors to surface (har) before the Duo launches in late 2020. Keep checking back as we hear more about Microsoft's fantastic new device.