Microsoft will launch the Surface Duo dual-screen Android phone on September 10, starting from $ 1,399. After months of Microsoft executives introducing the device on Twitter, the company is now allowing anyone to pre-order the Surface Duo today in the US. Pre-orders will be available at AT&T, Microsoft’s online store and Best Buy.
While Microsoft revealed the design of the Surface Duo in October, the company kept the specs a secret. The device consists of two separate 5.6-inch (1800 x 1350) OLED displays with 4: 3 aspect ratio connected together to form an overall 8.1-inch (2700 x 1800) workspace. with an aspect ratio of 3: 2. Unlike foldable devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, the Surface Duo uses real Gorilla Glass and the display is designed to function in a similar way to multiple screens. on a Windows PC.
Another big question about the Surface Duo is the camera. Microsoft is using 11 megapixel f / 2.0 camera, including automatic modes in low light, HDR multi-frame shooting and “super zoom” up to 7x. Both 4K and 1080p video recording will be supported at 30 fps and 60 fps, with electronic image stabilization. There is only one camera on the Surface Duo, which can be used for both video calling and as the primary camera.
The base hardware of the Surface Duo also includes Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM and up to 256GB of storage. LTE is available on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, but doesn’t have 5G support. Microsoft is also shipping a case in the box, designed to protect Duo.
Microsoft also includes two batteries in the Surface Duo, split below both screens. Overall there’s a 3577mAh capacity, which is significantly less than the 4500mAh found on Samsung’s single-screen Note 20 Ultra and even 4380mAh on the original Galaxy Fold. Even so, Microsoft promises “all-day battery life,” which means up to 15.5 hours of local video playback, up to 10 days of standby time, and up to 27 hours of talk time. We will need to test the entire device during our review, but the capacity here leaves a little bit of concern as the device is powering two displays, not one.
Windows and devices manager Panos Panay said in a press conference ahead of today’s launch: “It’s probably one of the sexiest devices we’ve ever built. “It does things single-screen devices can’t,”. Panay’s vision for the Surface Duo is to improve productivity on the go, and Microsoft has also done some interesting software work to compliment the hardware.
Any Android app will run on Duo without modification, thanks to two separate screens. “Any app has to run and it’s important to support everything Android from day one,” said Panay. Developers can also optimize their app layout to really take advantage of the two screens and stretch on them. Microsoft has tweaked its own apps like the Office suite and OneDrive to extend the screen, and third parties like Amazon have also done work on the Kindle app to make it feel like you’re reading a book by swiping. pages on two screens.
Microsoft is also using algorithms to predict how to open apps on different screens. “There’s an algorithm in there that’s very smart and trying to predict it,” explained Panay. “If you’re on one screen and calling a link, it fills the other screen.”
The end result is that if you click a link in the email application on one screen, the link opens on another so you can continue reading the email side by side with a web page. Apps like Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint are also optimized so you can watch the video call and the rest of your Team chats, or see the entire slide and the rest of the page at once. .
Microsoft has worked closely with Google on Android for Surface Duo. “It was interesting at first,” said Panay, referring to the early days of the partnership. “It was a little scratching of the head. Satya and I had a lot of conversations. “Microsoft had to go with Android for the purely reasons of mobile apps, especially after Windows Phone failed in the market.
“Microsoft has to shine on all platforms,” Panay said. “We had a chat with Google… the partnership was fun. I thought we needed to get to know each other a bit at first, but then very quickly we saw what was right for our customers and what was possible. I think it’s great for Google and Android, and I think it’s great for Microsoft.
Microsoft has created APIs for dual screen apps to work in the Android code base, and they plan to upstream them for use by other manufacturers and third parties. It’s part of a broader effort to make dual-screen and foldable devices a reality, and Panay is very confident in this future. “I believe two monitors are coming, I think they are necessary.” It will be interesting to see how developers tailor their Android apps here, and that is the key to the overall success of dual screen or foldable devices in general.
The price will be a sticking point for the Surface Duo, just as it will for the Galaxy Fold and other devices that will try to open up a foldable or dual display in the future. The lack of 5G and NFC, battery life and camera quality questions will all need to be addressed in our Surface Duo review, but it’s clear Microsoft is at the beginning of a future they believe thought. You will have to pay the price of a part of that initially.
The real question will be whether the Surface Duo and similar devices improve productivity on the go and whether two mobile displays are really necessary. These devices will eventually require some hardware advancement to really prolong the visibility. But if consumers agree with Microsoft, Samsung and others that two screens are better than one, we are witnessing the future being built. If not, we are witnessing unique attempts to try and reshape mobile devices. At least, the cell phone suddenly came back to life. As Panay would say, we want to see where things are going.